Over the course of history in professional wrestling, there have been bad gimmicks and scary gimmicks. This list look at the top fifteen wrestling gimmicks that were not scary. Most of these gimmicks, today, would not stick. In a different time when professional wrestling was not taken as seriously, out-of-this-world characters would be created. Some of the best wrestlers of all time got stuck playing something really stupid. It took forever for Kevin Nash to blossom into something other than Vinnie Vegas. It was not until the nWo and the Attitude Era that the characters portrayed by wrestlers related to the real world. They were considered athletes, as there were less characters to be seen.
There are some wrestlers who still compete today that have the same gimmick, but not as overblown. Take the Undertaker for instance. His promos were scary for the time and he still keeps that dark persona today. I know of one friend who, as a child, would run and hide every time his entrance music hit. It's just weird to think that there were people during this time, who were not children, that believed all of this was real and not theatrics. Either way, if a gimmick is done correctly, itll get over with the crowd. When there is horror involved, and it does not seem believable or just flops, at that point laughter ensues.
There have been occasional attempts at scary characters over the past ten years. The Boogeyman went above and beyond with his character. Most of the time, people who possibly would have been scary characters years ago are just deemed "crazy" or "out of control," It still fits a more realistic relation rather than having some mummy walking to the arena. With the way crowds are now, one of the outlandish characters from the past would probably get over as a favorite just because it is different. This list shows off the characters who were meant to be scary, but failed in the end.
15 ECW Vampire
When ECW was rebranded under WWE, it strangely launched on the Syfy Network. This gave creative the idea to come up with different characters to cater to the network that it was on. One of these was a vampire. Initially known as just the “ECW Vampire,” he was to be part of a new Brood faction featuring Gangrel. This never quite took off, as he would have Ariel by his side, who served as a tarot card reader. While the vampire gimmick might have worked years ago during the Attitude Era, a gimmick like this came along too late and never took off. It was never scary. It just happened to occur during a time when the Twilight Saga was popular.
14 The Oddities
While the stable of strange wrestlers were introduced during the Attitude Era as heels, they eventually would become fan favorites under the leadership of Sable. The group would always dance after matches, so it kinda defeats the purpose of being freaks if you cannot actually scare the crowd. The only cool thing about the stable was their entrance video, as it featured clips from the 1932 horror film Freaks. The idea was to celebrate the film’s message, as the stable, at this point, were decent and polite people. Freaks can’t be scary if they are decent and polite.
I am almost positive that the famous Chris Farley skit on Saturday Night Live as El Nino was taken from Earthquake. His real name is John Tenta, and while not your normal horror gimmick, Tenta used names such as Earthquake, The Gargoyle, and The Shark to frighten mostly little kids. His size and presentation on the mic were always memorable. He eventually teamed with another would-be “frightening” figure, Fred Ottman, as they were the Natural Disasters. Ottman was Typhoon and they both shared the same body shape. Both of these gimmicks could never be taken seriously enough to actually induce fear into anyone.
This gimmick was pushed to the moon prior to its unveiling. While the gimmick was meant to be more intimidating than scary, when it was finally unveiled, it looked like a costume put together from Dollar General. The entire hype was mysterious and dark, but with his grand entrances and complete Sub-Zero rip off, it fell flat. People laughed at it and I’m sure wrestler Raymond Lloyd wasn’t a fan of it either. It also did not help that the debut was delayed due to the boom of the nWo. He did wear some wicked contacts though and while he seemed scary on close-ups, he was far from it in the end.
11 WCW Kiss Demon
Remember when KISS lip-synced a show prior to an episode of Nitro? Neither do I. Eric Bischoff had struck a deal in the late 1990s with the band KISS. Whenever WCW got any attention at that time, they tried to push characters from that attention to the moon. The character was initially suppose to create a stable known as The Warriors of KISS. However, Bischoff was let go and since it was such a terrible idea, the character was buried. He would end up with the insane Clown Posse and Vampiro in a stable known as The Dark Carnival, which would be a terrible failure.
While his older brother, Goldust, may have made people feel awkward due to the way he was initially pushed, Cody Rhodes tried to create something similar with Stardust, minus the sexual innuendos. Being described as “out there,” Stardust seems like a character that is meant to be scary and disturbing. This does not really work during the PG-era and it certainly does not work when the character is over with the crowd. I agree, Cody needed a change in his persona and it seemed to work. However, it did not work in the way that the creative team envisioned.
Vampiro never once resembled anything near a vampire. When WCW was on the decline, Eric Bischoff seemed set on bringing in rock bands to lure audiences over. While he was portrayed as a dark character, he led factions involving the Glenn Danzig-less Misfits and the frowned-upon Insane Clown Posse. Vampiro, himself, is a self-proclaimed Juggalo and that is enough to scare you in real life. Vampiro still goes by that name to this day, as he is currently a commentator for Lucha Underground. Maybe society’s view of tattoos in the late 1990s was supposed to make viewers afraid.
8 Norman the Lunatic
Mike Shaw didn't have much luck with gimmicks in professional wrestling. Having also played Bastion Booger (who we'll see again soon), he also was Norman The Lunatic in WCW. Managed by Teddy Long, he was led around with a key which would make him go back to an insane asylum. He had to obey commands by Long or be forced to return to where he came. He eventually turned face as Norman the Maniac. While the gimmick somewhat worked, Teddy Long kind of held it back. Maybe if he was brought out on a stretcher with a straight jacket, like Sabu, it would have gotten the point across.
7 Isaac Yankem
Glenn Jacobs, who we now know as Kane, was stuck with a really bad gimmick to begin his WWE career. Serving as Jerry Lawler’s private dentist, his character's name was Isaac Yankem. DDS. He was portrayed as a monster that was hired by Lawler to get rid of Bret Hart. I know people don’t like going to the dentist, but this still seems like a stretch. When legendary wrestlers like Bret Hart have to get involved in these types of things, it's pretty sad. The scary dentist would end up jobbing before being re-debuted as Kane.
6 Repo Man
Barry Darsow went from being part of Demolition to looking like Zorro as Repo Man back in the early 1990s. His gimmick was to take cars from people that could not make their payment and it made perfect sense he was hired by Ted DiBiase to defeat Virgil. He would tie people up with his tow rope after a match and assault them. While getting something repossessed is a terrible feeling, it did not really translate well to a wrestling gimmick. Much more comical than scary. Darsow has played scarier roles over the years, but Repo Man was a flop.
5 Bastion Booger
The first gimmick presented to Mike Shaw in WWE might have actually worked. The initial plan was for him to be Friar Ferguson, who would be a “mad monk.” However, negative feedback from the Catholic Church of New York forced Vince McMahon to switch it up. Now, he would be a sloppy, unkept hunchback that served only to get beat down every night. While the idea of a fat, nasty hunchback is scary, you end up feeling sorry for someone who was forced to portray this and lose every week. He did return for the anniversary special in 2007 on RAW.
4 The Yeti
Played by Ron Reis in WCW, The Yeti debuted as “insurance policy” for the Dungeon of Doom in 1995. Too bad one of the members of that stable was The Giant (Big Show). On top of not resembling an actual Yeti, he resembled a mummy and would eventually interfere in the World Heavyweight Championship match at Halloween Havoc between The Giant and Hulk Hogan. Reis actually had to wear lifts in his boots to give the effect that he was taller. The ring attire was eventually changed to look like a masked ninja. yet none of these ever actually resembled a Yeti and none of these attires were ever scary.
3 The Ascension
Attempting to be vicious, dark, and intimidating, The Ascension were a top tag team during their time in NXT. Since coming to the big time, their mic and ring skills were revealed to be terrible. Basically looking like a poor imitation of The Road Warriors, The Ascension do not strike fear in anyone, especially with their current jobber status. Yes, they wear makeup, but when words come out of their mouths, it really ruins the characters they are attempting to be established. They have been put together with Stardust in hopes of resurrecting what they had going in NXT and it's not really working.
Mike Halac did not have a flashy professional wrestling career outside of the indie circuits and his best known character in the WWE was Mantaur. He would come out to the ring dawning a giant cow head with horns. Besides having black face paint, it never really got scarier beyond the helmet. He was not in the best shape for a professional wrestler either and his career highlight was losing to Razor Ramon. Mantaur is a creature from Greek mythology that had a taste for human flesh. All Halac had a taste for was chicken wings. The character certainly lacked anything resembling the mythological creature he was derived from.
1 The Shockmaster
Talk about hype. Even if he didn't debut terribly, how was anyone going to be horrified of The Shockmaster. Dawning a sparkly Stormtrooper helmet, the character was played by Fred Ottman, formerly known as Typhoon from the Natural Distasters. The likes of Sting, Booker T, and Sid Vicious were supposed to be frightened by this out of shape guy with a Star Wars helmet?. What’s worse is that WCW actually attempted to resurrect the character with an improved name. Simply called The Super Shockmaster, Ottman still portrayed character, however he was presented as the nephew of the original, failed Shockmaster.