5 of the worst pro wrestling character changes, and 5 of the best
To succeed in the world of pro wrestling, it takes a ton of athletic ability, charisma, and presence. However, none of those are enough on their own to make an athlete a sports entertainment superstar.
You have to get yourself a gimmick!
Pro Wrestling gimmicks run the gamut from simple (World's Strongest Man, Mark Henry) to complex (Goldust) to the straight-up fantastical (The Undertaker.) Very few pro wrestlers in the modern era have worked without a clear cut character to portray.
However, it's not always easy to capture lightning in a bottle. Sometimes a wrestler has to be repackaged from their initial character into something new. This can work to the wrestler's advantage, and sometimes it can be quite detrimental and ruin a career for good.
Here are five of the worst character changes in pro wrestling, along with five of the best.
Worst Repackaging #1: The Red Rooster
Paul Worden Taylor III, better known by his ring name Terry Taylor, is a pro wrestling legend in the southern promotions. He has held over thirty wrestling championships, including the Mid South North American Heavyweight championship, that promotion's regional 'big belt.'
Taylor would also challenge Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight championship, albeit unsuccessfully. After enjoying a stellar career in the regional territories, he signed with the World Wrestling Federation in 1988.
Upon his debut, he called himself "Scary" Terry Taylor, but that didn't last long. WWF officials decided to repackage Taylor into a different gimmick. He was assigned to Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, who dubbed Taylor, the Red Rooster. Heenan played it as if he were graciously helping a poor, untalented schmuck who would find success through his genius.
Taylor hated the gimmick change both on screen and off. He would end up feuding with the Heenan family, culminating in a match against the Brain himself. Taylor then announced he would still call himself Red Rooster just to rub his success in the Brain's face. So far, not so bad.
But over time, he evolved into an actual anthropomorphic rooster, complete with a red cockscomb, chicken-like strut, and a 'cock a doodle doo!' that was just as ridiculous as it sounded. He would depart the WWF in 1990 and return to the regional circuit. However, constant chants of "ROOSTER ROOSTER" followed him the rest of his career.
Things worked out for Taylor, though; He currently works as a trainer for WWE's NXT brand.