Top 10 Worst Wrestling Gimmicks of All Time
If someone were to ask you to name a professional wrestler, you would probably immediately think of Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, or the Rock. These men’s characters, or gimmicks, have outlived their careers and are still cash cows for WWE. While professional wrestling has seen its share of outstanding gimmicks, it has also seen its share of gimmicks that made fans shake their heads, roll their eyes, and ask what the promoter was smoking. Here is our list of the Top 10 Worst Gimmicks in Pro Wrestling History.
10. Akeem, the African Dream
When “One Man Gang” George Gray left the Universal Wrestling Federation (or, as it was previously called, Mid-South Wrestling) for the World Wrestling Federation, he retained his original gimmick. About a year into his stint in the WWF, OMG was repackage after he supposedly rediscovered his African roots. He wore a dashiki, spoke in a stereotypical accent, and danced (or, at least, attempted to). The gimmick lasted less than two years, as Gray left the WWF for WCW in 1990 and returned to the One Man Gang character.
9. “Adorable” Adrian Adonis
It’s a shame this was the last gimmick Adonis had. The mutli-time world tag team champion gave up his leather-wearing tough guy image for an effeminate character reminiscent of those performed by Gorgeous George and Pat Patterson. Adonis changed his appearance and character gradually until he fully debuted the “Adorable” Adrian character in 1986. His most notable match using the gimmick was his loss to Roddy Piper in a hair-versus-hair match at WrestleMania III on March 29, 1987. Adonis died in a vehicle accident in Canada on July 4, 1988.
8. The Ding Dongs
Former WCW Executive Vice President Jim Herd had many brilliant ideas, including one that would have forced Ric Flair to abandon his “Nature Boy” gimmick, shave his head, and call himself Spartacus. Thankfully, that didn’t fly. Unfortunately, though, many of Herd’s other great ideas did. Arachnaman, a Spiderman knock-off who gets an honorable mention on this list, made a few ring appearances before Marvel Comics put a stop to it. That one’s understandable, especially if you are trying to make your promotion kid-friendly. However, a tag team with a bell fetish has disaster written all over it. That’s exactly what the Ding Dongs were.
7. The Zodiac
This #7 entry was originally going to be “Anything Character Performed by Ed Leslie.” Then I thought about it and realized that despite how inane most of his characters were, they actually got over with the crowd and he played the roles–especially Brutus Beefcake and the Disciple–to perfection. The Zodiac, however, may be the most asinine of his gimmicks. Leslie was decked out in black-and-white face paint and said only “yes” and “no.” Simply put, he was a walking Magic 8-Ball.
6. The Yeti
The Dungeon of Doom just never seemed to get the help it needed to fight Hulkamania. If “Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan, the Faces of Fear, or the Zodiac couldn’t win the battle, then who could? How about a seven-foot tall unfrozen and undead mummy. Way to go WCW booking committee. Way to go.
5. Dustin Rhodes as “Seven”
Although the gimmick was based on characters from the sci-fi movie Dark City, Turner Standards and Practices nixed the character before it could debut because of fears it could be interpreted as a child abductor. And for very good reason. The promo vignettes were nothing short of creepy. Rhodes did make one appearance as Seven on WCW programming. However, he cut a promo lambasting the gimmick and announcing its demise.
4. The Johnsons
The concept: Two grown men, named Richard and Rod, dressed in latex costumes. Enough said.
3. David Arquette: WCW World Heavyweight Champion
This was WCW’s death knell. While most WCW fans would say the Fingerpoke of Doom hurt the credibility of the WCW World Title, this brilliant booking move spit in the face of the championship’s history and killed its legacy. The belt was put on Arquette to promote the movie Ready to Rumble, which was co-produced by WCW. Arquette defended his championship once, losing in a cage match to Jeff Jarrett.
2. The Gobbledy Gooker
The 1990 WWF Survivor Series was billed as an “egg-citing” event due to the build up of a giant unhatched egg that would be opened during the show. Some fans thought a wrestler from another promotion would make his Federation debut. Others thought a special guest star would be in the egg. All of their hopes were dashed when a wrestler–Hector Guerrero (Eddie’s older brother)–dressed in turkey costume popped out and began dancing with “Mean” Gene Okerlund. The backlash from the fans in attendance and watching around the world forced Vince McMahon to shelve the character. The Gobbledy Gooker was dragged out of retirement for the Gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania XVII in 2001.
1. The Shockmaster
Most gimmicks fail because they were terrible ideas from the beginning or because of a wrestler’s poor execution performing the role. The Shockmaster was a double whammy. Fred Ottman, known to old-school WWF fans as Tugboat and Typhoon, was given the character of a strongman who wore a glittered out Stormtrooper helmet and whose voice was provided by Ole Anderson via public address. Star Wars + the voice of Black Scorpion = disaster waiting to happen. And disaster did happen on on August 23, 1993, when the Shockmaster made his grand entrance at Clash of the Champions XXIV. The video contains the rest of the story.
Sixteen years later, WWE and Shockmaster creator Dusty Rhodes found time to make fun of the gimmick on MONDAY NIGHT RAW.