WWE’s 17 Absolute Worst Characters And Gimmicks In Wrestling History
Chris E. Hayner
If you’re reading this, chances are you–like us–love professional wrestling. However, it’s hard to deny that throughout the history of the industry there has been plenty that was (and still is) truly terrible. For every “Stone Cold” Steve Austin or The Rock, there are dozens of gimmicks that were so incredibly bad, it’s hard to imagine how anyone thought they could succeed. For crying out loud, the Gobbledy Gooker is a giant turkey.
Still, we can’t help but love wrestling, in spite of itself. With that in mind, join us as we take a walk through the garbage can of professional wrestling history to take a look at the absolute worst, most idiotic character gimmicks of all time. If you can’t have a laugh while learning about characters like an evil dentist or a maniacal carnival worker, what can you laugh at?
And if you’re looking for more of the best, worst, and sillies of professional wrestling, make sure to check out GameSpot’s Wrestle Buddies podcast. We love to celebrate all of the same ridiculous things you do, so chances are you’ll enjoy this.
During 1995–arguably the worst year for WWF–the promotion debuted Mantaur, a wrestler who came to the ring wearing a giant bull head, which he took off before wrestling. Mantaur was presented as a wrestler who will trample his opponents while mooing at them. Mantaur never really got the push to the main event, and his most memorable moment comes from In Your House 2 PPV. He was one of the many wrestlers serving as a lumberjack for the match between Diesel and Sycho Sid. During the bout, Mantaur mooed loudly while standing outside of the ring, in one of the most unintentionally hilarious moments from the New Generation era.
There will be some that say the Shockmaster gimmick could have worked if not for its horrible fumbled introduction, in which the performer stumbled through a wall, tripped to the ground, and lost his helmet. We are not those people. The Shockmaster’s gimmick, which essentially boiled down to heavyset man wearing a spray-painted Stormtrooper helmet, was terrible. What’s more, his “voice” was taped dialogue augmented to make him sound more menacing. It was all incredibly silly and shouldn’t have debuted at all.
3. Super Shockmaster
So now you know about Shockmaster. But what about Super Shockmaster? Much like how adding “+” to things now makes it more important, in the ’90s, adding “Super” to things was a way to get eyes on a product. In January 1994, after Shockmaster was gone, Fred Ottman put on a luchador mask–with part of the top cut out so his hair could come out–and lightning bolt attire and claimed to be the Shockmaster’s nephew, Super Shockmaster. Shockmaster himself introduced the segment giving the world its first glimpse at this new character, who totally isn’t Shockmaster. The rebranded Ottman later did an interview with Tony Schiavone, explaining how he’s not Shockmaster and a very different character. There are no records of Super Shockmaster having a match–but there are some images from WCW TV tapings of him in the ring.
4. Man Mountain Rock
To quote Vince McMahon in 1995, when he was on commentary, Man Mountain Rock is “a mountain of a man who loves to rock the house, that’s for sure.” Introduced in a series of vignettes that aped MTV News at the time, Mr. Rock–not Dwayne Johnson–was best known for playing a rock ‘n’ roll guitar shaped like the WWF logo in the ring. He also wore a lot of tie-dye shirts, which is the most rock ‘n’ roll thing you can apparently do in 1995. He only lasted a few months in WWE, as he was dealing with addiction. However, what is pretty cool about this guy is that in WCW, he wrestled under the name Maxx Payne. Yes, this was years before the Rockstar game came out.
5. Max Moon
What if a person in a really bad Mega Man cosplay was a wrestler? That’s what happened between 1991-93. Konnan was on his way to WWE and the promotion gave him a reportedly $13,000 suit modeled after a Japanese cartoon robot. This would be the character known as Max Moon (known as The Comet Kid for a short time), and Konnan lasted a few weeks before leaving WWE. Paul Diamond would pick up the gimmick for a few months before leaving the company, which put the weird costume to rest.
6. The Mexicools
WWE signed three of the most gifted luchador wrestlers of all time, which is amazing. What isn’t amazing is that it teamed them up, dressed them as gardeners, and made them drive a ride-on lawnmower to the ring. Yes, WWE did this and we can never forget it. The professional wrestling industry has a long industry with not knowing how to properly, inoffensively promote non-white talent.
7. The Gobbledy Gooker
One of WWE’s strangest fumbles ever was the Gobbledy Gooker fiasco. A giant egg started appearing on WWE programming, but nobody knew what was inside of it–only that it would crack open at the Survivor Series pay-per-view. Would an interesting new character be born? Would a well-known talent make their WWE debut? Nope, it turned out to just be somebody inside of a cartoon turkey costume, who proceeded to dance to “Turkey in the Straw” with “Mean Gene” Okerlund. We love the Gooker for how silly it was, but it was still one of the dumbest things in wrestling history.
8. The Mountie
I mean, it’s Canadian Big Bossman. What more is there to say? The Mountie was a corrupt member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. After beating his opponents he could handcuff them and use a cattle prod on them. It’s such a bizarre gimmick for 1991, and it’s not all that surprising that it didn’t last.
9. Repo Man
During the “your job is your gimmick” era at WWE, former Demolition member Barry Darsow–known as Smash–was repackaged as Repo Man, a literal repo man who threatened to repossess people’s items they were unable to make payments on. He looked a whole lot like Batman ’66’s The Riddler and acted like him but in all grey clothing. Repo Man is forever known for having some of the most entertaining promos, including a WrestleMania segment where he just pops up out of nowhere to yell for 10 seconds. The Repo Man was a bad gimmick, but if you didn’t fall in love with that character, something is wrong with you.
10. The Berzerker
If you’ve read anything about Viking history, played games like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, or watched the incredibly good TV series Vikings, chances are you know all about berserkers. In Viking culture, berserkers were incredibly skilled warriors and definitely not someone you wanted to face off against on the battlefield. We dare say The Berzerker was a dimwitted oaf who certainly had more in common with the comic strip character Hagar the Horrible, than any sort of actual Viking warrior.
11. The Spirit Squad
Imagine a group of five talented, young wrestlers all debuting together in WWE, looking to make an impact. Now imagine that group was introduced as a team of male cheerleaders who were essentially a comedic team. The fact that even one member of the Spirit Squad lasted, after their terrible gimmick, constantly losing to DX, and being made fools of weekly, is a blessing. Great job, Dolph Ziggler.
12. Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS
From the bowels of 1995 comes Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS. His last name is “Yankem,” so you know he’s going to pull your teeth. Glenn “Mayor Kane” Jacobs portrayed the demented character, who was Jerry Lawler’s personal dentist. Again, it’s 1995, so your job is your gimmick. There were plenty of segments featuring Yankem doing his dirty work–torturing people who simply needed a cleaning, while Lawler cackled in the background. Being a dentist is a pretty good job, so why does one need to wrestle on the weekends?
Dustin Rhodes proved in WWE that he can make a weird gimmick work with Goldust. In 1999, he left WWE and went to WCW. It was there that vignettes started airing featuring a man in white face paint peeking in on children’s bedrooms–we’re not joking. It was meant to be a horror gimmick–akin to Undertaker, kinda. The character popped up on one episode of WCW Nitro, with a huge entrance, but then Dustin cut a promo about how he hates the character Seven. Allegedly, the gimmick was dropped prior to the promo because Turner Standards and Practices saw the vignettes and said, “He looks like a child abductor.”
What if The Undertaker, but without the charisma and instead of wearing black, he wears white and has snow-white hair? In theory, Mordecai was a religious zealot who carried a massive cross-like staff to the ring, claiming he was there to cleanse the roster of their sin. Three months into it, though, the entire gimmick was dropped. The wrestler behind Mordecai was later repackaged as rave vampire Kevin Thorn in WWE’s version of ECW. Not surprisingly, that also didn’t work.
15. Disco Inferno
During almost his entire WCW run, Glenn Gilbertti was known as Disco Inferno. His gimmick was he liked disco, that genre of music that died a decade prior. But people still hated disco, and the audience did too. He came out to disco music, danced in the ring to it. That’s it. And yes, of course, he was in NWO at one point–NWO Wolfpac that is.
Glacier was never in the NWO. That might have helped make him cool, though. Instead, he was just a ripoff of the Mortal Kombat character Sub-Zero. WCW spent tons of money creating the entrance and attire for this character, but ultimately, it was lots of flash with no real substance. Plus, for a Sub-Zero ripoff, he looked more like someone who walked off the set of WMAC Masters than a Mortal Kombat character.
17. Kerwin White
In 2005, Chavo Guerrero renounced his Hispanic heritage, bleached his hair blonde, and started driving a golf cart around. Yes, Chavo Guerrero’s new gimmick was “white guy.” Not so shockingly, this happened while the Mexicools (see above) were also a thing in WWE. Yes, wrestling is sometimes really bad with non-white performers.