Where are my pro wrestling gimmicks?! In the year 2011, gimmicks in the WWE are nearly nonexistent. Everyone has been calling WWE in 2011 the PG era, but I think it should be called the Reality era. An era where over the top characters are rarely seen on WWE television. Instead of gimmicks, we now have guys that resemble UFC fighters. The audience relies on their personal feelings rather than the gimmick. Everyone seems to be an extension of their real selves which makes me nostalgic for the days of crazy and over the top characters.
While reality driven characters have worked for many successful WWE superstars including The Rock, Steve Austin, and Mick Foley, I personally miss characters that are out of this world and can only happen in wrestling. Right now the only character that entertains me every time he is out and is over the top is Santino Marella. He is just a ridiculous, funny, fan friendly, performer and I appreciate his work whenever he wrestles. He may not wrestle like Lou Thesz (even though he does know judo and other fighting techniques) He stands out in this current age because he has a cartoonish character while everyone else is being serious.
Why not have Alberto Del Rio go to Occcupy Wall Street and flaunt his money, Why not have Sheamus refer to Ireland more since it is his home, why not have Daniel Bryan showcase his submission expertise in the gym by just grappling. I miss these little bits of character development as it makes them larger than life. Put it on WWE.com or make vignettes for the performers. Get across their gimmicks by exposing their motivations for being in the WWE.
Right now everyone’s characters are starting to run together. What sets Wade Barrett’s character apart from Christian’s character? What sets Mark Henry’s character apart from Brodus Clay’s? Right now we rely on their appearance and our personal opinions more than their motivations. It has become a mish mash of emotions causing us to cheer or boo whoever we please.
John Cena is a perfect example of this. Before he transformed into the John Cena of today, his character was a Rapper. He had an album, he would perform freestyles, he did a photo shoot with Method Man. People understood this and he connected with an audience because people were like “hey I like rap, this is different I want to cheer him.” This “gimmick” drew people to him.
Now in this current “Reality Era”Cena just changed from a Rapper to himself. Fans were not happy because the transition wasn’t natural. He went from rapping and being edgy, to being a guy who shook hands and kissed babies. It was an unnatural transition. Now people boo or cheer him based on how they feel personally about him rather than one set reaction for a character.
If you agree with me about the introduction of more over the top characters email me and the best characters you can come up with the current roster I will post the winners in my next column. See you next week!
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