11 Worst Wrestling Gimmicks Ever Thought Up
The creation of a wrestling character, I'd assume, is a lot like what happens when you sit down to create a character in a video game. But you're also sitting down blackout drunk. With a hook hand moving the joystick and a hand that's a drunken pigeon pecking away at the buttons. That character will also be leaping out of your screen, ripped out, potentially steroided out of their mind, and will immediately want to grab a microphone and start ranting about the violence they're going to commit onto other characters you have created and saved.
That's to say, I doubt that coming up with wrestling gimmicks is easy. There are so many variables you have to address and consider that it's only inevitable that they ... sometimes ... get a little sideways. With such a rich history of so many amazing characters and outlandish gimmicks, it's only fair that there have been some swings and misses here and there. Then sometimes there the ones where the batter swung, missed, shit his pants so much that the poop created a poop tower beneath him that lifted him into space where he died a space death with no oxygen because he could have never foreseen his poopy baseball rocketship when he stepped into that batter's box ...
No two things may overlap more than carneys and pro wrestlers. Pro wrestlers are basically what happens if a carney applied themselves just a tad bit more. Had he not been so driven, you could easily picture Stone Cold Steve Austin slugging beers by the hurl-a-whirl, while a hard-luck John Cena is fistfighting a teenager who tried to steal his booth's six-foot Shrek doll. Kizarny, however, is what happens when wrestling tries to reverse engineer that destiny and give us a hybrid of both. And boy, was Kizarny every shitty part of the late 2000s come to life.
His look was as though he was like one of those stories you hear about a loyal Japanese soldier emerging from a Pacific Theater island post, 40 years after the war had ended. Only in Kizarny's case, he appears to have passed out at a Spin Doctors concert in the 90s and woke up under the ring fifteen years later. No part of this man's gimmick works. No matter how muscly he may be, I refuse to be intimidated by what happens when Vince Neil goes as Criss Angel for Halloween. Not surprisingly, Kizarny, something I am having such a hard time even bringing myself to type, did not have a long run in the business.
Mortal Kombat characters are a lot like wrestlers. They are kind of the demonic world's version of a gimmick. In that world, they basically thought of an element and backed a character into it. Would it be cool to freeze somebody into a block of ice? Of course, so here's Sub-Zero. What about ripping off your mask to breathe fire? Scorpion's your guy. Glacier, the wrestler, is what happens when wrestling sees the popularity of Mortal Kombat's characters and tries to bring them over to the ring.
Glacier's getup is what happens if you're summoned to participate in a karate tournament in the Netherrealm, but nobody gave you any heads up, and you woke up to Raiden banging on your door after you were up all night butt-chugging Everclear and buying rotisserie chicken cookers from home shopping networks. You just grab the roll of aluminum foil from the kitchen and get to work on looking like a badass. They took it even further on their Mortal Kombat ripoff, with Glacier's entire move set being karate-based kicks and punches. It's just a shame he could never remember the buttons for his Fatality when he was in the ring with Hulk Hogan.
There are certain eras in wrestling where the gimmicks are just jobs. Some, more fantastical than others. But, they're jobs nonetheless. Basically, someone in the creative department at the time would go to a career fair and envision what the accountant handing out the pamphlets would look like on steroids with a bucket of baby oil dumped on top of them. It's that kind of creative thinking that brings us a wrestler like the Repo Man.
The black sheep of the Hamburglar family.
Repo Man's whole thing was that he carried a rope to the ring, the very rope that he used to tow cars. Because, apparently, that's how this dude went about his job? With a ... rope? A repo rope? It's no surprise, then, that he had to moonlight in the squared circle because I'm willing to bet he wasn't pulling in too many delinquent vehicles, so taking a piledriver in the middle of the ring was his next best option.
Eugene was ... special needs. Eugene, the character, was a special needs wrestler. Played by a very not special needs man.
There really is not much else that needs to be said here, but instead, just read those words a few times and know that somewhere, someone said them out loud in a crowded meeting room and was met with head nods, approval, and the greenlight. A fact that tells me I absolutely need to be on one of these teams before I die because if that kind of shit is getting through, there is absolutely no way I can't sell that same team on my idea for Bobby Butt. He's just, you know, a guy that's also a butt. Bobby Butt is a butt man that has a butt for a head and butts for hands, a butt for a dick, and also a butt for a butt. Bobby Butt is nothing but ... butt, and he is going to have a world title run the likes of which the business has never seen.
For many wrestling gimmicks, the idea is pretty simple: invoke something that would instill fear in the heart of the opponents or the fans at home. Maybe a demon or a lumbering giant would do. But, when you really want to intimidate people, when you really want to send your badass babyface character running for the hills, you send some male cheerleaders their way. That kind of thinking brought us the Spirit Squad, a group of acrobatic male cheerleaders who could, you know, kind of flip and chant and cheer and do that shit? This one is so far off base that it almost kind of works.
The only gimmick stable I can see being less intimidating than this one would be the Sandwich Artist Squad, a crew of fed up Subway employees who are getting really goddamn sick of your shit, so they're going to come to the ring and club you over the head with a footlong Italian Herb and Cheese, which we all know, due to the fact that bread at Subway is made from a yoga mat that a sweaty gargoyle was practicing on, it's far more dangerous than your average steel chair. And shit, I bet your typical Sandwich Artist has had to throw down in their establishment a lot more than your average male cheerleading squad ever has.
Isaac Yankem, DDS
Nobody loves the dentist. We get that. It's a space that's purpose-built to make you uncomfortable while they do uncomfortable things to your mouth, then leave you with an uncomfortable bill for your suffering. That said, it's not bad enough that you've looked at your dentist and been like, yeah, that dude could Chokeslam me at any point if this suction hose falls out of my mouth again. That's some of the thinking behind Isaac Yankem, DDS, a deviant dentist character that just kind of doesn't hit its mark.
By this point, they're just rolling through a Halloween store and seeing what's left in extra, extra, extra-large. I'm sure Yankem debuted alongside Stuart Steward, a man that was forced to turn a sexy stewardess costume into the digs for a beefy badass with a finishing move called the beverage cart. The wrestling business has since learned that just because it's a job in the real world doesn't mean it needs to be a character in the ring.
Wrestling promotions used to really treat the viewer like they were idiots. No gimmick was too far overboard. No matter how fantastical, supernatural, or downright absurd it could be, they sold it to us like it was real. There may be no better example of that than Mantaur, a half-man, half divorced buffalo that passed out in a urinal at a Buffalo Wild Wings.
If we roll with it and just assume that Mantaur is real, it's hilarious to picture that his best use in life would be in wrestling. Here we have this hulking man-beast that we could easily send off to war or maybe work as a bouncer at those warzone-like Buffalo Wild Wings I wrote about above. (Not a Wingstop, though; that Centaur territory). Anything but getting kicked in the nuts a few times by Randy Savage to be pinned in seconds.
If the Undertaker is really out there with his powers of coming back from the dead and turning lights out with his mind, I sure hope a government agency will step in at some point and pull that steel chair out of his hand and put that bastard to work on some national security tasks. What I'm saying here is that we need Mantaur and the Undertaker roaming around every national treasure, just waiting for someone to slip up.
I don't care how big the dude is; if he's pretending to be a little kitty cat before he steps up to fight me, I know I'm going to knock him out. I don't care if it's Zeus himself that come down from the heavens to weirdly get into my face. Not even sure what I ever did to Zeus, but here he is, ready to kick my goddamn teeth in, and I'd be really scared, normally, because of his muscles on top of muscles and the lightning he keeps shooting out of his dick at me, but he's wearing a cat mask and kind of just walking around me like a kitten, and I could not be more ready to knock this aggressive Greek man the hell out.
I don't care how impressive it is that you're able to get down in the center of the ring and put your leg over the back of your head and lick your asshole for the perfect catlike grooming taunt, you're still in the center of the ring licking your asshole and purring, and you're absolutely never going to be destined to be world champion in any federation.
Tekno Team 2000
We used to be so naive. So foolish. To think, back in the mid-90s, that this is what the future was going to look like. That if we were to use our crystal ball and peer into the new millennium ahead, we would all look like Tekno Team 2000, where everyone would look like guys who sell illegal reptiles on CraigsList in cool silver outfits.
As we've come to find out, our future is far worse. Instead of gentlemen like this running our dystopian shit fest, it's Jeff Bezos ushering us directly into our technological enslavement and impending ecological instability. Basically, all I'm saying is that if we are going to have these billionaire overlords of the future, can we at least get them some cutoff silver numbers highlighting their sick biceps, so we are at least able to spot them and their futuristic ways from a distance. No surprise, Tekno Team 2000 didn't last long, as it appears the fans just weren't ready for the future that laid ahead.
The KISS Demon
When you're really running out of ideas for your next wrestling gimmick, you start to think outside of the box. Forget turning to professions or raiding a prop house for inspiration; you need to bust out the big guns. You need to bring dogshit rock and roll mascots to life to show just how little you respect your fans and their intelligence. That's how the KISS Demon is able to step foot into the squared circle as an actual wrestler.
Following a live performance by KISS themselves at a WCW show, the power of their bland rock channeled so much energy and force that the Demon, essentially the jacked hunk Gene Simmons sees in the mirror through years of body dysmorphia and jerking off to himself.
Why did they have to go with KISS? If we're to believe that just having a band play live at your wrestling show summons some mascot embodiment of them to challenge for heavyweight titles, we surely could have done a lot better. Get Dave Mathews on stage and watch as a coked-out lacrosse player giant emerges from a pile of polo shirts. Or, Christ, really give your federation a new challenger by hiring Phish to play a show on the entrance ramp and watch in horror as the ultimate heel is born. A wrestler that, sure, is technically gifted enough, but he gets into that ring and puts on hour-long matches that tell no story, have no rhyme or reason to them, and just go on and on until you're forced to do hard drugs in the audience just to make it through that shit.
If you've been reading this article and looked at the wrestler below and thought to yourself, "Yeah, of course, they finally reached the 'burn victim' stage of character development," I wouldn't blame you at all. But that man wrapped in toilet paper has not just left the hospital following some horrible tragedy that man is ... the Yeti?
Making his entrance after busting through a block of ice, the people making the characters at the time seemingly conflated Yetis with mummies and just ran with it. A tall, lumbering oaf, the Yeti no doubt spent the bulk of his time in the ring trying not to unravel while also in his own head, wondering if he was the one who mixed up these two wildly different mythical monsters for his entire life. A challenge in the ring, when you're trying to land a powerbomb, but you can't help but think that you spent the first thirty years of your life walking around, not knowing the difference between these creatures and wondering what else you've completely mixed up. Because the only thing harder than looking at some of these gimmicks as a fan must have been trying to make sense of them as a performer.