5 Wrestlers who portrayed different nationalities
Character work is just as important, if not more so than the in-ring work of a professional wrestler. One can be the most technically sound performer on the planet, but if the fans don't have something to sink their teeth into, that can only get you so far.
Some of the greatest characters have come by the way of over the top characterizations of certain nationalities. Roderick Toombs, known worldwide as "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, is one of the best examples of this (but we'll get to that later). However, it's not to say that this always panned out well.
In fact, sometimes the initial reaction was downright uncomfortable, and that's where we're kicking the list off.
#5 Akeem the African Dream
Back in 1987, the One Man Gang debuted for the WWF, managed by Slick. He was portrayed as a monster heel, running through jobbers and lower mid-card talents with ease, before getting a few programs with Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. However, by 1988, he'd gone through a rather shocking metamorphosis.
Reborn in, what Corey Graves dubbed in the above video as a "back alley voodoo ceremony", OMG would then be known as Akeem. Following that jaw dropping repackaging, Akeem would attempt to dance his way to the ring to a song rapped by Slick. Sadly, the man had no rhythm.
It was goofy, it was kind of dumb, but it was incredibly entertaining, partly because of how tongue in cheek it was. From the in-ring debut of Akeem, to his appearance alongside Slick and Twin Towers tag team partner Big Boss Man on the Arsenio Hall Show, it was a gimmick made to be taken lightly. As Akeem, he would immediately adopt the mannerisms of Slick, from the way he moved to the way he spoke.
Yes, Slick and the One Man Gang were trying to pull one over on people. No, neither man in kayfabe actually thought the big guy had African roots. You can hear Vince McMahon above attempting to swallow the thought of Akeem believing his own words. As strange as it was, this did what it was supposed to do. It got the One Man Gang more attention and a negative crowd reaction.