Welcome back dear readers to the column that’s got the whole world in its hands- Chair Shots! A lot has been made lately about the reappearance of “gimmicks” in the world of professional wrestling. Sometimes that’s a good thing, like The Undertaker for example, but a lot of times a gimmick dies right there on the table. What we’re going to do over the course of the next few weeks is determine the ABSOLUTE WORST WWE gimmick of all time. This is going to be a bracketed tournament, not unlike the NCAA March Madness tournament, where you the reader get to decide who moves on, and who goes home.
Now I’ve enlisted some help along the way, a man that is a staple here at LordsofPain.net on both the Main Page and in the Forums, none other than LOP Hall of Famer YourAyatollah. Welcome to the Worst Gimmick Tournament my friend!
It’s my pleasure, man. This is the first time I’ve been on the main page of LOP in more than a “random appearance because Skittlez is blowing up my Facebook inbox” fashion in years. Too many years. I don’t want to say how many years. It looks like it’s going to be a pretty fun deal to help out with.
Speaking of which, shall we reveal the brackets?
I think we shall. Now here’s how this is going to work. We’ve got 96, yes you read that right, 96 horrible gimmicks going head to head in four different brackets. ‘Tollah is going to take two, and I’m going to take two until we eventually end up with a Final Four, and ultimately a Worst WWE Gimmick of All-Time Champion. Readers, that’s where you come in. We’ll need your votes in each bracket to determine the winners. So let’s get this thing started shall we?
Michael Cole Bracket (Your Ayatollah)
3MB Vs. Men on a Mission
If you don’t know who 3MB are then well, you haven’t been paying attention. The modern equivalent of those dudes who jobbed to everyone on Superstars back in the day, these three guys of varying talent play air guitar and generally suck all around. Though I think I speak for virtually everyone when I say, “Poor Drew.”
MOM, on the other hand, were the exact opposite. I guess. Kinda. They were a rap group of sorts, I suppose, in the vein of Tag Team, the group responsible for the timeless 90s classic, Whoomp! There It Is. Comprised of the ginormous Mabel, 60 year old looking Mo and manager Oscar (who was the only one who actually rapped), they are predominantly known for their singlehandedly exploding the parachute pants market.
Waylon Mercy Vs. The Stalker Barry Windham
Good old Waylon Mercy. His gimmick is a bit difficult to put a finger on. He has been described on LOP Radio by Friend to Everyone, Repo, as the forefather of both Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas, as he was a creepy Hawaiian shirt wearing dude who acted like a babyface despite the fact that he was a heel. Portrayed by former WCW Skyscraper Danny Spivey, he was really little more than a weird dude that everyone forgot about as soon as he hit the bricks.
The Stalker was a somewhat different story. Barry Windham was and is known as one of the Four Horsemen and one of the most well rounded and talented wrestlers of the 1980s and early 90s. Even a Horseman couldn’t stop Vince McMahon’s crazy gimmick train, though, as he was repackaged in the WWF as some sort of camo wearing hunter guy or something. I’m not really sure what they thought this dude was supposed to be, honestly. If they were going for “vaguely Hulk Hogan looking dude in camo facepaint who for some reason wore a t-shirt to wrestle in despite his seeming desire to blend into the nonexistent foliage surrounding the WWF ring”, then they nailed it.
Duke The Dumpster Droese Vs. TL Hopper
In the battle of the two “best” examples of the WWF’s seeming obsession with gimmicks based on what Vince apparently considered real life, we first have Duke The Dumpster Droese. A trashman. Because of course. There is nothing more terrifying than a garbage man who can wrestle. Or something.
But oh, hold the phone, maybe there is. How about a plumber who can wrestle? TL Hopper was just that, a dude who came to the ring with a plunger. He would even plop it on his opponents’ faces after defeating them which, as one would presume based solely on the dude’s name, didn’t happen very often.
Blu Brothers Vs. Godwinns
Jacob and Eli Blu were mountain men who looked suspiciously like The Berzerker for some reason. Managed by the awesomely mustachioed Uncle Zeb, these guys were two huge dudes who would go on to a modicum of fame as members of both the biker gang, Disciples of Apocalypse and under their given names, Ron and Don Harris. I’ll always remember them as the Brothers Blu, though, simply because they looked too ridiculous to forget.
The Godwinns were on the other end of the “what Vince thinks Southerners look and act like” spectrum. Hog farmers from Bitters, Arkansas, these two were bruisers who had made their names elsewhere under much more serious gimmicks. Though they would eventually evolve into more of an ass kicking pair of country boys as time wore on, (and even as a couple of suit wearing bodyguard types known as Southern Justice even further down the line), they will always be remembered as those two borderline special ed fellows who carried around a slop bucket.
Giant Gonzales Vs. Zeus
Poor Giant Gonzales. This dude was a legit almost 8 feet tall, as physically imposing as guy as you will ever see, but couldn’t wrestle his way out of a paper sack. To cover for this and to make him seem like a threat to The Undertaker, someone had the bright idea of sticking him into an airbrushed body suit complete with selectively placed fuzzy parts to cover his naughty bits. Even as a child I thought this dude looked like a tool. Probably because he did, indeed, look like a tool.
Zeus, on the other hand, was a legitimately scary looking dude. Perhaps best known for portraying Deebo in the timeless classic flim, Friday, he also portrayed the musclebound threat to Hulk Hogan in the also timeless classic film, No Hold Barred. For some reason Macho King Randy Savage, who was beefing with Hogan after the Mega Powers had exploded, brought him in as a partner against Hogan and Brutus Beefcake. Scary? Sure. Good cross promotion for the flick? Also sure. Terrible idea in general? Absolutely.
Meat Vs. Naked Mideon
Most of you probably don’t remember Meat and for that I envy you. Introduced as the personal boy toy of the Pretty Mean Sistas (PMS), Meat came to the ring wearing pink tighty whiteys. Tighty pinkies, perhaps? I neither know nor care. He had a modicum of success on the bottom of the card before just becoming a jobber guy which, in the storylines, was explained as a result of him banging the PMS ladies backstage before competing. Because sure, why not?
Naken Mideon, on the other hand, wasn’t banging anyone. After the departure of Henry O, the more simpleminded of the Godwinn boys was a wayward soul. This changed when The Undertaker abducted and brainwashed him into serving in the Ministry of Darkness. Once that ran its course, though, the dude was for some reason booked into the gimmick of “overweight unpleasant looking dude who runs around wearing nothing but a fannypack over his junk”. To his credit, he may have been the forerunner of the now legendary Dick in a Box.
Billy and Chuck Vs. Incest Paul and Katie Lea Burchill
“Hey, I have an idea. Let’s take tag team legend and supposed ladies man, Billy Gunn, and team him up with young and talented badass biker dude, Chuck Palumbo! We’ll call them Chuck and Billy and insinuate that they’re gay lovers!,” was a statement made in WWE creative one day. For some reason it actually happened instead of simply being laughed at. Though they were actually a pretty good team, there is absolutely no denying that this gimmick, though supported to a degree by GLAAD, was horrible and borderline offensive. And people wonder why Billy developed that pill problem…
Oh, Paul and Katie Lea Burchill. It had long been rumored that Vince McMahon, wacky bastard that he is, found incest to be hilarious or something. After having an angle he proposed to his own daughter covering that territory shot down, poor Paul Burchill got to bat clean up. While his pirate gimmick (found elsewhere on this very bracket) was at least fun, the insinuation that Paul and his storyline sister, Katie Lea, were intimate was just really creepy and not remotely fun at all. Honestly, the less said about this one the better.
Red Rooster Vs. Simon Dean
Terry Taylor was a young, intelligent, extremely talented young man whom everyone pegged as a future star in the business. He was even the first one considered for the role of Mr. Perfect. Instead, though, someone decided it would be best to spike his hair into a fauxhawk, dye it red and have him strut around as though he were a human chicken. To his credit, he made it work to a degree and the Rooster got over with the younger fans. Getting over, though, doesn’t mean that something doesn’t suck. Hard. Taylor’s in ring career never recovered.
Nova was yet another young, intelligent, extremely talented young man who was seen as one of the brightest stars in the waning days of ECW. Though I suppose it beat following many of his younger contemporaries from the Land of Extreme into career purgatory, the gimmick of a motivational work out dude didn’t really tap into the potential he had previously shown. Simon Dean rode around on a Segway and extolled the virtues of his Simon System of training supplements and such. It went about as well as you would expect. On the plus side, DDP was apparently taking notes.
Kizarny Vs. Phantasio
Sinn was a cool, kinda creepy character who worked all over the indys and in the early days of TNA. WWE took one look at him and decided that his talents would be best served under the gimmick of a weirdo carnival worker type dude who spoke in Carny speak as something of an inside joke since that was how wrestlers back in the halcyon days of kayfabe used to hold conversations around outsiders. Whether this was actually intended to get over or was simply a rib on the dude for some unknown reason, the gimmick lasted all of about 2 seconds before he was cut loose, never to be seen on WWE programming again. Though he did later get to bang Stacy “Miss Kitty” Carter, so I guess there’s a silver lining, of sorts. Probably herpes, too.
Phantasio is perhaps the most notorious gimmick of all time, and justifiably so. He was a magician who wore mime facepaint because of course he was. In his only televised match with the company, he snuck up on his jobber opponent and magically pulled off his underpants through his tights. His startled opponent was then rolled up for the victory, after which Phanty did the same thing to referee, Earl Hebner. Do you know how bad your gimmick had to suck to be removed from television after one match in the era of Mantaur and TL Hopper? After one more house show, Phantasio disappeared. It wasn’t magic, though. It was mercy. For us. Because nobody wants to see Magic Mime the Underpants Stealer.
Avatar Vs. Kwang
Anybody ever wonder why Al Snow went nuts and carried around that Head? It was because of crap like Avatar, who was supposed to be some sort of superhero or something. Upon entering the ring and putting on his mask, which apparently gave him powers or something, Avatar would go on to perform acts of daring do and spectacularness. Wait, what? What’s that? Oh. Actually he would go on to job and disappear from the WWF until Vince found another mask to stick him under. This dude made The Hurricane look like Batman.
Kwang, on the other hand, was a ninja. Not an actual, cool, super badass ninja but instead a Puerto Rican guy under a mask who did pseudo kung fu moves and spit out green mist. For everyone who likes to make fun of Glacier in WCW, let’s not forget that Vince tried the same thing in a much, much worse fashion. After a long, long, incredibly long year and a half of jobbing to everyone, Kwang disappeared into the shadows, never to be seen again.
Godfather Vs. Flash Funk
Who doesn’t know and love The Godfather? Formerly a voodoo priest and a Supreme Fighting Machine and a militant Nation of Islam member, Charles Wright finally found his niche as a pimp who led a bevy of “beautiful” ladies to the ring. The Ho Train was one of the most popular things in the Attitude Era, which is something that I like pointing to whenever someone talks about how great and “real” it was back then. Beloved? Sure. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t cheesy as all hell, though.
The precursor of Brodus Clay, Flash Funk was a dancing black guy. Because racism. Despite the fact that he had previously established himself around the world as the incredibly innovative and groundbreaking 2 Cold Scorpio, poor Charles Scaggs found himself sitting in Vince’s office being sold the virtues of wearing a silly hat and dancing around like a tool. The gimmick managed to get over to a small degree but that was solely due to the fact that Scorpio was a truly exciting talent. When a spot in the JOB Squad is a step up, it perhaps indicates that your gimmick wasn’t so much working.
Brutus The Barber Beefcake Vs. Rico
The Living Legend of absolute crappy gimmicks, Ed Leslie actually found success somewhat early on in his career as Brutus The Barber Beefcake. Why? Because The 80s, that’s why. Though he started out as just another moderately buffed up dude on a roster full of moderately buffed up dudes, Beefcake really hit his stride when he helped Roddy Piper cut Adrian Adonis’ golden locks at WrestleMania 3. From that point forward he would strut around wearing see through tights and carrying hedge clippers. Honestly, the only good thing to come of this gimmick was the time that Shawn kicked Marty through the Barber Shop window.
Rico Constantino was a former standout champion of the old American Gladiators show, as well as a Las Vegas police officer. Despite all that prime gimmick material for the picking, though, Rico was given the role of a pseudo gay stylist dude. As both a manager and a competitor, he was basically an updated version of the classic Gorgeous George, Adrian Adonis style character. He actually made it work pretty well, to his credit, and was easily one of the most memorable and fun stupid gimmicks of his era. Even a memorable and fun stupid gimmick is a stupid gimmick, though, and thus his spot in this tournament.
Jerry Lawler Bracket (Rob)
Akeem the African Dream Vs. Kerwin White
The One Man Gang struck fear into the hearts of his opponents. He was a bad-ass 400+ pound biker that could move as well as men half his size. He had no respect for authority, his opponents, or anyone for that matter. So of course in all the WWE’s wisdom, they decided to change that. His manager at the time, The Doctor of Style Slick, announced that Gang was actually African. A segment was taped in the “deepest parts of Africa” where Gang went through a metamorphosis of sorts and came out the other end as one of the most blatantly racist gimmicks of all time. He shucked, he jived, he spoke in stereotypical black lingo. He was then placed in the Twin Towers with the Big Boss Man, and they went on to have some success as a tag team, but damn!
While we’re talking racist, who can forget Kerwin White? I mean if you haven’t, you really should. Chavo Guerrero, after being beaten down by the Mexicools (still to come) denounced his Hispanic roots and became a white suburban golfer. His initial slogan was “If it’s not White, it’s not right.” There’s nothing wrong with that at all is there? The slogan was quickly dropped, as was the character. But quick, does anybody remember who Kerwin’s caddy was? If you guessed one Dolph Ziggler you’d be correct.
Beaver Cleavage Vs. Val Venis
One thing the Attitude Era was known for was its sexually suggestive storylines and characters. When The Headbangers dissolved, Mosh was repacked in a Leave it to Beaver character, with a sexually charged MILF mother named Mrs. Cleavage. There was a lot of sexual innuendo but not much else. The gimmick was met with some controversy and quickly dropped. But come on, who doesn’t like Beaver?
On the flip side, Val Venis’ gimmick took him through much of the Attitude Era. Portrayed as a top porn star, Venis’ shtick was that he could bed anyone, anywhere, anytime, and for much of the Attitude Era he did just that. However his most notable memory would be during his storyline with Kaientai where his Big Valbowski was supposedly chopped off for bedding Yamaguchi-San’s wife. Thanks to shrinkage and John Wayne Bobbitt, his livelihood was kept intact. He had quite a successful run, but the Attitude Era surely proved that nothing was off limits.
Fandango Vs. Honkytonk Man
Faaaaannnn-daaaannnn-goooooo! Say it with me boys and girls. You have to let it breathe. Yes, everybody’s favorite(?) ballroom dancer makes an appearance in this bracket. There’s quite a lot of division on whether or not Fandango is actually successful or not, but one thing that can’t be argued is that the gimmick is dreadful. After Dancing With the Stars had already been on 0ver 15 seasons, Vince McMahon finally realized that ballroom dancing was a thing. So they repacked Johnny Curtis, paired him up with the very leggy Summer Rae, and made them the worst dancers of all time. After being pushed too hard, too fast, the last we saw of Fandango he was being destroyed by The Shield. But remember, you have to let it breathe.
Maybe Vince should have gone back to a little Shake, Rattle, and Roll. The Honkytonk Man came into the WWE and was SUPPOSED to be a face, but the fans hated the gimmick so much that he was quickly turned heel. He was the longest running Intercontinental Champion of all time before getting beaten to a pulp by the Ultimate Warrior at SummerSlam 1988. Honky was quite successful in the WWE, but an Elvis impersonator? Come on now!
Cross Dressing Vito Vs. Gillberg
Once one of the baddest men in wrestling, it came as a shock to no one that Vince and company would take Vito the badass and put him in a dress. After months of rumours about Vito cross-dressing, he finally came to the ring in drag, and had quite a successful run with the gimmick. He got over with the fans, but in the storyline many wrestlers, commentators, etc. refused to work with him while wearing a dress. Oh yeah, this was supposedly the brainchild of Stephanie McMahon- yikes!
The ultimate jobber, Duane Gill had his most success while the WWE took shots at WCW rival’s biggest star, Goldberg. From the entrance, to the attire, to the mannerisms, Duane Gill took everything about Goldberg and made it ridiculous. At one time, he was even scheduled to LOSE 173 straight matches. Despite being a cheap shot at their competitors, Gillberg was over in his run and at times continues to use the gimmick.
IRS Vs. Isaac Yankem DDS
Mike Rotunda, one of the best mat technicians of his era, came back to the WWE in a time where gimmicks were running rampant. If you could think of it, it made it to WWE television. So of course the next logical thing would be to have a Tax Man that wrestled. IRS was probably one of the more successful gimmicks on our list, but that doesn’t make it any less ridiculous.
You want more professions we can make wrestlers? Well how about Jerry Lawler’s personal evil dentist. Complete with music that sounded like a dentist’s drill, the man that would become Kane had one brief feud with Bret Hart before being shelved and later repacked as yet another gimmick you’ll see on this list later.
Man Mountain Rock Vs. New Rocker Leif Cassidy
How badass is the name Maxx Payne? It is, you know it is! So there was no way Vince was going to use it. He took his love of music based characters and turned Payne into the axe-shredding rock star, Man Mountain Rock. Too bad that Rock’s performances were dreadful and no one cared, but at least he wasn’t Jack Russell’s Great White playing for 10 people after an arena football game let out.
Oh Al Snow, what would this tournament be without you? After the original Rockers broke up, the idea was presented to re-form they with Marty Jannetty and Al Snow (now going by Leif Cassidy). Snow was trying hard to find a foothold, but this wasn’t it. Jannetty was still being the Jannetty of the team, but Cassidy was a goofy, ridiculous character that won over nobody. The story is that it was Shawn Michaels himself who suggested the comedy route for the new team. Way to be a team player Shawn!
Battle Kat Vs. Mantaur
It’s the battle of the bad animal gimmicks! Does anybody remember Brady Boone? It’s OK, I’ll wait. Anybody, anybody? Bueller? Bueller? Well of course you remember Battle Kat right? Yeah I didn’t think so. This was a case of a wrestler nobody knew repacked in a gimmick nobody cared about. At least Party City got to sell a couple of those Halloween Cat Masks for something other than a sexy cat costume.
OK let’s try this again. Mike Halic? Anybody, anybody? Damn it people you’re making this very difficult, but it is proving our point. Nothing spells success like a man dressed up in a bull costume right? Well in this case, that would be wrong. Mantaur was such a flop that the WWE had no other choice than to reinvent it 20 years later and stick it on a midget wrestler. Ole!
Eugene Vs. Slam Master J
Hi Uncle Eric! My name is Eugene! See, it is right there on my name tag. I’m your very special nephew and I really love professional wrestling. Can I be a professional wrestler please? I’ll do my best and try really, really hard. I’m sure my “special” gimmick won’t offend anybody right? Hey, watch me twirl around in a circle. Weeeee!!!!
Yes, our next entrant is actually the son of legendary Freebird Terry Gordy. You could have fooled me too! After several unsuccessful runs in the WWE, one last ditch effort was made to salvage Gordy’s career, and that was reprising his white rapper gimmick he had in OVW. Thus, Slam Master J was born….and quickly died. WWE fans everywhere were very grateful.
Oddities Vs. Spirit Squad
Next up is more Attitude Era fun, as The Oddities make their way into the tournament. Billed as a freak-show like group, Golga, Kurrgan and Giant Silva made their way to the WWE as heels led by The Jackyl. Eventually they turned face and at one point in time were affiliated with epitome of crap, the Insane Clown Posse. For those that don’t know, Golga was actually Earthquake under the mask, another man that went on to have several more bad gimmicks through the course of his career.
The Spirit Squad on the other hand were a faction of male cheerleaders that started showing up at WWE shows doing cheers and distracting the face wrestlers. The group of five had a somewhat successful run before their eventual burial at the hands of Triple H and DX where they were stuck in a crate and shipped back to OVW. However, without the Spirit Squad, there may not have ever been a Dolph Ziggler, so that’s something.
Brakkus Vs. Ludvig Borga
Evil German, Evil Finn- whatever way you look at them, Brakkus and Borga both fell into the old WWE trap of the evil Anti-American wrestler who came to the WWE with the sole purpose of defeating the American dog. However, in both Brakkus’ and Borga’s case, neither man was particularly skilled in the ring.
Brakkus’ claim to fame was participating in the Brawl for All tournament, and NOT KNOWING that it wasn’t a work. According to Savio Vega, who bloodied his nose, Brakkus thought it was staged like all other matches. Borga had a brief feud with Lex Luger and a few others before disappearing from the WWE after an ankle injury.
Dean Douglas Vs. The Genius
Nothing screams professional wrestler like two smart-ass teachers. Following a very successful run in ECW, Shane Douglas came to the WWE, where he was swiftly renamed Dean Douglas, and put into a know-it-all professor gimmick. He was shown at a chalkboard teaching the lowly WWE fans. He carried a paddle which was called the “Board of Education”. Yeah, that screams Extreme! Douglas didn’t last very long before leaving the WWE.
Another egg-head gimmick was portrayed by the brother of the Macho Man, Lanny Poffo. Spouting poetry and wearing a cap and gown, The Genius regaled the WWE universe with wit and wisdom. Unfortunately for him, it was backed up with some of the weakest wrestling I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t believe Poffo could beat up and pillow let alone another WWE wrestler. And to think he feels he should be part of Macho’s induction into the Hall of Fame. Hah!
Jean Pierre Lafitte Vs. Pirate Paul Burchill
Arrrr! There be pirates ahead! Originally part of The Quebecers, Carl Ouellet was later repacked as the pirate descendant of Jean LaFitte. He came to the ring in full pirate garb, complete with an eyepatch. Unfortunately, LaFitte got on the wrong side of the Kliq, refusing to lose clean to Diesel. He was eventually buried for his refusal, forced to walk the plank, and now resides in Davy Jones’ Locker.
It was years later before a pirate resurfaced, and it came in the way of Paul Burchill. Much like Lafitte, Burchill was informed he was a descendant of Blackbeard and began dressing and acting very much like Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean. The gimmick was getting over, but it was Vince McMahon who killed the gimmick because he was completely unaware of the current popularity of Depp’s character in the movies and was so out of touch with pop culture that Burchill was unfortunately the victim of his ignorance.
So there are your first two brackets dear readers. Please vote on who should move on in each pairing. You can vote in the comments section below, tweet me, send me an email, or hit me up on Chair Shots Facebook page. You’ve got until Friday to vote, and then we’ll be back with the other two brackets in the first round. We’ll take this massive 96 and cut it in half and then continue cutting it down until we have a winner.
EDIT: Poll added for easier voting
Thanks to YourAyatollah for joining me!
Until next time,
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