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WRESTLING COLUMNS

The Stalest Gimmicks In WWE
June 28, 2005 by Jack Malone


There is a constant demand for the WWE creative teams to come up with new and fresh gimmicks. Even when they manage this, it's only half the work. The rest of the effort must be put towards keeping that gimmick fresh for a desired period of time and altering it when things get boring.

Taking a look at the WWE roster, it's noticeable that a lot of gimmicks manage to stand the course of time and stay fresh. However, there are some that the writers appear too lazy to bother changing at all and sometimes it looks as if they are unable to develop anything new. The following are the victims in the situation, those whose gimmicks are somewhat tedious due to how overplayed they are...either by them personally or by many others in the past.

Val Venis: One of the obvious and less controversial choices. Morley has the skills in the ring and several years back, WWE landed him with the gimmick of a womanizing ex-porn star. For a while, it worked well, but eventually grew a little tedious. In 2000, Val received a welcome change, by joining the group Right To Censor. He maintained this heel persona for eight months, before the group was disbanded. Val was pulled from TV and it looked as if WWE was dedicated to finally writing some fresh material for him. Yet he returned with the classic porn star, which clearly had no place in the current roster. In 2003, he was propelled once again into a major heel role, this time as a generic creepy GM's assistant, however this wasn't to last. Once again, he is using his old gimmick and because of its distinct lack of originality, he has been reduced to nothing but a heat jobber.

Scotty Too Hotty: As one half of Too Cool, Scotty was very over. This tag team run was a great success and lasted right through to mid 2001, when Christopher was ultimately released. From here, Scotty had to survive as a solo star. However, rather than modifying his gimmick to allow him more potential as a singles character, WWE saw fit to leave Scotty's gimmick just as it was. After so long, it just isn't interesting any more at all. Even a re-union with Rikishi couldn't relight the original spark it created.

Chris Masters: Now, this one really isn't in any way down to Masters. He has only been using the gimmick for a few months. It's simply because it's been seen so many times before. It was used only last year with Mark Jindrak, yet J.R. and King still act as if they are witnessing something totally original. I see no longevity in Masters, because aside from his lack of wrestling skill, his second rate gimmick is of no assistance.

The Hurricane: It's been almost four years since Shane Helms adopted this cartoon-esque gimmick and although he is still fairly over, you have got to wonder just how much longer it's going to last. Superhero gimmicks are commonly thought of as a thing of a past. Over the course of the gimmick, WWE has made alterations to try and keep things moving, but sadly there really is nowhere else to go with the gimmick. A few months back, there was a hint of a heel turn, which could have proved a saving grace, yet this was never taken any further. Instincts suggest that when their tag team run is over, it will be curtains for the superheroes, as we know them.

Tyson Tomko/Matt Morgan/Luther Reigns: Although Morgan's stuttering gimmick is silly, it isn't the subject here, since it could hardly be described as stale. The topic of discussion here is the bodyguard/enforcer gimmick, which all these men took on: Tomko to Christian, Morgan to Carlito and Reigns (now released) to Angle. Now, it is respectable that this is an easy and often successful way of getting bigger men onto TV - look at the success story of Batista. Yet, there is only so many times fans can see midcard and main event heels strutting around with hosses lumbering after them. Not only does it often ruin the overall look of the heel, but also of any of their matches. Take a look at the ladder match from WrestleMania; did Tomko really add anything to the match" That's why I say that the whole bodyguard thing has been done to death and no longer proves entertaining; especially since the majority of bodyguards fail to protect their employers more than once.

Dupree/La Resistance/Hassan/Daivari: Let's ask ourselves a question here; how many times do WWE think they can recycle the anti-American gimmick, stick it on a debuting foreign wrestler and expect us all to care. Of course, a lot of casual fans will always react to the name of "USA" but for a lot of us, it's so stale it isn't even worth watching. Furthermore, there are two more common results of this gimmick, which have negative impacts:

1 - A major badass face is often turned into a soft patriotic good guy when feuding with such superstars.

2 - WWE rarely ever makes the effort to have anti-American heels to separate themselves from full American heels. La Resistance often support American heels, simply because they are heels. Does that make any sense"

Torrie Wilson/Diva search contestants: WWE certainly overplays T and A. Yet even when doing so, they fail to provide new material each time. By this, I don't mean different divas each week, but rather let's see a little character development. Christy, Maria, Candice, Rochelle and even Torrie Wilson - do any of them have a gimmick at all" No. They are all just the girls who come in and strip off. But when we see girls stripping off every week, it would be nice to see a bit of potential for an angle, rather than just the same thing next time. These girls should have issues with one another and not just the heels. Let's see something to distinguish Christy Hemme from Torrie Wilson, not in terms of look, but in terms of personality.

Triple H: I expect a lot of heat for this one, but to me it has to be said. I won't elaborate on WWE's constant overuse of him, but will say that in turn it has affected his gimmick. Frankly, due to his lengthy and somewhat repetitive promos, his character has been overplayed on the main event of RAW. His "I'm the best" and "I should be champ" attitude is far from fresh, since it's been non-stop since 2002. His feuds are also becoming too similar and there is little variation in the story being told.

So in conclusion, WWE does need to consider their gimmicks. Some have been overused to the point of sheer boredom and really have no place on TV. It's just like a serial drama recycling old storylines and dragging them out for long periods of time; it can work to an extent but in the long run, it doesn't do a lot for business.

by Jack Malone --- [View Jack Malone's Column Index]..


Wesley Martinez wrote:
Great column, and for the most part, I definitely have to agree. See, the wrestling world in general, not just the WWE, has a habit of recycling storylines and gimmicks (SOMETIMES with slight modifications) and expecting us to believe they're brand new and different. They don't seem to consider the fact that wrestling fans (well, some wrestling fans) aren't stupid. We know when we've seen something before. We know when something is getting old. Come on, writers, cut us a break.
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