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Rick Starr

The Splash: When Should Wrestler’s Change Their Gimmicks

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Welcome back Splashers! I wanted to take this time to thank all my readers, and throw a shout-out to some of the people who comment on my splashes. (in no particular order) Ackbar, Thunderlips, Spankyspank22, pld459666, TheGreatOne, Heavy, Grave, PhEonYx, DX Wrestling Savior, Lucas Chapel, and Silvon. Whether you love my "splashes", or not. Agree or disagree with me, I thank you all for contributing. Now let's get down to business!

I watched the Zack Ryder’s 86th episode of True Long Island Story. In a nutshell Ryder talked about his career, and how 2012 was supposed to be his year, but things “sucked” for him. Ryder then went on to talk about how things needed to change. That’s when reality faded in, and we saw Zack was just “dreaming” the whole episode. Many could say the episode was just a promo, a “tease”. But the hard truth is, as long as Zack Ryder keeps his “Goofy Long Island” gimmick, he will always be “Just another guy on the roster”.

This is not Ryder’s first gimmick. He debuted with his tag-team partner Curt Hawkins, and joined Edge, as a part of La Familia. While the team only lasted 3 years, Ryder proved he has not problems using different gimmicks in the past. Ryder has had the “Long Island” gimmick for over 3 years, and he continues to be a stepping stone.

While I will give some props to Ryder, as he took some incredible bumps from Kane. The WWE even had him hanging around John Cena and Eve, until they swerved the angle, and left Ryder out in the cold once again. That should have been the wake-up call for Ryder. What’s more, the huge bumps that he took from Kane, was the perfect opportunity to change his gimmick. Apparently Ryder is content with the “Goofy Long Island” gimmick, and just being “Internet Champion”.

If you look back through history, most comic relief gimmicks almost never hit main even status. Doink, Goldust, Eugene, Santino Marella, and Zack Ryder are just some of the names that didn’t make it to the top. This is because these gimmicks are made for mid-card laughter…And not main event entertainment.

There were a few superstars that were fortunate enough to have “goofball humor” and be some of the top superstars: Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and Mick Foley all were fortunate enough to be in the WWF/WWE during the Attitude Era. Also, despite the stellar matches, that all these men had which defined their careers, they also changed their gimmick which gave them that initial push. Furthermore, all three of these men could cut some of the best promos one second, and then be goofy the next. That is a skill that makes you shine!

Some would also include The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin in those names. But I would not consider Rock and Austin “goofball” humor. Rock and Austin could certainly chime in on any situation to make things much funnier. However when they did their own promos, it was more of an off-beat comedy, rather than “goofball humor” than other superstars had.

Some would argue that Kane and Daniel Bryan are also exceptions to the rule, considering their current “anger management” story-line. Both men have been former World Champions; however that was long before they started the storyline. Now I will admit the “anger management” angle is very humorous, and it is getting crowd appeal. However I feel the more comedy sketches that Bryan and Kane do as a team, and as individuals, it will only hurt their careers, rather than hurt them. If you don’t believe me..Just ask The Big Show or Mark Henry.

In 2002, The Big Show had won his second World/WWE Title. Although He had done a few comedy skits, at this point in the WWF/WWE, The Big Show was more of an “Angry Giant” character in his early years. Despite several Tag-Team title reigns, The Big Show was more or a clown than a monster over the years. By his own admission, Show had made a fool of himself at several WrestleManias, and failed on top of that. It’s only been since mid-2011, that the “Angry Giant” gimmick has come back out. Since then The Big Show has been making a hard run for another WWE/World Title, but he has yet to capture the gold as of this writing. Perhaps he was just a little too late to make his change?

Mark Henry, the strongest men in the WWE. While the short-lived gimmick of “Sexual Chocolate” did get him over with the fans, it did him no favors in winning titles. In 2006 Henry was making a run for the World title, but a Patella injury set him back a few years. When Henry returned and started teaming with MVP, he was dubbed “Mr. Kool-Aid” because of the big red singlet he wore. While he won several tag-team titles, it did him no favors in the World/WWE Title Divisions. He finally turned heel, dropped the “Happy Mr. Kool-Aid” outfit, and finally won his first World Title.

You can call it a coincidence or you can call it flat out bullshit. The cold hard facts are that “Goofball” wrestlers might entertain the fans; they might even get mid-ranked titles. But at the end of the day, you’re going to be nothing more than a joke. The only company that put a World Title around a goofball was WCW (David Arquette)...And look where they are now!

So here’s my question for you: If you could pick 1 wrestler to change his gimmick (just 1) who would it be?

As always, feel free to post any comments, and follow me on my twitter page. Until Next time Splashers…See you when I see you -Rick Starr.

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  1. redbower's Avatar
    I have thought for a few years now that Kofi needs a gimmick change. I remember when he got his first push against Orton and Legacy a few years back. In a few promos he dropped the smiling, bubbly persona and showed a more edgy, aggressive side. I think that side of Kofi, along with his natural in ring ability would make a great heel. I even think he would be a natural selection to the leader of a heel faction.
  2. THE_CRIPPLER's Avatar
    actually another person was very good at doing the goof ball dorky humor gimmick and that was Kurt Angler, he was better at doing that kinda comedy then Santino or Ryder ever dreamed to be..... he did main event and win titles with that chacrectet but it wasnt till he dropped it and became more serious that he started to be considered a legit main eventer.

    People forget just how funny and how great Kurt Angle was at goofy slap stick comedy
  3. Rick Starr's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by THE_CRIPPLER
    actually another person was very good at doing the goof ball dorky humor gimmick and that was Kurt Angler, he was better at doing that kinda comedy then Santino or Ryder ever dreamed to be..... he did main event and win titles with that chacrectet but it wasnt till he dropped it and became more serious that he started to be considered a legit main eventer.

    People forget just how funny and how great Kurt Angle was at goofy slap stick comedy
    Very True! (No pun intented) Just Like Shawn Michaels,Triple H, and a few key others. Angle could turn the humor on and off at the right times. And that's what made him so successful over the years.
  4. A.J. The People's Champ's Avatar
    Santino really needs a change ASAP. HE NEEDS TO BECOME SERIOUS, DITCH THAT FUCKIN COBRA PUPPET AND GET A SUBMISSION!!!! He also need to change his theme song. Looks like I will be giving Santino an Extreme Makeover: WWE Edition when I cop WWE 13.
  5. azure's Avatar
    While i agree that certain wrestlers need gimmick changes the 1 fault that the WWE have (even though they have many) is that it's the ppl up top that approve and decide on what gimmicks certain wrestlers should have and what they think would be PG, ie family material and that sadly is where the E is failing badly

    If wrestlers really pitched their idea and the ppl in the E actually gave it consideration and gave it a try the business as a whole, at least I think would prosper. But unfortunetly its all scripted and ppl have to go with what the higher ups say.

    If we had ppl who could speak their minds like austin, the rock and Cm punk and actually have creative control of their characters and gimmicks ppl would seriously tune in more to watch raw and SD, just to see what happens next or where they go with it.

    And no offense to any zack ryder fans but I am NOT a zack fan. I honestly think the guy tries far too hard to stand out and impress and hes not really showing me as a fan anything that screams a wrestler id tune in to watch every week.

    This may sound weird coming from me but I actually like the ryback character as a whole. Even if he is another monster getting a legit push. I'd like his matches even better if they lasted longer then 3-5 mins and maybe if he showed us more smash mouth style, perhaps a few sub missions to make him more versitile as a character.

    Hell that reversal he used a few times into a sit down stunner I thought was one of his most interesting moves that grabbed me. Another thing about rybacks gimmick tho is that it's also a legit one in terms of his eating habbits or the fact the man has a hunger that would make all you can eat restuarants look on in horror. Al snow explained it best on youtube, its quite amusing but its ironic on how much the guy eats became part of his ryback persona i.e feed me more.

    But yea seriously give the man some more serious ring time and on the mic, I want to see him really develop and see where he goes. Oh and the ppl laughing at his 'botch' against tensai. Give the man credit were its due. Literally everyone knows tensai's pissed about his 'promised' push going down the drain so it's also no surprise that he fucked the match with ryback by sandbaggin his finisher twice, you can clearly see if you watch it that albert dont give a shit.

    But hey its all a matter of opinion. He did it once to tensai on SD, it was botched on raw. It's up to the individual to decide. But in my mind they need to have ryback do something big to win the fans over again to show us that he's this unstoppable monster, it's his 1st big mistake. Hope he bounces back from it.

    Meh, John fucking cena. Seriously gimmick change or not I couldn't give 2 shits about this guy as a wrestler or being vinces golden boy. His superman gimmick is stale, his character is stale and even if he went heel, it would still mean cena would be in the main event spotlight with or without the wwe championship.

    Cm punk said it best, the champ should always be in the main event spotlight. But the fact that even tho Cena hasn't been champ for over 320+ days, vince is still shoving him down our throats because apparantly that's what we tune in to raw every week for.

    To what the same stupid ass stale super cena shit with the same repetitve shitty promo and watch a match that most probably just flick the channel over to see this guy come back from it all and win miraciously. Seriously vince, formulas worked. In the 80's and 90's it worked for hogan but not cena.

    Hogan is the Optimus prime of wrestling that all fans grew up loving. Cena is the just the stand in Hot Rod thats been passed the torch but can't ever fully achieve true greatness like hogan simply for that fact he's stale as hell and boring to boot.
  6. Thunderlips's Avatar
    Cheers for the shout out and keep up the great work Splasher!

    I also think Swagger could do with a healthy change- he has essentially played the same mid card heel for his entire run- apparently its easier to play heel so lets see what he can do as a face before he is Future Endevoured!
  7. tellstarcookie's Avatar
    I hope that Punk has to fight Ryback in the cage. I would have fired him for hitting McMahon. Eve is a sympathetic as a cat catching a mouse. She could have worn a wig that night.
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