In order to become a successful WWE Superstar, one of the main requirements is a good gimmick - a Superstar’s in-ring persona that affects the character he or she portrays. It also informs their behavior, outfit and even their wrestling moves. It's basically who their character is in a nutshell.
A good gimmick can elevate a Superstar while a bad one often leads to a change in persona that can be hard to overcome. For example, The Undertaker is arguably WWE’s greatest character ever, and his gimmick lasted for more than 30 years. His persona could have failed in the mid-1990s during the cartoonish era of the WWE but The Undertaker constantly evolved.
On the other hand, Shelton Benjamin was one of the brightest prospects WWE had in the mid-2000s. He was athletic, talented, and looked like a future WWE champion. However, the WWE gave him a "momma’s boy" gimmick in 2006 and he never really recovered.
While Shelton didn't fulfill his potential, there are other Superstars who were given terrible gimmicks before they became WWE legends. Here are five legends who made it big despite starting their careers with a terrible character.
#5 Oz – Diesel/Kevin Nash
Kevin Nash started his career with WCW in 1990. He had a few gimmicks in his first tenure with WCW like Master Blaster Steel, The Master Blaster, and Vinnie Vegas. However, the worst of the bunch was Oz, a ripoff of the Wizard of Oz.
Despite standing almost seven feet tall, Oz was never going to be successful with his silver hair and neon green attire. Add the fact that he was being managed by The Great Wizard (portrayed by Kevin Sullivan), while also being accompanied by Wizard of Oz characters on his way to the ring. The icing on the cake on how bad the Oz character was as he wore a turban and had a fake, white beard.
The story goes that Ted Turner, who owned the promotion at the time, had recently acquired the rights to the classic fantasy movie. In order to build up hype for this, Turner had requested that a Wizard of Oz-related character be created for WCW programming.
Thankfully, Nash soon signed with the WWE and became known as “Big Daddy Cool” Diesel wherein he became a one-time WWE champion. Even though he returned to WCW, Nash was inducted to the WWE Hall of Fame twice, individually in 2015 and as part of the nWo in 2020.