If there is one thing that the professional wrestling world is full of, it is colorful and bizarre characters. This goes way back, as Exotic Adrian Street pushed the boundaries in the '60s. Even men like Ivan Koloff was not what he seemed, as he was a Canadian who portrayed an evil Soviet wrestler and won the WWE title in the '70s. However, in the '80s and '90s, comedic WWE wrestlers showed up and many of them ended up as a strange joke of a time gone by.
Through it all, there were these 10 strange WWE characters that somehow rose above the gimmick and the wrestlers became stars. For every trash man, repo man, and mountie that failed to catch on, there was a mortician, a rap star, and an Elvis impersonator that hit it big. Here is a look at 10 weird WWE gimmicks that actually succeeded.
10 The Undertaker
Easily, the strangest character to ever become a megastar in the WWE was The Undertaker. When he arrived in the WWE, he was known as "Kane the Undertaker" but had that shortened to just "Undertaker." He was a mortician managed by Brother Love before bringing in a new manager in the aptly named Paul Bearer.
Undertaker easily rose above the weird WWE gimmick and became one of the greatest professional wrestlers in history. His mortician soon morphed into an evil zombie-like demon before he became a cult leader, a rough-edged biker, and then reverted back to the Dead Man and a true legend in the WWE.
When Dustin Rhodes, the son of The American Dream Dusty Rhodes, got the call from the WWE about a job, he accepted quickly. However, Rhodes has said in interviews that he had to go get a dictionary and look up what androgynous meant since that was the gimmick pitched to him.
Goldust was a flamboyant wrestler and one of the weirdest WWE characters to ever become successful. He painted his face gold and wore lingerie over his wrestling tights. He then brought in his wife Terri Runnels as his manager, as she wore a minidress and smoked a cigar during his matches. They were easily the strangest couple in WWE history.
8 Razor Ramon
Before Scott Hall joined the WWE, he worked in the AWA as a cowboy and then took on a more street-level character in WCW as The Diamond Studd. He came to the WWE and they wanted him to keep that WCW character intact and renamed him, Razor Ramon.
Hall was working directly with Vince McMahon before they shot his introductory promos and he started to mimic Tony Montana from Scarface. McMahon loved it and Hall became a wrestling version of that character. He soon rose above his WWE character to become successful and was a main eventer in the company before leaving to launch the Nwo in Wcw and changed the wrestling world.
7 George 'The Animal' Steele
There were a lot of cartoon-styled characters in the WWE in the '80s. They even got a Saturday Morning cartoon and all of them fit in as well in a cartoon as they did in the WWE. Possibly the most beloved of these characters was George "The Animal" Steele.
He was never a major champion in the WWE but he was always an immense fan favorite for much of his career. This weird WWE character was successful because the man who portrayed it—William Myers—was a very smart man. He was a teacher with a Master's Degree, something many of his old-school fans never would have guessed.
6 The Godfather
During his WWE Hall of Fame induction in 2016, Charles Wright talked about many of the weird WWE gimmicks he had before he was successful as The Godfather. He was a voodoo priest and an MMA fighter first, but when he became The Godfather, he said that he was finally playing a version of himself and felt comfortable for the first time in his career.
The Godfather would come to the ring with a group of women by his side and tell the audience that "pimpin'" wasn't easy. Yes, the gimmick was a product of its time but it caught on with fans. The Godfather still shows up with his girls for special occasions and fans still love him for it.
When Undertaker hit it big in the '90s, the WWE decided to take it one step further. There was a developmental wrestler who had already tried out one weird WWE gimmick that failed as an evil dentist. That man was sent back to developmental and repackaged as Kane, the long-lost brother of Undertaker.
The WWE set up the story that he supposedly died in a fire in the mortuary that their parents owned and it was Undertaker who was responsible for that fire. Soon, Paul Bearer came out and revealed he was Kane's real father and the story got even weirder. Through it all, Kane became a hugely successful WWE superstar and a former world champion.
4 John Cena
When John Cena debuted in the WWE, he was a hyped up youngster promising to bring ruthless aggression to the company and took Kurt Angle to the limit. However, he had no other interesting aspects to his character and drifted along. Then WWE had a Halloween party in one episode of their show and he dressed up like Vanilla Ice.
Stephanie McMahon saw this and got an idea. Soon, John Cena came out to the ring with a chain around his neck and a jersey on, while a rap song he recorded played over the speakers. While the idea of a white rapper in the WWE seems weird, Cena used his promo skills to insult his opponents using rhymes. It was this weird WWE gimmick that got him over with the fans and made him a star.
3 The Million Dollar Man
Ted DiBiase was a tough-as-nails wrestler in the territories before he ever made his way to the WWE. A second generation star, he was one of the best wrestlers in Mid South Wrestling, but then when Vince McMahon called and wanted to give DiBiase a gimmick to play while in the company. That gimmick took his career to a whole new level.
Most fans today don't even call him Ted DiBiase anymore and just refer to him as The Million Dollar Man. The WWE introduced him with promos where he proved that anyone had a price as he humiliated everyone from women and children to the elderly and even fellow wrestlers. He took this weird WWE character and turned himself into a legend.
2 Bray Wyatt
In the '90s, the WWE tried to turn Dan Spivey into Waylon Mercy, a wrestler based on Robert De Niro's character from Cape Fear. It never took off, although they had a similar character hit it big when Scott Hall took on a character from Scarface. In 2012, the WWE repackaged the former Husky Harris into a similar character known as Bray Wyatt.
This time, the fans latched on and fell in love with the demented cult leader. He carried a lantern to the ring while fans all lit up their phones to create his "fireflies" in the background. Bray also had a wooden rocking chair he would sit in while the Wyatt family fought for him. He was never as big as he could have been due to his win-loss record, but he was still a very successful weird character in the WWE.
1 The Honky Tonk Man
Possibly the weirdest WWE character to become successful was The Honky Tonk Man. Before every match, the Honky Tonk Man performed a song for the crowd while dressed like an Elvis impersonator. He pretended he was the most popular wrestler in the arena while the boos reigned down.
Then, Honky Tonk Man cheated to win, showing very little offensive skills in his matches. When he won the Intercontinental Title from Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, he became the most hated man in the WWE. He held the title for 64 weeks, the longest in reign in that title's history, making the moment the Ultimate Warrior squashed him for it one of the biggest in moments in WWE history.