Let’s be honest right from the beginning here, for those of you who don’t know this already, professional wrestling is no longer officially considered a sport. There was a time when it was considered a sport and your local newspaper (remember those?) used to actually put match results in the sports section. All of that has changed since Vince McMahon Jr. took over and has turned it into a mockery of what it once was. It got to the point where he eventually was forced to legally make the change to an ‘entertainment company’, thus decertifying the sport from a, well, a sport. Today everyone knows that it is entertainment and it has very scripted storylines. People are aware that the outcome of just about every single match is predetermined.
With that “entertainment” title, there has to be a high level of actual entertainment that comes with it. The WWE is never lacking on that front and from the successes has to come failures. That’s how success actually happens. You have to try and fail at things in order to learn what works and what doesn’t. The WWE has brought us some of the most famous characters of all time. They give us great storylines and tremendous matches. That’s not always the case though. There have been countless failures that McMahon has come up with over the years. So many in fact, that we can’t name them all here. So today we will look at some of the worst ideas for characters ever to come from the brain of Vince McMahon.
15 The Brooklyn Brawler Was A Bad Idea
Steve Lombardi made a decent career for himself in the world of professional wrestling. He spent a lot of time in the ring under his real name but he also played a character that Vince McMahon invented called The Brooklyn Brawler. This guy was kind of a poor man’s Adrian Adonis from back in the day the leather-clad villain terrorized the AWA and WWF.
Lombardi started his time in the WWF with a tag team partner named The Red Rooster (Terry Taylor). He broke up the tag team to pursue a solo career and that’s when The Brawler was invented. The Red Rooster didn’t make this list today for the very simple reason that we ran out of space. But that doesn’t mean the character didn’t deserve a spot.
The Brooklyn Brawler dressed like he had just climbed out of a dumpster in a New York alleyway. He was dirty, overweight and lacked any real wrestling skills. Now you know why he was only around for about four years. Not a bad stay though for such a bad character.
14 Duke "The Dumpster" Droese Was Just Garbage
Mike Droese was lucky enough to have Vince McMahon turn him into Duke “The Dumpster” Droese. The Dumpster was a garbage man who moonlighted as a professional wrestler back in 1993. During the day he was a fearless garbage man and each night after work he’d climb into the ring and got into feuds with Jerry “The King” Lawler and Triple H. The character was laughable and not many fans took him seriously. He used to bring a garbage can into the ring with him and one time Lawler took it and smashed it over Droese’s head on television. Lawler subsequently was forced to apologize to him on the air for committing such a hardcore act for those times.
In 1992 Droese was named on Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s first ever top 500 wrestlers in the world list. It was called “PWI 500” and Droese was listed as #500. This prompted fans to chant “500” whenever he entered the ring. He was only around for about two years before the character was tossed out.
13 The Berzerker Was An Odd Creation
The Berzerker was an aptly named character who never amounted to much during his two years in the WWF. John Nord played the role of a Viking who won matches by throwing his opponent out of the ring and winning by count out. That’s not a good strategy when in title matches you can’t win the belt by those terms. That doesn’t mean that he didn’t get some top quality television time though.
The character was managed by Mr. Fiji and he got into heated feuds with Davey Boy Smith and “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka. He also mixed it up with The Undertaker and at one point actually tried to stab him with his Viking sword. Before the character faded off into the sunset he actually did unsuccessfully challenge then WWF Champion Bret Hart for the belt.
12 Repo Man Stole No Hearts
Barry Darsow saw a lot of success in his wrestling career. As part of “Demolition”, he (Smash) and his partners Ax and Crush won the WWF World Tag Team Championship on three different occasions. The first time they won the belts the brutal team held them for almost a year and a half. That long of a reign is virtually unheard of in today’s wrestling world. After Wrestlemania V, Demolition had run its course and Crush (Brian Adams) and Ax (Bill Eadie) went off on their own. Darsow was still under contract though so Vince had to figure something out for him to do. Unfortunately for Darsow, that’s when The Repo Man was born.
The character was created because Darsow actually held the job in real life before his career in the ring took off. That doesn’t mean that it was a good character though. After the success Smash had seen, this character was an embarrassment to Darsow. They portrayed him as someone who wrestled at night and when he was done in the ring he hit the streets to repossess cars. The role was around for a couple of years before it was retired.
11 Nailz Wasn’t That Tough
Nailz was a role played by Kevin Wacholz which could have been a great one. He was an ex-con who was allegedly severely beaten up by The Big Boss Man during his stay in the Cobb County, Georgia jail system. This role itself is one that could see a lot of success in the professional wrestling ring if carried out properly. However, that’s not what happened with the WWF, although it was entertaining. He obviously feuded with Boss Man and the former correctional officer won a “Nightstick Match” to end the feud. Nailz was then scheduled to start a heated feud with The Undertaker but before it started he was fired from the WWF.
That story says that “The Berzerker” (John Nord) watched the door as Wacholz entered Vince McMahon’s office to discuss his salary. The discussion didn’t go very well and Wacholz allegedly choked McMahon out, leading to his dismissal from the company. He then went to the WCW where the character was renamed “The Convict” but still failed to catch on with fans.
10 Dr. Isaac Yankem Was A Bad Extraction From Vince’s Mind
Do you remember Dr. Isaac Yankem D.D.S.? Chances are pretty good that you don’t. You know who he is though and I’m absolutely certain of that. His real name is Glenn Jacobs and after the WWF extracted the ridiculous character, Jacobs went on to superstardom as Kane. Yankem was brought into the company by Jerry Lawler to challenge Bret Hart. That feud ended on an episode of Raw when Hart pulled a victory out of a steel cage match with Yankem. The role was scrapped after about a year and a half in favor of the famous role of Kane.
A lot of people don’t know that when Jacob's first joined the WWF he was actually someone else for the first several months before the dentist was created. Yes, he wrestled under the name of Mike Unabomb and you can obviously see why that didn’t catch on. He also played the fake Diesel character when it was created.
9 Beaver Cleavage Is No Beaver Cleaver
One of the most bizarre characters ever created by Vince McMahon was the role of Beaver Cleavage. It was a take on Beaver Cleaver and his mother June Cleaver. They did things completely, going as far as even having black and white footage of the two in their home life. This was just weird though. Beaver, played by former Headbangers tag team member, Charles Warrington, was a little closer to his mother than Beaver ever dreamed of. He was maybe closer to her than Ward ever was with June. Every time they talked on camera the conversation was filled with innuendos that are better left for the bedroom and one of the disturbing things he used to tell her often was that his cereal was dry. Obviously implying that he needed some “mother’s milk” in his bowl.
This all came about when Warrington’s tag team partner, Glenn Ruth, had suffered a knee injury that was going to leave him out of action for a long time. You know Warrington better by his more famous role of Mosh.
8 Mrs. Cleavage Is No Mrs. Cleaver
Beaver Cleavage’s mother was played by Marianna Komlos who was a bodybuilder at the time. She looked nothing like June Cleaver and that was exactly the point. The storyline took an even stranger turn when her “son”, Charles Warrington, revealed to the world that Mrs. Cleavage wasn’t really his mother. She was in fact, his girlfriend. This led to a whole new level of creepy on WWE television shows for many months. There were implications that Beaver, now calling himself Chaz, had beaten up his former mother, now girlfriend. Do you follow that? The storyline was ridiculous as they wouldn’t allow him to take part in matches for what he had presumably done.
Once Glenn Ruth had recovered from his injury and could return to the ring, footage surfaced that showed Mrs. Cleavage was lying and was never beaten up at all. She was arrested to end the storyline and suddenly The Headbangers were back together again.
7 "Playboy" Buddy Rose Wasn’t Even Close To Being A Playboy
“Playboy” Buddy Rose was a guy who had some great in-ring talent in the 80’s and 90’s. Even though he wasn’t in the greatest shape you’ve ever seen inside of the squared circle, he had a lot of talent to be a headliner. He was “chubby” when you compared his physique to others in the ring and it was portrayed that he could get any woman he wanted and they would throw themselves at him wherever he went.
Paul Perschmann played the role for many years and the longer it went on the worse it became. Nobody actually believed it when it started but his talent led to some top matches and the fans were entertained. Eventually though, even entertaining the fans didn’t matter anymore. Perschmann continued to gain weight and as he did his ring skills suffered more and more. The company could have done better by coming up with another character for him but for some reason they never did.
6 The Godwinns Were Pig Farmers
Any time there has been an attempt at a redneck storyline it usually failed. However, none more so than the entire “Pig Farmers” storyline with The Godwinns, in the mid 90’s. Dennis Knight played the role of Phineas Godwinn and Mark Canterbury played his cousin, Henry Godwinn. They were pig and hog farmers from Arkansas and the entire bit was forgettable from beginning to end.
They were managed at one point by Hillbilly Jim but he was eventually fired by the team. They replaced him with a new manager named Uncle Cletus. If you don’t remember this whole but you certainly aren’t missing anything. At the top of their game, they were a solid mid-card performer, at best. In April of 1996, Henry Godwinn suffered a real in-ring injury at the hands of The Legion of Doom. They screwed up their finishing move called a Doomsday Device and Godwinn suffered a cracked C7 vertebra that kept him out of action for two months.
5 T.L. Hopper Was An Idea That Should Have Been Flushed
Tony Anthony had a couple of stints in the WWF, both ridiculous characters and if you don’t recognize the name Tony Anthony, well, that’s exactly why. His first stint was in the mid 90’s and he was known as T.L. Hopper. He was a plumber during the day and a pro wrestler by night. After a day of fixing the pipes for customers, he donned his wrestling tights and climbed into the squared circle to do battle with bad guys. He carried a plunger with him that he had named Betsy and if he was lucky enough to win a match he always stuck it into the face of his beaten opponent. The role hit the big time when he was called in to investigate a brown object in the swimming pool in a scene just before SummerSlam that year. It was an obvious attempt to recreate the famous scene from the movie Caddyshack. The next year he returned for several months as Uncle Cletus. It was an equally ridiculous and forgettable role that served no real purpose within the company.
4 Adorable Adrian Adonis Was Embarrassing For Keith Frank
Keith Franke was a respectable wrestler in the 70s and 80s. He was known as Adrian Adonis for most of his career and he wore leather into the ring and portrayed that of an outlaw biker. He was tough and had great ring skills. During the height of his career, he teamed up with Jesse “The Body” Ventura to create one of the most successful tag teams of the era. At one point they held the AWA World Tag Team Championship.
Adonis had a great solo career as well and was a serious threat to Bob Backlund’s WWF Championship, as well as the Intercontinental Championship held by Pedro Morales in the early 80s. By 1985 though, Adonis had gained a lot of weight. He still got around the ring well but it was harder to sell him as a bad boy biker. Suddenly he shed his leather outfit for pink tights, makeup and flowers. Adorable Adrian Adonis was now how he was known and anyone who saw him at the top of his career was embarrassed for him now. Sadly, while still known as “Adorable”, Keith Franke and two other wrestlers were killed in a tragic car accident in 1988. Franke was only 33 years old.
3 Fake Razor Ramon Was Not A Sharp Decision
Rick Bognar had a professional wrestling career that spanned only four years or so. He was on the wrestling scene from 1995 until an injury in 1999 forced him to retire from the ring. He never did anything that was memorable in terms of Hall of Fame standards, but he will always be remembered for his ridiculous role of the fake Razor Ramon.
When Scott Hall (the real Razor Ramon) and Rick Nash (Diesel) left the WWF for WCW the company was more than angry. They actually tried to pretend that it never happened and created a fake replacement for each. Bognar didn’t do that bad of a job but only because he nailed the accent pretty well. He was clearly not Scott Hall and this was more than obvious to even the most casual of viewers. During his year in the WWF, he didn’t accomplish much and was known more for his talking than his actual skills inside of the ropes. When his one year contract was up he was let go from the company and two years later he was out of pro wrestling for good.
2 Fake Diesel Was Just not Good At All
Glenn Jacobs is a name that should be familiar to you now. He got started with the role of Dr. Isaac Yankem before reaching stardom as Kane. This goes to show any wrestling hopeful though, never give up no matter how dumb your role is. Jacobs played the dentist and the fake Diesel role before becoming famous. He is a perfect example of “pay your dues and good things can happen”.
As the fake Diesel, Jacobs wasn’t really all that bad. McMahon’s idea to replace the two icons once he had left the company for the WCW was ridiculously stupid, but Jacobs made the most of the opportunity. He was the last guy knocked out of the Royal Rumble match that year and that was pretty much the end of the fake Diesel role. Jacobs came back though as Kane and gave us countless memorable moments and was the main event of countless PPV’s.
1 Tugboat Was Only One Of Fred Ottoman’s Horrible Characters
You have to feel bad for Fred Ottoman. He was not only one horrible character in professional wrestling; he was actually two famously bad characters. His WWF role was that of Tugboat. He wore a tiny sailor hat on his head and a one-piece, red and white singlet into the ring. Fred was a very big man and I’m not speaking in terms of Lex Luger or The Ultimate Warrior. We can just come right out and say it… Fred was fat. But that doesn’t mean that he had to look foolish on television.
The character of Tugboat was just as ridiculous as the outfit he wore into the ring. His skills inside of the ropes weren’t all that great either so one wonders what his role really was and why he was needed in the company. He was a mid-card performer on his best day and that even might be pushing it. I’m sure though, that the character wasn’t his idea. We hope not. Things didn’t get any better for him when he left the company to join the WCW. There he became the equally ridiculous character of The Shockmaster. Since this piece is about Vince McMahon’s stupid characters we won’t delve into what the WCW did to Ottoman with that role. You can find it online easily enough though.