There’s something to be said about someone who has the talent to make someone laugh, whether at a joke or a funny action one takes. While the premise of professional wrestling is meant to be a little more serious with world championships, feuds and other rivalries that carry the live events and pay-per-views, some of the greatest wrestlers of all time have been able to make us laugh in memorable ways.
Mick Foley would get a laugh with the three different characters he brought to television, Kurt Angle was good for some laughs and The Rock knew how to get the crowd to loudly erupt with a one-liner joke told at another’s expense. The thing is that all three of those are among the talented wrestlers who didn’t need the comedy to succeed in professional wrestling, but it helped add to their on-screen presence.
While there are always going to be a number of great talents, some struggle to get noticed for a main event push. Sometimes, they can’t get the crowd interested in their character with a serious gimmick, which can lead to a change to make a wrestler who can’t get over as a comedy act. The following are the top 15 wrestlers who only worked well as comedy acts in the ring.
While he was part of the Kaientai faction from 1998 and 2001 during the WWE’s Attitude Era, Funaki was never able to have a very serious character on WWE television. For one, him and Taka Michinoku would have dubbed promos as they walked to the ring that ended with an emphatic “INDEED!” from Funaki – comical for a team that wore T-shirts that claimed they were “evil.”
When you think of a professional wrestler standing at about six-foot-nine and weighs nearly 500 pounds would be best as a dominant force in the ring. The WWE tried to do that multiple times, but Viscera was at his best when he was doing sillier gimmicks like the “love machine” called Big Vis. That’s because fans found it entertaining seeing a man wearing what looks like the world’s largest pajamas and gyrating in the ring like an extra-large Val Venis.
13 Vladimir Kozlov
Before Rusev came out to be the Bulgarian Brute that was wearing Russia’s colors a few years ago, Vladimir Kozlov was a former WWE superstar born in the Soviet Union who looked to have a lengthy undefeated streak to begin his television career – somewhat like a number of powerhouses that the WWE seemed to be enamored with during the original brand split between 2002 and 2012. But Kozlov was better as a comedic act, by leaps and bounds.
Nick Dinsmore was pretty successful in his wrestling career early on with Ohio Valley Wrestling, but apparently the WWE wanted to use him with a different gimmick that seemed strange at the time. With the promise of Eric Bischoff’s nephew coming to visit and wanted to be a WWE superstar, we were introduced to Eugene – someone who came across as someone who was seemed special. Sure, it was somewhat making fun of people who were disabled.
11 Big E
When he was being built up as a young, promising superstar from the NXT development system, Big E Langston debuted on the main roster in 2012 with an enforcer gimmick for both AJ Lee and Dolph Ziggler. Big E was a strong and very talented athlete that was deserving of being a WWE superstar, but his first few years in the company showed him not being much more than some muscular guy. There were some moments when he showed personality, but he didn’t have a chance to flourish fully until joining the New Day.
When the WWE was going up against World Championship Wrestling, they were also willing to make jokes about their opposing brand. In an effort to take a few jabs at the popularity of Goldberg by making someone the complete polar opposite of the man who went on an undefeated streak in WCW – a man who was not as intimidating looking and would start his run on television on a tremendous losing streak. He would even be part of the J.O.B. Squad of guys like Al Snow and Bob Holly.
9 Zack Ryder
The WWE wasn’t doing much with Zack Ryder, who was able to get himself over as one of the first social media superstars within the company. He even took it one step further with starting his own YouTube channel with his show called “Z! True Long Island Story,” which ended up becoming more of a variety show that featured himself, other WWE superstars (where’s Trent?) and some of his friends on the independent circuit. He’s also the WWE’s first and only Internet Champion.
8 Blue World Order
What started as a parody faction of the New World Order, the Blue World Order was formed in Extreme Championship Wrestling during the 1990s and was one of the cult favorites back in the day. The team of Nova, Stevie Richards and the Blue Meanie were characters that mimicked the NOW in a more comical way with Nova imitating “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan, Richards being the ring leader and Meanie being the big guy wearing a pair of Daisy Duke shorts.
7 Chuck Taylor
The WWE has recently brought in some of the best independent wrestlers from around the world to come into the company that is continuing to evolve and there may be some who are wondering whether or not Chuck Taylor is going to be among those soon to be brought into NXT. There’s no denying that with how he’s performed on the microphone and in the ring, he has shown that he can be entertaining in several different ways.
6 Colt Cabana
It’s a shame that Colt Cabana wasn’t able to find success in the WWE as Scotty Goldman, but that might be more to do with how he was booked by the creative team. Cabana was someone who didn’t need to do much more than bring comedy to the ring to entertain fans and build his own empire as an entrepreneur in sports entertainment. Not only has he been funny in the ring, he’s also been able to entertain with his podcast the Art of Wrestling.
Rikishi is part of the famous Anoa’i wrestling family from Samoa, but the highlights of his career in the WWE usually involve wearing a man thong and placing his butt directly in his opponents’ faces. The 425-pound superstar was very impressive as a big man in the ring who could entertain the crowd with his dancing before and after matches with the members of Too Cool. One of his best moments was The Rock having Vince McMahon kiss Rikishi’s ass on a 2001 episode of SmackDown.
Of course Dustin Rhodes had some success with Goldust pushing the limits of being a character based on homosexual tendencies back in the 1990s. Over the years, he’s been able to shift more towards a comedic role that has become a lot safer for family viewers. Being Goldust has brought him more success in the WWE than when he tried to wrestle under his family’s name – which includes his father, the American Dream Dusty Rhodes. As he mentioned in a WCW promo as Seven, he was told that “Dustin sucks.”
Ron Killings has had some success in professional wrestling with several championships both in WWE, TNA and other promotions. However, he’s been the best on television as someone who seems like he has a few screws loose in his brain. As R-Truth, he made people laugh from various antics done. Whether he was a heel when he kept talking about how he didn’t care about all of the “Little Jimmies” or a face – or being a “good R-Truth” – who had an imaginary manager called “Little Jimmy.”
Fans of professional wrestling know that Gregory Helms was one of the most talented cruiserweights to compete in the WWE during the original brand split between 2002 and 2010. While he did wrestle under his real name and had some championship success, Helms found the most success in the WWE as the superhero Hurricane. While wrestlers are sometimes considered real life comic book characters brought to live entertainment, the Hurricane was someone who brought that into his character for one of the more entertaining superstars at the time.
1 Santino Marella
While having won the Intercontinental and United States championships in the WWE as singles star, Santino Marella is likely only remembered for many of the hilarious moments he has had in his 2007 and 2014. There were the times he would dress up as other legends like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin with his ridiculous Italian accent, but other moments when he would host a tea party with Sheamus and his tag team partner Vladimir Kozlov.
There’s also that time where he dressed up as a woman, renamed himself “Santina” and won the inaugural (and the only) Miss WrestleMania. Even his finishing move was ridiculous with a snake sock to utilize the “Cobra” strike. It was one of the weakest finishing moves in wrestling history, but did bring a funny moment at the 2012 Royal Rumble where we had a showdown between the Cobra and Mick Foley’s Mr. Socko. While his career in the WWE ended due to an injury, it’s safe to consider him one of the funniest wrestlers to ever compete in the WWE.
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