As the great folk rock musician Bob Dylan once sang, “The Times They Are A-Changing.” As it often does with the changing of the times, there’s generally a cultural shift too. The “cultural norms” from even five years ago, much less a decade ago aren’t nearly as acceptable as they once were. If they even still are at all. The same holds true for wrestling and wrestling culture.
It’s not just because it’s a bad angle (Katie Vick in WWE), it’s also because time doesn’t always look back kindly on making a woman strip and bark like a dog and get filth poured on her – even if she did wind up kicking her boss and tormenter in the nuts.
9 Brutus The Barber Beefcake
Sure he would just cut his opponents’ hair, but the thought of Brutus The Barber Beefcake and what he was capable of in the ring is slightly disturbing.
How Brother Bruti set his opponents up for a trim is a little nauseating. First, he puts them down and out with The Sleeper and then starts cutting and strutting. When you stop to think about it, it’s pretty unsettling.
8 Val Venis
If someone chooses to make their bones in the adult film industry most people might thumb their noses up at the lifestyle choice. But they’d still give the ol’ “not that there’s anything wrong with that” opinion. But there is a seedy underbelly of rampant drug use and occasional people abuse in that industry.
Or at least there was over the years. But having a babyface wrestler cavorting around as an ex-adult film star or even a heel is a bit problematic even for The Attitude Era. It also put a creative ceiling on the talent behind the wrestler, as there would be zero chance Sean Morley would have ever become a top-tier talent with that gimmick.
7 The Godfather
Similar to Val Venis, The Godfather could have only existed during the risqué Attitude Era. A wrestler with the gimmick of a drug dealer and purveyor of ladies of the night who would often offer them up to opponents instead of having a match.
While you could make the argument that Godfather’s entrepreneurial spirit embodied a make love, not war sentimentality, the stigma behind what he was would be a sticking point with the Parent Television Councils who would denounce the gimmick.
On the surface, Raven was just a grunge freak who had a few stables. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll find some sort of cult leader who tortured and beat his minions. Stevie Richards for example in ECW constantly bore the brunt of Raven’s aggression.
But even worse was when Raven got to WCW and young up-and-comers would turn to Raven for guidance, like Billy Kidman, and be left strung out and an addict (never said on TV of course, but easy to imply).
While plenty of fans could make the argument “Hey what about Stone Cold drinking beer all the time?” when dissecting The Sandman, there’s one big caveat. Stone Cold Steve Austin was a technical wrestler turned brawler due to an injury who happens to enjoy imbibing some cold ones after a victory.
The Sandman was just a drunk who would get thrashed on his way to the ring! Now that’s quintessential ECW, but as even the most ardent fan would tell you, Sandman didn’t have much else except the entrance.
4 Joey Ryan
Joey Ryan is the epitome of all that’s wrong with Indyriffic wrestling, and that was even before the allegations about his private life bubbled to the surface.
The guy’s biggest claim to fame was using the awesome power of his nether regions to thusly thrash his opponents and that’s clearly putting it eloquently.
In good fun, Eugene was created as a tribute to a special needs fan who always came out to the shows when WWE was in town. For that, WWE should be applauded for their efforts to not only be inclusive but pay tribute to a mega fan by creating a character based on him.
Eugene was a mega fan too and one who would do all of the wrestlers’ big moves as a move set. So then what’s the problem, this sounds awesome, right? The problem lies with the fact that there aren’t a lot of stories that could be told with Eugene except people teasing him about his handicaps and then pounding on him.
There have been plenty of flamboyant characters that have become legendary names in the industry. From Gorgeous George to Adrian Street to Goldust and now Dalton Castle. Rico was part of that proud tradition as well as a “Stylist.”
But he also in the storyline convinced two perfectly straight men to pretend to take their friendship to the next level. GLAAD actually praised the storyline until of course the whole thing became an angle for Rico’s heel turn, along with Eric Bischoff and 3 Minute Warning invading SmackDown.
1 Mr. McMahon
Um…if your boss forced you to join a club devoted to their derrière, would you do it or would you head to Human Resources if not the local authorities? Need we say more?
Vince McMahon embodied the evil boss so well that no one was ever safe from his madman whims, even at the expense of airtime – filming JR’s Colonoscopy – all for a head-up-his-butt joke? Not to mention the degradation of any employee that ever crossed him? The character should have been tossed in the clink long before any real-life allegations came out.