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 411mania » Wrestling » Columns

The 411 Wrestling Top 5 07.08.13: Week 226 – Worst Gimmicks
Posted by Larry Csonka on 07.08.2013

Hello everyone and welcome to 411 Wrestling's Top 5 List. We take a topic each week and all the writers here on 411 wrestling will have the ability to give us their Top 5 on said topic, plus up to three honorable mentions.

So, onto this week's topic…


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5. Misfits in Action Ah, Vince Russo, the master of the subtle wit. Who else could come up with a mix of workers as a military-themed stable with such names as Major Gunns (because of her breasts), Hugh G. Reaction (say it out loud), Major Stash (he was going to be called Private Stash but insisted on being "promoted" to a major, you can't make this up), Lieutenant Loco (Chavo Guerrero, yes that couldn't be seen as racist), Cpl. Cajun (guess where he came from), Sgt AWOL and, worse of the worst, saddling the hot Booker T with the idiotic G.I. Bro character that harmed a good run. A total mess that was pushed all the same and no surprise it did little to win fans over.

4. Oz: Kevin Nash gets a lot of flack for his self-centered antics but when you think about how he started out, you realize there's a good reason why he's so desperate to keep himself a star. Among the many, many brain farts WCW came up with, one of the biggest was in 1991 when they tried to link wrestling with the classic Turner film library. Enter Kevin Nash as Oz, who came to the ring with green lights and smoke, wearing a crazy robe with giant fake beard and green hair. Throw in some "Munchkins" as sidekicks along with a rookie Nash's poor skill set and you had something truly idiotic with how WCW could often top WWF in terms of incredibly dumb acts.

3. Mike Awesome, That 70's Guy I still can't believe even WCW could drop the ball so badly with this. Mike Awesome, the current ECW champion, signed up with the company in 2000, a massive moment as the ECW faithful were ready to kill Awesome for jumping ship as champion and he had a big entrance attacking Kevin Nash. So how does WCW handle this hot property? By saddling him with a lame lounge lizard act Awesome was totally unsuited for, a stupid interview segment and none of the monster moves that made Awesome a name in the first place. Sure, making him "The Fat Chick Thrilla" wasn't good either but that first gimmick totally killed Awesome's heat and never really got over it.

2. The Black Scorpion When Sting defeated Ric Flair for the NWA Championship in 1990, it looked like the start of a bold new era for the company. But Ole Anderson didn't want to keep pushing Flair in rematches and there was a lack of other serious challengers. So, Ole came up with the Black Scorpion, a guy who would show up in a mask and a voice disguiser to talk of a past with Sting and how he wanted him destroyed. It was obvious WCW wanted fans to think it was the Ultimate Warrior and rumor WCW truly thought they could get the then-WWF champion somehow. So the Scorpion struck at Sting with lame magic tricks like making an audience member turn into a tiger or such and attacks by underlings. So it built to Starrcade, at which point it finally dawned on WCW they needed someone to fill the damn mask so they had to beg Flair to do it for a terrible cage match and a lame payoff. Proof once more to any future bookers to never start a gimmick without some idea of a real payoff.

1. The Ding Dongs What makes this so infamous is that it was built off an even dumber idea. Jim Herd thought that having a tag team of hunchbacks would be brilliant as they couldn't be pinned. Even Ole Anderson knew how stupid that was so Herd decided to change it to the Ding Dongs, a couple guys in orange outfits and masks with bells all over them and brought a big bell to the ring with them to ring constantly. Their first appearance had them nearly booed out of the building but Herd kept at it for a while until the fan reaction finally made him realize that they weren't working and had them destroyed and unmasked by the Skyscrapers. Just goes to show how the guys in charge can often come up with the worst stuff.

Jesse Nguyen
5. Kerwin White - Why the WWE took Chavo Guerrero, a great cruiserweight wrestler with a proud Mexican heritage, and turn him into racist, high class white man is still a mystery that can't be explained.. They should have known how terrible this would go over when his catchphrase was "If it isn't white, it isn't right". It was pretty offensive to everyone, and didn't help that he had a feud against Shelton Benjamin where he would spout some very not politically friendly stuff. Here's a fun fact, Kerwin White hired Nick Nemeth to be his caddy, who would go on to be Dolph Ziggler.

4. Eugene - The idea of a disable wrestler sounds inspiring, but it really only works if the disability is legitimate. There are some with physical limits, like Gregory Iron or Zach Gowen, but Eugene was suppose to be mentally disabled. The problem is that Nick Dinsmore, the man more commonly known as Eugene, is a fully functional man. Pro wrestling is suppose to be scripted, this is true, but it just feels really uncomfortable going back and seeing how he was used in the WWE. Especially nowadays when Steve "The Turtle" Wiener, a pro wrestler who legitimately has autism, is currently wrestling on the independent circuit.

3. The Boogeyman - The WWE felt they had to bring life to the common story kids are given at a very young age, and it did not go very well. Beyond the backstage antics and bashing a clock against his head in his entrance, The Boogeyman would tend to stuff worms in his mouth and drop them onto the face of the person he defeated. That or eating odd facial growths. The problem with this gimmick is that of time. Like most horror topics, over time, they stop being scary. The idea of a professional wrestler being scary is quite ridiculous, but wasn't that what he was suppose to bring to Smackdown when he debut? A sense of fear and jump scares?

2. 3 Count - Take Shannon Moore, Gregory Helms, and Evan Karagias. Now put them all together to form a highflying stable of cruiserweights that will entertain the crowd. That's not enough, now make them a boy band. What? Okay, so the during the time of 3 Count, bands like the Backstreet Boys and N'Sync were making the teenage girls scream their heads off. While fans of pro wrestling are quite a diverse group, it is doubtful those same girls were watching Monday Night Nitro every week in hopes of seeing 3 Count debut a new single.

1. Special K - For those who don't know, Special K was a stable in Ring of Honor during the early 2000's. It featured quite a few younger wrestlers who were spoiled rich kids. It was said many times from commentators that they would spend their parent's money on drugs and parties. Members included Cheech, Cloudy, Sal Rinauro, and Mikey Whipwreck. There were also probably 40 other members that are being forgotten. The main problem with the gimmick is that they were really pushing the whole 'drug' thing, having the kids carry pill bottle, and even drink liquids that resembled cough syrup. With many kids exploring drugs, and the entire steroid scandal not long before this stable, it seems like it was a terrible idea to try and have this kind of gimmick. It also made Ring of Honor seem okay with the concept of kids wrestling while they were on controlled substances.

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Dino Zuko
5. Ultimate Warrior: WCW Magician Edition - The Ultimate Warrior, on his own, is already a somewhat ridiculous gimmick. But, since he was a badass, we accepted his inane ramblings and super hyper presence. However, when he showed up in WCW in the summer of 1998, things took a turn for the worse. No longer as energetic, he just became a weird magician that could appear in clouds of smoke, or in mirrors, visible only to Hulk Hogan. Outside of that, he would come out and talk for twenty-five minutes with roughly 3% of the intensity he once brought to the screen. I just don't know where they thought the Magic Warrior was going to go.

4. Sparky T Plugg - I tend to not hate on all of the mid-90's "I have two jobs!" gimmicks entirely, but two are on my list, and this is the first one. I just- who cares? Who cares that you race NASCAR? Does that make you good? Bad? Oh, and your name is Thurman Plug, but they call you Sparky? Sparky Plugg? Oh, that's just fantastic. I like Bob Holly. A lot. Even with his rep amongst some fans as this unreasonable douche, I still enjoy his work, and I always felt that he was somewhat justified in his attitude, when you see the kind of crap he had to deal with. And no, changing things to Bob "Spark Plugg" Holly doesn't suddenly redeem everything.

3. Double J Jeff Jarrett - The other of the "I have two jobs!" crew that I'll allow (count your blessings, TL Hopper, Duke Droese, Repo Man...) So, Jeff Jarrett himself is fine. And really, he played the character as admirably as can be expected. However, the gimmick itself was that Jeff Jarrett wanted to be the biggest country music star in the world. Nashville wasn't super receptive to it, so in order to show them what they were missing, he'd climb to the top of the country mountain by... entering the World Wrestling Federation and wrestling other guys. Buh??? Once they scaled back a bit with that aspect of the character, Jeff Jarrett was solid on his own. Still a fricking stupid gimmick.

2. Suicide - These last two are similar in spirit. So, TNA gets a video game created. In said game (which I own on PS2, and found to be a decent enough title), your career mode is played as fictional character Suicide. In the game, Suicide is a wrestler who was attacked and dumped in Mexico after getting too big for his britches. Horribly injured, he dons the suit and mask to keep his identity secret as he returns to TNA for revenge. All right, not so bad. However, TNA then decided that they needed Suicide- for real- and so he appeared in TNA. And what was his gimmick? Basically that he's based off the character in the TNA game! He wasn't attacked and left for dead. He had no past beef. He had nothing to do with the character he was based off of. He was simply based off a video game. And they let Daniels and Kazarian, among others, waste time in this pursuit of crapulence.

1. Zeus - I won't even listen to another answer for #1. Tiny Lister signs to be in a movie with Hulk Hogan. That movie would be No Holds Barred. In the movie, Tiny Lister's character Zeus goes against Hulk Hogan's character of Rip. In the movie, Rip destroys Zeus, presumably killing him after a double sledge sends him flying 54 feet and through the ring below. So then, explain to me why Zeus would show up in the WWF, wanting to kill Hulk Hogan? Zeus had no beef with Hulk Hogan. He had beef with Rip. Tiny Lister could possibly be mad with Hulk Hogan, but that's not what we got. We got the character from the movie mad at the other actor from the movie. There's even been some weak attempts at pulling it together by saying that Zeus was angry over who got top billing. Again, that's probably something Tiny Lister should have had beef with, since Zeus IS NOT AN ACTOR IN A MOVIE, HE WAS A CHARACTER. Man, I was like 8 when this was going on, totally bought into it, and was terrified of Zeus. The second I hit 10 or 11, though, it hit me how dumb this was. Worst. Gimmick. Ever.

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Francisco Ramirez
5. TIE: Shockmaster\Gobbledy Gooker - The Cream of the Crap as far as wrestling gimmicks are concerned. Both have been elevated to a status that is now legendary. It will be difficult to top these two, and I feel they are both equally bad, yet I'm listing them at number five for the simple reason that they are now the go to Icons, the picture on the dictionary when you look up "awful gimmick". We all know what they are, we all know the stories, one a Vince McMahon creation, and the other a Dusty Rhodes creation. Now while many may argue Casablanca as the best film of all time, we strive to find something better. So in essence, I'm giving these two the nod, yet trying to top it. A task that might be too difficult to achieve.

4. Xanta Klaus - Few things are as certain in wrestling as weddings will be ruined, if cake is present, it won't be eaten, and Santa Claus isn't safe. Unfortunately Alberto Del Rio wasn't around in the early 90's. Xanta Klaus, Santa's evil brother from the South Pole. Introduced during In Your House 5: Season's Beatings by Ted Dibiase. His biggest accomplishment was attacking Savio Vega, he made a few appearances, then disappeared. Thankfully he relocated to Philly and changed his name to Balls Mahoney.

3. The Yeti - The Yeti, someone in WCW must have been horrible when it came to crypto zoology and creative. First off, a Yeti is another version of Bigfoot or the Sasquatch, what we got was a freaking Mummy! Mummies are by far the weakest of all Hollywood monsters, regardless of what Brendan Frasier might think. This forgettable character had an unforgettable moment as his claim to fame, crazy town banana pants fits the description, coming down to the ring and dry humping Hulk Hogan while the Giant had Hogan in a Bear hug, thus creating the most effed up Oreo cookie ever.

2. The Red Rooster - Terry Taylor can tear it up in the ring, the man is a ring general! So it makes no sense why he would be booked as a giant rooster? You can take all the talent in the world and I doubt anyone, even someone as talented as Terry Taylor, make a giant Rooster a threat. This would obviously go nowhere and the best thing Terry Taylor could get out of this gimmick was a brief feud with Bobby Heenan and the Heenan family. Perhaps another example of Vince destroying something he did not create, or maybe he didn't like Taylor, I can't say for sure. One thing is certain, no one in this world could get this gimmick over, but like Patt Patterson did say in an episode of the Legends of Wrestling Roundtable "what's wrong with a cock in the ring?".

1. Monterrey Mexico Pirated WWE Wrestlers - I just took a trip to Mexico recently, and yes, everything gets pirated there, from dvds, music cds, clothes, and toys. Wrestlers aren't safe either. While wrestling or lucha clones are nothing new, La Parka II springs to mind, 2010 saw piracy jump the shark. WWE expanded heavily into Mexico, and one "smart" promoter decided to cash in, creating his own set of WWE wrestlers. Dubbed El Burrito Show, matches would be setup or wrestlers appearing for festivities such as birthday parties. No one was safe, from John Cena, the Undertaker, all the way to Rey Mysterio and the Miz. Now, I have to give the promoter credit, he never flat out said they were the real deal, he billed his "WWE" stars as imitators. Offering them up for personal shows and parties. Superluchas.net even featured an ad, translated it went like this, "If you would like to have the best imitators of the WWE, Burrito Show is the best option, we have 12 of the best personalities 100% PROFESSIONAL wrestlers, as well as contracting the wrestlers, the guest of honor will receive completely FREE an outfit of either Rey Misterio or John Cena as well as a championship belt." What a freaking deal!

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Pic from Superluchas.net

Justin Watry
5. Shockmaster - This was just classic. If you were writing the 'worst of' book on wrestling, this should get its own chapter. I can't believe anyone thought this gimmick (or look) would be a good idea. Deep down, my theory is still the whole thing was one huge joke on the viewing audience. It was doomed to fail from the start. No way this was supposed to be taken seriously...

4. Kerwin White - Wow! I am shocked this lasted as long as it did. Even a few months was WAY too long. The only upside was it gave Dolph Ziggler a foot in the door. Remember the caddie? Yeah. Chavo Guerrero was never going to be a main event star or anything like that in WWE. However, he is a very, very solid worker and can contribute in many ways to any company. As Kerwin White though? No. Just another gimmick doomed to fail from the start.

3. The Yeti - YET-TAY! THE YET-TAY! I am laughing just thinking about his infamous moment with Hulk Hogan. WCW made about 58,673 mistakes during their run, and this one stands out. That is saying a lot! As far as bad gimmicks go, a "human" mummy waltzing down the ramp ranks right up (or down) there. At least Robo Cop was never brought in...oops!

2. Suicide - Speaking of mistakes! Who came up with this idea? Seriously, I would love to know who thought this was going to work out. This character acts as if it is shooting itself in the head...named Suicide. Good luck selling those t-shirts, posters, video games (it bombed), or even starting up a chant. I am sure parents would love to buy that for their son or daughter. Imagine the live crowd: Suicide! Suicide! Suicide! Suicide! Suicide! My, oh my.

1. Six Sided Ring - Hey, the rules never stated it had to be a wrestler. Right? Okay, then. Forget 'on a pole' matches. Screw a 'reverse battle royal' setting. Those gimmicks are dreadful enough. There are few things in wrestling that should never change. One of them is the ring. I don't care who claimed this creation first - TNA Impact Wrestling, some federation in Japan, Mexico, or an obscure indy promotion. It does not matter. A squared circle has four sides, not six.

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Ryan Byers
5. Beaver Cleavage - In the storied history of making fun of bad wrestling gimmicks on the internet (Wrestlecrap.com is, after all, over a decade old), a lot of people have derided the Beaver Cleavage character because it was based on a series of incest jokes that weren't particularly funny. However, there is one key point that a lot of people miss when trashing the Beaver, and I'm going to ask it right now: How the hell was this gimmick actually supposed to translate into professional wrestling? What angle were you going to be able to run based on the fact that this man was a poor, sexualized parody of a 1950's sitcom? How would this factor in to a feud? How could he actually cut a promo on somebody? I suspect that this is the real reason that we saw the character dropped so quickly . . . it wasn't a pro wrestling character.

4. Xanta Klaus - Much like Beaver Cleavage, I have to put this character on the list because it seems so poorly thought out. Even if you ignore the fact that booking an evil Santa Claus just screams, "We are a product that only exists to entertain children," this was a boneheaded idea. Though the hype for Christmas seems to begin earlier and earlier each year, the fact still remains that an evil Santa would only be relevant for at most two months of every twelve-month cycle. For the rest of the year, you'd be stuck with a fellow who meant little if nothing to the fanbase. Plus, once more, what is an evil Santa Claus actually going to feud with somebody about? Were we going to get a series of baby faces defending the honor of the real Saint Nick in July?

3. The Fake Undertaker - There have been a lot of ridiculous storylines involving the Undertaker. I think that this one has to take the cake, though. A 'Taker impostor is one thing. However, the introduction of all sorts of cartoony "supernatural" tricks and Leslie Nielsen as the goofy detective trying to solve the mystery of the Undertaker made the Under-faker all the more gag inducing. It's a shame, too, because the guy who played the role of the fake Undertaker (Brian Lee) showed some potential in places like Smokey Mountain and deserved to receive a better "break" in the big leagues.

2. Glacier - I don't think that you can imagine how obnoxious Glacier was unless you lived through it. For months upon months, we were bombarded with bumpers on WCW programming telling us that "Blood Runs Cold." I'm not opposed to a slow build, but you have to pull the trigger on your build when interest is on its peak. Sadly, the promos hyping Glacier's debut went on well beyond that, meaning that he had already been turned in to a running joke by the time that he made his debut. And where did he debut? On Sunday afternoon show WCW {Pro} against, of all people, The Gambler. (Now there is an underrated job guy.) The worst part is that all of the build lead up to absolutely nothing. Glacier was a mediocre pro wrestler who went on a directionless winning streak, never moving up the card and never amounting to anything. All of that hype to make somebody in to a major star is one thing, but all of that hype to debut a guy and position him as a perpetual midcarder is the waste of everybody's time and apparently a waste of money as well, because the Mortal Kombat-esque outfits for Glacier and his rivals Mortis and Wrath reportedly cost thousands of dollars.

1. Master P & The No Limit Soldiers - Forget the fact that this stable gave us southern-fried country boy Brad Armstrong transforming in to the hip hop loving "B.A." Forget the fact that this stable gave us barely trained lugs "Swoll" and "4x4" working matches. The important thing to remember is that this THE prime example of a wrestling promotion listening to what its fans want and then doing the complete and utter opposite. Signed to a big money deal by WCW in the late 1990's, Master P made several appearances on Nitro and pay per view, with each one being more nonsensical and less wrestling-related than the last. In particular, I recall P wasting what had to have been thirty minutes on Nitro throwing a BIRTHDAY PARTY FOR HIS COUSIN. Who could possibly have cared about that? Better yet was the fact that the heel faction built up to oppose the No Limit Soldiers, namely the West Texas Rednecks, wound up getting significantly better babyface reactions than did the guy who WCW was forking over millions of dollars to. Instead of doing the sensible double turn so that the storyline would match up with the fans' reactions, WCW continued to force the flawed storyline down everybody's throats, turning off many in their audience in the process.


List your Top Five for this week's topic in the comment section using the following format:

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Have you checked out the Csonka Podcasting Network? If you haven't, you should We run anywhere from 15-20 shows a month, discussing pro wrestling, the world of MMA, the NBA, general sports, popular TV series of the past, bad movies, battle rap, interviews, MMA & Wrestling conference calls and more! Around 10 different personalities take part in the various shows, which all have a different feel; so you'll likely find something you like. All of the broadcasts are free, so go ahead and give a show a try and share the link with your friends on the Twitter Machine and other social media outlets! Running since May of 2011, there are currently over 320 shows in the archive for you to listen to.

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Larry Csonka is a Pisces and enjoys rolling at jiu jitsu class with Hotty McBrownbelt, cooking, long walks on the beach, Slingo and the occasional trip to Jack in the Box. He is married to a soulless ginger and has two beautiful daughters who are thankfully not soulless gingers; and is legally allowed to marry people in 35 states. He has been a wrestling fan since 1982 and has been writing for 411 since May 24th, 2004; contributing over 3,000 columns, TV reports and video reviews to the site.


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