The art of the wrestling gimmick is pivotal to the success of any wrestler trying to make it in the industry. Almost every wrestler will play a gimmick to some extent in their careers. Some are a bit more out there with characters that are overly exaggerated in the pro wrestling sense while others will skew more towards a realistic approach. Regardless of the extent, the portrayal of a character is badly needed to get the audience invested in a performer.
Many wrestlers love the creative element as much (or more than) as the athletic aspect of the performance. Quite a few have been responsible for their gimmicks coming to life rather than just waiting on a writer or booker to come up with an idea for them. We will look at the performers to bring their creation to the wrestling world with 10 wrestlers that you never knew came up with their own gimmicks.
10 Sasha Banks
The amazing run of Sasha Banks in NXT did not come right away. Banks struggled to find success in the early stages as she would get a few chances as a generic character. It took some time in the Performance Center working with Dusty Rhodes for Banks to come up with a good character.
“The Boss” moniker and attitude would get adopted by Banks playing this new heel. Sasha revealed that she came up with the idea and pitched it to Rhodes. The idea was inspired from Banks’ cousin Snoop Dogg. People in his entourage would refer to him as The Boss which made Sasha realize it could be adapted to wrestling.
9 Matt Hardy
Matt Hardy has a reputation for being one of the most creative people in wrestling. Many of his characters would come from his own mind rather than relying on creative teams. The first major idea from Matt was his “Version 1.0” gimmick utilizing the Internet back in the early 2000s for a great heel run.
Another creation of Hardy in recent years was the inception of his "Broken" character in Impact Wrestling. The gimmick was popular enough to get a chance in WWE, but it didn’t last long due to WWE’s micromanaging. Hardy has implied on social media that he wants to leave when his contract expires.
The retired Raven had a great career in the '90s and 2000s with runs in WWE, WCW, ECW, and Impact Wrestling. Raven delivered a few great matches throughout his career, but he is most known for his promos and character skills.
Many legends view Raven as one of the smartest performers in the history of the business. Raven’s ECW character was his own idea inspired by the grunge era of music. The mysterious persona would turn into a cult leader of sorts with The Flock doing his bidding.
7 Bray Wyatt
The gimmick of Bray Wyatt was his own idea after he was sent back down to NXT after a failed run on the main roster as Husky Harris. A lackluster stint with Nexus would hurt the Husky era of his career enough to lose his spot on Raw and SmackDown.
Wyatt came up with the idea for this Eater of Worlds gimmick along with his minions in the Wyatt Family. It found great success in NXT and was one of the first NXT made gimmicks to get a chance on the main roster. Bray is reportedly once again coming up with ideas for the new version of his character with the wacky skits on television.
6 John Cena
John Cena accidentally came up with his rapping gimmick in the early 2000s, but he still deserves the credit for making it happen. The story goes that Cena was freestyle rapping on a WWE tour bus to entertain his peers until Stephanie McMahon heard it and felt there was money in this act.
Cena agreed that he could perform raps before matches and make fans buy into the gimmick. This made Cena a rising star in the main event picture until the change to the current character took place. Cena made himself relevant by a happy accident that Stephanie realized.
5 Alexa Bliss
The rise of Alexa Bliss has seen her become one of the top overall wrestlers in the women’s division. Bliss had a slow process of finding the right act down in NXT. She came up with the idea to have her gimmick be a fairy character that sprinkled sparkle dust before matches.
Bliss could not get much momentum with the fairy character and once again pitched the idea to turn heel. The successful heel gimmick was impressive enough to get called up to the main roster in 2016. Bliss added new elements to her gimmick inspired by Harley Quinn which helped her rise to the top.
4 The Hurricane
Shane Helms always was a huge superhero fan that read all the Marvel and DC comics even back before they were the hottest thing in entertainment. A tattoo referencing The Green Lantern would become part of a humorous promo with Steve Austin.
Helms came up with the idea to portray a superhero character that would be more comical known as The Hurricane. Fans would laugh at Helms attempting to hide his identity and it eventually became a very popular act. Helms still played it as recently 2019 on the indie circuit before returning to WWE as a producer.
3 CM Punk
The career of CM Punk saw him thrive in almost every role given to him during his time in WWE and on the independent circuit. Punk has lived a straight edge lifestyle since his teenage years which sometimes made fellow wrestlers look differently at him.
This led to him creating the smug character that talked down to others when cutting heel promos on the indie scene. Punk would bring this gimmick to WWE as he came up with the idea of the Straight Edge Society which found great success.
2 Scott Hall
Scott Hall was the one to pitch the idea of the Razor Ramon gimmick to Vince McMahon when he signed with WWE in the '90s. His love of the move Scarface would see him deliver the idea of a Tony Montana character in WWE with his impression winning over McMahon.
Ramon was a heel character that channeled Montana in the early months of his WWE run, but the company started to stray away from it. Hall continued to speak with the accent despite now playing a heel character. His idea got him relevant enough to branch out and adapt to new variables.
1 Finn Balor
The Demon gimmick for Finn Balor takes him to the next level and provides great appeal for WWE television. Balor only will paint his face and body a few times per year during big matches that the story will require for him to get into another gear.
The final year of Balor’s run for New Japan and indie promotions would see him often paint himself in the theme of characters like Spider-Man or The Joker. WWE loved it and Balor came up with the idea of The Demon for NXT. Finn even came up with the backstory of becoming another person when the paint is on to add another dynamic.