Cody Rhodes set Twitter on fire when he said “He (Vince McMahon) doesn’t hold anybody back. A lot of times it’s hard for fans to accept that some of their favorites have a way to go.” in other words gimmicks don’t matter hard work does. And maybe he’s right Undertaker got an undead mortician over, Triple H rescued Hunter Hearst Helmsley, and The Rock overcame “The Blue Chipper” Rocky Maivia. Whatever way you slice it though, not everyone is successful with a bad gimmick. Here are 5 successful wrestlers killed by bad gimmicks.
Bill Irwin: “Wild” Bill Irwin had a pretty successful career teaming with his brother Scott as the Long Riders and a host of others. He won the Central States, The National, and the World Class Tag Team Championships with a variety of partners. He did well as a singles wrestler too, winning the NWA Texas, World Class TV and AWA Southern championships but he could see the writing on the wall. Bill was getting older and the WWE was hiring and his hard riding, motorcycle driving, the gimmick was a hit. The writers, however, had other plans for Wild Bill so they made him a wrestling hockey player called the Goon. There was a ton wrong with the character, If you’re a hockey player, why are you even wrestling but the killer was his outfit. Forced to come to the ring in complete hockey gear made Wild Bill look like a moron and he never recovered.
Terry Taylor: Terry Taylor was a good-looking, blond, technical wrestler who some saw as the next Ric Flair. He did great in the NWA as a top babyface winning championship after championship with and without partners. When the WWE came calling, he should have been a shoe-in as a handsome babyface. Sometimes though you get punished for how you act outside the ring and Taylor had a fault. Good or bad wrestlers almost always policed themselves “Wrestling Court”, presided over by the Undertaker, is a wrestling tradition. Taylor had his own tradition called going to the boss. Reportedly this did not make him popular and he got saddled with one of the worst gimmicks of all time “ The Little Red Rooster”. Terry was a fantastic talent but the gimmick laid an egg and Taylor was done.
Tony Anthony: Tony Anthony was a journeyman wrestler all over the NWA territories. He wrestled as part of the Dirty White Boys and The Grapplers with Len Denton and held titles on his own. At that time in the NWA plenty of wrestlers just had a tough guy gimmick, Dick Slater, Dick Murdoch, and Greg Valentine didn’t have a specific gimmick they were just tough. Tony Anthony kept this tradition and figured when he went to the WWE he’d bring that with him. The writers, however, needed everyone to have a gimmick and Anthony was stuck with TL Hopper the wrestling plumber. To make matter worse he would threaten people with a plunger because…..well…..it had been in a toilet. This gimmick was quickly flushed away as was Anthony.
Makhan Singh: There was no more horrible villain in Canada than Makhan Singh. He battled the valiant Hart Brothers all over Stampede Wrestling with his evil brothers Gama and Volhan Singh. He was a big man and everyone knows Vince McMahon like big men so he thought he would become a top heel as he entered the WWE. Makhan was stuck with not one but two horrible gimmicks. The first was Friar Ferguson a…..monk…..who would…..sit on people…..and eat chicken. Even Vince could see this was terrible so he was repackaged as Bastion Booger. Booger was…..gross….that’s it….smelly and gross….nothing else. The gimmick was thrown in the trash and Singh was done.
Hector Guerrero: Poor Hector Guerrero part of the famous Guerrero family and a great wrestler. He won titles all over California and was set to conquer the Mid-Atlantic area too when he was stuck with Laser Tron. Did you ever play Laser Tag? Did you ever think I should be wrestling and playing Laser Tag? Well, that was the gimmick. A mask and a giant laser target surely going to the WWE would be an improvement. How wrong he was. For weeks, the WWE had been teasing that a giant egg would hatch at the 1990 Survivor Series….and lucky Hector got to be the gimmick in the egg. The gimmick was a giant bird called The Gobbelty Gooker. It’s unclear what would have happened to the gimmick as it was so bad it got scrapped almost immediately. The egg hatched but Guerrero was done.
Does a bad gimmick matter? Could anyone have been a successful wrestling plumber? I’ll leave that up to you the reader to decide.