Monday, February 4, 2019

Wrestlers with Multiple Gimmicks

Wrestlers with Multiple Gimmicks

I'm a big fan of gimmicks. Always have been, always will. They usually add extra color and characters to wrestlers and really open up the fantasy world of wrestling. For one reason or another, some wrestlers have had multiple gimmicks. Whether this was due to a booker having a different idea for them or the wrestler not getting over, gimmick changes are not uncommon in wrestling and I thought I would cover some of them here.

Let's talk about some of the wrestlers who had less luck with various gimmicks first.

Ed Leslie, had a laundry list of characters. He was first brother of Hulk Hogan, and then later on adopted something like a male stripper character before becoming "The Barber". The Barber was one of the most successful gimmicks the WWF produced. It was easily relatable and it actually made sense in a wrestling sense. I was able to buy that a person who likes to cut hair might want to give his worst enemies a new look and many others were as well. For whatever reason though, the character was dropped which lead to a downward spiral of bad gimmicks including The Butcher, The Zodiac and my least favorite, The Bootyman.

Brad Armstrong always struggled to find his niche. He started out as himself, a son of Bob Armstrong, which was totally fine. He then joined up with Tim Horner as the Lightning Express before becoming The Candyman, which had no shot of leaving the midcard and was doomed from the start. Things got worse however as he became Badstreet, the masked Freebird. I didn't think this was a bad gimmick, but again, it was doomed to the midcard at best. The gimmick was changed a little into Fantasia, before getting the gimmick of Arachnaman. Hailing from Web City, which some say may be in Silicon Valley, he cosplayed as a rip-off Spiderman and never really went anywhere. He went to SMW as himself for a while before coming back to WCW with another bad gimmick, this time of having "The Armstrong Curse". Things somehow got even worse as he was paired with The No Limit Soldiers as B.A. and then became a ripoff of his brother Road Dogg as Buzzkill, which was one of the last gimmicks of his career.

Some wrestlers had some hits, but also had their misses.

Dustin Rhodes did very well as himself and as Goldust. However, like The Barber gimmick, he was pretty much slotted for life in that role. As the gimmick went too far, he took it a comedy route and become The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust, where he spoofed various wrestlers and celebs before going back to his Goldust role. He then became Seven. The gimmick got a lot of hype, but he looked ridiculous and WCW thought it came off as inappropriate. He then became "The Nightmare" Dustin Rhodes. He made another run in WWE, with Goldust becoming a fun comedy character for a while, then he switched between gimmicks before having an all time bad gimmick as Black Reign in TNA. This gimmick was kind of a Goldust rip-off where he carried around a rat and the less said about that the better. He then had another WWE run where Cody Rhodes even got in on the Goldust act a little and Goldust hasn't changed much since.

Demolition Smash had an interesting career. He was a Mongolian, and then became Krusher Krushev, which did pretty well. He then found himself as Demolition Smash, one half of my favorite tag team ever. Demolition is probably my pick for the best tag team of all time and for any other wrestler, it would have been the last gimmick change of their career. But as Axe had issues with the WWF and as Crush never really caught on as a Demolition member, Smash had to find something to do or risk being cut. The WWF then came up with one of the silliest gimmicks of all time as Smash became The Repo Man. The gimmick not shockingly never went anywhere but was so bad that it was entertaining. After leaving WWF, he became the Blacktop Bully, and had a famously bad match with Dustin Rhodes in the back of a truck. The gimmick didn't really work out and he would make the Wrestlecrap Hall of Fame for the 3rd time as "Mr. Hole-In-One" Barry Darsow. Barry would challenge his opponents to a game of putt-putt before the match and while not great, was memorable, perhaps for the wrong reasons. Barry wasn't done yet though as he returned back to being Barry Darsow, before developing amnesia, and switching between multiple characters before leaving WCW and becoming an independent wrestler.

Some wrestlers however, just couldn't fail.

Smash's partner Bill Eade, had a career of successful gimmicks. He was Bolo Mongol and was part of the IWA, which was one of the first attempts for a company to go national. While it didn't work out, he had a good run with it. He then became The Masked Superstar. The gimmick was a huge success, getting him bookings as a main eventer all over the US and even in Japan as he fought people like Wahoo McDaniel, Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant. He then moved onto the WWF, becoming part of The Machines, as Super Machine. While the gimmick was comedic, he did get a few main event spots with it and did a little work in Japan. As it ran its course, he then became Ax, as I mentioned above as his final gimmick.

Mick Foley also had a pretty good run with gimmicks. He famously got the crap beaten out of him by Dynamite Kid on WWF TV before becoming Cactus Jack. He worked his way into WCW and was a main eventer there. He then took the gimmick into a somewhat comedic route in ECW before becoming Mankind in the WWF. There, he had a pretty good run with a great match against Shawn Michaels before taking part in the first ever Buried Alive match with The Undertaker. The Undertaker helped make his career as he later had the infamous Hell in a Cell Match. He also took upon the character of Dude Love, a 70's hippie who was a cult favorite and before bringing back Cactus Jack. He became WWF champion and became one of the biggest wrestlers in the country during his WWF run. As he slowed down, he blended Mankind, Cactus Jack and Mick Foley together.

While never a guarantee to success, gimmicks take wrestlers often in unique directions and have lead to some hits and misses. While not always great, gimmicks usually are quite memorable.

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