Wrestlers You Would Never Recognize Without Makeup - Grunge

As Danhausen’s AEW entrance theme reminds the viewers ad infinitum, the wrestler is very nice and very evil. A fast-talking, squeaky-voiced, mildly nervous-looking cartoon villain with stylized demon-meets-vampire makeup, he cuts a memorable figure. Thanks to his clever B-movie horror vibe and an inherently likable persona, he also moves a considerable amount of merchandise, especially for a wrestler who’s not historically a regular big-time main eventer. Much of this is because he found an untapped niché and turned out to be the perfect guy for it. 

“I was just a bearded guy with the tattoos, trying to be a tough guy, and I’m not a tough guy naturally,” Danhausen told The New York Times. “But I can be weird and charismatic, goofy. That’s easy. That’s also a role that most people don’t want to fill.”  

Danhausen seems like a perfectly constructed character right down to the moniker, but the performer’s very real name predetermined that part of the package. Behind the face paint, mannerisms, and fun promos is Donovan Danhausen, who’s found a perfect way to combine his passions of wrestling, horror, and comedy under a single umbrella with the Danhausen gimmick. The success wasn’t immediate. He first labored in the indies without makeup, calling himself Kid Gorgeous. When he eventually sat down and started crafting the face-painted figure that would become Danhausen, he initially experimented with a straight-up horror monster before the comedy that made the gimmick famous crept in via audience response.

Discover more from

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading