Being a great pro-wrestler once the bell rings is a hell of a skill. Some wrestlers have gotten pretty far just on wrestling ability alone. Sometimes, a decent wrestler can be elevated to so much more by working the mic like an absolute pro.
One key ingredient that is absolutely necessary to getting over in the crazy world of professional wrestling is having the right gimmick.
Instantly, when you hear the word gimmick, your mind races to the most absurd ones. Doink the Clown, Goldust, The Godfather, The Undertaker and so on. But a gimmick doesn't have to go to extreme lengths for it to work. Look at the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin, one of the greatest of all time, and his gimmick was a beer guzzling, trash talking redneck who didn't back down from anything. Bret Hart was obsessed with being the best wrestler of all time.
The list of subtle gimmicks goes on and currently in the WWE, there are some fantastic gimmicks. Roman Reigns' 'Tribal Chief' has been a roaring success and even the likes of Happy Corbin have been a refreshing change of pace for a stale character.
A good gimmick can elevate an average performer. A bad gimmick can sink the best. And boy, there are plenty of bad ones...
10. Akira Tozawa
How is this still a thing?
Look, during the Pandemic Era, WWE threw a lot of crap against the wall in the faint hope of entertainment. It was commendable that they wanted to keep us entertained, although their slapdash safety guidelines meant it was clearly more profit-driven.
You could almost hear Vince McMahon yelling 'THE SHOW MUST GO ON, DAMNIT!'
One such slap of sludge was during the bizarre cinematic match between the Street Profits and the Viking Raiders (oh, we'll get to them) at Backlash in June 2020. Considering they were ultimately consumed by a bin monster, that wasn't the most offensive part of the ridiculous match.
That was reserved for Akira Tozawa, who decided to turn up in said match, driving a motorcycle and dressed as a ninja. Surrounded by other motorcycle riding ninjas, including a pre-AJ Styles Omos, it was one of the most racist gimmicks they could have conjured up. Because Tozawa is Japanese, that instantly made him a ninja.
In 2020, you expect better from WWE, but Tozawa has kept the gimmick in his constant attempts to win the 24/7 Championship. One can only imagine he wishes he had been eaten by that shark.