Professional wrestlers are alreadt pretty scary dudes. I mean, I’m sure you’d be quaking in your boots if a 7ft behemoth started charging towards you in a dark alleyway. But believe it or not, for some WWE superstars of past and present, there’s more than just their brawn that sends a shiver down our spines. Whether it be because of their creepy visage or some psychological terror that kept us peeking over the bed-sheets after dark, WWE has been the home to many of the world’s living nightmares.
With Halloween just around the corner, we’re going to run down the 10 spookiest professional wrestlers of past and present. So if you’re looking for something more than just the generic slasher B-movie this October, maybe pro wrestling could be your new fix.
Make sure you leave your own favourite spooks down in the comments below.
For over two decades, ‘The Big Red Monster’ has terrorised the WWE roster with his menacing presence and supernatural powers. Debuting in 1997 as the Undertaker’s younger sibling, Kane sent children running in fear after literally tearing the door off the Hell in a Cell, manhandling the equally monstrous ‘Deadman’ and then setting the ring ablaze in an inferno of his own hatred.
Later on in his career, Kane revitalised his spooky side after losing the mask in 2003, unveiling a whole new layer to his psychosis. From there, the deranged monster would go from burning commentators alive to electrocuting a man’s testicles, it was almost as if Jason Voorhees himself had made the transition into wrestling.
Over the years, Kane has drifted between being this sinister pyromaniac to the lovable masked giant that has somehow managed to end up in office. Despite his many turns, fans look back on Kane with fond memories of both horror and awe, making him one of the best spooky wrestlers of all time.
2. Doink the Clown
If there’s anything Stephen King has taught us, it’s that nobody likes a clown. Yeah, they may seem cheerful and fun-loving, but underneath the make-up and colourful dungarees is a conniving mania that can only be tamed by overzealous laughter for so long. Maybe I’m thinking into this a bit too much, either way, Doink the Clown was pretty dang creepy.
Before WWE went all-in with the clown-style of wrestling (yes, that’s an official term), Doink was treated as one of the most intriguing heels on the roster, terrifying children and making even the most fanatical of horror geeks a little uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, the evil Clown was a little too TV-MA for WWE at the time, so they quickly 180’d and gave him an entourage of mini-mes. No matter how hard they try to make me forget, I’ll never unsee the psychotic smile of the fearsome jester.
Before he was ‘The World’s Largest Love Machine’, Viscera was an absolute nightmare come to life. The giant, leather-clad monster stunned audiences with his icy glare and intimidating demeanour. Viscera went through many evolutions of his character, and had relative success prior to forming his most fiendish self, but this was his most memorable and certainly has a rightful spot on this list.
Viscera would be an integral part of the Ministry of Darkness and then later return to WWE in 2005 to feud with Kane before turning babyface and, well, the less said about that side of his character the better. Viscera would then adopt a new moniker as part of his run in WWE’s ECW, but wouldn’t be quite as chilling as he was in the late 90s.
Needless to say, Viscera’s most terrifying moment was when he whacked out his endless supply of johnnies at Backlash 2005.
4. Papa Shango
The OG horror show of WWE was none other than Papa Shango. A man who would later go on to be the sole proprietor of ‘The Hoe Train’, Shango spooked wrestling fans with his flair for the macabre, bringing his voodoo magic and eerie rituals to the world of WWE. Of course, you had to suspend your disbelief a lot more than usual with this character, but he was a lot of fun, until wrestlers started spewing their guts everywhere.
Papa Shango may not have achieved much in the way of wrestling success, but he certainly left his mark on the roster of the time and became one of their most notable stars. Papa Shango was more than just a cheap gimmick, he was the first cheap gimmick that would go on to inspire future stars who drifted outside of the norm and attempted something on the wild side.
5. Jake Roberts
Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts remains to this day one of the strangest cats in all of wrestling. Now bringing his managerial services to Lance Archer, Roberts’ chilling words and calm manner makes for one of the most captivating and cold-hearted characters in the industries long history.
Starting his legacy in WWE back in the 1990s, ‘The Snake’ made a name for himself with his quieter and more verbose promos that paralleled the typical backstage ramblings of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. Roberts was a lot more collected, which made him all the more sinister. Jake would manipulate and stalk his rivals, eventually feeding them to his pet snake Damien, who was just as big a part of the act as Jake himself.
There’s a lot that modern wrestlers could learn from Jake Roberts’ spooky character, here’s hoping that he rubs off on ‘The Murderhawk Monster’ in AEW.
6. The Boogeyman
A strange feature of the mid-2000s was The Boogeyman, a worm-eating, clock-smashing creature that would emerge from the darkness to haunt members of the SmackDown roster. Boogeyman never amounted to a great deal, but it’s hard to argue that he was good fun to watch.
The novelty never wore off on me, even to this day. He wasn’t so much of a scary or spooky character but just downright revolting. I mean, the dude literally ate Jillian Hall’s weird facial wart, which probably deserves a spot on this list of its own. It was harmless fun that helped provide a little bit of the fantasy we all fell in love with wrestling for, and the occasional Royal Rumble cameo never goes amiss.
Just no more worms please.
7. Erick Rowan
It wasn’t Bray Wyatt that originally drew my attention to the Wyatt Family stable, it was the eerie sheep mask of Erick Rowan. There was something quite intriguing about Rowan’s get-up, the mask and the olive jumpsuit was definitely the right aesthetic for what they were going for, and it helped make him one of the most imposing and awe-inspiring figures on the roster.
As the Wyatt Family developed into more of a supernatural force, Rowan’s aura remained the same. The sheep mask evolved with him, becoming more tattered and ragged, and eventually being melded into a gas mask looking accessory that he sported as one half of the Bludgeon Brothers. It was certainly iconic, and did a lot for the Wyatt Family’s presence.
It’s a shame that things never really came together for Rowan in WWE, his creativity and love for all things goth could have created something truly horrific for today’s roster.
Oh to be a wrestler in the Attitude Era.
Gangrel reeked of the 90s with his vampire-inspired character that spooked crowds with his unique entrance and necromantic visage. Alongside The Brood, Gangrel was fanging and banging in the depths of the undercard, never really amounting to much but still making a minor impact and going down as one of the most memorable out-of-the-box characters of the time.
Gangrel remains active to this day on the indies, staying true to his vampiric character and keeping the banger of a theme tune. It’s hard not to wince slightly when you see the bleached-blonde 300lb’er soaking himself in the blood of his victims. A selfless performer with a true knack for creating a chill.
We all know him as the loveable Mick Foley, but underneath the smiles and sockos is the maniacal Mankind, who once kept us all on the edge of our seats with his unscripted and unhinged rantings. An escaped mental patient who somehow managed to wrangle a WWE contract would go on to become one of the shining stars of the Attitude Era, putting his body through hell and laughing in the face of the pain threshold.
For him to take the punishment he did and sit upright, chuckling and whimpering while tearing his own hair out, was unnerving to say the least. Mankind was an all new kind of crazy that wrestling fans weren’t ready to witness. Foley really broke the mould with this character and proved that there were many sides to his personality, some that were very dark and very sinister.
Have a nice day!
10. The Fiend
And finally we come to ‘The Fiend’. Bray Wyatt has gone through many different characters since debuting in 2013, but has finally settled on his Mr. Rogers inspired Firefly Funhouse self. Alongside his fun-loving persona is the alter-ego of The Fiend, a slasher-villain in the making.
What is there not to find spooky about The Fiend? The mask, the lantern, the attire, the music, everything has come together so perfectly to produce one of WWE’s spookiest acts of all time. I’m proud of them for actually going ahead with this.
When The Fiend first debuted at last year’s SummerSlam, there were talks of raising the TV rating of the show to warn parents off from showing it to their children, an absurdity in today’s PG product. The Fiend was genuinely horrifying, and that’s precisely what Bray Wyatt has been hoping to achieve since day one. This took him into the promised land of the main event scene, now a two-time Universal Champion and one of the most marketed stars on the roster.
This just shows that a little horror and a little creativity can go a long way.
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