The Smashing Pumpkins once sang, “They only come out at night, they only come out at night. The day is much too bright. They only come out at night.” Often the most dangerous wrestlers don’t frighten you. They don’t scare you some others that have graced the ring. While some characters were frightening to watch, others were frightening to watch…wrestle. In a number of cases, these characters would give fans cold sweats and remain in fear long after their matches had ended. So while the Addams Family sung that they were creepy and their kookie, their scary and their spooky, these ten wrestlers would create a mood or feeling in not only fans, but their opponents. The idea of psychological warfare begins with intimidation.
Each of these men would have no problem scarring you and do so in any number of ways. Whether they would play on your phobias, leave you to check under your bed or practice voodoo, these men often would possess your mind and spirit. Were you afraid? It isn’t likely. What is likely was that if your children often saw these ten in the ring they would more than likely burrow their heads in your laps or ask you to leave another light on while they slept. So while some wrestlers were often considered bizarre others were flat out spooky with both their presence and mannerisms. A number of these characters are familiar while considerably the most haunting and spooky character was loosely based on reality.
15. The Boogeyman
The rather creepy character The Boogeyman did just as much to turn your stomach as he did to frighten you. Many fans will remember that the character was generally crawl to the ring carrying a clock that he would smash over his head. The significance of the action is intended to make you think that he doesn’t just come out when your sleeping (at night when your clock would be ticking away) but during the day as well. He looked physically threatening as well with his muscular build. He didn’t evoke much fear though in the ring when it came to wrestling.
The Boogeyman would also do one more disgusting things in the ring as he would eat live worms or place them over the face of his fallen opponent. What the character lacked in the ring her certainly made up for by adding to many a child’s nightmares. In one of the more bizarre instances regarding The Boogyman character was when he ate at the “mole” off the face of Jillian Hall. The Boogyman is one character many fans would soon rather not see again regardless of the time of day. His squirmy gyrations would be enough to make anyone watching very uneasy.
14. Kevin Sullivan
To see Sullivan in recent years it is hard to recall the character that frightened many a fan previously. While he may have led the Faces of Fear and the Dungeon of Doom, it was prior to that when Sullivan had made his mark. His short size and stocky build were deceptive, as his proclamation of being the “Prince of Darkness” would send chills up any man, woman or child’s spine.
He would wear eye makeup, chains and lead a group that appeared equally unstable as he was. Not only was there an edge to Sullivan’s character, he invoked Satan in order to scare those he faced. The fear of the unknown was essentially what Sullivan was able to capitalize on, and he most certainly did. More recently, Sullivan’s involvement in the BJ Whitmer/Steve Corino feud in Ring of Honor certainly demonstrates just how demonic he can be.
Standing nearly seven feet tall is imposing enough, but the reinvented Viscera was even more imposing when you looked into his eyes. His creepy and frightening nature did scare several of his opponents, and the cat’s eye contact lenses would without question cause many a man to shake in his boots. Add to that Viscera weighed in excess of 500 lbs. He sported several tattoos that could have been a list of the names and faces of those he’s disposed of throughout his tenure. Viscera may no longer be with us, however, during his time with the Undertaker‘s Ministry of Darkness he stood out. While he may have undergone changes throughout his career, during his time as Viscera, the gargantuan man could have easily obliterated anyone in his path. His presence alone could be what stood out the most about this creepy and frightening monster.
On the surface this may not seem that frightening a character, but in the wake of recent clown attacks in the United States, perhaps it is. Though his entrance music was jovial and he was loved by young fans, much like Pennywise in Stephen King‘s book (and the film adaptation) It, Doink remains one of the creepiest characters in wrestling. Often his smile would turn to a cackle that would eventually slow down and result in a menacing grin that would put many children into panic.
The dark side was always there with the Doink character, and it’s something that fans still discuss today. The character came and went a few times, appearing sporadically much to the delight of fans. What cannot be ignored, though, was the character was able to capitalize on the rather unspoken fear that many had of clowns to catapult himself to success.
11. Kevin Thorn
Unless you were watching WWE during the rise of their “new ECW” brand, you likely may have missed this contemporary character that had a very frightening edge to him. Kevin Thorn and his valet Ariel were a rather scary pair. What was unique about this alliance was it anticipated the popularity of the Twilight book series, where vampires roamed both the day and night.
Unlike previous characters like Gangrel and The Brood, they weren’t as gothic in their presence, but still their look that would often frighten their opposition. The closest comparison to Ariel today would be Catrina of Lucha Underground, who gives those that suffer defeat the dreaded kiss of death. One has to wonder just how far they would have gone had this nocturnal alliance remained with WWE longer than they did.
10. Abdullah the Butcher
He was often referred to as the madman from the Sudan, and throughout his career Abdullah the Butcher spilled blood wherever he went. Fans knew that he thrived on seeing the blood of his opponents. It was that blood-thirsty quality that frightened not only fans, but his opposition. It would have been shocking to see anything in his matches that resembled wrestling; instead there was relentless rule breaking and pushing the envelope of violence.
His matches against Bruiser Brody were notable not because of the technical ability of both men, but the desire both had to hurt one another. Abdullah would use anything and everything at his disposal to ensure that blood was shed in his matches. He too was a regular victim, having his forehead cut open repeatedly from steel chairs, ring posts and more.
A number of wrestling fans probably haven’t heard from this former wrestling character in TNA. The Rellik character was played by former WCW and WWE wrestler Jon Hugger who wrestled under the names Johnny The Bull and Johnny Stamboli. Rellik was notable for a number of reasons. First, off his name was Rellik, which is a clever name when you consider its “killer” spelled backwards. What also added to the allure of his creepy yet haunting nature was that he wore a mask that hid his face as to resemble that was made from burnt human flesh.
He would often appear to spew out a red substance that would rest on his chest as to suggest it was blood. It was frightening indeed. During his brief time in WCW Rellik was aligned with Black Reign and managed by James Mitchell. The short-lived character certainly left a mark during his time in TNA as the rather dark character’s creepy and haunting nature reminded fans how frightening a wrestling personality can be. While his matches during his time there may not have been memorable it was the aesthetics of character that tend to resonate the most about his time in the ring.
8. Papa Shango
Before we had Bray Wyatt walking to the ring, with a lamp that emanated light, we had black magic practicing Papa Shango. The character was played by Charles Wright. Wright was known for playing a number of notable characters in the company with Papa Shango carrying with it the darkest qualities of all of them. Wright also played the character Kama and The Godfather. Papa Shango, however was intended to represent everything that a witch doctor was supposed to be. He appeared to practice black magic and voodoo on screen often.
The character carried a skull to the ring with smoke drifting from it. He apparently could control arena lights, allowing for odd things to happen in the ring suggesting that he had cast spells on his opponents causing them suffer pain or foam at the mouth suggesting that he had made them vomit. The Shango character was also popular during an angle with the Ultimate Warrior in which he was causing him to throw up and bleed without reason. The face painted voodoo practitioners run as this character was fairly short-lived as he had left the company in the summer of 1993. The character has its moments of creepiness during his early run in the WWE.
7. Se7en/Black Reign
During his time with the WWE, Dustin Runnels was always known as one character that was Goldust. While the character has often been described as bizarre and even androgynous early on it his career it was his other short-lived characters that manage to take creepy and haunting and put them on their ear. After leaving the WWE, he was being billed a character named se7en. The character was often seen standing outside a child’s bedroom and had been inspired various noir films. The problem was how the character could have been construed as someone who abducts children and was quickly dropped.
While he was in TNA he wrestled at one time as Black Reign which almost appeared to have split personality and he would move between both his Dustin Runnels character and Black Reign one almost simultaneously. Much like se7en or Goldust, Black Reign wore face paint that was black and silver in what could have been described in the shape of an Aztec map. While neither character lasted very long it’s the direction both characters were in the direction of going that left them both creepy and scary at the time. One has to wonder how se7en’s character would have eventually played out had time to develop on-screen.
One of the most haunting wrestlers that never stepped foot in a WWE ring was none other than Abyss. The Abyss character would have done well against the likes of Kane or The Undertaker. His often crazed and questionable mental state has been evident in a number of different matches. Abyss has been aligned with some of the darker characters in wrestling most notably James Mitchell. If there has ever been a match that has been synonymous with the monster Abyss it would have to be the Monster’s Ball match. The dangerous match would best fit the Abyss character.
It is as bloody and brutal as any fan would expect from a haunting and creepy character. Abyss’ character has been institutionalized or appeared prepared to undergo any and all punishment. In some regards many could see that Abyss’ character lends itself as combing elements of Kane and Mankind. A match that Abyss has also taken part of was Full Metal Mayhem where anything that was metal could be used in the match. As one of the most dangerous characters in wrestling, Abyss has continued to only added to his frightening and maniacal nature. His recent split personality showed wrestling fans just how crazy he could be.
5. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
“Trust me.” They are two words that’s meaning seem simple enough, but when they were said by Jake The Snake Roberts, they certainly gave a very haunting feeling to the audience. Roberts was a character that by today’s standards would have been considered edgy. That wasn’t always the case. However, with his snake Damien or when he had his “Snake Pit” segment that gave fans the impression that he lurked in a cave, Roberts was unquestionably a very haunting character in retrospect. One of Roberts most notorious moments was when he crashed the wedding of Randy Savage and Elizabeth only to have a gift to them be a snake that was revealed when they opened the lid of a box.
Roberts also proceeded to have Savage bitten during their feud by Damien while the Macho Man remained tied in the ropes. As a child watching it, there really was some very dark and scary moments in Roberts character‘s career. However, if there was something that stood out above all else it was Roberts’ ability to deliver a promo that would leave fans shaken even moments after it was finished being given. While Roberts’ character did go through a bit of a renaissance in the mid-1990s it was his earlier time with the WWE and WCW that stood out as being the darkest for his character.
The alter ego of Mrs. Foley’s baby boy was between the darkest and demented characters ever in the WWE. One of the characters darkest qualities was its rather haunting shrieks and squeals. As his Phantom of the Opera-esque music would accompany him to the ring, Mankind always carried a bit of a limp on his way to the ring and often tilted his head on a slight angle with focus being placed on his mask and rather deranged expression. His finishing move was called the mandible claw where he proceeds to insert his fingers into his opponent’s mouth and press down below their tongue. If the move sounded gross and twisted it was.
Early on in matches whenever Mankind applied the move his opponents would generally froth at the mouth suggesting they were vomiting or choking on their own vomit. One of the most notable matches Mankind was known for was the Boiler Room brawl and the incredible amounts of punishment he would endure during his matches. While Mankind had several feuds it was his matches against The Undertaker that remain the most notable. If one moment stands out for Mankind it was unquestionably being thrown from the top of the Hell in a Cell against The Undertaker and landing on the announce table at ringside.
He is often referred to as “The Devil’s Favorite Demon” and for a number of year’s one could understand how frightening Kane could be. He was initially introduced to fans upon entering the Hell In A Cell match that pitted his “brother” The Undertaker against Shawn Michaels. Kane appeared with ominous music and fire and walked to the ring determined to get at his brother. As he came to the ring he ripped off the cage door and proceeded to get into the ring attacking The Undertaker in the process. What initially made Kane as frightening as he was, his often indestructible quality about his character.
The character could be considered similar to that of popular movie characters such as Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers. The character’s backstory was that he was badly burned as a child because his brother had left him for dead. Upon returning to see The Undertaker he was bent on revenge. The character has undergone a number of changes most notably removing his mask and wearing singlets that show how his body has “healed.” While he may not be frightening as he once was, Kane has provided fans with several frightening moments including setting former WWE commentator Jim Ross on fire and attempting to.
2. The Undertaker
As the “Phenom” The Undertaker has unquestionably had his moments of supernatural feats and trickery suggesting the rising of the undead. During The Undertaker’s early run, fans will recall how The Undertaker would wear long dark coats, a hat that covered most of his face and would be led to the ring by his manager Paul Bearer and his urn. The character for a number of years walked on the side of darkness. Even though he suspended the dead man persona in favor of being the American Bad Ass, The Undertaker often had variations of his personality that would range from being frightening to downright satanic.
Even though he would often share his thoughts about being tied to the dark side and created notable matches such as the casket and buried alive matches he was also known for once leading a faction known as The Ministry. As the leader of The Ministry he had captured Stephanie McMahon with promises of making her his bride. She was once tied to The Undertaker’s symbol and carried to the ring as though she was going to be a sacrifice. It was a once very frightening quality of the character as he appeared to be not just the leader of a faction, but the leader of a satanic cult.
The most haunting and creepiest wrestling character was none other than a character who had been a direct inspiration to the famous character from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films, Leatherface. Michael Kirchner was the man behind the mask who played Leatherface. If Kirchner’s last name sounds familiar it’s because he earned a name for himself competing under the name Corporal Kirchner during his time with the WWF. After leaving the WWF, he had a successful career in Japan where he used Leatherface gimmick Leatherface gimmick.
In fact, while Kirchner was temporary incarcerated another wrestler took on the persona which set up a duelling Leatherface’s match up upon Kirchner’s release. In a match that will go down in the annals of hardcore wrestling history, Kirchner (Leatherface) ripped off a piece of the bed of nails, placed it on an opposing wrestlers throat and then hit a leg drop onto the wrestler onto this patch of nails. The deliberate attempt to inflict pain simply demonstrates the sadistic and frightening nature of the Leatherface gimmick. After this, he hit the leg drop, he followed it up with a powerbomb onto the same bed of nails as well. Leatherface was as frightening on-screen as he was in the ring.