Pro Wrestling has made it certain that the business of “Making grown people look stupid” is a lucrative one. Just look at “Dancing With The Stars” or any Fantastic Four movie for proof that it’s a formula that works.
However that didn’t stop anyone from proclaiming allegiance to Degeneration X and crotch chopping at kids on the playground as a child. Nobody knew what “Austin 3:16” meant, but he drank beer after matches, and THAT was cool.
However, there are some aspects of pro-wrestling that we can’t see even children willing to accept, the biggest of these being the costumes and personae that would make even the most avid, oiled steroid-user blush.
Played by Mike Hallick, the Mantaur would come to the ring with a massive, minotaur mask on. Then, after a few minutes of pushing self-doubt aside, he would proceed to charge, trample and moo at his opponents. Mantaur made his debut in January of 1995 and by July, he had already left the World Wrestling Federation. He never made much of an impact, as we imagine that even the higher-ups in the business were shaking their heads at the decision to hire a fat man wearing a fuzzy animal head.
Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake
Played by Edward Leslie, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake was a highly successfully wrestler in the 1980’s, who even won the World Tag Team Championship. After he would win a match, he would pull out a pair of scissors and cut his opponent’s hair. Call us crazy, but after having your chest sat on for ten minutes by a large man in spandex pants, getting a hair cut would seem like only a minor setback.
Played by Jorge Gonzales, Giant Gonzalez was a 7 foot, 7 inch tall man, with an embarrassing beard and a spray painted full body suit. Despite a lackluster encounter with The Undertaker at Wrestlemania IX, he too was quickly removed from the minds of everyone. We can’t really take fuzzy shoulder pads and painted abs very seriously, but we are truly scared of the man who decided to put him in the costume.
Barry Darsow wrestled under other aliases like Smash, Krusher Kruschev and The Blacktop Bully. However, the one that made his mother cry the most was The Repo Man, whose claim to fame was taking other people’s shit after they were unable to pay for it. He lasted two years. That’s twenty-four months of popularity, from 1991 to 1993.
While job gimmicks were popular in the 90’s, the idea that the WWF would hire someone whose sole intentions were to steal your hat seems a little far-fetched.
The Killer Bees
“Jumpin” Jim Brunzell and B. Brian Blair debuted as The Killer Bees in 1985 and lasted until 1988. Over that time, they maintained an average-to-slipping amount of popularity, and never won any sort of championship. One look at their outfits and their accomplishments should tell you why.
They performed for 3 years, in black and yellow “bee” tights, with nothing to show for it, and that makes us sad inside. While there are definitely more ridiculous costumes, this deserves a spot mainly because of the humiliation. The person who managed these guys had it out for them, and the fact that they never asked themselves “Why are we doing this?” makes it starving puppy level depressing.
Hulk Hogan needs no description. If you don’t know the man, then you should get your head checked for brain deterioration. Mr. America debuted in 2003, wearing a red and blue mask and tights, and his entire run was built around the fact that he was trying to convince his boss, Vince McMahon, that he was not Hulk Hogan.
Here’s the problem, though. You can’t “mistake” seeing Hulk Hogan. No one in the world has ever said “That may have been Hulk Hogan.” It either is or it is not. And the fact that the plot line concerned Hulk tricking someone into thinking he was not Hulk means that professional wrestling is far more self-aware then we give it credit for. It’s like they’re saying “We have giant men hitting each other with tables and not going to jail. We know. We know.”
Paul Neu made his World Championship Wrestling debut in 1989 as “PN News,” a rapper character who would come to the ring, do his best to set whatever progress rap music had made in 1989 back by about ten years by “rapping” and then he’d wrestle for a bit. He had a decent run though, and fought a young Steve Austin for the World Television Championship in a losing effort.
But how bad could the guy really be? It’s not like he was the worst rapper ever or anything, right? Wrong. Here are some sample lyrics:
“I’m PN News and I’m here to say, That I’ll take Rick Rude’s title away. I’m PN News and he’s Ravishing Rick Rude, When I get through with him, he’ll be one mad dude.”
The prosecution rests.
Tiny Lister is primarily an actor, known for his roles as “Deebo” in the Friday trilogy, and most recently as a prison inmate in “The Dark Knight.” However, in 1989, he starred opposite Hulk Hogan as Zeus in “No Holds Barred,” a movie where Hogan played a pro-wrestler, effectively making him a method actor on par with Daniel Day Lewis.
Glacier, Mortis and Wrath
Raymond Lloyd (Glacier), Chris Klucsarits (Mortis) and Bryan Clark Jr (Wrath), were all gimmicks based openly around the Mortal Kombat video game series. Wearing colorful outfits and masks that looked like they came straight from a mail order catalog that sells embarrassment, two of them, Klucsarits and Clark, eventually gained fame using other identities. Lloyd was not so lucky, and, to this day, along with “Sugar Ray Lloyd” and “Coach Buzz Stern,” the only other nickname he wears as often as Glacier is “That’s not my son.”
Paul Theiss performed as John Reinhart and Mondo Kleen during his stint as a pro-wrestler. However, he is best known as Damien Demento, who wrestled The Undertaker in the main event of the first Monday Night Raw. Dressed in a tribal warrior outfit and wearing a goatee that looks like he told the barber “I never want sex again,” he, like many of his brethren on the list, never quite became the star that no one expected him to be.