Gimmicky names are a staple of professional wrestling, whether it be the radioactive mutant Adam Bomb, the race car driver Sparky Plugg, or the evil architect Bill Ding (okay, that last one existed only in Disco Inferno’s mind).
Thankfully, these embarrassing ring names are usually abandoned once a wrestler adopts a new gimmick; Bob “Spark Plugg” Holly couldn’t wait to rid himself of the automotive nickname and become “Hardcore,” even if that meant calling himself, “Bombastic Bob” along the way.
And you didn’t see Brian Clark try to hold on to his Adam Bomb name when he joined WCW, especially when his character was changed from a nuclear survivor to a living Mortal Kombat character and, later, a pot-smoker.
But there are a number of wrestlers who hung on to their assumed names for far longer than they held on to the gimmicks that gave them their names in the first place. Some of these men gradually morphed into new personas, others added more and more aliases on top of their assumed names, and still others simply became so well-established under their witty nicknames that everyone forgot that their monikers came from cheap plays on words. Hey, it worked for the Beatles.
12. The Sandman
Believe it or not, Jim Fullington didn’t always come to the ring to the strains of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”. Instead, Sandman’s original theme music was The Beach Boys’ “Surfin’ USA”.
Instead of a ratty t-shirt and jeans, (Mr.) Sandman wore a wet suit and sunglasses.
And instead of a can of beer, a cigarette, and a Singapore cane, the Sandman carried a surfboard to the ring.
Yes, ECW’s Hardcore Icon was named for the radical surfer dude he was in those early days of Eastern Championship Wrestling. Fortunately, Sandman saw the writing on the wall and soon developed a (much) edgier character, reinterpreted his ring name, and became one of the most popular wrestlers in Extreme Championship Wrestling history.