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What's in a name?


AshC

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How important to you guys perceive an independent wrestler's name to be, in terms of boosting their own careers and also the success of the shows they appear on?

 

There's a quote from Morrissey I once read about how he always put a lot of effort into his song titles because more people would see those titles than would ever hear the actual songs.

 

Applying that to independent wrestling, and I think it's much the same.

 

While the level of quality and effort gone into artwork, photography and posters has increased significantly in recent years, I'm intrigued as to people's views on whether or not they consider a wrestler's ring name as a promotional tool in itself.

 

To expand on this - I think if I was promoting a show, and intended publicising the guys on the bill, I'd make an effort to use an El Ligero, a Wild Boar, a Max Angelus, a Richtor; basically guys whose names tell your something about who they are.

 

Their names are selling points in themselves; and when you need every selling point possible to get a punter to purchase a ticket, it makes sense that guys like these are booked.

 

With that in mind, it seems interesting that many guys on the independent circuit use either a real name or something resembling one.

 

Do any promoters find that a hindrance in terms of drawing in the casuals?

 

No agenda with this, I'm genuinely interested.

 

I realise that many of the guys on TV (John Cena being the most prominent, of course) use a 'real-name' ring name - but then with the exposure television brings, it's so much easier to get across who a character is and what they're about.

 

Independent wrestling - there's numerous guys, here and overseas, that I know the name of and I know are highly regarded, but I have no inclination to check out as their ring names just portray them as average joes.

 

Thoughts?

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Depends really. You can get away with having a daft name on the independents usually. Sam Slam for instance was terrible, but he was touted as being quite good for a while even if his name was piss poor. And WWE doesn't care if you are called The Incredible Hulk's Best Mate, they'll change it when they sign you. They aren't looking for the name.

 

Most wrestling names are stupid unless you understand the character. Everyone from Steve Austin to the Rock to The Undertaker would be a bit laughable if you didn't see how awesome they were and understood why they are called what they are called. If you look like Flip Kendrick, you shouldn't call yourself The Dominator. By the same token, if you look like the bearded bloke at the start of Terminator 2, you shouldn't call yourself Super Sexy Steve. You have to have a name that fits the gimmick.

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A name should definitely give you an idea of the wrestler, but it should also reflect the promotion's style and market. A promotion booking itself as a 'serious' wrestling show would get by with standard names for its stars on the posters, whereas a more family-focussed All-Star-esque show would plumb for something more wild, like an overblown nickname. I personally prefer a wrestler to have a style rather than work to fit around a certain promotion, for variety's sake (requiring the promotion to book talent relevant to its target audience). A "Martin Stone" or "Terry Frazier" might draw in older fans, but kids will go for "Lion Kid" or "El Ligero."

 

I kinda miss the old Dale Martin posters, actually, which often had a little blurb to hype each wrestler (eg. Bunty Hoven "hotshot heavyweight from Huddersfield" vs Sledgehammer McGuigan "fighting Irish bruiser").

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Depends really. You can get away with having a daft name on the independents usually. Sam Slam for instance was terrible, but he was touted as being quite good for a while even if his name was piss poor. And WWE doesn't care if you are called The Incredible Hulk's Best Mate, they'll change it when they sign you. They aren't looking for the name.

 

Do you not reckon that initial impression could conceivably turn off potential advances from the likes of WWE and TNA? If I was in their position and I was a talent scout from them, I would take one look at the name of Sam Slam and not even bother because I'd think he was some kind of joke holiday camp wrestler rather than a genuine talent. Fair play to them if they can look past a stupid name like that, I guess not everyone's got the limited attention span I have!

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Depends really. You can get away with having a daft name on the independents usually. Sam If I was in their position and I was a talent scout from them, I would take one look at the name of Sam Slam and not even bother because I'd think he was some kind of joke holiday camp wrestler rather than a genuine talent.

 

The "joke holiday camp wrestlers" are typically some of the most genuine talent around that there is. But I digress.

 

Hard Boiled Haggerty is quality.

 

I think to be honest, WWE especially are looking for a blank canvas of sorts. Names used beforehand seem largely irrelevant.

 

Re. the Dale Martin posters - okay, they're old-fashioned but that isn't to say they wouldn't work in 2012. Definitely would give some depth and added selling points to a show poster.

 

I remember a few years back, a poster for a show in Newport, with an Ed Ferris vs Nick Aldis main event. Next to the names were a few of those Dale Martin-isms - "the hometown hero" against "the animal from out of town". A few people commented how pass

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I can't see how names like "The Home Town Hero vs The Out-of-Town Villain" would be any worse than photos of skinny, topless 20-somethings holding their fists up.

 

Personally I'm fond of the old-school-style posters and would be interested how they'd fair in modern print promotion over the standard, 3

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I hate normal names, I look at my promotion as a modern day version of the good old WWF cartoon character days!

 

Kade Callous = Sycho Sid

Bison Brody = The Barbarian

Stevie Starr = Hulk Hogan

Big Dog = Dusty Rhodes

'Mean' Tommy Dean = The Brooklyn Brawler

Rocco Berretta = 'Superstar' Billy Graham

 

etc etc etc

 

And even Gilligan Gordan has just signed a lucrative contract to play Hillbilly Bob....the British cousin of Hillbilly Jim!

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All wrestlers should have a cool name, one that people remember and that communicates something. A rhyme, an allitteration or a wordplay, anything to make them stand out. The fact that so many on the indy scene worldwide stick to a "serious" name because they are "serious" and they actually do "wrestling" is one of the many reasons why territories were so much better than current indies. And it couldn't be otherwise, in territories people wrestled for a living and so they had to do whatever was right for the business, on the indy scene the vast majority are "weekend warriors".

 

IMHHO at least.

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