Over the years, supernatural wrestling gimmicks have captivated the WWE audience, where some have even left fans in horror! Here are five such examples.
1. The Undertaker
On November 22nd, 1990, Ted DiBiase introduced the final member for his Survivor Series team. Immediately, commentary and fans alike took notice.
"Holy cow," Roddy Piper cried out on commentary, "look at the size of that ham hock!"
There was no shortage of terror-stricken faces and eyes full of awe.
Soon later, The Undertaker finished off his opponent with the Tombstone Piledriver and eliminated him from the match.
At first, the crowd was in horror of this new creation. However soon, the character got over. Big time.
The lights go out, the gong hits, and the crowd erupts. Smoke emerges from the ground, and The Undertaker makes his way towards the ring. A familiar vision that will instill memories and nostalgia for years to come.
He slowly walks down the ramp, enters the ring, takes off his hat, and rolls his eyes to thunderous applause. The Phenom has returned once again, and the response is always the same.
Mark Callaway, aka The Undertaker, has defied all odds to entertain fans for over 25 years in the WWE. In some cases, he would just appear in the ring as his opponents froze up like they’d seen a ghost.
Fans clamor for him no matter if he returns without notice, as was the case during the Battleground pay-per-view in 2015. Or if it’s planned for a special such as the 25th Anniversary of Raw.
Either way, the character, the legend with his supernatural aura and dynamic, has captivated the WWE Universe from the beginning.
The success of his creation has resulted in plenty of further characters who have fed off supernatural forces.
From successes such as Kane and Finn Balor to complete failures in Mordecai, WWE’s willingness to deliver its audience a sense of divine abilities has led to many fans tuning in week after week.
Fast forward to Bad Blood: In Your House in 1997, the first Hell in a Cell match debuts. A bitter rivalry between Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker, both on and off-screen, culminates in a bloody contest for the title.
The Undertaker has his opponent where he wants him, but then the lights go out.
A disturbing pattern of organ music plays, and then the pyro explodes, giving way to a billed seven-foot monster. Accompanied by Paul Bearer, the audience looks off in amazement and confusion.
"That’s. That’s gotta be. That’s gotta be Kane," Vince McMahon declares.
In the weeks before the pay-per-view, Paul Bearer warned the Undertaker that his long-lost brother survived a fire that led to his parents passing away. Now it seems the brother is here for revenge and also to say hello.
Kane rips apart the entry door and comes face to face with his bloodline. The Undertaker can’t believe his nightmare is standing in front of him and goes for a punch.
What happens next was remarkable. Kane uses his version of the Tombstone on his brother and costs him the match.
Dawning his red and black suit with a very creepy mask, it bares to say he made his first impression with a bold statement.
Eventually, the two clashed at WrestleMania 20, where the Undertaker came out victorious. However, Kane became the first opponent to kick out of the Tombstone Piledriver, which later becomes a staple of the match.
3. The Brood
From superstars to stables, The Brood took the supernatural to an edgier level. With Gangrel mentoring Edge and Christian, their entrance was bizarre. However, during an era where the creative flow was pushing the envelope, this wasn’t that extreme.
With their hard-hitting music, the three emerged from the ground with flames burning behind them.
Gangrel recounts that he was burned during one of his entrances on Sunday Night Heat. During an interview with Chris Van Vliet, Grangel explained how he jumped the gun on his entrance.
"I see the fire going. I thought the elevator (moved), so I went to turn and step, go off. Well, it wasn’t done. So my foot planted, and I was turning. In between the elevator and the stage, it shut, so I’m stepped over the flames (signaling that I’m in trouble).
Gangrel continued, "There’s flames burning up around me. That’s why I ended up hobbling down the ring. My foot was black and blue for months!"
"That’s where they said, ‘Oh, that’s a great swag you have when you walk,’ and I go, ‘No, that’s where I have a hurt foot and a grizzled knee!’"
A misunderstanding became a staple for the Brood, despite their short-lived alliance. At SummerSlam in 2021, Edge brought back the theme and received a mild reaction from an audience used to his Metangalis theme.
Then there is Steve Borden, who, as Sting, was a staple for WCW.
With his iconic face paint and baseball bat, Sting was always looming in the rafters, waiting to pounce on his prey. From his famous crow chant to battling the nWo, Sting made an impression among WCW.
He also made a surprising debut during the 2014 Survivor Series main event between Team Cena and The Authority.
In one of the greatest buildups in modern WWE history, no one knew what to expect. So, when Sting walked onto the stage to disrupt the match, the pop was unfathomable.
After dropping a Scorpion death drop on Triple H, the line was drawn, and the stage was set for the WCW icon to face The Game.
Speaking of games, Sting knew how to manipulate Triple H leading up to the WrestleMania showdown. From cryptic messages to impersonators spooking the King of Kings, it created a thrilling storyline that captivated fans clamoring to watch the two face off.
Despite questionable booking at WrestleMania 31, Sting would recover and enter a match with Seth Rollins for his title soon later.
However, during the main event of Clash of Champions, Sting’s WWE career would end after a botched turnbuckle powerbomb by Seth Rollins.
Despite not being cleared for WWE, Sting eventually debuted on All Elite Wrestling. With a blizzard showing on the screen, followed by a crow, the fans knew what was coming.
"IT’S STIIIING!" exclaimed announcer Tony Schiavone.
We look forward to watching his career continue to flourish in AEW.
5. "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt
Perhaps the biggest missed opportunity in all of WWE is the booking of "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt.
Husky Harris debuted as part of the destructive stable "Nexus." Once the stable disbanded, Harris later became the leader of the Wyatt family and had memorable rivalries with The Shield, among others.
However, after being deleted by Matt Hardy in a Hardy Compound match, The Fiend would crash Finn Balor’s victory on Raw.
Debuting with a brand-new persona and one of the most memorable entrances in modern WWE history, he dared his opponents to LET HIM IN.
Despite debuting as an indestructible force, The Fiend’s character took a nosedive after winning the Universal Championship, and after a year of questionable booking, The Fiend would be released.
Given how the WWE has treated its talent then and now, it’s difficult to determine if characters using supernatural elements will continue to flourish in WWE like in the past. Alas, Vince McMahon has created some of the most memorable characters in using elements of the unknown, which has set the template for future talent.
If you enjoyed this piece, be sure not to miss the following articles on our site:
- Undertaker – 18 Stories Showing The Real Deadman
- Kane – 20 Iconic (and Rare!) Attires Worn Over The Years
- Hulk Hogan and Sting – The Mess at WCW Starrcade 1997