10 Embarrassing Gimmicks From Other Promotions These AEW Wrestlers Want You To Forget | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

Coming off of a hugely successful All In at Wembley Stadium, you could certainly make the argument that AEW is currently at an all-time high (CM Punk drama aside). But in order to fully appreciate where you are, you have to acknowledge where you’ve come from. It wasn’t that long ago that the promotion didn’t even exist, with its roster members in far different places in their careers.

Sure, plenty were enjoying success. Kenny Omega was a star in Japan, the Elite were dominating the indy scene and a host of wrestlers were making serious money with WWE. For many, though, the path to AEW was littered with plenty of low points and regrettable runs that they don’t exactly recall fondly.

RELATED: 10 Worst Gimmicks Currently In AEW

Here are 10 past gimmicks of AEW stars that they would probably just as soon prefer that fans forget they ever existed:

10 Jeff Hardy – Willow the Wisp

Willow The Whisp

Considering that the Willow the Wisp gimmick was the brainchild of Jeff Hardy, the Charismatic Enigma really only has himself to blame. As Willow, Hardy had a cool, distinct look with a black and silver ensemble complete with an umbrella.

However, the dark, mysterious character never fully connected with fans, whether in its early days in Omega or during its brief reprisal in TNA. Portrayed as a babyface, Willow was simply too out there to garner much of a crowd reaction beyond confusion.

9 Sting – ‘Joker’ Sting


On the surface, the ‘Joker’ version of Sting seems like yet another example of a wrestling legend saddled with a bad creative direction in TNA. In this case, however, Steve Borden has actually extolled the virtues of the character modeled after Heath Ledger’s iconic character, bizarrely calling it his favorite version of Sting.

Sure, portraying ‘Joker’ Sting probably allowed Borden to have some fun, but the smeared face paint, bright red wardrobe and eccentric facial expressions just seemed unbecoming of someone of Sting’s stature. The character even had a (hopefully) brief reprisal recently ahead of his tag team coffin match at All In.

8 Young Bucks – Generation Me

Young Bucks Generation Me gimmick

There was nothing bad, per se, about Nick and Matt Jackson’s – or, rather, Max and Jeremy’s – run as Generation Me in TNA. They started as your classic bland, generic pair of high-flying babyfaces. But even though they became involved in the tag title mix and feuded with the Motor City Machine Guns, there never seemed to be much of a long-term plan for the duo.

In short order, they turned heel, aligned with Tara and even feuded with each other, but none of it went anywhere. Within a matter of months after requesting their releases, the Jackson’s had joined Bullet Club in New Japan and had moved on to bigger and better things.

7 Chris Jericho – Super Liger

Chris Jericho as Super Liger

A master of reinvention, Chris Jericho has run the gamut of various characters over the course of his decorated wrestling career. One that he’d probably rather forget, however, is his one-night turn in Japan as ‘Super Liger’, supposedly the evil doppleganger of Jushin “Thunder” Liger.

The character, which came as the result of a long-standing partnership between NJPW and WCW, required a restrictive costume with limited visibility. In a Tokyo Dome showdown with Koji Kanemoto, Jericho struggled in the Liger costume, resulting in a dud of a match that forever buried the idea.

6 Jon Moxley – Germaphobe

Dean Ambrose Gas mask

Jon Moxley’s frustrations with his Dean Ambrose character and the lack of creative freedom he was afforded in WWE existed long before he departed the company in 2019. However, it was the booking of the character in his latter days that truly pushed things over the edge and prompted his departure.

Late in his run as Ambrose, he was made to recite embarrassing lines like “pooper scooper” on air, was scripted to make callous comments about Roman Reigns’ real-life leukemia diagnosis and sported a gas mask on account of the “disgusting, disease-riddled fanbase”.

5 Samoa Joe – Nation of Violence

Samoa Joe in his Nation of Violence era

Sometimes, it’s best not to mess with a good thing. Samoa Joe got over in TNA by being the same fearsome, ass-kicking tough guy that he’s been throughout his wrestling career. Rather than leave well enough alone, the company gave Joe a giant machete and slapped on some war paint, referring to his “Nation of Violence” despite the fact that a stable never came out of it.

RELATED: 10 Worst Things TNA Did With Samoa Joe

There was nothing outright wrong with the gimmick, but it seemed unnecessary for a character that was already well established and didn’t feel stale.

4 Billy Gunn – Cute Kip

The Beautiful People Kip James

From DX to his current run alongside the Acclaimed, Billy Gunn has enjoyed the good fortune of being linked to some hot acts over his career. That was also the case in TNA when he joined the Beautiful People duo of Angelina Love and Velvet Sky. Unfortunately, Gunn’s presentation as a fashion consultant known as Cute Kip (he went by Kip James in the promotion) didn’t offer much hope for meaningful character development.

Even for a guy who has gone by monikers like ‘Mr. Ass’ and ‘Daddy Ass’, being relegated to a trashy lackey seemed like a low point for the former Intercontinental Champion and King of the Ring winner.

3 Christian – Tantrum Thrower

Christian vs DDP

Look, being a whiner is a core trait of the vast majority of heel characters throughout the history of pro wrestling. Christian, however, was booked to take things to a whole other level, building to a feud with Diamond Dallas Page based upon DDP’s efforts to keep Christian from throwing in-ring tantrums amidst a lengthy losing streak.

Losing streaks can berth strong character development and there were admittedly some fun moments in the feud, which culminated in a European title match at WrestleMania 18. But booking Christian to look so pathetic at a time when he was breaking away from Edge and pursuing his own singles career did some serious damage.

2 Big Show – Impersonator

big show as hulk hogan

There’s no question that Big Show’s impersonator gimmick, which saw him come to the ring parodying fellow superstars like Hulk Hogan, Val Venis, Booker T, Rikishi and the Berzerker, was highly entertaining. Still, whatever amusement was gained from his comical mimicry, it came at the cost of his own credibility.

Show was just coming off of a spot in the fatal four-way main event of WrestleMania 2000 and was just a few months removed from a brief run as WWE champion. Between the comedy and a slew of rapid-fire face/heel flips so early in his run with the company, WWE sure seemed determined to diminish the value of their major free agent acquisition.

1 Dustin Rhodes – Seven

Seven WCW

As part of a second return to WCW in 1999, Dustin Rhodes assumed the creepy, child predator character of Seven, appearing in unsettling vignettes and getting a supernatural entrance that included floating to the ring. Then he delivered a scathing worked shoot promo that abandoned it immediately upon its debut.

In a baffling moment that was typical of Vince Russo’s WCW, Rhodes ripped the gimmick, burying it instantly before assuming the character of the “American Nightmare” Dustin Rhodes. It was reported that the company’s legal team grew skittish about a character that could be construed as a child molester, but we will never know what the true direction of the failed gimmick.

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