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10 WWE Gimmicks That Were Meant As Punishment

The difference between a good and bad wrestling gimmick can make a huge impact on the success of a wrestler... and while they have plenty of say on things, ultimately it is down to the booker or promoter, in how they are presented. This is particularly true for WWE, especially during Vince McMahon's time in charge of the company.

Of course, it is in the Federation's best interest to create compelling characters that wrestlers can dive into... but there are times when the company has used different characters as a means of punishing somebody. While some have been able to make these work, others have failed to do so, flopping because of their character.

The safety of wrestlers inside the ring is paramount for any company, and it is something that the former McMahonopolizer has always taken seriously, no matter where the person is on the card. So, when Perry Saturn ended up taking shots against an enhancement talent during a Monday Night Raw match, he was punished.

That led to him having the infamous Moppy gimmick, which saw him have to be in love with an actual mop. It was a ridiculous character, and one that he was never going to be taken seriously with, but that was the price he had to pay.

Asking for time off is not something that happens in wrestling, as the performers are just expected to be available at all times. Therefore, when future WWE Hall of Famer Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat wanted a break after WrestleMania 3, it didn't go down well... and instead, Vinny Mac looked to punish him.

He did that by giving him a literal komodo dragon {sometimes seen in some sort of weird harness thing to make it easier to carry around, I guess... because it's not like it was a punishment or anything} making that the entire focal point of his character. The idea was that it would be impossible to get over, and would cement Steamboat to the mid-card... but he was far too talented for that, and he got the character over massively.

Another WWE Hall of Famer who turned a punishment into an iconic gimmick was "American Dream" Dusty Rhodes, who was given the yellow and black polka dots as a rib. It is believed that McMahon wanted to punish Rhodes a little, after he had been the competition for so many years, through World Championship Wrestling.

However, because the Son of a Plumber's incredibly talented and has so much charisma, he was able to make this character one of the most popular of all time. He embraced all of it and danced his way around the ring to win over the hearts of the masses.

Brodus Clay appearing as the Funkasaurus is something that took everybody by surprise at the time, because the Federation had been building him up as a monster villain, and that is what people expected to see. However, the company switched gears as a punishment to Clay, once a clip of him being funny was shown to Vince McMahon.

He wanted to turn the future NWA Television champion into a good guy, but Brodus initially said no... and then he felt the decision to make him an all-singing, all-dancing wrestler was a punishment of some kind. While the future Tyrus could have done more as a tarheelian, Brodus Clay managed to make the gimmick work enough to get over in the long run.

Well, we got Cameron and Naomi as his Funkadactyls, touching butts as they entered the ring... so I guess it wasn't all bad...?

One Man Gang was a hard-hitting wrestler that was easy to take seriously, due to his size and strength... but when the company switched him to Akeem The African Dream, there were question marks from fans. The gimmick was a poor one, and it made little sense from what he had been doing previously.

This was given to him as a punishment, because he had missed some dates, which is something that the Federation takes seriously. As they were unimpressed with him at that point, he got saddled with a character that was tough to make work. Mostly because dude wasn't even black.

Adrian Adonis was a talented performer, and somebody who should have had proven himself as a hard-hitting, tough wrestler before joining the World Wrestling Federation. That is what most people expected to see from him all of the time, but Vince had other ideas, and a punishment in mind.

This was because Adonis had gained some weight, and his boss wasn't happy about it... so he labeled him as Adorable, forcing him to undergo a major shift in character to play up that fact.

Future WWE Hall of Famer Mark Henry was signed to a huge contract when he first joined WWF, and it was clear that McMahon had big plans for him as a performer. He was seen bending frying pans and pulling large vehicles on Monday night Raw, so clearly the World's Strongest Man was going to be the next Ken Patera. However, the start of his run didn't quite go to plan, and when that was obvious, he ended up being punished.

Instead of being booked as a serious name, the former Olympian became Sexual Chocolate, which was a comedic character that saw him impregnate fellow WWE Hall of Famer Mae Young... who later gave birth to a hand.

To Henry's credit, he got this character to work perfectly for him, with fans still talking about it to this day.

The Piggy James storyline that Mickie James was subjected to is one of the most insulting in Federation history, and that all came down to backstage issues. Rumours of her and John Cena being romantically involved reportedly had something to play in this, as did WWE asking her to lose weight.

James refused to do that, and instead the company took it into one of the worst storylines that has ever been created, which is not how one of the greatest women's wrestlers of all time should have been treated. And this is from the same people that had Natalya both gassy and a dominatirix during her own WWE tenure.

When a wrestler pretends to have an imaginary friend, it's always going to be a tough sell... and it is easy to see how that would be a punishment. The simple reason for that is that it was Vince gave R-Truth the character on purpose, because he had smoked on live television.

He did that in character, in the rare part of his Federation tenure when he was a heel... but it was heavily frowned upon due to the PG restrictions that the company has... coupled with the fact that he did it in Quebec, where it's actually illegal to smoke in public places. Because of that, the former WWE Chairman opted to punish the former NWA World Heavyweight champion by giving him an imaginary friend... but to his credit, R-Truth managed to make that work swimmingly. He even recorded a song about the character, with a very amusing music video!

Owen Hart is one of the greatest in-ring technicians of all time, so making him the comedic Blue Blazer was a poor decision from Vince McMahon, especially since it was one that he did as a punishment. This was a petty situation as well, because it had little to do with the future Black Hart himself.

Instead, this was mainly done because of his brother, future WWE Hall of Famer Bret "Hitman" Hart, and everything that was going on with him departing the company. However, Owen also refused a storyline that involved him having an on-screen affair. He stayed loyal to his wife and didn't want to be presented in that manner, so instead, he went under the mask. The character did do a very entertaining PSA against smoking though, so it wasn't a total loss.

It was as this character that Hart fell to his death at WWF Over the Edge, in a mishap that involved his rapelling to the ring in a harness.

Source: the Sportster

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