5 WWE gimmicks that would have had interesting runs in different eras
By and large, like all of us in other professions and from every other conceivable walk of life, wrestlers are inevitably products of their respective generations. Meaning to say that the gimmick that a wrestler adopts on WWE programming is very much dependent on the unwritten rules that govern that specific ‘era’. Naturally we associate the edgy and the dark with the attitude era while the Hogan era was characterised by its cartoon-like programming. While the ruthless aggression era was more wrestling-centric, the PG era has, for all purposes, revisited the cartoonish feel of the Hogan era while curtailing other controversial performance elements such as blading.
But what if we could change up the formula? What if characters that were very much by-products of their times and were sculpted in certain ways to satiate the particular niche of their respective audience, could have a run in a completely different timeline? Let me elucidate. Events that transpire in the WWE are rarely singular – the inter-connectivity between events has been charted and mapped incessantly over the years. When the Kliq infamously broke Kayfabe at Madison Square Garden impending Nash and Hall’s ship-jump to WCW, the industry as a whole was irate. A livid Vince then withdrew the push Triple H was slated to receive. As a result Austin won the 1997 King of the Ring and the ensuing events since have been discussed to saturation.
Juxtaposing that with the recently concluded fatal fouraway event at Payback, yields stark contrast. In a moment that raised the roof off the arena, The Shield bretheren put aside their differences and worked together briefly to triple powerbomb Randy Orton through the announcers table. Despite being written into the story-line of the match in order to make the whole spot more believable, there was a fleeting moment, elementally quasi-Kayfabe, when the three of them celebrated together and it particularly drew a loud pop from the audience.
Gone are the days when Kayfabe was gospel and dictated the confines within which wrestlers pretty much lived their lives. Nowadays, the WWE programming itself flirts with the boundaries of Kayfabe constantly. Naturally then, with the ever-changing landscape of WWE programming over time, comes a point of interest – what if we could pick wrestler gimmicks and interchange their eras? Sounds fantastical? You might be surprised at how well some of them could have adapted.
Randy Orton in the Attitude Era
Indulge me in some hypothesizing. If only Randy Orton had been born perhaps 5 years earlier, might his WWE adventure have coincided with the Attitude Era? How much better would that have suited the Apex Predator than the PG era he, rather unfortunately, ended up performing in? Randy Orton is one of the most intense characters on WWE programming and few would argue when I say that heel Orton displays a mean streak that is too pronounced at times to be completely farcical.
The ‘punt kick’ to the head has been outlawed for being too dangerous but let’s face it – quite a few of his moves ranging from stinging uppercuts, to the DDT off the second rope to his immensely “over” finisher, the RKO, target the head region anyway. Couple that with a vindictive penchant for dishing out retribution, and one has to admit, Randy Orton’s character has all the ‘edge’ required to have succeeded as a top heel during the Attitude Era.
A feud between Randy Orton and The Rock could have been a mouth-watering prospect, owing to the natural third generation superstar dynamic there lay between the two to exploit. The Rock as a babyface and Randy Orton as a heel – come to think of it the WWE could still chance their arm over on this one in the future but purely for hypothetical reasons, this would have been one hell of a feud had it transpired during the Attitude Era.