This week’s Five For Friday examines five very interesting career moves by wrestlers and mythical beasts alike. You can find previous entries in the Five For Friday series here.
To make it in the world of pro wrestling you need three things: the athletic talent, the charisma, and a unique look. Tie all these together and you’re a guaranteed star.
The Rock. Triple H. Dare I say it, John Cena. These men have it – that special combination which makes them superstars. Even two out of three ain’t bad: Mick Foley certainly had the look and the charisma, even if he was never gonna win any races. Much as it pains me to admit it, Bret Hart was an absolute god in the ring and was devoted to his character, even if he was lacking on the mic.
Whether you’ve got it or you haven’t, some people are able to use what they get to try and make it to the top of the wrestling tree.
And then there are these poor sods. Ladies and gentlemen, the Worst Wrestling Gimmicks.
Duke ‘The Dumpster’ Droese
As Stewart from the New Generation Podcast laid out for us in a recent interview, Vince McMahon certainly loved his ‘double gimmicks’ in the WWF – wrestlers who were seen to be moonlighting in the ring because they, in kayfabe, had another job to be getting back for.
Whether it’s a comment on the number of 80s wrestlers who had to combine their real love with something that actually paid the bills, or just a weird creative genre that never really went away (The Miz, anyone? Brock Lesnar? Oh no wait, that really was a different job) – the absolute bottom of the trashcan came in the form of Duke ‘The Dumpster’ Droese.
From what I remember he was a decent enough competitor, but then again I’ve since been proved wrong about most of my childhood wrestling memories from listening to that afore-mentioned podcast and watching the relevant matches. Droese wrestled in the WWF for two years – most notably gaining some upset victories over a young Hunter Hearst Helmsley – before agreeing on a release from his contract in 1996.
MOO. Enough said? No? Fair enough. This might do it.
(To be fair, that’s a hell of a belly-to-belly suplex he hits.)
Mike Halac counts ECW and WWE among his career highlights, but in this guise he was pretty much doomed from the get-go. Even with all-time great booker and manager Jim Cornette in his corner, Mantaur failed to grasp gold, and only lasted about six months. It must have been the exact six months that I watched WWF because I remember this guy very clearly. If only for the make-up and the mooing.
Right guy, wrong gimmick: you might know Shane Douglas as the man who threw down the NWA World Title after winning it in a tournament, in favour of declaring himself the first ECW World Champion and spitting on wrestling tradition in one fell swoop. He was instrumental in establishing ECW as the third main player in the business…so when he turned up in the WWF dressed like this:
[Dean Douglas at RAH2 by Mandy Coombes – http://www.flickr.com/photos/mandycoombes/6921270651. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons]
We knew there’d be a problem.
Douglas was a pretty talented bloke, no question, but Vince’s obsession with a double gimmick didn’t endear the education-loving snob to fans one bit, and not even in the heel heat way. Sadly he fell foul of the Kliq in 1995 and made a pretty hasty exit, but not before winning and losing the Intercontinental Title in the space of about 15 minutes thanks to some particularly dickish politicking from Shawn and Razor.
If you watched Sunday Night Heat during its time on Channel 4 in about 2000, you might remember ‘Joe. Just Joe’, a man whose sole purpose in the WWF was to go backstage and inform Wrestler 1 that he’d just overheard Wrestler 2 saying he was going to kick Wrestler 1’s ass, or that Diva 1 was spotted getting close with Wrestler 1’s manager, much to the annoyance of Wrestler 2. On and on this went without any real, actual point to the man. Plus, as Kevin points out in a recent episode of The Attitude Era Podcast, he wasn’t even billed correctly – going from “Joe” to “Just Joe” and back again in a matter of seconds.
Sadly for Joe, his ideas outlived his own short time in the backstage area; he’s said to have been the man who first pitched the idea of a group of wrestlers who were out to censor the WWF – which one Steven Richards would actually head up instead.
The Yeh-TAAAAAY (Yeti)
Why does this so-called Yeti look more like a mummy? If you’ve never had the misfortune of watching WCW Halloween Havoc 1995, you may be very surprised to know that this was not THE question everyone was asking that night.
No, that honour referred to the onscreen Monster Truck Match which took place atop the stadium between a debuting Giant (Paul ‘Big Show’ Wight) and the Immortal(ly lame) Hulk Hogan. At the conclusion of their epic rooftop battle, The Giant would attack Hogan and appear to fall off the roof of the stadium, to his death.
Just a few minutes later though, the Giant would show up for his World Title match against Hogan as if absolutely nothing had happened.
As for this gimmick…well, apparently he would go on to become a ninja. You know, those stealthy dudes? Yep. This bumbling shambles of a man would soon become a ninja.
Because WCW. Oh, and the reason he’s dubbed the Yeh-TAAAAAY is that the commentator couldn’t pronounce the word ‘yeti’. Simple as.