WWE: The 10 Stupidest Gimmick Changes
Name and gimmick changes are as much a part of wrestling as faces, heels and world titles. Many workers in our favorite sport have switched identities and gone on to great success as a wrestler.
But what about those who didn't make the right choice?
For every Terry Boulder to Hulk Hogan or Ringmaster to Stone Cold switch, there is a Terry Taylor to Red Rooster transition.
So which ones are the worst of the worst? Well, let's take a little trip down memory lane...
#10: Shawn Stasiak to Planet Stasiak
Sure, it's not like Shawn Stasiak was lighting the world on fire before his name change. As a member of the Alliance, Stasiak's role was to charge at an enemy who would sidestep him, thus sending Stasiak head-first into a wall or door.
Yes folks, that was it.
So no one was really surprised when he was repackaged but...Planet Stasiak? What does that even mean?
To make matters worse, Stasiak rattled off ridiculous and pointless poetry as part of his name change then proceeded to lose every single match ever.
Suddenly, running head-first into objects doesn't seem like such a bad gig.
#9: Chavo Guerrero to Kerwin White
There's a saying on the internet that you can never have too many Guerreros on your roster if you're a wrestling promotions.
However, WWE criminally underused Chavo Guerrero for his entire career in the promotion. Chavo was also a really good worker and showed flashes of charisma during his time in WCW.
In one of the stupidest moves of the last few years, WWE changed Chavo Guerrero, Mexican superstar to Kerwin White, evil white golfer.
If that's not bad enough, his catchphrase was "if it's not white, it's not right."
#8: Friar Ferguson to Bastion Booger
Mike Shaw came to the World Wrestling Federation after achieving a very little bit of success in WCW but he probably would have stayed in Turner-land if he knew what Vince McMahon had in store for him.
Shaw debuted as Friar Ferguson, a wrestling monk that immediately drew the protests of the Catholic Church.
So, WWF did the next logical thing: They turned Shaw into a disgusting hunchback character who ate, burped and farted constantly.
Strangely, this did not instantly catapult Shaw to main-eventing PPVs and he was released soon after.
#7: Isaac Yankem to Fake Diesel
This is actually sort of a joint induction.
Glen Jacobs (the man we currently know as Kane) didn't exactly hit the gimmick jackpot right out of the gate.
He debuted as Jerry Lawler's personal dentist Issac Yankem (I. Yankem...get it?) during the King's feud with Bret Hart.
After that gimmick failed, he was repackaged as Fake Diesel. That's right, young wrestling fans...Jim Ross once had to introduce a worker who pretended to be Kevin Nash.
The fans rightly booed Fake Diesel out of the building (and not in a good way) before he was mercifully taken off television and made into the Big Red Machine.
#6: Billy Gunn to Rockabilly
Before he was the New Age Outlaw, before he was the Bad Ass, before he was Mr. Ass...he was Rockabilly.
The Honky Tonk Man returned to the WWF in early 1997 and announced he was searching for a protege to take over the HTM's mantle as the world's greatest singer and wrestler.
Hey, why not? Let Honky give a young kid a rub and maybe get him over as an uppercard heel.
Well, any positives went right out the window as soon as HTM announced that Billy Gunn (who had no experience as a singles wrestler in the WWF) was his new protege.
Gunn debuted as "Rockabilly" and grinned like a total goon while his stupid theme music played in the background.
Gunn feuded with "Double J" Jesse James (a pre-NAO Road Dogg) over who had the worst gimmick before they joined forced and became...
The future TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS OF THE WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORLLLLLLLLLLLD.
#5: Tony Atlas to Saba Simba
Tony Atlas was a very popular wrestling back in his day. Known as "Black Superman", Tony was a superstar of the highest order until he became a victim of the "too much, too soon" sickness that plagues the wrestling business.
After a hiatus from the WWF, Atlas returned not as a returning tag team champion but as an African tribesman who wore a ridiculous headdress and carried a shield and spear to the ring.
Also, he was never acknowledged as Atlas, Saba Simba was supposed to be a completely different person.
The gimmick was considered really stupid by almost everyone and somewhat racist by a few.
His only memorable moment during this time period came during a match where Roddy Piper was on commentary.
Simba appeared on-screen and Piper immediately screamed "Hey, it's Tony Atlas!" while Vince McMahon stared laser beams through his eyes.
#4: Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart to Who
Jim Neidhart was one half of arguably the most hated/popular tag team of the 1980s, the Hart Foundation. Anvil was a really good big man in the ring with a pretty good moveset for such a big powerhouse.
So of course, when Neidhart returned from a brief WWF hiatus, Vince McMahon repackaged him as Who.
That's right, nothing more nothing less...just Who.
The whole gimmick was designed just so McMahon and Jerry Lawler could do the Abbott and Costello "Who's on First?" routine during his matches. It was extremely stupid and served absolutely no purpose other than to waste people's time.
#3: Headbanger Mosh to Beaver Cleavage
If there is ever a list of bad gimmicks that doesn't include Beaver Cleavage, then you can safely assume that the author is a know-nothing hack.
Not only is Beaver one of the worst gimmicks in wrestling history, it is also one of the stupidest names.
I realize it was the Attitude Era and all that. But did we really need to be pounded on the head with sexual innuendo?
Go ahead, watch that video up there and see if you can figure out how this was supposed to get Beaver over because I have absolutely no idea.
#2: One Man Gang to Akeem the African Dream
No, the color on your monitor is not messed up.
The One Man Gang, a rough and tumble heel, participated in the world title tournament at WrestleMania IV and seemed to be doing alright as a lower-card heel.
However, WWE had something much more interesting in store for him.
In September 1988, his manager Slick introduced us to an African ceremony taking place in "The Deepest Darkest Parts Of Africa." You see, the OMG was actually African and was "going back to his roots."
Rechristened Akeem, the African Dream, the big man proceeded to cut a promo in the most stereotypical "ghetto" voice in wrestling history.
What the hell was in the water in Stanford, Connecticut during 1988?
#1: Terry Taylor to the Red Rooster
Poor Terry Taylor.
Here's a popular urban legend: Curt Hennig and Terry Taylor both entered the World Wrestling Federation at the same time.
The WWF had two gimmicks ready to be debuted on TV: The Red Rooster and Mr. Perfect.
Rumor has it that WWF officials tossed a coin to see who would get which gimmick and Terry Taylor wound up having to dye his hair red and crow like an idiot.
Terry Taylor was a good worker with a decent personality who could probably have been a solid midcard guy for years as simply "Terry Taylor".
Instead, being the Red Rooster turned Taylor into a curtain-jerking joke who's only high-profile feud was with the Brooklyn Brawler.
Read that again...freakin' Steve Lombardi.
So, once again: Poor Terry Taylor.