Gimmicks are an integral part of professional wrestling, and play a major role in getting a wrestler over in front of the audience. WWE and several other promotions have given us various memorable gimmicks over the past few decades, with the most notable ones being The Undertaker, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Sting, Hollywood Hogan, and The Rock.
Some gimmicks are over the top and promotions go out of their way to present the wrestler in question as an entity that's completely different than what fans usually see on their TV. These characters use masks or makeup to add to their gimmick, thus giving them a unique personality that stands out among others whenever they are on TV. In this list, we will take a look at 5 wrestlers who have portrayed scary characters on TV, and how they look without makeup.
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WWE legend Kamala recently passed away due to a cardiac arrest, mere days after he was tested positive for COVID-19. Kamala was one of the scariest wrestlers in the industry, back in the 80s. He wrestled for a string of promotions, including Mid-South Wrestling, World Class Championship Wrestling, and WWE. His most notable stint as a wrestler was in WWE in the late 80s, which saw him wrestle Hulk Hogan on various occasions, with the WWE title on the line. Kamala's outings with Hogan never led to a WWE title victory, and it was clear that he was just one of several villains used by WWE to put over The Hulkster.
In the above picture, you can see Kamala a.k.a. James Harris, without his makeup. Kamala's gimmick was that of a Ugandan savage, who used to wrestle barefoot and his demeanor was enough to give kids nightmares for days on end. His gimmick was a perfect fit for WWE's product in the 80s, which mostly consisted of over the top characters.
Abadon, an indie wrestler, was signed to All Elite Wrestling in March 2020. She faced Hikaru Shida on AEW Dark in a losing effort. Despite losing the match, Abadon made quite a first impression on the fans' minds. Her face reminds one of the zombies from the Living Dead movie franchise, or the vampires from 30 Days of Night. She received praise from Kenny Omega himself, soon after her debut.
When I see a character like Abadon, for someone again who love and talking horror movies, and I see someone who’s committed themselves 100% to a character that appeals to people that are interesting, aside from wrestling.
As can be seen above, Abadon looks completely unrecognizable without her makeup and is incredibly stunning in real life when she isn't doing her job as a wrestler. She has an official Instagram handle where she usually posts photos of her in-ring character. Abadon has a promising career as a wrestler in All Elite Wrestling. She worked extensively for Rocky Mountain Pro Wrestling before getting signed by AEW. Soon after he victory over Anna Jay back in June, Abadon bagged a contract with AEW. It remains to be seen how AEW uses her going forward. The character has tons of potential and can become one of the biggest female wrestlers in the company in the near future.
#3 Doink the Clown
The Character of a clown can be incredibly scary if portrayed right. The fear of clowns is a legit thing and it isn't hard to find a person who is scared of, or feels uncomfortable around clowns. Hollywood has used this fear to its advantage by producing iconic movies like 'It'. Back when WWE was high on over the top gimmicks, Vince McMahon brought in the character of Doink. Portrayed by professional wrestler Matt Borne, the character originally debuted as a heel.
The scary overall appearance of Doink, plus his creepy theme music, was a combination that many young fans in the audience didn't like one bit. Doink feuded with the likes of Crush and Jerry Lawler during his WWE stint. His character soon took a turn to the good side, by becoming a babyface and feuding with Lawler. Around the same time, Matt Borne was let go by WWE due to his issues with drugs. The gimmick was then portrayed by Ray Licameli. Doink was turned into a popular babyface who would still pull pranks on other wrestlers, but these were not as cruel as the ones that heel Doink was notorious for.
The fear of vampires has been turned into a multi-million dollar business by Hollywood, as well as television. Dating back to the early 1900s, books and movies on vampires have instilled fear of the fanged creatures among the masses. It was only logical for a wrestling promotion to bring in such a character on TV, and WCW did the same during the Monday Night Wars. Gangrel was doing well for himself as a creepy vampire in WWE. Months before Gangrel made his WWE debut, Vampiro made his presence known in WCW. He soon formed a stable with Raven and Insane Clown Posse. During his WCW stint, Vampiro feuded with Sting, The KISS Demon, and several others.
His eerie demeanor, the white face paint, and the fact that his character was that of a vampire would have possibly done better in the late 80s, when such over the top characters were a thing. During the Monday Night Wars, wrestlers with realistic characters like Stone Cold Steve Austin and Hollywood Hogan trumped everyone else and Vampiro didn't do much of note during his WCW run as a pro-wrestler. He wasn't picked up by WWE when WCW folded in March 2001.
#1 The Boogeyman
The Boogeyman spent around a year in WWE's developmental territory, before making his way to SmackDown in late 2005. The Boogeyman's entire persona was created to scare the fans and the wrestlers who faced him. His elaborate entrance featured an eerie atmosphere, and he would break an alarm clock on his head by bashing it with full force. He also used to eat worms, a sight that was enough to disgust and scare the bravest of fans.
The Boogeyman squashed fellow wrestler Simon Dean in his debut match. He soon feuded with JBL, a former WWE Champion, and defeated him in under two minutes at the 2006 Royal Rumble PPV. On the road to WrestleMania 22, The Boogeyman kicked off a feud with Booker T, and the storyline saw Sharmelle getting absolutely terrified by him. He scored a win over Booker T at WrestleMania. He also had a short stint in ECW, before being released in 2009. The Boogeyman never held a title during his WWE run.