Of all the elements that are incorporated within the professional wrestling industry, a wrestler's appearance has to be one of the most important. The purpose of designating an individual wrestler to a particular "gimmick" or look, is a key cog in the wheel that increases revenue. Certain performers over the years have greatly benefited from their appearance, and have become a bigger draw purely on their aesthetics.
On the other hand, if the appearance is sub-par, and doesn't get over with the crowd, it can make for decreased revenue, and some of the most cringe-worthy moments in the sport. We've seen our fair share of bad gimmicks over the years, some of them being just as memorable as the ones that did what they intended. It's always good for a laugh, and is always a potent showcase of the times at hand.
Yet, there are other instances in which a wrestler had originally had substantial success, and then a visual change sparked a downturn in their career. Sometimes, this was compounded with reaching the end of their prime, or a change in promotion. Regardless, it's hard to argue that any one of them were better off altering their appearance that had brought them their initial success. After they did so, in many cases their drawing power took a major hit, and it was too late to salvage their career.
Sometimes it is a necessary risk to take, but in terms of the names ranked below it almost certainly didn't pay off, either in the short, or long term. Listed below are the top 15 wrestler who changed their appearance and then fell off the map.
15 Barry Darsow
14 Billy Gunn
13 Dolph Ziggler - Brunette?
12 Coach Buzz Stern
9 Big Daddy V
Nelson Frazier Jr. played the character of Viscera in WWE's Attitude Era, and was a part of the Ministry of Darkness stable, which was a hallmark of the late 1990s image for the company. After initially leaving in 2000, he returned in 2004, maintaining the Viscera gimmick.
The failure came in 2007, when he was re-packaged as Big Daddy V, a generic super-heavyweight character that had no upside, and was destined for the lower mid-card ranks. What was worse than anything though was his look. Just what were those tights?
7 Reverend D'Von
6 The Ringmaster
Consider this one a "could have been" failure. Before becoming "Stone Cold", Austin was part of the Hollywood Blonds along with Brian Pillman in WCW, where they won the tag titles. When he debuted in WWE in 1995, management made him carry the "The Ringmaster" gimmick, with Ted DiBiase as his manager. He had cut his hair and was given the most bland gimmick possible.
5 G.I. Bro
4 Tito Santana, El Matador
For over 10 years, Santana was one of the most notable stars in WWE, succeeding in both the tag team and singles ranks, maintaining himself as a consistent fan favorite. In 1991, he was repackaged into his El Matador gimmick, but was quickly falling out of favor in exchange for new stars such as The Undertaker and Bret Hart, who were ushering in a new era for the company. Still, Santana remained solidified in the mid-card game, before leaving in 1993.
2 Matt Hardy Version 1
1 Kerwin White
With Eddie Guerrero having so much success in WWE, the company was looking for a way to make Chavo stand out. Their solution was to have Chavo denounce his Mexican heritage and go by the All-American name of Kerwin White. He would come out on golf carts, saying he was living the American dream. He would then start to make suggestive remarks towards minorities on the roster, spouting "if it ain't white, it ain't right!"
The gimmick was scrapped following the death of Eddie and Chavo reverted back to his real name to carry on the Guerrero name.
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