Any professional wrestler will tell you that the hardest part of the job is coming up with your gimmick. You need to be outrageous and distinctive without being ridiculous. It's a subtle art, one not easily mastered.
Notable failures include ...
The best part about professional wrestling is how it marries fantasy with gritty reality; smoke machines with sweat and blood; dramatic lighting and rock anthems with folding chairs and collapsible tables conveniently left lying about for violent purposes. Most importantly, a good wrestling character is going to have a great story behind it. And what better story is there than The Wizard of Oz? And what character from The Wizard of Oz is better suited for the ring than The Great and Powerful Oz, himself?
Pretty much any of them, it turns out.
Our best guess is this was based on someone's childhood nightmare. Remember, the Wizard of Oz in the movie was just a regular old man, so the character these guys are ripping off didn't actually exist at all. The wizard was just a projected disembodied head:
And he kinda looks like Ralph Nader.
And here's the World Championship Wrestling's version:
He looks like an extra from a poorly budgeted Turkish Broadway production of Aladdin. Where are the similarities apart from a piss-weak reference for a name and the color green? And, in case you're wondering, that's Merlin standing in front of Oz. Merlin the Magician. Not that Merlin ever appeared in the canon of The Wizard of Oz, but apparently one ill-conceived wizard was just not enough to satiate WCW fans.
We've got no issue with the monkey sidekick though.
For anyone who thought that ludicrous wrestling gimmicks were purely a product of the innocent, mescaline-fueled 80s and 90s, think again. Because in 2006, the WWE introduced the gimmickiest of gimmicks: Hornswoggle.
God is dead.
Let's see how many offensive-to-little-people stereotypes we can fit in here: Hornswoggle, who is still an active character in WWE, is a little person who dresses as a leprechaun and hides under the wrestling mat like a damn tiny troll. He only shows himself to hit competitors with his little stick while announcers try to cram in as many Irish and midget jokes as humanly possible.
As time went on, the WWE thought they'd do the character right with an actual storyline. Unfortunately, the storyline involved the little guy wrestling grown-men-sized wrestlers and winning a title. Despite professional wrestling being a completely scripted work, the title belts are still treated as faux achievements and usually mean the winner is the most talented wrestler in that class. So, giving Hornswoggle a title belt would kind of be like handing over a Best Actor Oscar to Frankenberry.
Not that he doesn't do good work.
And if you thought the WWE wasn't done with Hornswoggle yet, after all this humiliation, congratulations, you know wrestling. Next up for the Little Bastard was the revelation that he was literally the little bastard son of Vince McMahon, which eventually led to a father/son steel cage match, which inevitably led to Vince McMahon spanking a whimpering little person in front of millions of viewers with an actual whip.