Same Dude, Different Gimmick (Did you know Kane was a dentist?)
This week’s Tales from the Turnbuckle takes a look at the all important “gimmick”. Every once in a while a wrestler has to go through a pretty bad cast of characters before he or she finds one that fits their personality and really lets them shine. Those road bumps along the way can be pretty embarrassing. Hey, we can’t all get it right the first time.
The most important thing for any superstar is to get over with the crowd. Be it in a positive or negative light, every wrestler needs to be receiving some sort of heat. Otherwise, nobody cares. A lot of credibility will come from in-ring ability, but the package still has to be pretty. A back story needs to be interesting, face paint needs to be impressive or intimidating, and we most certainly shouldn’t be laughing at you. Some characters, like Bobby Heenan or R-Truth, make a career getting people to laugh with them, but that is a totally different story and one that merits respect, not ridicule. But the importance of one’s shtick can not be underrated.
Here’s a fun fact: Before becoming “the Big Red Monster, the scarred evil brother of the Undertaker, the fire-breathing and brimstone-pounding machine” that is Kane, that scary mo-fo had a dental practice? In 1995, and thankfully not much longer after, The man now known as Kane was Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS. A dentist with an ugly streak and an uglier mouth, Dr. Yankem was supposed to be every 7 year old’s nightmare, an evil dentist who wants to harm you by putting sharp metal instruments into your mouth. How could that possibly not be scary? Because he looked like Frankenstien ate Michael Cera. Blonde curly hair on a big oafish guy still makes him far less scary. Add that to the fact that Glenn Jacobs (the good doctor’s real name) was not nearly the in-ring wrestler he would become and he had horrible mic skills. There’s a reason Paul Bearer did all of Kane’s talking for a decade.
Before starting in the WWF, Terry Taylor and Curt Hennig were considered to be on par with each other as far as superstar potential goes. Well, Curt Hennig was fitted with the moniker “Mr. Perfect”, an arrogant super-athlete who was the definition of textbook wrestler, while Terry Taylor strutted his way into the boots of “The Red Rooster” a guy who had a strip of red spiked hair among his long blonde hair to symbolize a rooster as he bobbed his head throughout the match like a rooster and crowed out to the audience like, well, you see where I’m going with this. The Rooster was supposed to be a face and for all intents and purposes he was, but he was too goofy for anybody to take him seriously or really care if he won or not. Meanwhile, Mr. Perfect slapped his opponents in the face as he yelled at and ridiculed them. He would throw his hands up and his nose in the air as if to say “take it all in, losers” and people despised him. Guess who had the more illustrious career? Gimmicks matter. Here’s a few more fun “AKA’s” for you to impress your friends with.
-Before being the pimp-tastic “Godfather”, Charles Wright also portrayed afro-centric boxer “Kama” and voodoo master, “Papa Shango.”
-“Chris Kanyon” was mortal-kombat-meets-Oakland-Raider-superfan “Mortis”.
-“Konnan” was MAX MOON! If you don’t know max moon, go look him up immediately. I promise you’ll laugh.
So congratulations to those who were able to find a more successful way to express themselves. To the ones that didn’t, perhaps they needed a manager?
Discussion topic: Survivor Series 5-on-5 match. Who’s your 4 teammates and why?