The most influential gimmicks in WWE
WWE, in its present day avatar, is exciting and fast-paced for sure. The new generation wrestlers are as good as any that came before them; quite the confident bunch and dedicated lot who go out and willingly put their body on the line and give it their all, to entertain the fans of this zany sports/entertainment spectacle.
But, like in any other world, it’s important to know where you came from to determine where you stand and how far you will go.
Pro-wrestling has always appealed to the public because of its unique mix of athleticism, story-telling and most importantly, interesting characters and personalities.
With the increased exposure to the staged nature of the sport and its inner workings, pro-wrestling has lost a lot of its old-world charm. But as long as the industry throws up interesting characters that capture the imagination and aspirations of the general public, it will always find its place in the mainstream pop-culture world.
Having said that, there have been countless memorable gimmicks over the years, which fans have held close to their hearts for various reasons.
But not every gimmick or character-type is something that resonates with the audience on a personal level so much that they take something out of the gimmick into their lives or live vicariously through them. While the Undertaker and Doink the clown gimmicks are memorable and awesome, they are perfect examples of what I am talking about.
But the list of gimmicks below have stood the test of time and have gone on to become more than just acts and have become the blueprints for developing wrestling characters over the years.
You wouldn’t have to look far, as with them the influences have shown within the business itself, in the wrestlers who came after them. Some have cited their influences openly while the others have had their characters tweaked and developed to resemble the past success by the writing team.
Ric Flair – The Nature Boy
The ‘nature boy’ gimmick is one of the best gimmicks to ever come out of the industry and what adds credence to the entire story is that the wrestler who plays the gimmick, embodies the character perfectly.
For Richard Fliehr to morph into Ric Flair, he didn’t have to make a lot of adjustments as he was living the lifestyle (some say, he still is!) when the gimmick was at the height of its popularity.
The jet-setting, limo-riding, wheeling-dealing wasn’t just an act, it was the truth and Flair inspired many of the men in the audience to want to be like him and many more women to be with him as he was just a product of the ‘Era of Greed’ in the 1980s.
Flair wasn’t all show though as his claim of being a ‘sixty-minute man’ wasn’t false and he could really go in the ring. His feuds with Ricky Steamboat and ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage have become the stuff of legends because of the level of anticipation that built around the rivalries wherein the fans couldn’t wait to see the cocky, vain, good-looking bad guy get his comeuppance at the hands of the good guys.