Some of the worst gimmicks in wrestling history have come at the hands of Vince McMahon and the WWE.
WWE has been the biggest name in wrestling for as long as anyone can remember. Except for a brief period in the 1990s, they have been the undisputed industry leaders in professional wrestling since the 1980s and beyond.
Legendary gimmicks in WWE like Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant and the Ultimate Warrior helped launch the company into superstardom. However, not all of the gimmicks wrestlers have had in WWE have been successful.
For every wildly successful gimmick, you have 10 others that went nowhere. From a giant Turkey hatching out of an egg, to a hockey player, to a giant bull, and even a tiny bull, the WWE has been ripe with terrible gimmicks since time in memoriam.
Here are ten of the absolute worst gimmicks ever to grace the screens of WWE television. Whilst it can be debated who deserves to be on this list, and who deserves the top spot, it can never be said that Vince McMahon and WWE have not produced some of the worst gimmicks in wrestling history.
WWE Worst Gimmicks
10. The Goon
The mid 1990s was a dark time for the WWE. The new generation had failed to bring the same success that the likes of Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior had brought in the 1980s.
The company, carried on the back of Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and Diesel, was looking for new gimmicks to make stars out of.
This led Vince McMahon to bring in journeyman wrestler Barry Irwin as the hockey player inspired gimmick, The Goon.
In Hockey, the Goon is the enforcer of the team, who’s job was essentially to respond to the oppositions aggressive play by fighting with them and beating them into submission. They usually aren’t as technically impressive as the other hockey players, but make up for it with their aggression.
The Goon in WWE did none of this. He was a goofy character who struggled in the ring, and clumsily wrestled his way into surprise victories. Even jobbers, brought in solely to lose to The Goon struggled to lose to him, so bad the gimmick was.
He came into WWE in 1996, but only lasted a few months before being kicked to the curb again. He did return for the “Gimmick Battle Royale” at Wrestlemania 17, but The Goon was still one of the worst WWE gimmicks of all time.
9. El Torito
Primo and Epico were two great wrestlers. They were stars in their native Puerto Rico, and were originally brought to WWE as serious wrestlers.
However, as the years went by, their stock fell in WWE and were taken off TV for repackaging.
Thus, Los Matadores were born. The gimmick wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t great. They were bullfighter outfits and masks, and said “Ole!” a lot.
And of course, every bullfighter needs a bull. Hence, the debut of El Torito. WWE brought in one of Mexico’s finest Minis wrestlers, Mascarita Dorado to portray El Torito, a small bull who teamed with Los Matadores.
While he was a fantastic wrestler, the fans were expected to believe that he was not simply a man in a bull costume, but an actual bull. It was insulting, and he was featured way too prominently for a bull of his stature in the company.
He did take part in one of the greatest matches of all time, however. His match, dubbed “Wee-L-C”, a play on TLC, on the Extreme Rules 2014 pre-show, was one of the silliest, most entertain matches WWE has ever had.
Despite the brilliant performer underneath the mask, El Torito was still one of the worst, stupidest gimmicks in WWE history.
8. The Berzerker
In Nordic history, a Berserker was one of the most feared fighters. They fought with intense fury, almost in a trance like state. This gave us the English word “Berserk”, and they were some of the most feared fighters in there day.
However, the Berzerker in the WWE shared none of these qualities with the ancient Nordic soldier. It was definitely one of the worst gimmicks WWE have ever created in their history.
He was the complete opposite. A bumbling buffoon who impressed nobody in the ring and struggled to make any kind of impact in WWE.
Even worse, he didn’t even want to win matches. It kind of spat in the face of the entire concept of professional wrestling. He would rather win matches by count out, throwing his opponents over the top rope and running the ropes frantically instead.
7. The Spirit Squad
Why anybody thought that five male cheerleaders was a great gimmick is beyond me.
WWE took five of their most promising young stars (Including Kenny Dykstra and former World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler), stuck them in matching green outfits, and made them jump around like idiots.
The Spirit Squad lasted less than a year on the WWE main roster. Despite their short life span, they were a focal point of Monday Night Raw for their entire run.
They became World Tag Team Champion in WWE, defeating the monstrous team of Big Show and Kane just two days after Wrestlemania 23. They were all recognised as Tag Team Champions, defending the belts under the freebird rule.
The bulk of their run, however, was as Mr McMahon’s lackey in his feud with Shawn Michaels. They mainly lost repeatedly to the newly reformed D-Generation X, before being literally shipped off back to developmental in November 2006.
Two of the members did return in 2016, in Dolph Ziggler’s feud with The Miz.
6. Dr Isaac Yankem, DDS
Before he became a WWE hall of famer as the legendary gimmick of Kane, Glen Jacobs was drafted into WWE to play an evil dentist.
Kids are afraid of dentists, so what could go wrong? It was the perfect character.
Except obviously not, what a stupid idea. It was stupid when Britt Baker made her whole character being a dentist, and it’s stupid now too.
Yankem, a poor pun surrounding the job of a dentist, was brought into WWE as the personal dentist of Jerry Lawler who also happened to be a six foot nine wrestler.
I really cannot stress how ridiculous this is, and somebody should have been fired for almost ruining the man who would become Kane.
In 2020, WWE almost succeeded in creating a relevant, topical and interesting gimmick. In the midst of the ANTIFA protests across America, a new group, clad in all black and masked, terrorised WWE backstage, not setting foot in a ring for weeks.
They threw explosives outside the arena, terrorising WWE staff and striking fear in WWE superstars and fans alike. Who knew what societal change they were trying to use violence to bring about? Was it the start of a more subtle, nuanced gimmick in WWE?
Nope, Retribution were just a group of guys from NXT who wanted contracts. It went from a really interesting gimmick to one of the worst in seconds flat. The second they set foot in the ring, and announced their new ring names, the gimmick was.
I will just list out their names and allow you to make your own conclusion over whether or not I’m claiming is true.
Yes, they are the actual names WWE thought “This will be popular”.
Mustafa Ali was eventually revealed as the groups leader, but that storyline went nowhere and group disbanded a year later.
4. Max Moon
Konnan is one of the biggest Mexican stars of the last twenty years. In the 1990s, he was described as “The Mexican Hulk Hogan”. He was a HUGE deal.
So, when he signed for WWE in 1991, he had a great idea for a new gimmick. An awful gimmick, but a new one at least.
From what I can tell, the inspiration was if a Power Ranger and a Transformer had a baby, which was then sick on Konnan, creating Max Moon.
Max Moon was a cyborg from outer space, which totally fit in with WWE’s awful gimmick policy in the 1990s. It was somehow NOT a Vince McMahon creation, and actually an idea Konnan had got while wrestling in Japan.
He lasted a little over a month in the role before quitting WWE, and was replaced by Paul Diamond for a brief stint before the character was removed from television.
What’s worse than giving a great Mexican wrestler a terrible gimmick? Giving three great Mexican wrestlers a terrible racist gimmick!
Super Crazy, Psicosis and Juventud Guerrera were three of the top Mexican wrestlers in the United states. They formed a group that were tired of being stereotyped as the typical Mexican labourers that was prevalent in the United States.
However, it soon turned into the very thing that they claimed to parody. They drove into the arena and to ring on ridable lawn mowers, not as a parody of the stereotypes, but simply making them correct.
The group didn’t last too long, and turned what could have been an interesting and nuanced gimmick to one of the most boring, lazy and racist ones in WWE.
2. The Gobbeldy Gooker
The second worst gimmick in WWE history is one of the most ridiculous too. Before Survivor Series 1990, a giant egg started appearing at various WWE shows. The egg was due to hatch at the Survivor Series show, prompting fans to speculate who might be debuting from the egg.
At the show, the egg finally cracked and out jumped a man in a Turkey costume. Named as “The Gobbeldy Gooker”, the turkey danced in the ring with “Mean” Gene Okerlund, as fans showered him with boos.
What’s worse is that they drafted in Hector Guerrero, member of the legendary Guerrero wrestling family to portray the stupid turkey. The Gooker would appear for the next few weeks, but was soon dropped and rarely mentioned again.
He did return at the Gimmick Battle Royale at Wrestlemania 17, and has made a handful of appearances since then, exclusive for comedy purposes.
Mid 1990s WWE continues to provide some of the worst things in history. If you thought a wrestling dentist or whatever a “Slapjack” is was bad, then you have never seen the absolute horror that is Mantaur.
Mantaur made his WWE debut in 1995, walking to the ring with a giant bulls head on his head. In the ring, he stood there mooing at his opponent and feigning that he was about to trample over the jobber in the ring with him.
If that wasn’t ridiculous enough, he then took the giant bulls head off, and was just a random guy. So whilst he wasn’t a real bull, the wrestler who was known as Mantaur decided that it would be a good idea to get a bulls head, and wear it to the ring, and pretend to be a bull until the match started.
It is the worst gimmick WWE have ever done, because logically, what is even going on.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.