The death of World Championship Wrestling was over 20 years ago, but we all know wrestling fans love nostalgia. Today, I’m here to look back on ten WCW gimmicks that were based on things that either worked in WWE or were simply part of WWE. None of them were that successful of course and that, in a nutshell, sums up why WCW died when it did. This top ten list isn’t about trashing wrestlers or anything like that. It’s more about having a laugh at some awful WCW creative ideas.
10. Oklahoma (Mocking Jim Ross)
The Oklahoma character was a creation of WCW’s writing team in late 1999/early 2000 consisting of Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara.
It’s a gimmick that was based on WWE announcer Jim Ross. While it’s not a traditional gimmick and is more of an imitation, it was still a crappy character that never should have been on television. He was out there mocking JR’s Bells Palsy that caused him to have facial paralysis. Ed also spoke with a terrible southern accent as well. It was brutal to watch.
WCW’s creative minds must have thought it really was a good idea because Oklahoma was pushed to the point where he became the WCW Cruiserweight Champion after beating Madusa. Not only that, but Oklahoma also mocked the physical enhancements of Madusa multiple times. That was a title that used to be coveted, but they absolutely killed it by putting it on a comedy character that definitely not a cruiserweight.
Years later, Ferrara apologized to Ross about it and he was even a guest on his podcast. Both Russo and Ferrara have said they regretted that they did the character, so at least they were able to admit it was wrong. As they always say in wrestling, time heals all wounds.
9. Vincent (Virgil)
Virgil made his mark in WWE in the late 1980s to early 1990s. He was known as the bodyguard of the “Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase and then when they broke apart, he was booked as a singles wrestler that was liked by the fans.
After his WWE run ended in 1994, he went to WCW in 1996. They put him in the New World Order group with the name Vincent, which was a bit of a shot at WWE. He was actually introduced as the “Head of Security” of the NWO, which is similar to being a bodyguard just like he was in WWE.
The name Virgil was given to him in WWE because of former NWA/WCW booker was Dusty Rhodes, whose real name was Virgil Runnels. When WCW brought in the former Virgil, they weren’t shy about taking a shot at WWE right away. They named him Vincent, which is of course a shot at WWE Chairman Vince McMahon.
He really didn’t do much in WCW at all and is always pointed to as a guy that really didn’t fit in there. It’s amazing that he was employed by WCW for four years when he really didn’t do much at all. That’s WCW for you. They liked to spend money.
These days, Virgil has become a running joke because he is apparently hurting for money and has resorted to selling photos of himself in subway stations or other random public locations.
8. Amazing French Canadians (The Quebecers)
The Quebecers were a WWE tag team in 1993/94 consisting of Jacques and Pierre. Those names translate to Jack and Peter in case you don’t know. Rougeau was known by the WWE fans as part of the Rougeau Brothers team and also a singles run as The Mountie. They were three-time WWE Tag Team Champions.
Two years after they were done in WWE (in part because Jacques wanted to retire), they ended up in WCW as a team named The Amazing French Canadians. Where do French Canadians usually live in Canada? Quebec. They basically gave them the exact same sort of gimmick that they had in WWE.
There was a legal issue for them in WCW because Pierre couldn’t use that name since it was just a character name in WWE. He went with his real name of Carl Ouellet in WCW.
It was a simple gimmick done to get heat in both companies. It’s just a shame that WCW didn’t take the time to try to do anything different with these guys. Just another example of WCW being lazy.
7. VK Wallstreet (Irwin R. Schyster)
This one is a bit tricky because Mike Rotunda developed the Michael Wallstreet character in WCW. He really didn’t last too long as Michael Wallstreet in WCW, though.
He went over to WWE in 1991, then became well known as a midcard heel known as Irwin R. Schyster. It’s a case of WWE actually using his WCW gimmick as a financial analyst to become a tax man.
His WCW return took place on the debut episode of Nitro on September 4, 1995. He was using the Michael Wallstreet name again. However, one week later, he was using VK Wallstreet as his name.
Why the change in names? Because WCW decision-makers were obsessed with taking shots at WWE as much as he could. They never said what the VK stood for, but they were suggesting that it was “Vincent Kennedy” in reference to McMahon.
The name never really got over for him. He was just a midcarder during his WCW run, as well as an NWO member that didn’t do anything of note. It was a gimmick that was too cheesy even for pro wrestling.
6. Asya (Chyna)
The woman that appeared in WCW as Asya didn’t start with that name. She actually started off as a nurse at the mental institution that Ric Flair was at. It was one of WCW’s stupidest storylines ever, which is saying something considering all the dumb angles they had over the years. She was a physically imposing woman with a muscular build and an intense look on her face at all times.
She was given the name change when Vince Russo and Ed Ferrera took over the creative direction of the company in October 1999. She joined the “Revolution” stable under the name of Asya. The implication was that the continent of Asia was bigger than the country China, so it was WCW’s way of saying that Asya was bigger than Chyna. At the time, Chyna was a huge deal in WWE since she was wrestling regularly and gaining a lot of momentum as a breakout star.
It was another blatant ripoff by WCW. They even spelled the name wrong the way that WWE spelled Chyna wrong just to make it stand out more. Fans were smart enough to know what WCW was trying to do and that’s why the Asya character failed although she did last about a year or so.
They put Asya in matches, but she showed that she clearly wasn’t a great wrestler. As a bodyguard, she fit the role well. However, anything more than that, and she looked totally out of her element.
5. Buzzkill (Road Dogg)
Brad Armstrong was a very good in-ring performer in NWA/WCW through the 1980s and 1990s. Out of the four Armstrong brothers (Scott, Steve & Brian) that were sons of “Bullet” Bob Armstrong, Brad was considered to be the best in-ring performer. He had a lot of success in his career.
Then Vince Russo came along to WCW in late 1999 and he told Armstrong to find a gimmick. They acknowledged that he was brothers with Road Dogg in WWE. They even said on camera: “Call your little brother for a gimmick.” That was WCW being “smart” and cool at least in their eyes. It was so cheesy to watch this stuff.
When Armstrong appeared on TV again, he was called “Buzzkill” and they did a total ripoff of Road Dogg. His music was pretty much the same thing and so was the entrance.
“It’s me, it’s me, it’s that B-U-Double Z.”
The gimmick failed miserably. It was a shame because Brad was a really good performer. It just made WCW look like a second-rate promotion, which is definitely was by that point.
3. The Boss Or The Guardian Angel (Big Boss Man)
Ray Traylor made a name for himself in WWE as The Big Boss Man. Prior to his WWE career, the big man worked for Jim Crockett as Big Bubba Rogers. He was actually a former prison guard like WWE billed him as, so that part of his history was accurate.
Big Boss Man was a fixture in WWE from 1988 to 1993. He didn’t become a full-time main eventer or a World Champion, but he was very close to that level. Whether he was a heel or a face, he always knew how to get a reaction from the fans and had a successful career.
When he went to WCW in late 1993 he was given the name of The Boss, which is like WCW’s way of saying “we want to call this guy the Big Boss Man, but we can’t so here’s The Boss!” As was the case with a lot of these ripoff gimmicks, WWE put an end to it by threatening legal action and telling WCW they couldn’t call him that anymore.
With “The Boss” no longer an option, he became known as The Guardian Angel. It was not an intimidating wrestling name, but he was named that in honor of the Guardian Angels group that were volunteers that were known for stopping crime. Eventually he went back to the Big Bubba Rogers name again.
When he returned to WWE in 1998 for another stint he was back to being The Big Boss Man, so it showed that even though WCW tried to rip him off as their own, he could always make it home again.
3. Avalanche (Earthquake)
Earthquake is one of the biggest wrestlers in WWE history. His gimmick was that of a guy that would stomp around the ring and then squash his opponents.
The Earthquake name fit him perfectly because in the late 1980s/early 1990s it was a cheesy enough period that people were going to believe in a guy that was there to shake the ring. He started out as a heel, went face and then worked as a heel again. By 1994, his WWE career was over and like so many aging WWE stars, he went to WCW.
What name did WCW give him when he debuted? Avalanche.
It was so WCW of them to give them the name Avalanche. It’s not quite an Earthquake, but it’s still a natural disaster that people are scared of. The name didn’t last too long because WWE threatened WCW with legal action. Imagine if that went to court with lawyers? It would be more entertaining than some matches due to how ridiculous it is.
Following the WWE legal action threats, he became The Shark because once again, this is WCW and they didn’t care about coming up with good names. At least The Shark is more intimidating than The Horse or The Frog. We’ll give them credit for that.
2. The Prisoner (Nailz)
Nailz was a short-lived character in WWE that was pushed as a heel in 1992. His gimmick was that of an ex-convict that claimed that the Big Boss Man, who was a former prison guard in the story, had abused him while he was in jail. Nailz also liked to say that he was innocent of the crimes he did. He also wrestled in a prison jumpsuit because apparently, he was unable to get other clothes despite the fact that he was a professional wrestler making good money.
Nailz had a falling out with WWE at the end of 1992 because of a major dispute with Vince McMahon. Stories vary on what actually happened, but apparently, he was in the office of McMahon and he yelled at him about money as well as being generally upset about a lot of things in WWE at the time.
When Nailz debuted in WCW they didn’t think about his gimmick too much because they just called him The Prisoner. They figured that everybody would know him as Nailz the ex-convict in WWE, so when he worked in WCW he was just going to be The Prisoner. It was a stupid name that was about as uncreative as they came, but it wasn’t that surprising for WCW.
He only wrestled one match as The Prisoner and his attire was similar to what he wore in WWE. The one match was at WCW Slamboree 1993 against Sting. Then he was gone.
1. The Renegade (Ultimate Warrior)
There’s no greater ripoff in WCW history than The Renegade. He was billed as the “Ultimate Surprise” that would help Hulk Hogan battle his rivals like Vader and Ric Flair. They showed a guy with long hair and the famous Warrior tassels on his arms. They were trying to imply it was The Ultimate Warrior, who was out of wresting at that point and they couldn’t say that name.
When The Renegade finally wrestled, he had a lot of similarities to the Ultimate Warrior. He painted his face. His theme song was similar although not exactly the same. He did a lot of the same (terrible) offensive moves too.
Everybody knew what WCW was trying to do with him. He was such a limited performer, though, that they couldn’t make him a main eventer. They put titles on him and had him even wrestle great workers like Arn Anderson, but the people didn’t care.
The real Ultimate Warrior ended up in WCW in 1998. By that time, The Renegade had flopped and he wasn’t being used anymore.
At least he earned a paycheck thanks to the Ultimate Warrior, but it was still a crappy gimmick that just showed the lack of creativity that WCW had.
This was a fun look back at some terrible WCW gimmicks that were blatant rip-offs of WWE characters. I probably could have listed 20 or 30 of them too, but I feel like I did a nice job of listing ten of them.
What was sad about writing this is realizing that several of the names on here have passed away when they were young people. May they all rest in peace.
Thanks for reading.