Two days ago, I wrote an article just in time for Halloween about the most horrifying gimmicks the WWE has ever produced. And now, after a few days of thought, I have decided to give the same treatment to the stars of World Championship Wrestling.
While WWE may have had a fascination with the macabre side of things, WCW was easily the B-movie patron saint of wrestling's horror gimmicks.
Nearly every attempt that the WCW made ended more laughably than it started, so without further ado, we look towards the past with these 13 atrocities (only a few of which were actually good).
Kevin Nash couldn’t catch a break during the embryonic stages of his career. Before the man we knew as Big Daddy Cool was winning world championships, WCW dressed him in their most ridiculous getups and advertised him as being from the Land of, you guessed it, Oz.
WCW based the entire gimmick for Nash’s initial run off of the critically acclaimed musical classic, going as far as to dress him in full wizard garb with gray hair and an annoying entry voice proclaiming “Welcome to Oz!”
Though much of the grandeur of the gimmick was dropped late in the run, Oz did manage to become one of the scant few victims of another terrible WCW wrestler, Bill Kazmaier.
When he started wrestling in WCW, Alex Wright was meant to be a plain old babyface grappler from Germany. But after his talents proved to be less than hoped, WCW went with a major overhaul on the character. He was a charismatic, young heartthrob with a slight arrogance dilemma. This was a good thing.
Recreating Wright as a gothic, neo-Nazi named Berlyn was an altogether terrible thing. As Berlyn, Wright would come to ring in all black, wearing sunglasses with an attitude even more superior than his previous gimmick.
Perhaps the only notable thing to come out of the Berlyn era of his career was his massive associate The Wall, played by the late Jerry Tuite.
That’s right, it wasn’t enough for the Germans to suffer through a post-modern dictator gimmick; they also had to be reminded of a country-dividing barrier that served as a black eye for World history and culture.
Don’t remember this one? Back in the late 90’s, crossovers from the mainstream media were commonplace for both the WWF and WCW.
While most of the celebrities we had become accustomed to seeing were athletes and late night television hosts, we weren’t all too familiar with a supernaturally possessed killer doll.
Yet when the film Bride of Chucky was set to debut in theaters across the country, WCW negotiated a deal to plug the film by bringing Chucky into your living rooms.
It started with weeks of menacing laughter before he finally revealed himself, and thankfully, in the midst of a Rick Steiner promo.
What’s more terrifying than Chucky? The fact that he cut a better promo than Steiner did on this or any night in the Dog-faced Gremlin’s career.
During the Summer of 1990, fans were given an incredible treat with one of the biggest blow off matches of all time: Sting vs. Ric Flair.
While many believed the torch had been passed to Sting to carry WCW into the new decade, there was still the question of who could challenge him and, better yet, what to do with Flair.
Enter what is singularly one of the worst gimmicks of all time.
The Black Scorpion appeared as a vigilante from parts unknown hoping to take Sting out. His strategy? He would perform incredibly lame magic tricks on the audience and constantly multiply to attack the Stinger.
After months of back-and-forth insanity, Scorpion appeared out of a spaceship (really) to fight Sting at Starrcade 1990. He lost, but not before he was unmasked and revealed to be Ric Flair.
This gimmick was also the start of Ole Anderson’s famous voice box promos, which would carry over to another “star” found later on this list.
Ed Leslie could have his own personal list of scary gimmicks, a testament to the staying power of one of Hulk Hogan’s best buddies.
So when talking about his character Booty Man, all we can really do is turn to the Wikipedia definition of the character:
“His gimmick was that of a man infatuated with his own-seemingly bare-buttocks, shaking them on the way to the ring and during matches.”
Surprisingly, this quote doesn’t help Leslie ascend to No. 1.
It has been 20 years since Rock and Wrestling have mixed successfully. While the combinations created from Cyndi Lauper, Lou Albano and Roddy Piper were the stuff of legends, anything since has been a far cry from successful. In 1999, WCW felt like they had another winner on the way. Wrong!
Eric Bischoff negotiated a deal with the band KISS, who were fresh on the comeback trail for their careers. The deal was basically for KISS not only to perform a concert live on Nitro, but for the band to unveil an all-new wrestler based upon Gene Simmons. And so, the KISS Demon was born.
While the gimmick was originally assigned to Brian “Crush” Adams, it would later take form with Dale Torborg, who wrestled in a handful of very forgettable matches, most of which were against our next entry on the list.
Ah, Vampiro. After more than a decade wrestling on the independent scene, Vampiro finally hit it big when he signed with WCW. He could’ve had a huge career with the company, and by all accounts, they tried to give him one.
Vampiro would feud with several of the top stars in the company, most notably Sting, before he completely derailed.
He would be associated with music acts The Misfits and the Insane Clown Posse before wrestling in a terrible series of contests against Mike Awesome and the KISS Demon.
In fact, the only thing more frightening than his skull face paint was his performances, and sooner than later he was dropped altogether.
In an era still finding its identity, Mick Foley was hardcore defined with his Cactus Jack persona. Jack was a mean, rugged individual willing to drench himself and any opponents in a sea of blood.
Jack cut renegade promos with a touch of insanity that made for great fodder in the early 90’s. His rivalry with Vader made for some of the most extreme, legit contest during the decade.
And of course, when talking about such a rivalry, we have to bring up the incident that led to Cactus losing half his ear during a match overseas.
Dustin Rhodes was always a technically sound wrestler. He came from a great bloodline and could cut great promos. So again, WCW, in their creative brilliance, took Rhodes, fresh off his Goldust character, and made him into the eerie and bizarre Se7en.
Vignettes would air promoting a painted-white Rhodes riding a pale horse, acting as a guardian and a ghost to those he saw over. In the words of Pee-Wee Herman: “Why? What’s the significance? I Don’t Know!”
Upon his debut, Se7en levitated to the ring and appeared ready to cut one of the scariest promos of all time.
But this was WCW in the Vince Russo era, so Rhodes immediately broke character and decided to instead wrestle as Dustin Rhodes. The whole gimmick lasted no matches. Just one promo.
We’ve already gone over so many different wastes of money in WCW history that the lexicon wouldn’t be complete without former World Heavyweight Champion David Arquette.
Arquette was a moderately successful actor and part of the ensemble cast of the Scream trilogy when he came to WCW and shockingly (and for no good reason) won the WCW Championship.
This was all incredibly silly, but nothing could compare to the full-blown heel turn Arquette would make after becoming champion.
That’s right: not only was Arquette an indescribable champion, but he was also a wannabe heel holding what was once the most prestigious title in wrestling history. Lord help us.
Ladies and gentlemen, the biggest flop in the history of professional wrestling is still one of the most talked about characters as well.
The Shockmaster was set to debut in 1992 as WCW’s biggest star. While Fred Ottman, formerly of Typhoon and Tugboat fame, was disguised as a glittery storm trooper, he would explode through a wall during a live WCW show.
Instead of exploding, Ottman tripped over a board in the bottom of the wall, fell flat on his face, and lost his helmet entirely. The whole incident was made worse by an incomprehensible Ole Anderson promo through the voice box of doom.
The Shockmaster, brainchild of Dusty Rhodes, never caught on and Ottman would later wrestle with gimmicks in which he was nothing but clumsy.
By the time WWE lampooned the incident to promote their Rise and Fall of WCW DVD release, word had reached even further on the legend of the Shockmaster.
Strong, tough, and wearing some of the most awesome head gear of all time, Leon White was a grizzly bear of a wrestler known as Big Van Vader. But what made Vader scary was his ferocity and shoot style inside the ring.
Vader was notorious for injuring opponents, hurting himself, and creating mass controversy as a bruising force for the locker room. No one would dare stand up to him, save for perhaps Stan Hansen in one eye-popping incident.
Just watch the following video tutorial, and you too can be just like Vader.
WCW would have you believe that no one man was bigger than Hulkamania, so when they attempted to bring him down in 1995, they assembled an army of absolute stupidity to do it instead. The Dungeon of Doom was comprised of wrestling veterans who all hated Hulk Hogan and wanted to end his career.
But instead of having it be just regular guys in their normal attire, several new, supernatural and dumb characters were created to give the illusion that other forces were out to stop Hogan.
Yes, friends, the Dungeon of Doom was unstoppable in 1995. No one member can top this list, so let’s just run down all of them with brief descriptions.
-The Master: Played by King Curtis Iaukea, a longtime friend of Hogan’s, he chanted bizarre rants to his minions while appearing to be caked in flour.
-Kevin Sullivan: Known as the Taskmaster, Sullivan was still in the booking end of things, likely the reason he received this inconceivable push.
-Zodiac: Ed Leslie appearing in a recycled Brutus Beefcake zebra costume with black and white face paint.
-The Shark: John Tenta even changed his signature LSU Tiger tattoo to a shark to better fit this terrible rehash.
-Kamala: Always intimidating thanks to his size, he was known as the Ugandan Giant.
-The Barbarian: Never able to break free of the tag team division, Barbarian was a large Samoan with solid skills.
-Meng: Also known as Haku, he claimed a finisher called the Tongan Death Grip.
-The Giant: A young, skinny Big Show and the focal point of the group.
-Lex Luger: Enough said.
Plus, I better not forget other minor additions like the One Man Gang, Braun the Leprechaun, Hugh Morrus, Maxx Muscle, Loch Ness, Konnan, Big Bubba Rogers, and the most infamous member, the Yeti. Yes, the Yeti, who appeared once dressed as a giant mummy, and then later as Scorpion from Mortal Kombat on steroids.
How could anyone else top this list from WCW? Happy Halloween, folks!