WWE has been around for such a long time that it’s sometimes difficult to remember the bad times. For many of us, the company gave us a childhood love that blossomed into a lifelong passion. The natural instinct is to think back and remember how cool “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was or how easily The Undertaker could scare us. The thing lost is that there were many more terrible ideas and concepts than great ones. That’s how it works in all of wrestling, not just WWE. For every performer like Ric Flair, you get two acts like The Shockmaster and The Yeti.
The gimmick is one of the more interesting aspects of pro wrestling. A gimmick is a character that a wrestler comes up with or is given by the company to portray. Usually the more out there a character is, the more of a gimmick it is. Some wrestlers can pull it off like Mick Foley did with Mankind. Not many could make a deranged character like that become a successful and credible gimmick. Some gimmicks are just too far out there that no wrestlers could make it work. Glen Jacobs achieved massive success with Kane but failed horribly with Isaac Yankem and Fake Diesel.
This list will look at the gimmicks that were the worst of the worst in WWE. They were so bad that no wrestler could have made it work, regardless of the talent of the performer. In the late 80s and early 90s, WWE tried many more outlandish and silly cartoonish characters. The late 90s saw more edgy and offensive gimmicks during the Attitude Era as society was more prone to finding humor in those during the time. In the mid-00s, WWE went through a period where they just threw crap against the wall to see if anything would stick. We’re going to examine all time periods as we break down the twenty-five worst WWE gimmicks of all time.
25 Beaver Cleavage
The Attitude Era created many of the greatest stars in wrestling history like Steve Austin and The Rock, but it gave us even more terrible gimmicks. One of the worst was Beaver Cleavage. For some reason, Mosh of The Headbangers was repackaged with the new look portraying a weird character based off the 1950s television show “Leave It to Beaver.” The WWE gimmick would have him appear with his mother "Mrs. Cleavage" and the two would exchange awkward sexual innuendos implying incest. After just a month, the character was scrapped because the company realized how terrible the idea was. It was not only creepy and offensive to the viewer but it had zero chance of getting over.
24 Rosey as Super Hero in Training
The Hurricane was one of the more fun gimmicks in WWE as Shane Helms portrayed a superhero character based off his love for The Green Lantern. The company took it a little too far when they tried to incorporate Rosey into the gimmick by having him be the “Super Hero in Training” aka S.H.I.T. While there were some humorous segments with Hurricane trying to train Rosey or the duo interacting with stars like The Rock, it was mostly weak comedy involving the acronym. Rosey achieved more success teaming with Jamal in 3 Minute Warning and is most known these days as being the real life brother of Roman Reigns.
23 The Bashams and Shaniqua
In 2003, the WWE was no longer as over-the-top with edginess like in the late 90s but were nowhere near as tame as the PG era. One of the more risqué gimmicks of the time was Shaniqua and the Basham Brothers. Tough Enough winner Linda Miles was repackaged as a dominatrix with her submissive tag team, Danny and Doug Basham. The trio would implement whips and ball gags into their promos and segments. One of their finishing moves was actually called “The Ball and Gag.” There were very creative minds in WWE at the time! Fans didn’t boo or cheer, but were rather silent and left feeling awkward after watching the bizarre gimmick.
22 Max Moon
The Max Moon gimmick was one of the more outlandish and silly concepts during the early 90s time period in WWE. Originally supposed to be played by Konnan before he got into a disagreement with WWE, Paul Diamond ended up playing the character. Max Moon was billed to be from outer space and wore a weird colorful getup similar to something you would see in a children’s cartoon or a Mega Man game. WWE apparently put a lot of money into the gimmick but the results were laughable. The company had an idea on paper that just didn’t deliver on television. Moon looked like a joke and no one could take it seriously as the gimmick died a quick death.
21 Simon Dean
Years after his memorable run as Nova in ECW, WWE hired Mike Bucci and gave him the new character of Simon Dean. The gimmick was an arrogant and annoying fitness guru that would chastise the crowd for not being in good shape. It was originally meant to be similar to a Richard Simmons infomercial where he would sell his bogus products during heel promos. Dean would force feed his “Simon System” products to opponents after wins but fans would head to the concessions to feed themselves and avoid watching his matches. The segments and matches were terrible, causing the gimmick to be a complete disaster.
20 The Spirit Squad
A group of five male cheerleaders were brought into the company as The Spirit Squad. WWE decided to stick five of their best developmental talents into a terrible gimmick. The Spirit Squad actually achieved some success by defeating Big Show and Kane for the tag titles and later working as henchmen for Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon against D-Generation X. One would think having PPV matches against Shawn Michaels and Triple H was a positive but it was mostly so DX could make jokes about the heels. Their WWE run ended when Michaels and Triple H stuffed them into a box and stuck on an “OVW” sticker on it, sending them back to developmental. Dolph Ziggler was repackaged and became a star but the other four members completely flopped following the bad original gimmick.
19 Paul Burchill
Paul Burchill makes the list for two absolutely terrible gimmicks WWE gave him. The first of the two train wrecks was his portrayal of a pirate. Someone in WWE creative must have watched “Pirates of the Caribbean” as the character seemed quite similar to Johnny Depp’s lead role. The gimmick went as poor as you’d expect for a wrestling pirate in 2006.
After the pirate character tanked, Burchill returned to television in 2006 with Katie Lea Burchill. The pair worked as brother and sister but with an odd twist of an incest storyline. The company realized the times were changing and shock television was no longer accepted, so the idea was quickly scrapped.
Kizarny was a bizarre carnival worker with an aggressive side in the ring. Kizarny came up with the idea on his own and referred to it as a mix of Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Doink the Clown. After several vignettes showcasing him speaking in carny talk, Kizarny debuted with a win over MVP but that was the high point of his career. Kizarny quickly lost his push and was released from his WWE contract a few months later. It’s a personal theory that the higher-ups in WWE didn’t play close attention to his idea until it arrived on television and he was quickly fired due to how bad it was.
Many remember him from his time as Kevin Thorn but the gimmick of Mordecai may be more memorable for the wrong reasons. The gimmick was a zealot-like character that would condemn the fans for their sins. With blonde hair and a blonde beard as a sign of purity, Mordecai was supposed to be an anti-Undertaker character, as the two were scheduled to feud against each other as the end game. Unfortunately for him, the gimmick didn’t get over and he was sent back down to OVW after a short stint on television. His look and promos were effective but once he started wrestling, it really exposed him and fans no longer took it seriously.
16 Naked Mideon
You can argue that Mideon should also be on here for his work as Phineas I. Godwinn, the pig farmer, but this is more about his days as a streaker. After a stint as a member of The Undertaker’s Ministry faction, he became Naked Mideon. For some reason, WWE came up with the idea to have Mideon run around the arena wearing his boots, a thong and a fanny pack. The nearly nude Mideon wrestled a few matches and it was difficult to watch for various reasons. The era of Naked Mideon didn't last long, as he was quickly off television again.
15 “Real Man’s Man” Stephen Regal
A constant on the list of terrible gimmicks are that many were created by Vince Russo during his time as a writer in WWE. It’s a shame because plenty of wrestlers saddled with ridiculous gimmicks were actually talented performers. One of the wrestlers in question was William Regal when he first came to the WWE in 1998. Regal’s character was portraying a “Real Man’s Man” and it was inspired by The Brawny Man, the face on paper towel packaging. Regal would wear a construction hat but dress like a lumberjack, causing fans to be unsure what exactly he was portraying. Classic Vince Russo.
Nick Dinsmore had a reputation for being one of the better workers in Ohio Valley Wrestling but was given a gimmick that erased all of his in-ring skills. He was introduced as Eugene, Eric Bischoff’s mentally challenged nephew. Despite making it work as best as he could, Eugene was difficult to watch considering he was being made fun of for most of his tenure. Considering he was involved in important storylines with Eric Bischoff and Triple H, Eugene did have significant moments in WWE but the memories are mostly terrible due to how insensitive a lot of the humor was.
13 Kerwin White
Chavo Guerrero was struggling to find a role in WWE, so he was given one of the most offensive gimmick changes in WWE history. Guerrero denounced his Hispanic heritage and became a stereotypical white conservative Anglo-American man named Kerwin White. Adopting the catch phrase “If it ain’t White, it ain’t right,” the gimmick was pretty ridiculous. Guerrero dyed his hair blonde and came to the ring on a golf cart. He would even make insensitive remarks about minorities, including against Shelton Benjamin. Dolph Ziggler actually made his first run on the WWE roster by playing the caddy of Kerwin White before the gimmick was scrapped.
12 Mr. America
Hulk Hogan is one of the greatest WWE stars of all time and quite possibly the most popular face in pro wrestling history. For some reason, WWE thought it would be brilliant to put a red, white and blue mask over Hogan’s face and give him the gimmick of Mr. America. Part of the joke was that everyone knew it was Hogan under the mask but he refused to admit it. Some of the segments were funny but the concept was just foolish. Think of today’s WWE and try to envision The Undertaker wearing a devil’s mask or something along those lines. Why would you mess with an established legend and take away the recognition?
11 The Dicks
During the worst days of the brand split, WWE would deliver some terrible gimmicks to try and add more depth to Raw and SmackDown. One of the dumber ideas for the Smackdown brand was The Dicks. With the tacky and juvenile name choice, Tank Toland and Chad Wicks were given a gimmick no one could have possibly made successful. The two would dress as Chippendale dancers and use baby oil as a part of their offense. Quite frankly, the gimmick was just made for insensitive jokes to be used against them in promos and to deliver bad comedy. The Dicks were released just four months after their debut on the main roster.
10 The Goon
WWE tapped into sports culture to create a gimmick for Bill Irwin. The Goon was a hockey player that was too violent for the sport and kicked out of every league he participated in. With hockey not providing his thirst for the fight, The Goon came to the WWE to wreak havoc on the professional wrestling world. Sadly, he just reeked. The Goon is often brought up whenever discussing the most laughable gimmicks in wrestling because you couldn’t help but cackle at how terrible it was. WWE would realize how bad the concept was and The Goon was scrapped just a couple of months after beginning.
9 Duke “The Dumpster” Droese
The name summarizes the gimmick, as Duke “The Dumpster” Droese was a garbage man that would wrestle. WWE was in a stage where they would attempt to give characters regular jobs by exaggerating stereotypes and making finishing maneuvers named after poor puns. Droese would come down to the ring with a garbage can and wrestled in a garbage man’s uniform. Aside from unintentional humor, Droese did not have many memorable moments in WWE. His high point was feuding with Triple H, when he was Hunter Hearst Helmsley, in a storyline of the working man vs. the snob. Helmsley won all of the important matches between the two and Droese was released after.
8 Papa Shango
Charles Wright was most known for his run in WWE as The Godfather but his debut gimmick in the company was much less successful. Papa Shango showed up as a spooky villain meant to feud with The Ultimate Warrior. The idea of the gimmick was that Shango used black magic and voodoo spells to get the better of his opponent. His spells would cause his opponents to feel pain or, in some cases, to actually throw up. The early 90s was a time when fans could suspend their disbelief with outlandish gimmicks but this one was just too ludicrous. Papa Shango did not achieve the success WWE hoped for and is remembered for being one of the most embarrassing ideas in pro wrestling.
7 The Mexicools
Psicosis, Super Crazy and Juventud Guerrera are three very talented wrestlers that finally got their WWE break in 2005 after successful careers in Mexico, WCW and ECW. Sadly, the trio were given the most racially insensitive gimmick of all time. They weren't even trying to hide it, as the three wrestlers were made to portray a stereotypical group of Mexican laborers. They would actually come to the ring on lawn mowers. Despite the talent, you would be hard pressed to remember any Mexicools match being great because they weren’t put in a position to showcase their skills. The gimmick was not only offensive but it killed their chances at success as individual talents.
The Minotaur was a creature with the body of a man but the face of a beast in Greek mythology. WWE decided to create a character based off it named Mantaur. Mantaur would use offenses such as tackles, charging and making moo during his matches. WWE had the most outlandish ideas during the mid-90s and this was at the top of the list. Many credit these kinds of characters for giving WCW momentum as WWE fans looked to find a more grounded alternative. Mantaur obviously failed after getting introduced with a push that fizzled out very quickly. WWE has used Mantaur in historical comedic segments since then, showing they have a sense of humor about how terrible the idea was.
5 Xanta Claus
Not many fans are aware of the fact that Balls Mahoney had a run in WWE before achieving fame in ECW. That’s because of how terrible the gimmick he was given in WWE turned out to be. As Xanta Claus, he portrayed the evil twin brother of Santa Claus hired by Ted DiBiase. Hailing from the South Pole, Xanta Claus would steal presents from children rather than give them out. Xanta was introduced during Christmas time and made very few appearances after that. There’s no telling what WWE was hoping to accomplish with this in the long-term.
4 Bastion Booger
The gimmick of Bastion Booger was not only idiotic but it was lazy. Booger was played the heavyset Mike Shaw, so they just made Booger a gross, smelly, fat guy that would sloppily eat food and disgust his opponents. The character also disgusted the viewers as no one has fond memories of this gimmick. Booger would wrestle in dirty gear that was cut to reveal his gut and other grotesque parts of his body. He served primarily as a jobber, so WWE knew this wasn’t a character that would be worth pushing but his work as a jobber was off-putting due to how awful the gimmick was.
3 Isaac Yankem
Kane is a future WWE Hall of Famer and has been a successful member of the WWE roster longer than almost anyone but he was given some abysmal gimmicks before becoming “The Big Red Monster.” He was once forced to portray an imposter version of Diesel but the worst gimmick he's had was Isaac Yankem, DDS. Yankem was an evil dentist hired by Jerry Lawler to get the better of his rivals. It was essentially a bodyguard role but he had to have a silly gimmick. WWE aired segments of Yankem drilling the teeth of his patients with a violent intent. The gimmick failed, as did Fake Diesel, and luckily Glenn Jacobs was eventually given the role of Kane.
2 The Boogeyman
The worst gimmick in recent history has to be The Boogeyman, when Marty Wright would paint his face and portray WWE’s version of a horror character. The gist of the character was that he'd crawl around the ring and eat worms. The gimmick would naturally change from a horror character into a comedic character. Originally meant to be scary, even the announcers would begin to laugh during The Boogeyman’s segments. The character was a mess leading to horrible storylines and even worse matches. WWE wasted a Booker T match with Boogeyman at WrestleMania 22. The two are close friends, so it was likely a favor but it showcased The Boogeyman’s awfulness on the biggest stage possible.
1 The Gobbledy Gooker
WWE hyped a large, mysterious egg for months and promised it would hatch at the 1990 Survivor Series. The moment was treated like a big debut for a star and fans were excited to find out who or what it would be. Sadly, it turned out to be Hector Guerrero in a chicken costume. The Gobbledy Gooker was unveiled and fans could not be more disappointed. He danced in the ring with “Mean” Gene Okerlund but was met with hatred and loud boos from the crowd, as they were naturally expecting something more interesting than a dancing chicken. The gimmick quickly died but the memory lives on forever.