10 Bizarre Times WWE Stars Experimented With Their Gimmick

Cody Rhodes embraces insanity, Hulk Hogan hides his face, and TWO Mike Mizanins?!

Cody Rhodes

The recent news breaking that All Elite Wrestling were initiating a host of permission-not-forgiveness guidelines and outright banned moves/spots was troubling to many.

There's a nuanced discussion to be had about the excess and the agenting of the product at times, but in establishing itself as the challenger brand to WWE from its 2019 launch, AEW made a point of being the alternative. Tony Khan likes the Pepsi Vs Coca Cola analogy, and it's perhaps the easiest for us mere mortals to figure out as well. The layperson thinks both are the same, but ardent fans prefer one or the other because they can discern a (to them) clear and obvious difference.

The edicts and protocols had whiffs of suited-and-booted hacks that perhaps didn't necessarily subscribe to the original ethos of the company, and whether the decisions were proactive or reactive, the difference they stood and stand to make to the organisation's output are substantial longterm.

The product will look stranger for the change, but wrestling and the wrestlers themselves have survived weirder shifts. As the challenger brand can learn, taking even brief glimpses at the market leader...

10. Dolph Ziggler - Stops Showing Off

Cody Rhodes

Nothing was that great in 2011 and don't let yourself think otherwise.

CM Punk's pipe bomb-to-Money In The Bank run was mind-blowing, transcendent and industry-altering in its own little way, but the show didn't draw a record-setting buyrate off the back of it or anything. And the entire story was as good as goosed eight days later never to return. Christian extracted something new out of Randy Orton (and that preposterous toe-touch leapfrog Orton hit should get its own entry in this list), and the Road To WrestleMania was oddly captivating, but the 'Show Of Shows' was the absolute pits and really dampened enthusiasm for the product.

And you can't say "dampened enthusiasm" without thinking of the above image of Dolph Ziggler.

'The Show Off' wrestled in the wrong era to be the level of megastar he probably deserved, but the bad advice he took/instincts he followed in clipping the long blonde hair was the last thing his undulating fortunes needed. He was copying the homework of plenty that came before him in a drab era for the organisation, but Ziggler got over in the first place because he was one of the few not to look and work like the blandest create-a-wrestler this side of the Fight Forever suite.


Michael is a writer, editor, podcaster and presenter for WhatCulture Wrestling, and has been with the organisation over 7 years. He primarily produces written, audio and video content on WWE and AEW, but also provides knowledge and insights on all aspects of the wrestling industry thanks to a passion for it dating back over 30 years. As one third of "The Dadley Boyz", Michael has contributed to the huge rise in popularity of the WhatCulture Wrestling Podcast, earning it top spot in the UK's wrestling podcast charts with well over 50,000,000 total downloads. He has been featured as a wrestling analyst for the Tampa Bay Times and Sports Guys Talking Wrestling, and has covered milestone events in New York, Dallas, Las Vegas, London and Cardiff. Michael's background in media stretches beyond wrestling coverage, with a degree in Journalism from the University Of Sunderland (2:1) and a series of published articles in sports, music and culture magazines The Crack, A Love Supreme and Pilot. When not offering his voice up for daily wrestling podcasts, he can be found losing it singing far too loud watching his favourite bands play live. Follow him on X/Twitter - @MichaelHamflett