Del Wilkes is a former WWE and WCW star. He also found success in All Japan Pro Wrestling.
Speaking about how he signed with WWE, Del Wilkes said that Jim Ross and Bruce Prichard had a hand in it. Prichard had floated the idea of bringing him to Vince McMahon:
"I had gone up and worked for Vince in the early 90s, maybe 91 or 92. I went out on the road for a while. Rick Martel was hurt and they needed somebody to fill a spot so I'd already known Vince, been around Vince and worked with Vince back then. Jim Ross, who I was friends with and knew very well, and Bruce Prichard... and Bruce had gone to Vince and said, 'We ought to bring Del in and I think we could do a lot with him and he's worked all over the world and had success wherever he has been.' So Bruce called me and said 'Vince wants to talk to you'. They FedEx-ed me the ticket and I flew up and had a talk with Vince."
Del Wilkes on Vince McMahon's initial reaction his gimmick and finding success in WWE as The Patriot
Del Wilkes went on to talk about how when he met Vince McMahon, Vince didn't seem to be a big fan of masked wrestlers. Wilkes managed to get Vince to agree to have him portray The Patriot character in WWE.
Wilkes spoke about how he ended up finding success and surprised Vince with his portrayal of The Patriot character. Wilkes added that Vince was so happy he put The Patriot into a storyline with Bret Hart in WWE:
"He wasn't that thrilled about the idea of a masked man. He just felt that, at that point in time in the wrestling industry, that people just would not buy into a masked man. I said 'Vince, I totally disagree with you'. I said look at the success I had in WCW, two time tag team champs there. I said look at the success I had in All Japan. I said 'this is a popular, well known character, worldwide and I can have that sort of success here'. He sort of begrudgingly agreed with me to let me do what I wanted to do."
"It didn't take long for Vince to realize, the response I was getting on TV, the response I was getting on the road, that it was a character that people could latch on to, have an emotional investment in and a character that was over with the peope. A few short weeks later, he came up to me with the idea to do the Bret Hart angle, America vs Canada, so I think he saw that it was still a worthwhile character."
Wilkes retired due to injuries shortly after his run with WWE ended in 1998.
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