Let's be honest: WWE has had too many bad gimmicks to count. For every great gimmick (like, say, The Undertaker) there are at least three mediocre ones.
But these ones are different. They weren't just bad—they were awful. They made you embarrassed to be a wrestling fan.
So, considering things like just how cringeworthy they were, as well as how badly they affected the career of the performer playing them, let's have a look at the 10 worst gimmicks in WWE history.
The “Lord Tensai” gimmick very nearly wrecked Matt Bloom's WWE career.
Seriously, what were WWE's writing crew thinking when they came up with such a one-dimensional, horribly outdated character? Sure, the scary, silent Lord Tensai could have been a good monster heel—in the '80s. In 2012, however? He just seemed lame.
You knows things are bad when being Brodus Clay's oft-ridiculed dancing sidekick is actually a major improvement on what you were doing before.
The futuristic Max Moon character, played by little-known wrestler Paul Diamond, is one of the most infamous flops in WWE history.
Billed from “outer space” (well, at least he never had to worry about being embarrassed in his home town), Moon would lumber out to the ring in an elaborate bright blue costume designed to look like something from the year 2320. The outfit—surely one of the most ridiculous ever—also came complete with various gadgets and a jet pack.
One presumes this short-lived character was Vince McMahon's attempts to reach out to kids. It didn't work.
OK, so a gimmick which features a group of super evil male cheerleaders running amok all over the WWE sounds like a fun lower midcard act on paper. But as a heel stable that was meant to be a major force to be reckoned with? It was a total flop.
Credit to all: Kenny, Johnny, Mitch, Nicky and Mikey. They tried, but they only had so much to work with. It didn't help that the Spirit Squad were often made to look foolish and inept during their high-profile feud with Shawn Michaels and Triple H.
Indeed, when Triple H and Michaels finally did shove their foes in a giant crate—hilariously marked with an “OVW” label—it seemed more like a mercy kill than anything else.
Unsurprisingly, most of the members faded into obscurity after this angle ended, with only Dolph “Nicky” Ziggler going on to find success.
Before he was Kane, Glenn Jacobs was Isaac Yankem, DDS, evil dentist. Per the storyline, heel Jerry Lawler had called in the sadistic doctor to help him defeat long-running foe Bret Hart.
Yeah, this was every bit as awful as it sounds, especially the numerous cringeworthy tooth-related puns that both Lawyer and Yankem would throw around.
Thankfully, the angle was soon dropped, and Jacobs was allowed to move on to bigger, better things. Otherwise it would have surely been higher on this list.
He's The Boogeyman! And he's coming to get you!
Gross, disgusting and not entertaining in the least, The Boogeyman character had to be one of the worst gimmicks in WWE history. Not to mention those poor worms that got eaten alive all in the name of getting Marty Wright, the man behind the act, over. (Quick! Someone call PETA!)
That said, Wright's obvious enthusiasm for the role—he was possibly the only person that liked it—stops this from getting too high a placement on this list. He tried, at least.
Possibly in a bid to give talented, but bland wrestler Shelton Benjamin more personality, in 2006 the company assigned the star an unlikely new manager—his melodramatic, overbearing mother, Mrs. Benjamin. She wasn't really his mother, of course. The part was played by an actress (who probably wasn't putting this on her resume).
Rather than helping Benjamin's career, this rather awful character only hindered it and, by the time they dropped the manager from the act, he was as entrenched in lower midcard as he ever was.
Yes, even by WWE's low standards, the Eugene character was still pretty wretched. Presented in the storyline as Eric Bischoff's special needs nephew, Eugene was frequently used by WWE as a source of amusement.
Oh, come on, you thought WWE was going to handle an on-air mental condition with sensitivity and subtlety?
Nick Dinsmore, the man behind the gimmick, never managed to move on from Eugene. Which was a shame because, ridiculous angles aside, he was a very good wrestler.
OK, so Chavo Guerrero was probably never going to be a big player in wrestling—he lacks the mic skills and personality. Frankly, the man has “lower midcard act” written all over him.
But did WWE really think an angle in which Guerrero abandoned his Mexican heritage and turned into the snobbish, golf-playing Kerwin White would turn his career around? (Dolph Ziggler, a man who knows a thing or two about gimmicks, also showed up as his caddy at one point.)
Offensive, embarrassing and flat-out stupid, Guerrero's career could never truly recover from this gimmick.
Over two decades on, and Terry Taylor still hasn't lived this one down.
One of the most notorious gimmicks in wrestling history, “The Red Rooster” gimmick saw Taylor come out clad in scarlet and strutting around doing a bad impression of (yes!) a rooster!
It was totally ridiculous.
Unsurprisingly, after this gimmick (mercifully) ended in 1990, Taylor never did manage to get his wrestling career back on track and eventually wound down his in-ring duties to work backstage.
Per the storyline, super-stud Mark Henry would make a pass at anything that moved. This famously led to a mischievous Chyna tricking the former Olympian into kissing a man in drag once on a live edition of Raw. He later found love with octogenarian Mae Young—presented as the only woman on earth who could match his sexual appetite.
Presumably because this angle wasn't bizarre enough, Young soon got pregnant and gave birth to, well, a hand.
It's a testament to Henry's hard work and talent that he eventually managed to rebound from this debacle and have a respectable career as a World title contender. Because this storyline was horrendous. It may very well be the worst thing the Attitude Era ever churned out, which is really saying something.
Admittedly, though, the “Sexual Chocolate” theme was pretty cool, in a Barry White rip-off type way.