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Wrestlers Who Had Gimmicks Fans Hated & Loved

The art of a gimmick is meant to play a character effectively enough to resonate with the audience and enhance one’s career. Many all-time great wrestlers had various gimmick changes throughout successful careers, and fans typically liked a few of them. However, not everyone was able to thrive in each character change.



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There have been scenarios of wrestlers in WWE and every promotion has mixed reactions to their characters. Some talents had a gimmick that worked and another that just missed the mark. The audience reaction to each wrestler will be viewed for better or worse. Each of these wrestlers proved the same performer could have a hated and a loved gimmick in their career.


Chavo Guerrero Received All-Time Bad Gimmick Change

Kerwin White Ruined Any Momentum From Los Guerreros Day

  • Los Guerreros Was The High Point Of Chavos’ WWE Run
  • Kerwin White Gimmick Became All-Time Embarrassing Act
  • Chavo Was Allowed To Drop Kerwin Character When Eddie Passed

The peak of Chavo Guerrero’s career came when teaming with his uncle Eddie Guerrero in Los Guerreros tag team. WWE pushed them hard after some hilarious vignettes made it clear the audience was getting behind the act.


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Los Guerreros turning face led to both wrestlers getting over with the fan base until Chavo betrayed Eddie. WWE used Chavo as a respected cruiserweight heel on his own, but Vince McMahon’s bolder change to Kerwin White ruined everything. Chavo pretended to be a white person with the Kerwin character bringing bad press to WWE.

Baron Corbin Almost Made Happy Corbin A Hit

Fans Loved The Short-Term Gimmick Before Changing It

  • Multiple Gimmick Changes Failed To Get Him Over The Hump
  • “Broke” Corbin Run Was Getting Him Over With Unique Changes
  • Happy Corbin Tenure Losing Momentum Caused More Disappointment

WWE has tried to make Baron Corbin a star multiple times with lackluster results. Baron had a solid run as the Lone Wolf, but future gimmicks of King Corbin and Constable Corbin saw the audience getting sick of him.


A bold change playing a “down on his luck” character saw Happy Corbin emerging once finding luck. WWE fans reacted stronger to Corbin than they did in many years. Unfortunately, WWE taking the gimmick to generic heel levels ruined his momentum again.

Raven Couldn’t Make His Previous Gimmicks Work

Johnny Polo & Scotty Flamingo Failed Before Raven Era

  • Manager Run As Johnny Polo Had Shelf Life In WWE
  • WCW Run As Surfer Scotty Flamingo Flopped Badly
  • Creating Raven Character In ECW Saved His Career

Raven’s career deserves extra respect for him bouncing back from failed stints in both WWE and WCW to get hired by both companies after his ECW revamp. WCW witnessed him flopping as Scotty Flamingo due to the corny surfer gimmick.


Johnny Polo was the new character in WWE, but he peaked as a manager of the Quebecers, with an over-the-top obnoxious persona. The Raven character saved his career in ECW and led to stints in WWE, WCW, TNA, and Ring of Honor with the same gimmick.

Earthquake Was Far Better Than His Future Characters

WCW Making Him Play “The Shark” May Have Been Rock Bottom

  • Got Over During WWE Feud With Hogan As Monster Heel
  • Hogan Wanted Him To Join WCW When Gaining Power
  • The Shark Character Killed Remaining Relevance From Past

WWE pushed Earthquake as a dominant monster heel looking to challenge and threaten Hulk Hogan in a top spot. Earthquake fizzled out to the mid-card scene after the strong Hogan program, but he had enough credibility to hold slight relevance in WWE.


WCW signed him when Hogan joined and wanted his friends hired to change the roster around. Avalanche flopped as a rip off of the Earthquake name, but a pivot towards The Shark was even worse. Earthquake now pretended he was an actual shark as a member of the Dungeon of Doom to harm his career.

Nikki Cross’ Sanity Being Questioned Worked Better Than Superhero

Main Roster Title Reign Ended Up Proving New Gimmick Wasn’t Working

  • Sanity Faction Allowed Nikki To Get Noteworthy NXT Push
  • Group Ending Put Nikki & Others In Tough Spot Rebuilding
  • Nikki A.S.H. Push Flopped With Fans Not Buying Superhero Act

WWE had a lot of momentum for Nikki Cross back in the NXT stage as part of Sanity. The faction never got a real chance to shine on the main roster, and all names from the group were either fired or had to rebuild in WWE.


Nikki received her biggest main roster push with the Nikki A.S.H. gimmick portraying someone believing they were a superhero. WWE decision makers not feeling enough fan investment saw Nikki’s short Raw Women’s Championship reign ending after a few weeks and having to rebound again.

Batista’s Early WWE Career Almost Failed Due To Gimmick

Evolution Saved Batista From Awful Deacon Gimmick With D-Von

  • Reverend D-Von Heel Push Gave Batista Debut Character
  • Deacon Gimmick Didn’t Help Him Get Over In First Introduction
  • Moving Into Evolution Group Allowed Batista To Win Over Fans

The Dudley Boyz breaking up in the 2002 brand split draft saw the new character of Reverend D-Von pushed as a singles heel. However, it was his sidekick Deacon Batista to come off as the more pivotal talent between the time.


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WWE eventually realized D-Von’s character wasn’t working, and it was hurting Batista as well. The split came when Batista attacked D-Von and eventually joined Evolution. Batista’s career took off working with Triple H, Randy Orton and Ric Flair before he turned face for a legendary singles run.

Rikishi Had A Few Flops Before Babyface Success

The Sultan Was A Terrible Gimmick To Almost Ruin Career

  • Failed With Multiple WWE Gimmicks After Tag Team Run Ended
  • The Sultan Was Viewed As Worst Gimmick To Pull Him Off TV
  • Rikishi Returned To Massive Success Dancing In Too Cool

WWE enjoyed the work ethic and talent of Rikishi to give him multiple character changes after his tag team run as the Headshrinkers ended. The worst one came during the New Generation Era with Rikishi wearing a mask as The Sultan.


A horrible program between The Rock at his youngest and The Sultan heading into WrestleMania 13 made it clear Rikishi’s masked act wasn’t working. WWE waited a few years before giving Rikishi another chance in the Attitude Era, getting over with the dances and Tool Cool trio act.

Kazuchika Okada Almost Had Career-Killing TNA Gimmick

Okada Overcame Horrible TNA Stint To Became Japanese Legend

  • Okato’s Gimmick Insulted NJPW Enough To End TNA Relationship
  • NJPW Still Pushed Okada To Become Iconic Face Of Promotion’s Era
  • Okada Hoping To Have Much Better Run On American TV In AEW

TNA and New Japan saw their working relationship of the past falling apart when TNA booked Kazuchika Okada as a joke. Okada barely received television time until playing an offensive gimmick of Okato based on The Green Hornet sidekick.


NJPW was livid about this due to viewing Okada as a future top star, and they didn’t deter from those plans. Okada became the face of New Japan during some of their most successful eras as the legendary Rainmaker. AEW hopes his current heel run leading The Elite already shows more promise than his previous American run in TNA.

Dean Malenko Had Polar Opposite Runs In WWE & WCW

WWE’s New Gimmick Ruined Final Chapter Of Dean’s On-Screen Career

  • WCW Loved Dean’s Serious Heel Character Leading Cruiserweight Division
  • WWE Hated His Flaws To Make Changes When Coming Over With Radicalz
  • Womanizing Heel Character Harassing Lita Ruined Rest Of His TV Career


WCW pushed Dean Malenko hard in the cruiserweight division as a serious character that worked perfectly. Malenko’s intensity and technical wrestling style worked perfectly in WCW, especially since most of his opponents had colorful looks and styles.

WWE wanted to make bigger changes since Malenko being smaller and having less charisma were huge flaws to Vince McMahon. The new gimmick of an arrogant heel womanizer led to Malenko flopping on-screen and finding more success for many years afterwards as a backstage producer.

Ron Simmons Witnessed Both Sides With Faarooq In WWE

WWE Realized Major Changes Were Needed Within The First Months

  • WWE Wanted New Gimmick For Ron Simmons To Shed WCW Past
  • Original Gladiator Gimmick Failed Badly With Sunny At His Side
  • Change To Lead Nation Of Domination Saved His WWE Career


Ron Simmons made a big move to join WWE after his historic WCW run as the first black world champion in either company. Faarooq was a new name given to Simmons, since Vince McMahon wanted to change most former WCW characters coming over.

WWE introduced Faarooq with a terrible gladiator gimmick wearing baby blue gear and having Sunny as his manager. The failing gimmick was dropped quickly with a pivot to Faarooq leading the Nation of Domination as an eventual legendary group and talking about race relations in wrestling.

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