Gimmick Some Lovin': The Arkansas Hog Pen Match
In each edition of Gimmick Some Lovin', we take a look at one iteration of a gimmick match available on the WWE Network. Some are iconic for their success, others for the extent to which they flopped, and some just... happened.
We defined a "gimmick match" as, in any way, adding a rule/stipulation to or removing a rule from a match, changing the physical environment of a match, changing the conditions which define a "win", or in any way moving past the simple requirement of two men/women/teams whose contest must end via a single pinfall, submission, count out, or disqualification.
This week marks the anniversary of the day the world lost wrestling giant Haystacks Calhoun, a behemoth of a man who wrestled in the world's largest pair of overalls (probably) while depicting a simple country farmer.
I needed even a flimsy justification to watch this match again much of Calhoun's work is either not on the WWE Network, low video quality, or not fitting in the spirit of this column, we're honoring his legacy with a look at another use of the overalled country farmer character in his signature match: the December 1995 Arkansas Hog Pen Match pitting Henry O. Godwinn against the Connecticut Blueblood Hunter Hearst Helmsley.
Don't Mix Up Your Timecards
Beginning in the early-to-mid 1990s, the American economy changed pretty rapidly and spread prosperity like few had seen before; the dotcom bubble was years from bursting, and the subprime bubble was not yet inflated.
Regardless of who one credits for its inception or blames for its demise, this economy somehow didn't make everything better for some professions, namely race car drivers, plumbers, professional hockey players, accountants, trash men, and striking baseball mascots, because men from all of those noble lines of work sought a second paycheck between the ropes of the World Wrestling Federation.
Regardless of the performer's day job, a few characteristics could be assured for each of these gimmicks, as they all featured oddly impractical hybrids of wrestling gear with outfits specific to those jobs, awful pun names for the characters themselves, and even worse puns for the men's finishers and signature moves.
Henry Orpheus (an awesome middle name that I didn't know was attached to this character until I did the research for this column) Godwinn (get it?) was a product of this line of creative writing, combined with Vince McMahon's oddly alternating disdain and pride for his own rural North Carolina upbringing.
An Arkansas pig farmer wearing overalls, a t-shirt, and a John Deere cap, Godwinn was initially a heel enforcer for Ted Dibiase's Million Dollar Corporation, using his trademark slop bucket to shame enemies of the corporation until Dibiase revealed his disdain for the yokel. Godwinn retaliated by dumping the contents of the slop bucket onto Dibiase himself, and thus seceded from the faction.