Thursday, February 22

5 Times A Title Win Didn’t Help A New Gimmick (& 5 Times It Did)

Changing gimmicks has been crucial to the success of some wrestlers’ careers. Some wrestlers had gimmicks which would never put them in contention to win major honors, and other wrestlers changed gimmicks and still managed to win championships but did nothing to elevate the championship.


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10 Wrestlers Who Got Too Much Hate For Their Gimmick

Some wrestlers have dealt with a lot of negativity because of their gimmick that wasn’t merited.

Many wrestlers stick to one gimmick throughout their careers, but some wrestlers need to adapt by changing their gimmicks, which has proven successful. Winning a championship in WWE is a big deal, and some wrestlers benefitted immensely by changing their gimmicks to have a fantastic championship reign.


10 Didn’t Help: Kane Winning The WWE Championship

Kane Held The WWE Championship For One Day In 1998

Height

Weight

WWE Tenure

Notable Accomplishments

7’0

323 lbs

1995-Present

WWE Champion (x1), World Heavyweight Champion (x1), ECW Champion (x1), WWE Intercontinental Champion (x2), WWE World Tag Team Champion (x9), WWE Tag Team Champion (x2), WCW Tag Team Champion (x1), Money in the Bank winner (2010), WWE Hall of Fame (2021)

Kane had an explosive debut at Badd Blood: In Your House on October 5, 1997, when he interfered in Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker’s Hell in a Cell match. The Big Red Machine’s gimmick change was unquestionably successful as being cast as Isaac Yankem DDS and the fake Razor Ramon didn’t do anything for Kane’s career.

Kane defeated Steve Austin in a First Blood match at King of the Ring 1998 to become WWE Champion for the first time in his career. Kane’s WWE Championship reign wasn’t meaningful as he dropped the title 24 hours later back to Austin. Fortunately, that WWE Championship defeat didn’t hamper Kane’s career.

9 Did Help: Ivory Joins The Right To Censor

Ivory Becomes A Three-Time WWE Women’s Champion

Height

Age

WWE Tenure

Notable Accomplishments

5’5

62

1999-2005

WWE Women’s Champion (x3), WWE Hall of Fame (2018)

Ivory joined WWE in 1999, and she was the best thing to happen to the women’s division in the Attitude Era as some untrained wrestlers held the WWE Women’s Championship. Ivory won the gold twice in 1999, and after a year of hardly doing anything meaningful, Ivory joined the Right To Censor in the fall of 2000.

Ivory wasted no time in bringing gold to the Right to Censor as she won her third WWE Women’s Championship in a fatal 4-way match. Ivory held the WWE Women’s Championship for five months, and she entered a high-profile feud with Chyna over the championship. Ivory deserves credit for bringing credibility back to the Women’s Championship in an impressive third reign with the gold.

8 Didn’t Help: The Godfather Was One Of The Worst Intercontinental Champions

The Godfather Was Over Without The Intercontinental Championship

Height

Weight

WWE Tenure

Notable Accomplishments

6’6

320 lbs

1991-1993, 1995-1996, 1997-2002

WWE Intercontinental Champion (x1), WWE World Tag Team Champion (x1), WWE Hall of Fame (2016)

Charles Wright has undergone several gimmick changes throughout his WWE career but The Godfather gimmick was his most successful one. Before that, he was the Supreme Fighting Machine Kama Mustafa in Ted DiBiase’s Million Dollar Corporation and a member of the Nation.

The Godfather’s Intercontinental Championship win in April 1999 was surprising, and Godfather’s one-month Intercontinental Championship reign was forgettable. He didn’t do anything to elevate the Intercontinental Championship in the slightest, and it was a waste of time when he held the championship.

7 Did Help: Booker T Becomes A King

Booker T Won The King Of The Ring Tournament Before The World Heavyweight Championship

Height

Weight

WWE Tenure

Notable Accomplishments

6’3

256 lbs

2001-07, 2011-Present

World Heavyweight Champion (x1), WCW Champion (x5), WWE/WCW United States Champion (x4), WWE Intercontinental Champion (x1), World Tag Team Champion (x3), King of the Ring (2006), WWE Hall of Fame (2013, 2019)

Booker T was one of the major stars who moved from WCW to WWE in 2001 amid the Invasion storyline. Despite being a five-time WCW Champion, Booker T was mainly positioned in the midcard scene. However, Booker won the 2006 King of the Ring tournament, and he was rechristened as King Booker.

Related

5 Stable Leaders Who Only Cared About Themselves (& 5 Who Cared About The Group)

Some faction leaders were only in it for themselves, whereas others wanted all of their members to succeed.

This was the moment that Booker was waiting for, and perseverance paid off as he defeated Rey Mysterio for the World Heavyweight Championship at The Great American Bash 2006. Booker was the top heel on SmackDown, and he had the likes of Queen Sharmell, Finlay, and William Regal by his side during his four-month World Heavyweight Championship run.

6 Didn’t Help: Billy Gunn Becomes The One

Billy Gunn Recovers From Injury And Wins The Intercontinental Championship

Height

Weight

WWE Tenure

Notable Accomplishments

6’3

256 lbs

1993-04, 2012-15

WWE Intercontinental Champion (x1), WWE World Tag Team Champion (x10), WWE Tag Team Champion (x1), King of the Ring (1999), WWE Hall of Fame (2019)

Billy Gunn was on a roll when he was a member of D-Generation X but all of his momentum fell away when he sustained a torn rotator cuff in early 2000. Billy was booted out of the group, and he returned as “The One” Billy Gunn.

The 1999 King of the Ring tournament winner’s gimmick didn’t work, but he defeated Eddie Guerrero for the Intercontinental Championship in November 2000. Billy’s Intercontinental Championship reign only lasted a month, and this championship run didn’t help his new gimmick in the slightest.

5 Did Help: The Role Model Is Born

Bayley Becomes The Longest-Reigning SmackDown Women’s Champion In History

Height

Age

WWE Tenure

Notable Accomplishments

5’6

34

2013-Present

Raw Women’s Champion (x1), SmackDown Women’s Champion (x2), WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion (x2), NXT Women’s Champion (x1), Women’s Money in the Bank winner (2019)

Bayley’s Hugger gimmick had run its course, and fans began to boo Bayley. Bayley won the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match in 2019, and she converted it into the SmackDown Women’s Championship, and she turned heel during this title run.

The Role Model was born and Bayley became a two-time SmackDown Women’s Champion when she regained the title from Charlotte Flair. Bayley benefitted from this heel run as she became the longest-reigning SmackDown Women’s Champion at 380 days, and she was briefly a double champion when she held the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship with Sasha Banks.

4 Didn’t Help: Curtis Axel Becomes A Paul Heyman Guy

Curtis Axel Emulates His Father By Winning The Intercontinental Championship

Height

Weight

WWE Tenure

Notable Accomplishments

6’3

228 lbs

2007-2022

WWE Intercontinental Champion (x1), WWE Tag Team Champion (x2)

Curtis Axel had tons of pressure to deliver as the son of Mr. Perfect, but he was introduced to WWE fans as Michael McGillicutty as a member of the Nexus. Furthermore, Curtis Axel was repackaged and he became a Paul Heyman Guy in 2013.

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10 Things We Would See In WWE If Paul Heyman Was The Booker

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The alliance should have worked but it fell flat. Axel did win the Intercontinental Championship on Father’s Day, becoming the first father-son duo to win the Intercontinental Championship by emulating his late father. Axel became an afterthought as Heyman was involved in a feud with his former client CM Punk simultaneously with Axel briefly involved.

3 Did Help: John Bradshaw Layfield Becomes A Top Heel On SmackDown

JBL Holds The WWE Championship For 280 Days

Height

Weight

WWE Tenure

Notable Accomplishments

6’6

280 lbs

1995-2009, 2011-Present

WWE Champion (x1), WWE Intercontinental Champion (x1), WWE United States Champion (x1), WWE World Tag Team Champion (x3), WWE Hall of Famer (2020)

JBL was finishing up his partnership with Ron Simmons in the spring of 2004, and it remained to be seen what was next for Bradshaw. Almost instantly after Simmons’ retirement, Bradshaw was repackaged as John Bradshaw Layfield and he was immediately positioned as the top heel on SmackDown with Brock Lesnar’s departure and Kurt Angle’s injury.

Layfield feuded with Eddie Guerrero over the WWE Championship, and at The Great American Bash 2004, JBL defeated Eddie in a Texas Bullrope match for the WWE Championship. JBL needed the WWE Championship, and he went on to hold the title for 280 days until WrestleMania 21, with John Cena unseating him as WWE Champion.

2 Didn’t Help: The Modern-Day Maharaja Struggled As WWE Champion

Wrestling Fans Didn’t Buy Jinder Mahal As WWE Champion

Height

Weight

WWE Tenure

Notable Accomplishments

6’5

238 lbs

2011-14, 2016-Present

WWE Champion (x1), WWE United States Champion (x1), WWE 24/7 Champion (x2)

Jinder Mahal was released from WWE in 2014, but a couple of years later, he returned with an impressive physique. Mahal was repackaged as The Modern-Day Maharaja, and he upset Randy Orton at Backlash 2017 to clinch the WWE Championship for the first time.

Mahal’s WWE Championship run lasted 170 days, but fans weren’t buying Mahal as WWE Champion from the moment he won the title. His matches were average, and he didn’t elevate the WWE Championship in the slightest when he held the gold.

1 Did Help: Roman Reigns Makes History As The Undisputed WWE Universal Champion

The Tribal Chief Is On God Mode!

Height

Weight

WWE Tenure

Notable Accomplishments

6’5

265 lbs

2010-Present

WWE Champion (x4), WWE Universal Champion (x2), WWE Intercontinental Champion (x1), WWE United States Champion (x1)

Roman Reigns was scheduled to face Goldberg for the WWE Universal Championship at WrestleMania 36, but he opted to sit down at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Reigns returned at SummerSlam 2020, and a week later, Reigns defeated “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman at Payback 2020 to become the new WWE Universal Champion.

Fans were heavily invested in Reigns’ Tribal Chief character as a heel, and he has gone on to hold the WWE Universal Championship for 1,182 days and counting. Reigns being the leader of the Bloodline, and headlining countless premium live events has proven to be successful with Reigns cementing his legacy as one of the all-time greats.

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