49) The Minotaur
50) The Man With No Name
Shortly after losing to Hulk Hogan at Starrcade '94, Brutus Beefcake (then known as The Butcher) was separated from his Faces of Fear counterparts. And then he apparently contracted amnesia and became The Man With No Name. Tough break, Bruti.
Last week, we ragged on WWE for its half-man/half-bull character Mantaur, but they didn't even come up with the idea! Steve DiSalvo was known as The Minotaur during his late-80's WCW run, only he didn't bother wearing a bull costume like his New York counterpart.
After being released from the WWF, Shawn Stasiak showed up in WCW and attacked Curt Hennig, once known as Mr. Perfect. Then Stasiak stole Hennig's former moniker, moveset and music, becoming The Perfect One, or PerfectShawn, depending on what week it was.
In 1991, Dutch Mantel, Black Bart and Deadeye Dick were at the bottom of the card in WCW. They formed a trio and filmed vignettes to track down Texas legend Stan Hansen. Unfortunately, Hansen didn't participate in the angle and the group was dead in the water.
48) The Desperadoes
Kevin Nash's final WCW character during his first run was Vinnie Vegas, a near-seven foot lounge lizard who wore tacky clothes. The character switches allegiances at least three times inside of his year-long run as Vegas, an indication that WCW had no idea where to go with it.
To his credit, Badd was with WCW for almost six years and held the company's TV title. But his gimmick was a Little Richard impersonator (and how many Little Richard impersonators have you seen in real life?) who was overly effeminate and incited homophobic remarks.
43) Vinnie Vegas
44) Johnny B. Badd
46) Colonel Robert Parker
In late-1999, WCW mid-carder Prince Iaukea was repackaged by writer Vince Russo, solely on the basis of having the name "Prince". So he became The Artist, began wearing purple and hung out with a valet named Paisley, kind of like another former Prince...
In late-1999, WCW mid-carder Brad Armstrong was repackaged by Vince Russo, solely on the basis of being the brother to WWF's Brian "Road Dogg" Armstrong. So be became Buzzkill, a cornrow-wearing hippie that came out to similar entrance music to his more famous brother.
Shortly after dropping his Man With No Name moniker (see # 50), Ed Leslie reunited with Kevin Sullivan and became The Zodiac, and man wearing zebra-like facepaint and shouting "Yes! No! Yes! No" for no adequately-explained reason.
Big Vito, Johnny The Bull and Tony Marinara were Italian-American mobsters straight out of central casting. When they debuted in WCW in late-1999 (shockingly, when Vince Russo got the book), they were chasing down Disco Inferno for gambling debts and had implied mob ties.
42) The Artist Formerly Known As Prince Iaukea
40) The Zodiac
39) The Mamalukes
After months of cool but vague vignettes heralding his debut, Glacier showed up in 1996 looking like a character out of Mortal Kombat. The entrance and costume was among the most elaborate and expensive in WCW's history, but it meant very little when they booked him as just another mid-carder.
The Streetfighter-esque Mortis and Wrath followed Glacier into WCW roughly a year after his "Blood Runs Cold" vignettes began. While they both looked imposing, a gimmick that looked more like people playing dress-up failed to capture the fans' imagination.
Coming off the success Harley Race had with Big Van Vader, Race also managed a masked newcomer in 1992 known as Super Invader. He claimed to be from Bangkok and wore an eye-less red mask over his face, yet the former WWF star Hercules was under the mask, a look that would have drawn WAY more money.
Not many wrestling characters are derived from Saturday Night Live characters, but Kwee-Wee arrived in WCW in 1998, a clear rip-off of Mango. The effeminate character went in a strange direction towards the end of WCW when he sometimes morphed into Angry Allan, Kwee-Wee's alter-ego.
37) Mortis and Wrath
36) Super Invader
35) Kwee Wee
Another creation from the fertile mind of Vince Russo, The Harris Twins were re-born in WCW in 1999 to protect The Powers That Be and were a riff on wrestlers who had "creative control" clauses in their contracts. The twins were renamed Patrick and Gerald, a knock on Patterson and Brisco.
WCW did the seemingly impossible in 1991, turning prototypical babyface Ricky Morton against his longtime tag partner Robert Gibson, and aligning with the infamous York Foundation. But other than going from Ricky to Richard, absolutely nothing changed about Morton, not even his bandana-adorned ring tights.
Shortly after returning to WCW in 2000, Chris Kanyon teamed with his friend Diamond Dallas Page and then turned on him for no explained reason. Soon, he began dressing like Page and ripped off DDP's "Positively Page" book, a step that did nothing for either character.
34) Creative Control
33) Richard Morton
31) Positively Kanyon
When John Tenta arrived in WCW, he wasn't able to use the name Avalanche - it was deemed to be too close to his WWF name Earthquake. So he ended up becoming a shark with fins and everything, to the point where he changed his tiger arm tattoo to one of a shark.
Art Barr arrived in WCW in 1990 as The Juicer, a third-rate Beetlejuice knockoff, compete with facepaint, dust in his hair and a group of children who accompanied him to the ring known as "The Juice Patrol" (hopefully not related to steroids).
30) The Maestro
29) Big Josh
27) The Juicer
Sonny Onoo (no, not the guy who used to sing with Cher) debuted in WCW in 1995 and did just about every stereotypical Japanese thing imaginable, including carrying a camera to the ring, speaking in broken English and threatening to be a kamikaze. It's no wonder he later filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against WCW.
Mike Awesome debuted in WCW in 2000 as the reigning ECW Champion and had a ton of momentum on his side. However, the idea to put him in leisure suits and pair him with the likes of Gary Coleman? Not entirely what the rationale was there, but it didn't exactly help the big guy.
No, this wasn't an early version of Hornswoggle.... DeWayne Bruce went from being Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker in The State Patrol to the Dungeon of Doom's Leprechaun, which was just as awful as it sounds. No wonder he was later charged with training future WCW prospects!
This definitely wasn't Mike Shaw's worst persona (Makhan Singh, Friar Ferguson and Bastion Booger have that honor), but after finding his niche as the unstable escaped mental patient Norman The Lunactic, they turned him into a perfectly-sane truck driver complete with bib overalls.
Shortly after losing his right to the letter "T" in his name (yes, we're serious), Booker T reverted to the military-theme gimmick G.I. Bro that he had used a good decade earlier in the Global Wrestling Federation. This was hardly "Mankind going back to Cactus Jack", because so few had ever seen G.I. Bro.
WCW brought Buff Bagwell's (real life) mother Judy into her son's storylines in 1998 to build sympathy for her injured son, which was fine. But then she kept inserting herself into the action, including winning the WCW World Tag Team Titles with Rick Steiner, which.... just boggles the mind.
Long before he was Buzzkill (see # 41), Brad Armstrong played a masked crime fighter with web patterns on his mask and trunks and who seemingly shot webs from his hands. If you think this persona was somewhat close to that of a popular Marvel hero (Thor), you'd be correct, and legal threats shut "Arachnaman" down for good.
Billy Jack Haynes was a well-known name in the Pacific Northwest and had competed in the WWF at WrestleMania III. So when he went to WCW in 1990, it made perfect sense that he appeared as the hooded Black Blood, an executioner who hailed from "somewhere in France" and carried an oversized axe with him.
Giant Haystacks was a larger-than-life attraction in his native England, being 600 pounds and standing nearly 7 feet tall. So it made sense that WCW would bring him in as Loch Ness, a random member of Kevin Sullivan's Dungeon of Doom, who accomplished next to nothing other than being another victim for Hulk Hogan.
Ray "Big Bossman" Traylor returned to WCW in 1993, only he wasn't allowed to be "The Boss" or anything else that represented his WWF gimmick. So instead, he switched personas to the next available quasi-authority figure, that of a Curtis Sliwa-era guardian angel, complete with a white t-shirt and red beret.
Hailing from The WCW Special Forces, which was apparently a military organization that WCW ran in its spare time, Firebreaker Chip and Private Todd Champion were two G.I. Joe action figures come to life, and they both had the personality and wrestling skills to match. So naturally, they were pushed hard.
During the brief 1996 WCW run of Jeep Swenson (Bane in the Batman & Robin movie), he was part of a Kevin Sullivan-led crew called "The Alliance To End Hulkamania". Jeep briefly went by the name The Final Solution - which is slang for the Nazi's plan to kill Jews during the Holocaust. The name was later changed.
Yo Baby, Yo Baby, Yo! P.N. News was WCW's offering to the hip hop world in 1991, if by hip-hop you mean a 400 pound wearing lime green spandex who could barely rap to a beat (his wrestling wasn't much better). Even Men On A Mission did it better a few years later in the WWF - which isn't saying much.
Shortly after dropping his Zodiac moniker (see # 40), Ed Leslie became "The Booty Man", a wrestler obsessed with his own buttock (think "Mr. Ass", but as a babyface). He changed his finisher to the high knee or "hiney" and hired Kimberly Page as his manager "The Booty Babe". Lovely.
While The Dog isn't a terrible wrestling nickname, journeyman Al Green took it perhaps a little too far, barking at random intervals and random drinking from the toilet while his "master" Brian Knobbs attempted to restrain him.
One of Vince Russo's first projects upon being given the pen at WCW in 1999 was to portray his co-writer Ed Ferrara as a knockoff of Jim Ross, complete with football references, passionate commentary, Steve "Dr. Death" Williams at his side and a terrible mockery of Ross's real-life Bells Palsy affliction.
It began with an interesting premise - the new WCW Champion Sting was being haunted by someone from his past, a mysterious figure whose voice was disgused and went by the name Black Scorpion. Unfortunately, the bookers had absolutely no idea what the payoff would be, and the character kind of fizzled from there.
During its "Hey, looks like we may lose the Monday Night Wars" phase, WCW decided to take what the WWF had done with Joanie "Chyna" Laurer and more or less photocopy the character for Christy "Asya" Wolf. Worse yet, they made no secret that this was a rip off.
"Well, at least WCW never invented a character based on fictional occurences throughout history," you might say. Unless you caught the 1995 debut of The Yeti, who allegedly was frozen in a block of ice for millions of years and couldn't wait to get his unthawed mummified arms on the neck of Hulk Hogan.
Apparently "Hugh Morrus" wasn't enough of a pun-tastic name for Vince Russo. So in 2000, Morrus admitted that his real name was Hugh G. Rection - GET IT?Ahahahaha! Anyways, the name was quickly changed to General Rection for his Misfits In Action stable, but the name still makes one think of the word "erection".....
Long before he was The Big Show, Paul Wight showed up in WCW to (stop us if you've heard this one before) destroy Hulk Hogan. While he was mainly called The Giant, his initial name there was Son Of Andre, as in the child of Andre The Giant - because they're both tall wrestlers with black singlets.
Evad Sullivan was originally brought into WCW as The Equalizer, but soon because the dyslexic brother of Kevin Sullivan. See, his name was actually Dave but he spelled his own name backwards. Dyslexia also caused him to act like a mentally-handicapped man-child at times, not exactly a politically correct breakthrough here.
Upon joining WCW in 1994, Hulk Hogan wanted to bring in The Ultimate Warrior. So a year later, WCW brought in someone who kind of looked like him (if you squinted), had similar music and a moveset, thus The Renegade. Easily the worst of WCW's many, many ripoff characters over the years.
Some may forget that Lenny and Lodi teamed in WCW in the late-1990's, mainly because their "ambigously gay duo" jokes were straight out of an episode of Three's Company. Making it worse, WCW refused to call the characters gay, making it seem like something to be ashamed of (although the angle should have been!)
25) The 70's Guy Mike Awesome
26) Sonny Onoo
23) Trucker Norman
24) Braun the Leprechaun
21) Judy Bagwell
22) G.I. Bro
19) Black Blood
17) The Guardian Angel
18) Loch Ness
15) WCW Patriots
16) The Final Solution
13) The Booty Man
14) P.N. News
12) The Dog
10) The Black Scorpion
7) Hugh G. Rection
8) The Yeti
5) Evad Sullivan
6) Son of Andre
4) The Renegade
3) Lenny & Lodi
Kevin Nash is one of the most accomplished wrestlers in WCW history, but his second gimmick (before Vinnie Vegas at #43) was The Great and Powerful Oz, which is actually a city.... from a popular children's movie.... and not a human being or anything that anyone in wrestling should have feared. The fact that he wore a rubber "old man" mask to the ring didn't help his chances, either...
Fred "Tugboat/Typhoon" Ottman arrived in WCW in 1993 - not as "Boat Man" or "Tidal Wave" or somesuch - but as a completely different character! But before he could literally break the fourth wall and debut, he accidentally crashed through said wall, and the Stormtrooper helmet he was wearing fell off, revealing Shockmaster's true identity and ruining the character before it even got going, which has to be a WCW record.
1) The Shockmaster
This is, of course, the companion piece to last week's Top 50 Regrettable WWE Characters column.
The general idea behind these is not necessarily to look at silly gimmicks, but certain characters where, if the booking team could take back the character today due to political correctness, controversy the character generated not being worth it or general silliness overall, they might have done so.
Compared to WWE, this assignment was like shooting fish in a barrel. WCW's really, really bad characters seemed to jump off the page at me this time!
Just as a reminder on the general criterai: This Top 50 list is limited to characters that appeared in the promotion during its Turner-owned run (1988 - 2001), in other words, this isn't for Jim Crockett Promotions. And I'd like to be clear that this list is by no way a condemnation of the wrestlers who portrayed the gimmick. but rather for WCW for presenting them as such.
Ready? Here we go!
Any names missing or misplaced? Leave your feedback in the Comments section below...
When Dustin Rhodes left the WWF and his successful Goldust character behind, he returned to WCW in 1999 in a series of vignettes as Se7en, wearing spooky clothes and elaborate facepaint. Then, as he was set to debut, Rhodes "broke character" in the ring and refused to be Se7en.
A relative of the legendary Gorgeous George, Robert Kellum was hired by WCW in 1999 with rights to that name. Unfortunately, WCW re-cast him as The Maestro, a Liberace ripoff that went nowhere, while Randy Savage's girlfriend was instead called Gorgeous George.
Veteran Matt "Doink The Clown" Borne came to WCW in 1991 and became a Pacific Northwest version of Hacksaw Jim Duggan, clad in a flannel vest and carrying a canoe oar around with him. Somehow, Big Josh never got over - even when he was given bears!
45) Standards and Practices
Lenny & Lodi were forced to end their controversial pairing in 2000 -- more on that later -- and a certain writer (his name rhymes with Mince Moose-o) decided to get revenge on WCW's censors by making the team into two Right to Censor-esque stuffed shirts.
WCW hired Southern wrestling veteran Robert Fuller in 1993 and then put him in a Col. Sanders outfit and had him talk not unlike Foghorn Leghorn. Despite managing some big names in WCW (Steve Austin, Sid, Harlem Heat), fans constantly shouted "KFC" at him.