WWE’s most memorable characters were those who succeeded in generating the strongest emotions from the audience. Cheered or booed, loved or hated, the reasons for these intense feelings were all different depending on the gimmick.
The Attitude Era produced some of the most intriguing and edgy angles of all time. Some gimmicks were racy, obscene and offensive though nonetheless highly entertaining. Others were mistimed given the political and social climate of the times they were performed in, demonstrating a certain lack of sensitivity on the WWE’s behalf. Some would argue that this was done on purpose for shock value. Others were so wild, they were simply written off, or dropped all together. With an audience so large, it is almost impossible to not hurt someone’s feelings.
The current WWE roster seems to lack the charisma of generations past, due in large part to a company wide shift towards a more PG-friendly product. Decrease in viewership numbers are a testament to this PG makeover. We recount some of those politically incorrect gimmicks that may have propelled the company into the state of affairs it finds itself in today.
10 Akeem the African Dream
9 Mae Young
7 The Godfather
6 Chuck and Billy
4 The Mexicools
3 Cryme Tyme
2 Kerwin White
1 Muhammad Hassan
The American war on terror marked the 2000’s and still rages on today. Political villains always generated intense crowd reactions. Nikolai Volkov in the 80’s, as well as Rusev today, represented the US fight against communism. Given the sensitivity towards today's current state of affairs which has carried over the better part of now two decades, a character like Muhammad Hassan was as risky as his reign was lackluster. But it is all about sparking reaction, generating intense emotions from the audience. The WWE thrives on villains. In the ring, Hassan was fairly talented. His persona however, suffered from not being far enough removed from the current state affairs. Following the London Bombings in July of 2005, WWE, under immense pressure from major news networks, decided it was best to scrap the idea of having a terrorist like gimmick amongst their ranks.
Sources: slam.canoe.com, bleacherreport.com, thesportster.com
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