Wrestling is a tricky business. So often, ideas that sound great end up backfiring while ones that are incredibly stupid go on to become hits. The New Day are a fine example as their early going was rough and annoying but they transformed into one of the best parts of the current roster. It’s been like that through history; workers who are presented as big deals and pushed hard but somehow, they just don’t click with the fans. Sometimes, it’s a bad gimmick or the worker themselves don’t click. Sometimes, it’s a terrible worker putting on horrible matches. Other times, it’s nothing specific but it just doesn’t work.
Too many times, promoters don’t get the hint and continue to shove these “talents” on fans no matter what. It was especially true in the early 1990s when wrestling was packed with cartoon characters and other terrible stuff. It can continue today as some folks make you roll your eyes and practically scream “bathroom break” as soon as they come on screen. In modern times, these guys might make you turn off your cable altogether and just watch some Netflix.
Here are 15 wrestlers from jobbers to even “stars” who made you want to flip the channel over and were annoying to see on TV so often.
15. Van Hammer
WCW really thought they had something with this guy when he debuted in 1991. He was set up as a heavy metal rocker with long hair and bringing his guitar to the ring. The fact he clearly had no idea how to play it was only the beginning of the issues fans had with him. He was bad in the ring, his act was annoying as hell and fans were soon ignoring him. Yet WCW kept on trying, constantly pushing him for several years, even having him challenge for titles.
He was later made a member of Raven’s Flock and the Misfits in Action. He began taking on a “hippie” character that was even more annoying. No matter what gimmick he got, fans just didn’t want to watch him at all and his “music” was the least offensive part of the act.
14. Outback Jack
When “Crocodile Dundee” hit in 1986, folks immediately went about trying to ride the wave of “Australia love” around the country. WWE did as well with Outback Jack, a character shown in various videos as a guy living up every single Aussie cliché imaginable. He came out in a leather jacket and a goofy hat with a crazy theme song and his finishing move was a reverse clothesline called the Boomerang.
It was a good combination but sadly, Jack was a frankly terrible worker in the ring and the entire “Aussie” act just never clicked with fans as WWE wanted. Even with his own action figure, Jack was dropped by lack of fan interest and the only thing that “boomeranged” when he was on screen was the fans’ attention span.
The original Doink was a genius creation. Matt Osborne played him as an evil clown with sinister ring music, popping balloons with a cigar and acting scary to kids. It was a good gimmick with him as a heel.
However, the decision to turn the character face after Osborne was fired for drug use led to the character being turned into a complete joke. That made him incredibly annoying as hell with his antics, the fans turning away when he showed up and he was not as compelling. It got worse with the addition of little sidekick Dink and stupid feuds with Jerry Lawler and Bam Bam Bigelow. Soon, chants of “Kill the Clown!” echoed in arenas as fans grew to loathe him and began flipping away as soon as he showed up. Today, he’s more of a joke than ever and is a poster child for how clownish WWE was at that time.
12. The Godwinns
Seriously, why did WWE think a gimmick of pig farmers was going to get majorly over? The videos of Henry O. Godwinn (see the initials) throwing slop on pigs were already bad but his ring work worse. He just looked stupid in the overalls and cap and his “slopping” of opponents. Walking everywhere with his bucket looked dumb too. Even as a face, the crowds didn’t back him, as there was too much of a “country” feel with him and later his cousin Phineas. They held the tag titles and were managed by Sunny but even that wasn’t enough to make fans get behind them.
They tried to go as the suited “Southern Justice” but that flopped too and Henry had to quit after some injuries. The entire act was just poor overall and fans hated watching this “country drive” marring up WWE.
11. Duke Droese
The 1994-95 WWE was packed with characters who were little more than “random occupation guy” who somehow wrestled as well. Perhaps the most ridiculous was Duke “The Dumpster” Droese, a garbageman. He came down carrying a trash can but as these were the days before “extreme” wrestling took off, he didn’t actually use it. He wasn’t too bad in the ring but was just a major distraction for fans, the entire gimmick just not interesting enough to generate heat with the crowd. They just were bored by the whole thing as he was in lame feuds with Jerry Lawler and others, soon pushed to jobber status as the fans were not behind him.
The jokes come too easy but they’re well deserved as this entire gimmick belonged in the trash and no wonder his segments had fans just wanting to look away.
10. The Great Khali
It’s obvious why he got the push. Khali was a massive presence at seven feet tall, had a huge build, was incredibly powerful, and he had all the ingredients Vince McMahon loves to push for in a big heel worker. Sadly, that was overwhelmed by how he was an utterly terrible guy in the ring, was slow and totally uncoordinated and his inability to give a promo a major blow against him.
Fans booed him like crazy and not in the good way, as they simply hated watching Khali eating up time in terrible main event matches with The Undertaker, Big Show and others. When they put the World title on him, it led to an immediate ratings dive and even a face turn to make him more of a comedic act didn’t help. As far as fans were concerned, the only thing “great” about Khali was giving them a chance to take a good long break.
9. Alex Wright
He had some real talent, was a great high flyer and had some good technical work. But WCW did Wright no favors with their idea for how he’d be presented. Coming out as “Das Wunderkind,” the German worker would wear a leather jacket that looked dorky on him. He would then do some “dancing” that looked incredibly stupid and from the start made him annoying as hell to watch.
He had some success with the TV title but that dancing and a later heel turn just made him too hard for fans to keep tuning in despite how WCW kept pushing him onward. A later turn to “Berlyn” also fell flat as it was just too terrible and showed the only dancing fans wanted to watch in WCW were the Nitro Girls.
8. Greg Gagne
Verne Gagne was accused of keeping the AWA title around his waist too much, often years at a time. But he was a good worker and good with the crowds so it made sense. When Verne finally retired in 1980, he made no secret of the fact he was grooming son Greg to take his place as champion. However, while a good tag worker, Greg was skinny and lacked the charisma of his dad to cover his lack of skills. He was pushed constantly, including a crazy bit where Sgt. Slaughter gave him “Ninja training” which no one bought. Even as TV champion, Greg just wasn’t that big a deal for fans and was just downright boring. It was clear he shouldn’t have been the company’s top star. The AWA had a lot of issues but trying to push such a dull face as the top guy was one of the biggest.
7. The Renegade
The guy just didn’t have a chance. In 1995, Hulk Hogan boasted of “the ultimate surprise” for a big PPV match and naturally, fans assumed it was The Ultimate Warrior coming to WCW. Instead came a guy dressed like the Warrior, acting like him but it clearly wasn’t him. If anything, he was even worse in the ring than the Warrior was, lacking major skills and his promos were utterly horrific. WCW kept pushing him, even having him win the TV title but the fans never took to him and you could imagine the sets flipping over whenever he hit the screen. He was de-pushed quickly with a sad end of the man committing suicide years later. It was WCW’s own fault as trying to push such a blatant rip-off. It was too much for fans to take and it ruined any potential Rick Wilson had.
6. Dino Bravo
Bravo has gotten a pretty nasty rap over the years, and much of it is deserved. He wasn’t too bad but his ring work relied on his act as a strongman and thus he was easily blown up and not ready for longer matches. He was short tempered and his obvious steroid use slowed him down even more while the blonde hairdo didn’t do him any favors. The fact his promos had a thick accent didn’t aid him either and he just wasn’t connecting. Whenever he came on, fans wanted to look away despite feuds with The Ultimate Warrior and other big stars.
After retiring in 1992, Bravo began training wrestlers, but got mixed up in some bad stuff. His downfall was infamous, as he was shot dead in 1993 due to his connections to cigarette smuggling.
5. Erik Watts
This may well be the greatest case of nepotism in pro wrestling. When Bill Watts took over WCW in 1992, he laid down various rules meant to make the organization more “old school” and such. Among his various ideas, Watts decided to pull his son, Erik, out of training after only a month and immediately push him as a rising star. The issue was that the kid just was not ready, and didn’t workrate or promo skills. His lack of ring knowledge was painfully obvious.
It was ridiculous seeing real workers have to job to make the boss’s kid look good and everyone knew his push was only because of his dad. Erik had some potential but his father’s insistence and shoving him down the fans’ throats led to a huge backlash against him that made fans not even care enough to boo him. As soon as Bill was fired, Erik was dropped fast and showed how a father’s love can go too far in the wrestling business.
Time and again, WWE has tried to make Matt Bloom a big deal and time and again, the fans wanted nothing to do with it. He debuted as Prince Albert, a tattooed and pierced guy with partners like X-Pac and Test but was just not that good overall and constantly came up short in various feuds. A name change to A-Train did little to help, and he was barely above jobber status.
He got some attention in New Japan to boost himself up more and the hope was he could thrive when he returned to WWE. Instead, he was given the character of Lord Tensai and trying to push him as Japanese was utterly laughable. Still not accepted by fans, Bloom would be reduced to some comedic angles and while a decent worker, none of his characters have been enough to make fans want to tune in.
3. Mabel/Viscera/Big Daddy V
Nelson Lee Frazier was a hulking guy at 6-foot-6 and nearly 500 pounds so a wrestling career seemed natural. But his first act was as Mabel, part of the rapping duo Men on a Mission whose “rap songs” annoyed fans. Going heel, he became “King Mabel” to engage Diesel in some of the worst title matches around and help drive business in 1995 WWE to record low levels. He was later turned into Viscera with a harder edge but still not too over.
He then became “The World’s Largest Love Machine” and \ began a “love affair” with Lillian Garcia. The worst was “Big Daddy V” in an outfit with suspenders to showcase his flabby man-boobs. No matter the character, the sight of his slow and horrid form was enough to make fans flee.
Sadly, he died in 2014. By all accounts, he was a nice guy but not one fans enjoyed seeing on TV in so many ways.
2. Bastion Booger
Mike Shaw was a nice guy but he got a lousy share of gimmicks in his time. He was Norman the Lunatic in WCW, an act that was catching on but then was changed to a trucker. In WWE, he started off as Friar Ferguson with that also dropped due to complaints from religious groups. Thus came Bastion Booger, an incredibly slovenly and horribly fat guy covered in sweat. The outfit was terrible, as it was too revealing and the sweat-stained singlet enhanced his horrible look.
His matches were bad to watch with his bumbling along and his “finisher” of dropping himself on an opponent was disturbing to watch. Fans fled whenever he took to the ring and it stands as one of the grossest acts WWE has ever put on screen.
1. The Ding Dongs
True, they didn’t last long but they rank high as one of the stupidest acts in wrestling history. Jim Herd famously wanted a pair of hunchbacks (“they can’t be pinned, they’d be unbeatable”) who rang a bell. Even Ole Anderson refused to go with that but Herd insisted the bell would be a winner. So two jobbers were given masks and bright costumes littered with small bells to head to the ring. On their first appearance at a Clash of the Champions, they were nearly booed out of the building as the incessant ringing of the large bell in the ring drove fans crazy.
WCW wanted to push them more but the harsh reaction was so great that after a handful of appearances, they were beaten down and unmasked by The Skyscrapers. That no doubt relieved fans, as the team was a terrible idea from the start.
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