Wrestling is real, right? I’m joking! Or am I? Growing up, I watched wrestlers grapple in the squared circle all the time, and the WWE was my jam. And over the years, I saw a lot of my favorite wrestlers expand outside of the ring. For example, I watched The Rock turn into Dwayne Johnson, saw a Jorts wearing John Cena morph into a respectable actor, and retroactively saw Hulk Hogan leg drop Rocky Balboa in Rocky 3. In terms of the medium, these are all regular wrestlers who also became famous outside of the ring.
But this is not that list. Because the wrestlers I’m going to discuss today are the strangest the WWE has ever had to offer. Some of them were actually quite popular, and one of them is probably many people’s favorite wrestler of all time, but there’s no denying that these wrestlers are Weird with a capital W. So, with no further delay, the strangest wrestlers in WWE history.
The Brooklyn Brawler
The Brooklyn Brawler is really only strange if you have no idea what a “jobber” is. But picture this. You’re 9, and you’re watching the WWE back in the early 90s—then the WWF—and out from the curtains comes this wrestler with a torn shirt carrying around a garbage can who looks like the toughest wrestler in the business. And his name is The Brooklyn Brawler. But here’s the thing—he loses almost every single match and is pretty much the Glass Joe of wrestling. How does this guy keep getting matches? He should be awesome, but he sucks!
Well, in wrestling parlance, The Brooklyn Brawler is what’s known as a “jobber”—Or, as an “enhancement talent” to avoid the negative outlook on the term "jobber". Basically, a jobber loses on purpose to make other wrestlers look good, i.e., the wrestler is "doing his job." There were many jobbers in the WWE, but The Brooklyn Brawler is probably the most well-known since he didn’t wear the typical black trunks that most jobbers tended to wear, and he looked like one of the regulars. But in actuality, he was a regular loser. But it was only for the benefit of the company since he helped push other rising stars get noticed. God bless, The Brooklyn Brawler!
The strangest thing about Bastion Booger (R.I.P., Mike Shaw), who wrestled in the early 90s, is wondering what the hell his gimmick was supposed to be. If you ever saw the movie, The Wrestler, then you’ll know that wrestling is all about developing a character in the ring. But if that’s the case, then what “character” was the WWE trying to invoke with Bastion Booger? Overweight dude in a little outfit? It almost looks like the get-up that Sean Connery donned in Zardoz, but in white, and that outfit wasn't flattering on Connery. How was it ever going to be flattering on this guy?
From Boogerman to Boogeyman, Martin Wright, a.k.a. The Boogeyman, wrestled in the early 2000s and was actually pretty scary when he would pop up out of nowhere eating worms and reciting nursery rhymes. He would also carry around a big clock like Flava Flav and then bash himself in the head with it.
A lot of his career consisted of people making scared faces and then running away from him screaming as he’d laugh maniacally. But do you want to know who wasn’t impressed by The Boogeyman? Our current President, Donald J. Trump. Yeah, in fact, I should probably put Donald Trump on this list of “strangest wrestlers” since he did deliver a nasty clothesline to Vince McMahon. But then I would have to also include celebrities like Drew Carey and Snooki, and that’s a different list entirely.
The Bushwhackers were really weird. They would sometimes go right up to fans and lick them on the forehead. They were known as a comedy duo but they had great in-ring skills, too, which made them fan favorites ever since they had their first feud against the Bolsheviks. A weird tag-team, but really fun. They were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015.
I.R.S., or Irwin R. Schyster, was one of those gimmicks that is so 90s it hurts, and you just have to love it. He would come out to the ring wearing suspenders, a shirt and tie, and carrying around a briefcase, with which he would of course whack his opponents in the head. But he was also tag partners with Ted DiBiase, a.k.a., The Million Dollar Man because of course he would be.
What’s so strange though is that the WWE, a multi-billion company, was making heels out of a tax guy and a rich dude. This was long before the big boss, Vince McMahon, would become a heel himself. A lot of I.R.S.'s promos would include him calling his enemies “tax cheats”, which made very young, impressionable children like myself hate the real I.R.S. before we even reached adulthood. Life lessons!
Besides bringing a skull to the ring and his curses, Papa Shango was probably best known for his botch job at Wrestlemania VIII when he got to the ring late for the Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Vicious fight. But when it comes to spooky wrestlers in WWE history, Papa Shango was one of the greatest, no question.
The Gobbledy Gooker
In the words of The Angry Video Game Nerd, “What were they thinking?” when they came up with the angle for The Goobledy Gooker? Emerging from an egg at Survivor Series, The Goobledy Gooker, who was actually Hector Guerrero, brother to the late Eddie Guerrero, was a pretty lame gimmick from the get-go. The egg had been featured at many events prior to his introduction and was amped up to be this big deal, but fans booed it almost immediately. The Gooker didn’t last long. He was pretty much the WWE’s version of The Shockmaster when it comes to the worst introductions in wrestling history.
It's not surprising that the WWE pretty much ignored this bizarre character’s existence for years, only bringing the character back for jokes. Gobble gobble.
Half-brother to Cody Rhodes (who would later himself become the also-weird Stardust) and son of The American Dream, Dusty Rhodes, Goldust, with his super ambiguous sexuality, made me kind of uncomfortable as a kid, but also immensely intrigued. Nicknamed “The Bizarre one”, the title was fitting since there was nobody else like Goldust (a.k.a. Dustin Rhodes) in the WWE. He was kind of like how Dennis Rodman was on the basketball court, putting himself in sexual positions at times that made other wrestlers squirm and hop away from him.
As legend goes, Vince McMahon wanted Goldust to be obsessed with fame and also to be as “androgynous” as possible, to which Dustin Rhodes didn’t actually didn’t know the meaning until he looked it up in a dictionary. And by then, it was too late to change his mind. Thank God he didn’t, though, since Goldust is one of the most memorable wrestlers in WWE history because of it.
Now known as “The Fiend” and currently wrestling in the WWE, Bray Wyatt leans heavily on being unsettling. When he was with the Wyatt family, they used to come out wearing animals masks, and when he was on his own, he would come out carrying a lantern and even sometimes have children sing as he walked out to the ring.
In fact, given the PG nature that the WWE had embraced over the past few years, I’m kind of shocked that Bray Wyatt has been allowed to be as disturbing as he’s been for so long. When even I’m a little scared of the character, that’s saying something about him.
Ohhhhhh, Unnnnddeerrtaaaaker. The Undertaker, with his manager, Paul Bearer (R.I.P.) is one of the most popular characters in WWE history, but has also one of the strangest. The Deadman, rolling his eyes back in his head and walking across the top ropes, is beyond bizarre. I mean, just think about somebody who has never watched wrestling before tuning in to see a very tall man pretending to be an undertaker and tombstone piledriving people straight to hell. He’s so popular now that it seems strange to question his character, but just sit and think about how weird he is for a moment. And think about it hard.
But even stranger is when The Undertaker started riding a motorcycle to the ring. That’s when he was just going by as “’Taker.” Also, how weird is it that the "strange" version of The Undertaker is when he was just some biker dude, and the normal version was when he was masquerading as a buff mortician? If that doesn’t tell you what makes wrestling great, then I don’t know what does.
The WWE has had a wide assortment of wrestlers over the course of its history, but these were probably its most bizarre. With the WWE still going strong, here’s hoping that we can get some more weirdos in the mix. That’s what makes wrestling worth watching, after all. Well, that and the actual wrestling. That’s pretty cool, too, I guess.