Whether or not a wrestler is technically sound in the ring or has a great presence, what undoubtedly decides whether they succeed or fail is their gimmick.
Every successful wrestler, from the 80s onwards, has become a hit on the back of portraying a character the crowd has truly got behind, whether it makes sense in hindsight or not.
From the 80s through to the early 2000s, wrestling experienced a number of extravagant characters and gimmicks, and it’s pretty easy to understand why the likes of The Gobbledy Gooker or The Shockmaster never shot up to incredible heights.
Legendary characters that rose to success on the back of strong, cocky personas like Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Ric Flair would have succeeded at almost any time – as the character’s portrayer, combined with a strong character, led to success in each of the aforementioned wrestlers’ cases.
However, over the course of professional wrestling’s history, a small handful of wrestlers with gimmicks that are a little bit out there came along and somehow managed to forge success while portraying an odd or dull character.
When it comes to modern wrestling fans, who live in a professional wrestling world where kayfabe is nearly non-existent, most ‘out there’ gimmicks are immediately discouraged and the fans simply boo to their heart’s content.
As society has evolved, so has its taste in wrestling characters. As a result, there are a number of legendary gimmicks that would never have a chance of succeeding in the current day.
These are the top 15 most successful wrestling gimmicks that would fail today.
15. Val Venis
While the late 90s might have been a great time for a character like Val Venis, with females being treated as sexual objects at its peak in professional wrestling, there is no chance it would ever work today. In fact, it didn’t work in the mid-00s before WWE went PG, so why in the world would it work now? Remember when Kai En Tai attempted to chop off Val’s pride and joy on an episode of RAW? I rest my case. Bonus points for casual racism with the “I choppy-choppy your pee-pee” remark.