10 Main Event Wrestling Gimmicks That NOBODY Liked

Chris Jericho is a genius, but he isn't the Great Muta.

Chris Jericho Painmaker

Obviously, 'nobody' is a slight exaggeration.

Everybody likes something. Some people probably even watch NXT LVL UP religiously, which is not a made-up show even though it may read as made-up. It exists as developmental for developmental exclusive to the WWE Network. There are unsubstantiated rumours out there of an 'NXT UK', which require some investigation, but LVL UP is actually a real thing.

If that title scans nonetheless as counterintuitive, you might be new to professional wrestling. Like most things, it is an industry historically plagued by nepotism, and across much of the 21st century, it was monopolised by a man with tastes that were almost specific to himself at times. Moreover, this man's attitude towards supply and demand is best and most succinctly described as "F*ck you".

But come on - main eventers that nobody liked?

That's more than modern content hyperbole, surely. These acts had to have some form of a decent following to have reached that level. It's not like Bill Watts trying to sneak Erik into the midcard via cat flap; these are performers who wrestled at the top of the card for a decent amount of time.


10. Psycho Heel Bob Backlund

Chris Jericho Painmaker

Bob Backlund returning to the WWF in the early '90s was the most surreal thing.

Despite appearing ageless, his era was so antiquated in contrast to Vince Jr.'s glossy national production that it might as well have been George Hackenschmidt turning up on Prime Time Wrestling. The WWF fans of 1992 wouldn't have been able to tell the difference. Backlund literally scanned as a time traveller. It was the most interesting thing about him.

Sensing that it was old hat, Vince turned him heel in 1994. As part of his unhinged persona, Backlund "snapped" in his matches, refused to release the chicken wing submission hold, and then appeared to reemerge from a psychological fugue state by staring in despair at his own hands, in shock at the violence they had wrought. Think Johnny Gargano in late 2018.

It was a weird thing to plagiarise all those years later, because the psychotic Backlund character was a dud. His two key matches with Bret Hart were interminable bores - the Survivor Series '94 WWF Title bout in particular felt like it lasted four hours - and he was promptly relegated after WrestleMania XI.


Michael Sidgwick is an editor, writer and podcaster for WhatCulture Wrestling. With over seven years of experience in wrestling analysis, Michael was published in the influential institution that was Power Slam magazine, and specialises in providing insights into All Elite Wrestling - so much so that he wrote a book about the subject. You can order Becoming All Elite: The Rise Of AEW on Amazon. Possessing a deep knowledge also of WWE, WCW, ECW and New Japan Pro Wrestling, Michael’s work has been publicly praised by former AEW World Champion Kenny Omega, present AEW World Champion MJF, and surefire Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Cody Rhodes. When he isn’t putting your finger on why things are the way they are in the endlessly fascinating world of professional wrestling, Michael wraps his own around a hand grinder to explore the world of specialty coffee. Follow Michael on X (formerly known as Twitter) @MSidgwick for more!