I've gathered you here to talk about something very near and dear to my heart. We're here to talk about monsters.
Specifically, those crazed wrestlers designed, through one gimmick or another, to scare us and inspire our wrestling favorites to great acts of heroism. Over the years there have been almost too many to count, ranging from the truly frightening (Abdullah the Butcher) to the insane (Luther) to the downright odd (the Boogeyman), and they are a big part of the spectacle that makes wrestling so special.
Men in these roles, like Vader and The Undertaker, have shaken the foundations of federations and made the entire wrestling industry tremble at their passing. But this list isn't about those people. Those people were awesome.
No, this list is about the men who were set up to be big, scary, intimidating monsters and somewhere along the way they just...weren't. The laughable, the cheesy, the inept and the clumsy, here is our list of the top eight least intimidating monsters in wrestling history.
And here's hoping none of them are hiding in your closet ready to jump out and ask for bus fare.
I can hear you.
"Abyss?" you're saying. "Abyss was awesome years ago when he used to have James Mitchell and stuff."
Indeed, Abyss was once a big man with a scary gimmick who could throw you around and liked to bleed for fun. Once upon a time were the days when he destroyed people with glee as his demonic manager looked on.
But the reason that I'm talking about it like something out of a storybook is because after what has happened to him in the days since, he may as well have worn a pretty princess costume and asked for a pony.
Really, the trouble first started when TNA decided to delve into Abyss' backstory, coming up with some kind of ridiculous thing about how Abyss was James Mitchell's son, and then Mitchell introduced his own son Judas Mesias and...yeah, Paul Bearer is about ready for his royalty check. Anyway, this all resulted in Abyss starting to talk.
And boy did he ever go on talking after that, always crying and moping and eventually seeking a therapist—and yeah, we're not going to get into the mess of Abyss continuity here.
The point is that over time he actually became sympathetic and then never really stopped being that way. Even when they tried to turn him heel down the line, they had already established that it was all the result of his mental illness and, well, he was nice deep down.
He liked people and wanted to be liked, and he rarely actually beat anyone, so little by little he just became an irrelevant part of the show for the most part.
In recent times, Abyss has salvaged his career by playing a lawyer who can't wrestle that occasionally turns into Abyss like a sweaty Bruce Banner. It's pretty great, but not good enough to save him from this list.
To be honest, this is almost cheating.
See, when the idea for the KISS Demon was originally floated in WCW, the aspirations were quite high. There would be four men portraying the character, and it would have all kinds of merchandise and advertisements tie-ins for WCW.
They played a KISS concert live on Nitro to kick the whole thing off with great fanfare and sat back, ready to see those millions roll in.
Unfortunately, a funny thing happened on the way to the great money pile. The funny thing was that nobody cared in the slightest about KISS or their concert or their demon.
WCW, trapped in a long-term contract that promised that the KISS Demon would be presented heavily on the shows to offer free advertising for the band, they just went ahead and stuck a young Dale Torborg in the role and said "Ah, good enough."
What followed was the single most half-hearted attempt by any company ever to get a monster over. He would do his entrance, come down to the ring and job in less than five minutes to any reasonably big star. Then he would come out and squash jobbers.
He was being built as the Jobber Jobber Killer, and the fans responded with titanic amounts of apathy.
The only thing scary here was someone's decision that KISS was a foolproof product to sell to teenagers in the late 90s.
"Oh snap! There's a mummy coming after us, guys! He just broke out of that giant cube of ice and he's coming right for us! What do you mean 'how do I know he's a mummy?' He's wrapped in bandages and tattered clothes and he's walking like a freaking mummy, that's how. What? He's a yeti? Pronounced 'Yet-te'? Well how is anyone supposed to understand that visually when he's dressed exactly like a mummy, walking like a mummy and actively humping Hulk Hogan as an offensive maneuver?
Wait, he's a ninja too? You know what, never mind. I'd rather he killed me than try to figure this out."
Let's be clear. If this were a list of the worst wrestlers of all time, or the worst gimmick of all time, Giant Gonzales would be higher on this list. He would also rank highly on lists about poor dressers and lists about truly impressive mullets. But he's on this list because, well, look at him.
Giant Gonzales is genuinely the tallest wrestler on record. The former Argentinian Olympic basketball player stood a downright frightening 7'7", literally towering over every over big man in wrestling.
Not only that, but he was a truly charming man, beloved in his home country and by everyone he met. He had charisma, he had size, he had an athletic background. What could go wrong?
Well, for starters, he was a shockingly inept wrestler. I don't mean that he was sloppy, or that he was green when it comes to psychology. I mean that the man seems to emit a powerful force field of suck from his body that cripples everyone it comes in contact with.
There aren't many people who you could reasonably say have never successfully performed a wrestling maneuver, but Gonzales is one such.
"But Cewsh," you may be saying, "he can't be THAT bad, can he?"
Yes, yes he can, person who won't stop arguing with me. As evidence, I submit to you his finishing move where he makes the act of palming his opponent's face like a basketball and crushing it in his hand look as inoffensive as possible.
Okay, now with that out of the way, let's point out that upon coming to WWE in 1993, they noted that there was a problem with Gonzales. Namely that he had the muscle definition of a trout. Someone in wardrobe then had a brilliant flash of an idea that will send them down in history as the worst decision-maker of the decade.
So now he was an awful wrestler in a hairy muscle jumpsuit. I don't know about you, but if the devil presented himself to me looking like this I would just chuckle and go back to watching TV.
I truly don't want to speak ill of the dead (Gonzales died in 2009 from diabetes-related complications at the age of 44), but some men are not made for wrestling, no matter how much promoters try. And among them, Gonzales was as a giant among men.
Giant Silva and Giant Gonzales are not the same person. I know many people have mentioned that they thought so, so I just wanted to clear that up right off the bat. Unfortunately for Giant Silva, just because they aren't the same person doesn't mean that they don't share many of the same failings.
Both are big, both are not particularly muscular, both have some weird hair stuff going on and both were miserable wretches in a wrestling ring. But where Gonzales was unbelievably freakishly tall and quite charismatic so he might seem like a threat, Giant Silva walked around looking like the human incarnation of Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh.
I mean seriously, who could want to make that guy any more miserable than he already looks?
Add that to his wacky look, ever-expanding gut and his MMA record, which is more comparable to Glass Joe than any other Silva, and what you have is a big guy who didn't just fail as a big man but never even really got his enormous foot in the door.
Oh, Glen Jacobs. You poor, poor man.
Before he was known by the name that would eventually make him famous (Kane), Glen Jacobs played some truly awful monsters. From the absurdly one-dimensional Unibomb in Smokey Mountain to actually playing a fake version of another wrestler (Fake Diesel).
But without a doubt, the crowning achievement in awfulness had to be his portrayal of Jerry Lawler's evil dentist, Isaac Yankem.
Now if you're unfamiliar with the gimmick, you might be asking yourself two questions. Why did they think that a dentist gimmick would get over, and why does Jerry Lawler go to a sadistic, evil dentist in the first place?
These are both terrific questions, but neither was answered as Lawler used Yankem is his war against Bret Hart, culminating in a match at SummerSlam that nine out of ten dentists called "offensive to all forms of life on Earth."
Sadly, Jacobs did his best and committed to the dentist aspect of his character wholeheartedly. While nobody likes the dentist, his ridiculous curly blonde hair paired with his oddly professional outfit sunk any fear he might have been trying to instill from the get-go.
A few short months later and Yankem was a jobber to the stars as Jacobs passed the time to his next awful gimmick.
You almost wish you could go back in time and pat the big guy on the shoulder and let him know that good times will come eventually. Or at least give the same treatment to the people who had to witness Isaac Yankem in action.
Well actually, that's pretty scary to tell you the truth. The dead staring eyes of the enormous animal head as it towers over you with those sharp horns. I get it. So why is he even on this list to begin with?
*sees a picture of Mantaur with his helmet off*
Dear reader, let me level with you. The chain of events that led to Zeus entering a wrestling ring and facing off against Hulk Hogan are among the greatest atrocities ever committed by mortal man.
You see, it all goes back to a little movie called No Holds Barred in which the Hulkster and an actor named Tiny Lister both starred. As a wrestling fan, you are likely aware of the large baby oil stain this movie left on the entire film industry, but if you are not familiar with it, then let me say that it was the first movie WWE ever produced, it starred Hulk Hogan and it was a disaster.
See, in the movie Hogan played a wrestler named Rip who an evil network head wanted to sign to his show. Rip refused, so the promoter got a psychopath named Zeus (Lister) instead, who would actually kill his opponents in the ring. Like, really for real.
While attending a match with his little brother (public murder is family entertainment), Zeus locates and promptly beats the bejesus out of said little brother, sending him to the hospital.
From there it is so on between the two, and they fight at the big event and Rip actually appears to kill Zeus by knocking him off of a high perch and sending him crashing into the ring. Because that's how all movies should end, realistically.
To say that the movie was a critical and commercial disaster would be an understatement. The two-hour opus about Vanilla Ice romancing women on his motorcycle was better received. You might imagine that after such a wondrous experience, the WWE would bury this movie and everything about it like a pirate would bury treasure that was especially cursed and haunted.
You might think that, but then, that would mean that you aren't Vince McMahon.
Not only did WWE not ignore the film, but it actually brought Tiny Lister in to wrestle an actual wrestling match as Zeus. Now let's recap. This is a movie character who we had seen attempt murder numerous times, being brought in to wrestle Hulk Hogan, who was not playing his movie character Rip.
In other words, Zeus was bent on the destruction of a guy who happened to look like the guy he hates, and chose to forgo his murderous tactics to pin him in a wrestling match. He then claimed that he hated Hogan because he (meaning Zeus) had been the real star of the movie. So was this Tiny Lister wrestling Hogan, Zeus wrestling Rip or a movie character coming to life to wrestle a wrestler?
Off to a great start!
The match that resulted is exactly what you'd expect from an unprotected actor jacked up on steroids. It was awful in ways that only future alien species picking through the remains of our society will ever be able to properly analyze.
In person, Zeus was no bigger or scarier than anyone Hogan ever wrestled, and since nobody had seen the movie (lucky for them), he just looked like some dude with the crossest cross eye imaginable in there against their unbeatable hero. Hogan beat Zeus rather handily, and that was pretty much it.
Zeus disappeared a few months after, having never won a match, never to be seen again in the wrestling universe (until Hulk Hogan brought him into WCW as Z-Gangster, but we'll graciously ignore that).
Tiny Lister went to to a much more successful acting career, playing great roles in movies like Friday and The Dark Knight and even being the awesome president in The Fifth Element, but this role will haunt him until the day he dies. He's the winner of this prestigious contest and the top of this countdown.
I'm sure he's thrilled.
Welp, that's the end, folks. No more monsters here.
You've reached the end of the list. I know it's sad, but now you have to get back to work, or to homework, or to putting out that fire. I hope you've enjoyed our time together, because I know I have, but now it's time for us to say goodbye.
So until next time, keep reading, be good to one another and always remember to check under the bed before you go to sleep.
You never know where these eight wretched souls might be lurking...
For more Cewsh Reviews content, head on over to the welcoming shores of the official Cewsh Reviews blog.