What’s in a name? In the wild and wacky world of professional wrestling there may not be a perfect formula to creating the next great ring persona, but choosing an epic name is a good place to start. Wrestling’s funny in that even the silliest names can catch on and work wonders. Really when you think about it, are Hulk Hogan or Sting actually amazing names that would click with the fans of today? Perhaps, but they do sound kind of goofy. Not that today’s stars have it any better. How’d you like to walk into a job interview or the first day at a new school and introduce yourself as Dolph Ziggler?!
Some of the worst aliases of all time have been used by some of wrestling’s most popular stars of the squared circle. While we will be touching on gimmicks, as they go hand-in-hand with names, inclusion is geared towards the names themselves. This is not a “Worst Gimmick Ever” list. Also, while some of the more notable bad pseudonyms used over the years such as Super Giant Ninja or Meat are without a doubt horrific, our focus is on wrestlers known better under different, more successful guises than poor one offs who will sadly forever be known by names like Bastion Booger.
15 Kevin Nash - Vinnie Vegas
Before successfully becoming a six time World Champion with more fitting nicknames like Big Sexy and Big Daddy Cool, Kevin Nash was at one time known as Vinnie Vegas. Vinnie was a giant, smart aleck mobster from, you guessed it, Las Vegas, Nevada. What a coincidence his surname matched that of his residence! He wore a tacky, pink-trimmed suit that made him look more like a hypnotist or magician from the Vegas Strip rather than a made guy.
Prior to being Vinnie Vegas, Nash went by Master Blaster Steel as well as the memorably maligned Oz, a character based on the classic children’s story The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. As bad as the gimmick was, at least Oz is kind of a cool name. Vinnie Vegas? Not so much.
14 2 Cold Scorpio - Flash Funk
As top stars like Diesel and Razor Ramon were leaving WWE to revolutionize WCW, the pressure was on for WWE to secure new talent. Hiring the exciting and versatile 2 Cold Scorpio was a big deal and he was set with a grand debut at Survivor Series. Scorpio was already an established name from WCW and ECW and, let’s face it, you can’t have much more of a bad ass name than 2 Cold Scorpio! It should have been easy.
Alas, WWE not only wants to mold its stars to fit into the overall company vision but also likes to own the IP of its characters. Like throwing darts at a board full of silly suggestions, they decided Scorpio should be called Flash Funk because, well… he’s flashy and funky… right? Needless to say not all the Funkettes in the world could help poor Flash succeed in WWE.
13 Bray Wyatt - Husky Harris
With the lantern, eerie theme music, sheep mask-wearing thugs and thousands of fans on their feet with cellphones raised, it’s hard to argue Bray Wyatt isn’t the coolest gimmick the WWE has had in years. It makes it all the more chilling that the smooth talking promo master of The Wyatt Family started his WWE career in the old NXT as Husky Harris.
Husky! The term a grandmother uses to describe her sort of overweight grandchildren without wanting to go so far as to call them fat. They may as well of called him Pudgy Parker or Big Boned Buchanan! Thankfully Husky Harris didn’t work out, not even as a member of the popular Nexus stable, and Windham Rotunda went back to the drawing board and was able to come up with The Eater of Worlds.
12 Edge - Sexton Hardcastle
Sexton Hardcastle is essentially what Val Venis should’ve been called during the Attitude Era, because it has porn star written all over it! But no, it wasn’t Sean Morley who used that moniker but instead his one time real life brother-in-law, the future 11-time World Champion and WWE Hall of Famer Edge!
Edge went by Sexton Hardcastle early on in his career as he was breaking into the indie scene in the mid 90s. It was as Hardcastle that he first teamed with best buddy Christian as well as Joe E. Legend, who was Just Joe in WWE which by all accounts was another terrible ring name. It makes you wonder how the name came about when Edge was at a point in his career when he was actually free to choose his own alias, because Sexton Hardcastle sounds like it has WWE written all over it.
11 Raven - Scotty Flamingo
Long before Scott Levy had a revolutionary gimmick as Raven, he debuted in WCW under the name Scotty Flamingo, a surfin’ dude from Florida who would go as far as to bring his board to the ring with him just in case mid-match he could somehow catch some waves. Of all the birds one could use as an alias in a business of tough guys who beat each other up for a living, someone at WCW thought a flamingo would be a good choice. A flamingo, perhaps the least intimidating bird of all time.
Scotty Flamingo was eventually packaged into DDP’s early WCW stable The Diamond Mine where one of his cohorts was Vinnie Vegas. Hey, that pink trim plays nicely with Flamingo! The Mine was a terrible stable with plenty of horrifically named members, another of which still to come on this very list.
10 Booker T - G.I. Bro
Five time WCW Champion Booker T broke into the Texas indie scene as G.I. Bro, a pun of the popular G.I. Joe toy line. At the the time, the Gulf War was in full swing and plenty of wrestlers were looking to capitalize on military-based gimmicks. G.I. Bro was a brief stint as The Booker Man was soon packaged with his brother Stevie Ray and slowly became Harlem Heat, one of the greatest tag teams in history.
Fast forward a decade later and Booker T had transitioned into a popular singles star in WCW. He would’ve been pushed to main event status immediately if Vince Russo hadn’t taken control of WCW creative. He put Booker with the terrible, army-based comedy stable The Misfits in Action, re-branding him once again as G.I. Bro.
9 Brutus Beefcake - The Booty Man
Though many fans will always think first of Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake when it comes to Ed Leslie, he holds the distinction of perhaps having more bad gimmicks in wrestling than anybody. Along with each one comes an equally terrible name like The Disciple, The Zodiac or simply The Man With No Name. But of all Leslie’s awful pseudonyms, none was worse than The Booty Man.
After an initially decent heel turn that wound up to the equivalent of a car crash, WCW attempted to turn Leslie face again and billed him as The Booty Man, a Brutus Beefcake knockoff who instead of liking to cut people’s hair only cared about one thing: booty! They even gave him DDP’s then-wife Kimberly as The Booty Babe to help him out. It didn’t work. Booty Man was awful. Just awful!
8 Scott Hall - The Diamond Stud
As promised we return to another member of WCW’s Diamond Mine stable where, along with notable badly named stars Vinnie Vegas and Scotty Flamingo, the worst alias of the group award goes to non other than The Bad Guy. Wearing flip-up sunglasses and rhinestone-tattered overalls, always with only one shoulder strap up of course, Scott Hall was known simply as The Diamond Stud.
The Diamond Stud! Wow! If ever there was a name more fitting for a male stripper instead of a professional wrestler, I don’t know one. The Stud was every 90s cliche rolled into one terrible package. How this future WWE Hall of Famer and eventual mega superstar of the business was ever was able to be repackaged as Razor Ramon and taken seriously again is anyone’s guess.
7 Terry Taylor - The Red Rooster
In my humble opinion, a rooster is a more intimidating bird than a flamingo. I’ve been around enough farms in my day to know you don’t mess with them. So why is Terry Taylor’s awful 80s gimmick The Red Rooster higher up on the list than Scotty Flamingo? Well, in addition to Red Rooster being a tad bit lamer in name alone, at least Scotty Flamingo didn’t think he was an actual Flamingo!
The Rooster would come out to the sound of a cock-a-doodle-doo and literally strut like the bird in question en route to the ring. Not only that, but no lame rooster gimmick would be complete without a mini-mohawk comb on the top of their head, dyed red of course. It’s a shame WWE chose to book such a talented performer like Taylor so poorly.
6 Mike Rotunda - Irwin R. Schyster
Like father, like son, Bray Wyatt’s pop makes the list as well. This one’s a bit of a cheat because there’s certainly an argument for I.R.S. being the gimmick Mike Rotunda is best known as. It must be included though because in addition to Irwin R. Schyster being just an awful, terrible name, Rotunda certainly found success in other gimmicks during his long career.
Had they just called the taxman I.R.S., that would’ve been one thing, but to give the initials substance in the form of a fake name was a bit much. For starters, Irwin is a terrible name. No offence meant to any Irwins out there reading this, I feel for you. Schyster is one of the countless tacky pun wrestling surnames that just don’t exist in the real world. I can only imagine what the ‘R’ stood for!
5 Bob Holly - Thurman “Sparky” Plugg
Never fear, people named Irwin, your name could be worse. It could be Thurman. Worse yet, it could be Thurman Plugg! This was the plight of veteran Hardcore Holly early on in his WWE days. Clad in eye-splitting colored attire, Plugg was nicknamed Sparky and introduced in the mid 90s as a dual sport superstar who liked to drive race cars when he wasn’t wrestling. He was Sparky Plugg. Get it? Spark plug… you know, like the car part! Ugh!
Fortunately cooler heads prevailed and Thurman Plugg was dropped in favor of the much more realistic ring name Bob “Spark Plug” Holly. While the change gave Holly more credibility, it did still keep him stuck with the whole race car driver gimmick. Not great, but hey, at least his name wasn’t something stupid like Bombastic Bob!
4 Glenn Jacobs - Isaac Yankem, D.D.S.
If anybody in wrestling history could give Ed Leslie’s gimmick schizophrenia a run for its money, it would no doubt be WWE’s resident Big Red Monster Kane. Glenn Jacobs has had a lot of gimmicks over the years, many terrible and most with equally dreadful names. Among his worst was The Christmas Creature and Mike Unabomb, but the crown goes to Isaac Yankem, D.D.S.
Kane’s first high profile WWE debut may have come with an instant push and feud with Bret Hart, but it went hand-in-hand with being Jerry Lawler’s demented dentist. Yankem, of course, was another un-funny tongue-in-cheek pun that referenced his alternate career as a dentist. The best part of it all is he had bad teeth! Oh, WWE… I see what you did there!
3 Cesaro - A Very Mysterious Ice Cream
Years before Cesaro staked his claim as arguably the best pound-for-pound wrestler on the WWE roster he worked for Chikara Pro, an indie fed based in Philadelphia which emphasizes lucha libre much like Lucha Underground. After a brief WWE developmental stint in the mid 2000s, Cesaro returned to Chikara and aligned himself with the Los Ice Creams tag team.
Cesaro’s time with the duo was short lived and his inclusion here as part of the team isn’t that the Ice Creams were a pseudo-comedy act who wore masks with ice cream cones attached to their heads. No, it was the fact that Cesaro’s name with Los Ice Creams was A Very Mysterious Ice Cream. Short lived or not, I dare you to find a stranger ring name than A Very Mysterious Ice Cream.
2 Bill DeMott - General Hugh G. Rection
Remember The Misfits in Action? The lame military-based comedy stable WCW had in the early 2000s that caused a rising star Booker T to revert back to his G.I. Bro gimmick? Well that stable was led by future WWE development guru Bill DeMott. DeMott had already had his fair share of badly named gimmicks, the most notable of which was Hugh Morrus, a pun of the word humorous. As in… that’s not a very humorous name.
When DeMott went face and created the MIA he, like everyone else in the stable, took army rankings and changed their ring identities. Lash LeRoux became Corporal Cajun, Chavo Guerrero became Lieutenant Loco and Bill DeMott became General Hugh G. Rection. Hysterical, no? No. In fact it’s even less humorous than Hugh Morrus.
1 Triple H - Terra Ryzing
Topping our list is none other than WWE’s Executive VP of Talent, Live Events and Creative, The Game himself, Triple H. Long before he was The Cerebral Assasin, before he was bowing as Hunter Hearst Helmsley and even before he was WCW snob Jean-Paul Lévesque, Triple H was known by the worst wrestling pun name of all time: Terra Ryzing!
Yes, the short lived Terra Ryzing was a pretty good young wrestler who, because of his lame name, was anything but terrorizing. The worst part is the name itself seemed to change with each appearance. Sometimes he was billed as Terror Rising, other times he was Terra Risin’. Thankfully the gimmick vanished, Triple H went on to become a blueblood and eventually one of the most dominant names in the history of pro wrestling.