It might not seem like a big deal at first glance, but a name can truly define what type of career or trajectory you will endure during your time as a pro wrestler. Take guys like Disco Inferno and Buff Bagwell for example, they had decent abilities but could you really go far in the industry with such names?
This article will look at a variety of terrifying names; some were meant to be comedic, while others arguably destroyed the careers of talented performers. After reading this article, you’ll think twice about the importance of having a marketable name in the wrestling business.
We begin the article with a name coming out of the Attitude Era. As glorious as it all seemed, there was so much bad coming from that time frame as well. This article will dig deeper into that notion with so many of the worst names coming out of that very era.
Let’s being with a really bad one played by the former Tag Team wrestler from the Headbangers, Mosh. Enjoy!
15. Beaver Cleavage
Ladies and gentleman, we present to you the Attitude Era. It seemed like at the time, for every really good story there was at least five bad ones, although the casual fan does not remember because of the fact that the WWE constantly glorifies the good and doesn’t spend any time looking at the bad, like “Beaver Cleavage” for example.
Not only was the name hideous but the meaning behind the gimmick was even worse. In an attempt to recreate a new character for Mosh, the company decided to make him a knockoff of the TV show Leave It to Beaver. Adding insult to the gimmick, Mosh and his “mom” were involved in bizarre incest angles via cameos and video montages. Things got really weird and the idea was scrapped quickly. To make the situation even more laughable, Beaver’s mother was actually played by his real life girlfriend Marianna Komlos. Everything was just so wrong on so many levels starting with his name.
Add another terrible name on the board for the Attitude Era; Meat is up there as one of the very worst. Ironically, if you search “meat WWE”, pictures of Ryback come up. That just goes to show how insignificant Shawn Stasiak’s run was under this persona.
Stasiak had wrestling running through his bloodline, so the WWE wanted to make things work for him, and he also had a pretty marketable look. Things went south in a hurry when the company re-launched him under the boy-toy gimmick of Meat. He was immediately associated with the likes of Terri Runnels, Jacqueline and Ryan Shamrock, which just made the entire ordeal that much more painful to watch.
Meat won matches early on but was later regulated to a laughable lower-card comedic player. Seriously though, how do you expect people to accept a title winner to be named Meat? After the failed gimmick he’d improve with WCW, only to once again fall with the WWE during the Invasion angle.
13. The Goon
This came right before the Attitude Era when things were beginning to subside for the WWE (the era is notoriously viewed as the “dark age”). WCW was moving up the ranks with its reality based storylines, while the WWE failed to show any signs of growth, still relying on outdated gimmicks like this one: The Goon (hearing the name still hurts my stomach decades later. It’s just so awful).
Everything about it was wrong. Bill Irwin played the role of a hockey player who pursued a career as a wrestler. Not only was the idea childish but it made the WWE look foolish during that given climate of pro wrestling. The gimmick was short-lived, although the WWE has poked fun at themselves several times bringing back The Goon for special events like WrestleMania X-Seven and a Raw Anniversary show.
Fun fact: The role of The Goon was actually presented to Chris Jericho at one point, but he smartly declined.
12. The Kat
I know what you’re thinking, and yes, we could have done an article only on the Attitude Era and the terrible names that came out of it. The Kat is yet another one. It seems like the creative team asked a child what they should name a female wrestler and they responded with such an answer, not to mention they spelled the word “cat” incorrectly.
The role of the gimmick was played by the ex-wife of Jerry Lawler, Stacy Carter. The company used her talents as eye candy pretty much throughout her entire run, although she would shock the world by winning a Women’s Championship defeating Ivory, Jacqueline and Barbra Bush, in an Evening Gown Pool match… (who was writing this stuff?) For what it’s worth she’d lose the title a couple of weeks later live on Raw in a snow filled pool… It was all just so bad, starting with her name.
When Vince Russo left for WCW, the WWE stepped up to another level while WCW dropped to new lows under his alleged “guidance”. It was all so bad, and seemed like an awful version of the Attitude Era with talentless faces around every corner.
Ed Ferrara was one of those people. In one of the most distasteful gimmicks in pro wrestling history, Russo and WCW decided to take a shot at Jim Ross. What made matters so much worse was the company poking fun at his Bell’s Palsy disorder with the gimmick. The company reached new lows and furthered its antics by naming the wrestler based on JR’s hometown, which he is very passionate about. They stayed with the gimmick for a long time and managed to even win a Cruiserweight Championship. It really was that bad.
10. Master Blaster Steel
Look familiar? Well, that’s because the person dawning that horrifying name and makeup job is none other than Kevin Nash (don’t feel too bad though, he would go on to make millions later on).
Things certainly did not start off that way, however. Nash bounced around some awful ideas with WCW, which included a persona as Oz and Vinne Vegas. His worst was the first gimmick he was given as Master Blaster Steel, a Tag Team wrestler with the Master Blasters. Everything was just so wrong, from his orange-Mohawk to his name. Once the idea was discovered to be a major fail, he was repackaged within a week to his new persona as Oz. Now that’s WCW logic at its best.
9. Big Daddy V
The late Viscera went through so many names during his time spent in the professional wrestling business. His best runs were as Viscera and Mabel. Things started getting weird when the WWE changed his name with Bid Daddy in the front of it. He would even work independently at one point using the name Big Daddy Voodoo (this was one of his final names when working with New Japan). Finally the company may have realized that it was quite off-putting so they changed it to simply Bid Daddy (which may be worse, but hey).
The entire Bid Daddy bit just came across as weird. Fans weren’t sure if they should like him as a comedic wrestler or if they should be terrified by him because of his look and angry demeanor most of the time. Nonetheless, Viscera had an up and down career, seeing his biggest achievements in the Tag Team division winning the Tag Titles once in his career. He also won the Hardcore Title, but seriously who didn’t?
8. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan
Hate to knock such a seasoned veteran who we all respect so much, but when you take a step back and realize that his persona is based around a piece of wood, it’s all pretty weird and quite ridiculous.
The patriotic side of Duggan made him a heroic figure in the world of pro wrestling, but the piece of wood just got ridiculous. It was even worse when they decided to add it into his name full-time. How can that do any good for a wrestler?
Regardless of his wooden gimmick, Duggan had a tremendous career which is still ongoing at this point, wrestling in the Indies and making various appearances around the world with different wrestling conventions. Jim’s name will live on forever. His accomplishments include: a Royal Rumble victory in 1988 and a Hall of Fame Induction class of 2011. Just please eliminate the word “Hacksaw” from the archives, signed every wrestling fan.
7. King Barrett
The name wasn’t all that bad, it’s just what it did to the career of Wade Barrett, pretty much burying him. Wade started off with a promising start. Early on it seemed like only a matter of time before he’d become World Champion. Some decisions really set his trajectory back, but none were worse than being pinned by Cena at SummerSlam. The likes of CM Punk opted for a different finish, though Cena would ultimately get his way.
Wade would never main event again following that failed stint, and was instead relegated to mid-card gimmicks. A King of the Ring win seemed like it put him back on the map, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth, as the England native would falter, being labelled as King Barrett. It was all so ridiculous and he became a comedic wrestler more so than anything else. He would eventually leave the company mainly because of the horrible misuse of his talents.
6. Buff Bagwell
He had the look of a star, but there just was something off and that something started with his name. Having the word “Buff” in his name labelled him as an arrogant, built guy, and this hurt him in the long run causing most fans to not take him seriously enough as a top tier guy. He started off in the pro wrestling industry using his real name, Marcus Bagwell, and I think most of us can agree that things could have been different had he kept that name instead of being labelled as “Buff”, which made him lose so much value.
His WCW achievements were quite marginal despite the fact that he was there for quite some time. During his stint the wrestler was a glorified Tag Team guy, winning the titles on five different occasions with four different partners.
Things took a horrible turn in 2001 when he was immediately let go by the WWE because of his talent levels. The same year he also took home the award for most “Embarrassing Wrestler”, given out by Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
5. Disco Inferno
Similar to Buff Bagwell, his name really hurt his overall game quite a bit. The WCW would attempt to fix this situation several times only to make it even worse by calling him Disqo and later Hip Hop Inferno. Good lord…
Gilbertti was actually a solid in-ring performer and had some notable accomplishments, which included a Cruiserweight Championship along with multiple TV Title runs. He stayed with the company till its final days serving as a trustworthy and loyal employee. When the WWE bought the company they decided to not take the seasoned veteran’s contract on board. He would instead work the Indie scene which he is still on today and have a short run with TNA Wrestling at one point in 2002. He would return to TNA several times before finally leaving in 2011 for good.
His undoing was really his name that he just couldn’t shake off despite being with World Championship Wrestling for several years. The name stood by him, thus making it impossible to take the veteran seriously as a major player, which he potentially could have been if not for such a name and persona.
4. Spark Plug Holly
Holly was the prototypical journeyman in the world of pro wrestling. He started his career off in 1987, and got his first mainstream gig with WCW in 1990. Things would finally take off for the veteran when he signed a deal with the WWE in 1994.
His first gimmick however, would not indicate success. He was put in as an apparent NASCAR driver/turned wrestler called Spark Plug Holly. They later changed his name to Bob Spark Plug Holly, which actually seemed quite worse to be honest. His gimmick was yet another classic example of the WWE using outdated ideas in the mid 90s (like The Goon character we previously discussed).
Thankfully for Holly, he did not suffer the same faith as The Goon and managed to salvage his identity as a big time butt kicker known as Hardcore Holly. He went on to have spurts of success and was known for his hard work and dedication to the WWE for his years of service.
3. GI Bro
Even some of our favorite WWE legends from the past went through their fair share of hardships. Booker T was one of those wrestlers using the persona of G.I Bro at one point. WCW was notorious for ruining simple concepts, and Vince Russo took that notion a step further with Booker trying to rebrand him under such a terrible name that could have potentially destroyed his career altogether. Booker retook his persona from his WWA days and joined the Misfits stable in the lackluster role. Thankfully, the WCW mercifully pulled the plug on the idea early on and put Booker back to himself while DeMott took the role (but we’ll have more on that a little later).
After being put back with Harlem Heat, Booker was finally allowed to shine as a Singles star going on a run with World Championship. He later made the jump to the WWE and is still a part of the flagship program today.
2. Big D*** Johnson
Former WWE writer Christopher DeJoseph, was given the unfortunate task of having to play the role of Big D*** Johnson at one point in time. Not only was the name wildly inappropriate put the entire demeanor of it all was quite worse. Johnson would come out randomly and start flopping around with a disturbing dance. The gimmick was funny at first but just became sad shortly after when the company kept going down that path one too many times.
To his credit, he was a full-time writer behind the scenes, something many of us wish we could do, though his on-screen persona was frightening to say the least. He would ultimately leave the WWE in 2010 and is now currently employed as Co-Executive Producer with Lucha Underground. Not bad for a guy who used dance around in what appeared to be an oversized diaper, and later downgraded to a g-string… Seriously though, good for him on the new gig.
1. Hugh Morrus/General E. Rection
It’s official, Bill DeMott wins the award for worst names (plural) ever used in the world of pro wrestling. Not surprising that both awful names came out of WCW. The first one being Hugh Morrus, a pun on the word humorous…. The entire idea was thankfully short lived and was eventually changed to Angry Morrus.
Russo would later “fire” Morrus. The company actually had big plans for him making Bill the leader of a new stable; The Misfits in Action. The company wanted the group to grow as the next DX, although that came to a quick halt when Morris was introduced as the leader of the group under his new alias of General E. Rection. It was all just a major fail in every single aspect.
Thankfully, when he joined the WWE the company wisely decided to label him as Bill DeMott, though we truly will never forgot those other horrific names he had to endure at one point in time.