Wrestling has always been full of heroes and villains. Most of them have been awfully bland. Bleach blonde babyfaces and heels in black trunks are historically natural enemies, like cats and cucumbers. That’s why nobody stands out in wrestling history quite like a monster. Their motivations aren’t typical. For all we know, they’re wrestling because the Devil told them to do it. Maybe Satan wants the title to display in his hellish hallway.
We all have our favorite scary wrestlers. Here are some of mine, in no particular order, except for the last one. You won’t find Undertaker or Kane on this list, either. We’ll deal with them later this month.
The Boogeyman — With his short Mohawk haircut, wild face paint, and Flavor Flav alarm clock, the Boogeyman was a visually striking character on WWE programming. Also, he ate worms. Big ones. Handfuls of nightcrawlers. Even if you like to eat worms, that was a gross sight. The Boogeyman skulked around SmackDown, feuding with the likes of John Bradshaw Layfield and Booker T. He still shows up on WWE television now and then, devouring wrigglers and being a general nuisance. Martin Wright, who played the Boogeyman, was last reported as being an aerobics instructor in Denver.
Papa Shango — Imagine the Boogeyman with fewer worms and more voodoo, and you’ve got Papa Shango. Shango carried a smoking skull to the ring. Like other supernaturally-powered wrestlers, he could control the lighting in the arena. The weirdest thing about Papa Shango was his ability to cast spells on people. These hexes could make other people puke. Man, if I had that kind of power of others, making them hurl would not be my first thought. At least Shango did set people on fire once in a while. That was a lot more fun to watch than puking. When the Papa Shango gimmick died down, WWE repackaged him as The Godfather. It is arguable which angle was more offensive, but at least Papa Shango never asked anyone to ride the “Ho Train.”
Gangrel — Nothing screams “gothic vampire” like a white dude in a puffy shirt. That was Gangrel, who drank blood from a goblet before his matches. Oh, wait. WWE didn’t call it blood. It was a “mysterious substance.” Hell, that could have been anything. Gangrel teamed up with Edge and Christian for a while, under the faction name, The Brood. While Gangrel was never quite as popular or as good in the ring as his partners, he is still remembered today. Maybe not fondly, because Gangrel was a silly character. He was WWE’s reasonably inaccurate caricature of goth culture. Gangrel may have been more Winnebago Man than Interview with the Vampire. But honestly, that Brood entrance kicked all kinds of ass.
The Zombie — WWE’s abortive reboot of ECW found a television home on the Science Fiction Channel. In keeping with the theme of the network’s programming, the bigwigs wanted some sci-fi characters on the show. That makes sense, but it was a difficult thing to do correctly. The Zombie was proof of that. Shuffling to the ring with outstretched arms, The Zombie was a laughable concept from the beginning. Why would a zombie wrestle? How could one manage the moves without ripping one of their own limbs off? Wrestling isn’t the best place to look for logic, but come on. Come on. This was just a bad gimmick. At least The Zombie’s mic work was on point.
Luna Vachon — This woman was as frightening as she was awesome. As the adopted daughter of wrestler Paul Vachon, Luna kept the family’s legacy alive in the ring. She had an aggressive haircut, wasn’t afraid to paint herself up, and had a habit of biting her opponents during matches. Vachon had real life heat with Sable, at a time when Sable was at the height of her popularity. But, she was also the first female wrestler to be featured in a WWE video game, so hooray for blazing trails. For a while, Luna was married to David Heath, who wrestled as Gangrel. Do all the scary people hang out together?
Viscera — With a billed weight of 487 pounds, Viscera was a massive human being. He had previously wrestled for WWE under the name, Mabel. After the 1999 Royal Rumble, he was kidnapped by the Undertaker. When he returned, he was a member of Taker’s Ministry of Darkness. He had a blonde Mohawk and white contacts. I guess Mohawks are the height of frightening hair for the WWE. Luna, the Road Warriors, and Viscera all had them. Viscera wasn’t great in the ring, but his size made him perfect for the hardcore division. He did hold the hardcore title in 2000 for a few minutes, before losing it in the same match.
Kevin Sullivan — If he wasn’t the original bad boy of wrestling, Kevin Sullivan was certainly the first one to actually come right out and hail Satan. Sullivan was known as the Taskmaster and The Prince of Darkness. He led a huge heel stable in WCW called the Dungeon of Doom. Some fans believed that Sullivan actually worshipped the Devil. With a great mind for the business, it’s sad that Sullivan is best known for his real-life involvement with the Chris Benoit murder-suicide. Sullivan’s wife, Nancy, left him for Benoit after a wrestling angle that had Benoit doing exactly that. After the death of the Benoits, Sullivan was the subject of conspiracy theories, saying that he murdered his ex-wife, Benoit, and their son.
But, it seems that Sullivan, like everyone on this list, is actually okay if you meet them outside the ring. If you can, that is. Not everyone on this list is still alive. On the whole, ring monsters aren’t bad. They’re just booked that way.