Craig Wilson, Brian Damage & Jamie Lithgow
We follow up last week’s Top Five Worst WWE Gimmicks of the 1990s by looking at equally terribly gimmicks over in World Championship Wrestling. Whether it’s goofy characters or terrible debuts, you’ll find them in this latest Top Five.
It’s impossible to find a photograph of the Yeti when he looks like a Yeti and not a mummy and it’s even harder to take the character seriously. Did I mention he broke out of a huge block of ice?
Yet we were suppposed to believe he was Dungeon of Doom’s insurance policy against Hulk Hogan ahead of Halloween Havoc 1995. You want to know what happened at Halloween Havoc, don’t you? Well, the Giant had Hogan in a bearhug and Yeti hit the ring and applied one of his own on Hogan, from behind and started thrusting. Yup.
A few gimmick changes later – including being known as Super Giant Ninja, Yeti became Reese and joined Raven’s flock.
The WCW were throwing money around in the 1990s and threw a tonne of money at Kiss in order to create a wrestler with a similar image to theirs. In another sign that WCW forgot that it is was 90s and not the 80s, they had KISS perform live on Nitro in one of the lowest-rated segments in the show’s history. Oh, I forgot to mention, in the contract with KISS was a guarantee of a main event match… This came at SuperBrawl 2000 in a “special main event” that was fourth on the show where Demon jobbed to The Wall. At least if KISS had sued WCW over this the angle would have had a pay-off of sorts.
Thinking they could rip off Marvel Comics without them noticing, WCW debuted Arachnaman in 1991 with the only change being Spiderman’s red and blue colours were changed to purple and yellow. What’s worse was that Arachnaman was portrayed by Brad Amrstrong, a member of the legendary Amrstrong family. This was cut mercifully short due to the threat of a lawsuit that everyone bar WCW saw coming.
For all the success that Kevin Nash would have in wrestling, it was not the most auspicious start he had under the gimmick of Oz.
Debuting in May 1991, Kevin Sullivan served as the Wizard screaming “welcome to Oz” as he made his way to the ring before Nash followed wearing a sorcerer’s hat and a huge white beard. As per, he quickly racked up wins over jobbers before the WCW realised it was going nowhere and cut it short before repackaging him as Vinnie Vegas. Nash must have been delighted that WWF signed him and brought him in as Diesel. Without Diesel, Nash could never have been taken seriously in the nWo.
1. The Shockmaster
Ah, as debuts go this is remarkable. In fact, any excuse to show that video again.
After that debut he was always going to struggle and did. As far as commentaries on debuts go, it’s difficult to beat Davey Boy Smith’s “he fell on his arse… he fell flat on his fucking arse!”
Steve DiSalvo wrestled as the Minotaur back in 1991. He was proclaimed a half man…half bull..(Sound familiar?) Believe it or not, WCW had this stupid gimmick a few years before the WWF had it with Mantaur. Regardless, it was still very stupid.
4. Stewart Payne/Hole in One Barry Darsow
Years after his success as Krusher Kruschev and Demolition Smash….Barry Darsow was able to escape the WWF’s cartoon atmosphere and the Repo Man Character and reinvent himself. What he got instead, was an evil golfer gimmick first named Stewart Payne and then renamed Hole in One.
3. Braun the Leprechaun
The Dungeon of Doom can have a list of stupid gimmicks all by themselves. From the Zodiac, to The Ultimate Solution, Z Gangster, the Yeti and so forth. I’ve decided to choose Buddy Lee Parker’s Braun the Leprechaun gimmick. Why? It was just stupid in a faction filled with stupidity.
Blade and Steele or Al Green and Kevin Nash…Road Warrior wannabes who were not as good or intimidating.
1. Super Shockmaster
As if Shockmaster himself wasn’t a trainwreck….WCW tried to save face with the gimmick by having Fred Ottman play the Super Shockmaster…the Shockmaster…only Super. Ugh!
Certainly not the most embarrassing gimmick in the world, but still, what were WCW thinking?! For those unfamiliar with Glacier he was a weak imitation of Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat. His debut was hyped – and delayed for months – due to the debut of The nWo. So a guy who thinks he’s a computer game character debuted at a time when WCW were changing drastically towards more realistic characters and storylines?! His admittedly impressive entrance and elaborate costume also cost an unjustifiable amount of money. It didn’t end there either. Just as Sub-Zero has Scorpion, Glacier was given Mortis to fight against.
4. The Bootyman
I’m keeping myself to just one Ed ‘Brutus Beefcake’ Leslie gimmick, otherwise I could probably populate a top 10 with him alone. With plenty to choose from it’s a tough call, but I’m going with The Bootyman; a man infatuated with his own ass. Billy Gunn almost made such a gimmick work, but Ed Leslie and his terrible dad-dancing did not. What’s scary is that he was aligned with top babyface Hulk Hogan and feuded with future WCW Champion Diamond Dallas Page. Low-card act he was not.
3. The Renegade
Couldn’t persuade The Ultimate Warrior to sign with your wrestling promotion? Don’t worry, just paint another guy’s face and hope fans will fall for it. What’s worrying is that it worked on enough people to land The Renegade the WCW TV Title… by defeating Arn Anderson!
2. The Ultimate Solution
When The Four Horsemen and The Dungeon of Doom joined forces to form The Alliance To End Hulkamania, they needed a couple of end level bosses for the big Doomsday Cage Match at Uncensored ’96. Enter Z-Gangsta – Zeus from WWF – and…. The Final Solution! That’s right, a very large man named after Adolf Hitler’s plan to systematically exterminate the Jewish population of mainland Europe. After one or two complaints, The Final Solution was renamed The Ultimate Solution…. and then jobbed to Hogan. The genius’ at WCW really didn’t help themselves…
He was a Yeti, yet looked like a giant Egyptian mummy. He made his debut after a giant ice cube blew up. He dry humped Hulk Hogan. He then apparently transformed into a giant ninja – because nobody told the announce team his new name. Best of all, none of this was performed or delivered tongue-in-cheek. You gotta love WCW in 1995!
You can read all previous Top Five pieces here.