“Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.” … The battle cry of the Environmental Crusaders who have set forth to make this world a better place for their children’s children and the future generations of global citizens who may one one day live among the waste like dirty little swine in a planetary pigpen.
The Green People are often obnoxious – prissy Liberal loudmouths who freak out over every piece of plastic that enters their field of vision. They drive energy efficient cars or no car at all, opting instead to ride a bicycle around their cities and sweat for the cause.
Not that saving the planet is a bad thing but it is really just a pipe dream. The planet will cure itself from the evil human disease that has spread throughout its body once we as a species no longer inhabit the Earth – we are merely a bump on this four-and-and-half-billion year road.
When it comes to professional wrestling, the act or recycling is very common among the community. Recycled matches. Recycled storylines. Recycled gimmicks. Which will be the topic of our latest article: the recycled gimmick.
It is often very subtle and could go unnoticed by the unsuspecting viewer but gimmicks have been done and redone since the beginning of this barbaric sideshow. Why? Mostly riding the coattails of a former success. Other times, for no reason at all.
This also does not constitute a bad thing as the recycling of a gimmick has lead to great success for certain professional wrestlers. The formula can work and can prove to be very prosperous.
Of course, and as always, there is the other side of the spectrum. The failed scene which remains inhabited by those who could not get over with the wrestling public – even with the repacking and reuse of past glories.
These are the top 15 recycled wrestling gimmicks:
15. The Dancer
We begin with a gimmick that some may love and others may hate. Either way, it has made the rounds. We are speaking of course about the gimmick of The Dancer – male dancer to be specific.
Now, old school wrestling fans may think back to the days of Junkyard Dog and his post-match victory dancing with his young fans. However, the dancing did not consume the JYD gimmick.
Fans of WCW may recall one Disco Inferno – a complete buffoon who danced his way to nowhere in the promotion. The modern fan may think of Fandango but what can be made of the Fandango character? Not much.
14. The Biker
Blame the hit television series Sons of Anarchy for the significant rise of interest into biker culture – everybody wants to be or be with the pretty-boy-badass they see on TV but SOA is nothing more than a fantasy.
Not long ago in TNA, a group of wrestlers portrayed as an outlaw motorcycle club were integrated into storylines. The group, known as Aces & Eights, came at the height of this SOA phenomenon; proving simply to be TNA suckling at the teat of pop culture and hoping for some taste.
WWE has also used The Biker gimmick over the years. The Disciples of Apocalypse were once a biker-themed faction during the late ’90s. And who can forget The Undertaker humanizing as The American Bad Ass?
13. The Samoan
Being born Samoan is obviously not a gimmick but in the wrestling world, Samoan heritage has often been used and incorporated into the gimmicks of its performers with The Wild Samoans (legendary tag team) serving as prime example.
These days, a young WWE tag team known as The Usos have adopted their Samoan heritage into their characters – performing a traditional Samoan war dance at the top of the entrance way prior to their matches.
The Great One himself, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, is of Samoan heritage and while this concept has not been incorporated into his gimmick, The Rock wears a Samoan tribal tattoo with pride.
12. The Intellectual
The Intellectual gimmick has had its ups and downs over time. The Genius ( real name: Lanny Poffo) played a role as such in the ’80s – dressing as though he was set for graduation and reciting poetry about his opponents.
In recent years, Damien Sandow would be introduced to the WWE Universe in a similar fashion; playing a much better part than Poffo. However, “The Intellectual Saviour of the Masses” was soon dropped for more nonsensical roles.
Perhaps the best of The Intellectual gimmick was Bobby “The Brain” Heenan who knew how to surround himself with the best of the business and manipulate like no other.
11. The Wealthy
When thinking about The Wealthy wrestling gimmick, the obvious name that comes to mind will be “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase and rightfully so, as DiBiase worked the gimmick better than anybody.
Years down the road and his son, Ted DiBiase Jr. was given the opportunity to play the same role but with little impact – duplicating the original “Million Dollar Man” proved rather difficult.
Alberto Del Rio was a different twist on The Wealthy gimmick – posing as a Mexican aristocrat with luxury beyond his wildest dreams. Did it work? Somewhat but not very long.
10. The Cult Leader
The Cult Leader has always proven to be an interesting wrestling character. Such a character is usually presented as a mystic – a completely indifferent being whose sole purpose serves as hostile takeover.
Kevin Sullivan once led the Dungeon of Doom in WCW – a terrible example of a wrestling cult that was meant to frighten and even destroy Hulkamania. However, WCW were still finding their footing at the time.
Two great examples of The Cult Leader come from relatively recent WWE angles with CM Punk as the brash leader of the Straight Edge Society and Bray Wyatt as the enigmatic leader of The Wyatt Family.
9. The Outcast
Perhaps one of the more relatable gimmicks – at least for teenage fans – has been that of The Outcast. The one with whom they share that televised bond with week after week as society’s shunned.
Raven may have played this role better than anybody else as he became the quintessential wrestling Outcast during his time in ECW, WCW, and to a lesser extent, WWE. Raven knew the part and how to make it work.
There have been other Outcast characters that have come along and they are usually pretty good. For a while in WCW, the once colourful Sting stood alone as the company Outcast during the war with the nWo.
8. The Anti-American
The Anti-American gimmick is one of the quickest and easiest ways to draw heat on a character. Patriotism run deeps among American wrestling fans and anybody who has anything negative to say about their country will feel the scorch.
This gimmick has seen its share of variations throughout the years with essentially the same end game. The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff come to mind as two of the best. The Iranian and the Russian and their distain for American.
There are also those who have turned their backs on their country much like Sgt. Slaughter and his Iraqi sympathizer days. Then of course, we have Bret Hart – the Canadian hero who would bash the United States and their ways.
7. The Monster
The Monster gimmick is a complete toss up, as it can turn out to be something great or something awful. The Monster is supposed to blur the lines and if executed properly, can make for some entertaining programming.
The greatest Monster gimmick of all time comes from Kane whose portrayal as a big, mean, red, relentless Monster had stood the test of time. Even with the suit, we all know about the Monster that lurks beneath.
Perhaps one of the worst Monster gimmicks ever attempted came from WCW when they introduced their viewing audience to The Yeti – an infamous blunder.
6. The Luxurious Woman
The Luxurious Woman gimmick works really well – from the days of Miss Elizabeth, the first lady of WWE, all the way to Sasha Banks, the current NXT Women’s Champion and the new Boss of the Divas division.
This role works so well because it presents a woman confidently to the audience. Nikki Bella can also assume this role when looking at the current roster and while the division has its share of diversity, The Luxurious Woman remains.
The odd-ball women have been great. AJ Lee, Paige, Becky Lynch and we hope for even more diversity to come down the line while always maintaining a bit of luxury within the women’s locker room.
5. The American Hero
If The Anti-American gimmick can work out in professional wrestling than surely The American Hero gimmick can as well – which is exactly what has happened on a number of occasions.
Obviously, the biggest American Hero is and will forever be (according to wrestling standards) “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan who has served as an American poster-boy for decades.
We also have the likes of Kurt Angle, an actual American Gold Medallist tuned professional wrestler, or “The American Dream” himself, the late Dusty Rhodes who tuned the Common Man into the World Champion.
4. The Giant
The Giant gimmick is a gimmick that is genetically provided to a professional wrestler as promotions cannot pick and choose their Giants, The Giants will pick and choose their promotions.
The day of The Giant may be coming to an end as wrestling fans have grown to enjoy quicker paced action inside of the ring – something that most Giant wrestlers cannot provide due to limited mobility.
The obvious choice for greatest Giant of all time would be Andre the Giant while the modern choice would be Big Show.
3. The Crooked Authority
When wrestling fans were introduced to the Mr. McMahon character, a whole new gimmick was set into motion that remains strong to this day with the current WWE Authority in Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
The Crooked Authority figure is a quick fix to a lack of heel presence. Eric Bischoff assumed the role with ease, not only while running WCW, but during his tenure with WWE as well.
The Crooked Authority figure has been around for a while now and will continue to find its way into wrestling angles.
2. The King
Who is the true King of Wrestling? Well, it is certainly not the current King of the Ring, Wade Barrett nor has it been any of the recent King of the Ring winners. For many fans, the only real King is Jerry Lawler.
However, The King gimmick has been done and done again and done once more over the years. Sometimes proving to be a much needed twist for a Superstar and other times proving nothing at all.
King Booker worked while King Sheamus flopped and The Macho King would become the most eccentric King of them all.
1. The Nature Boy
The original Nature Boy was professional wrestling great Buddy Rogers who was an accomplished champion in the AWA, NWA, and WWWF. The man who subsequently helped make The Man.
Yes, everything about Ric Flair and his Nature Boy gimmick was taken from Buddy Rogers. The look, the attitude, even the Figure-Four Leg Lock which many would have attributed to Flair.
Ric Flair managed to become the greatest professional wrestling World Champion of all time with a recycled gimmick.
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