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Are we missing characters?


NavigatorFan
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Rewatching 1995 WWF and they have a bin man, truck driver, dentist, hog farmer, blue blood, tax man, personal trainer, speedway driver and a Portuguese man o war. And we all remember how much we hated these lame characters.... And that was just one episode of raw. 

But now, with viewership and seemingly interest at an all time low do you think it would be interesting to bring back characters? 

In modern times we just have wrestlers, all glad to be there and happy to be wrestlers.... 'gratitude' if you will. 

I think that giving some people a trade and doing it less cartoony could help get the joe public more invested and help storytelling evolve rather than just this person is fighting this person because they are wrestlers. 

I know the world is different now so people would look up that Duke Drose wasn't actually a bin man but if we're suspending belief couldn't the reality era make this work? 

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I don't know if 1995 would be my favourite period for those sorts of characters, but certainly a few years earlier, I was much more drawn to the outlandish, vibrant, colourful characters with names that weren't just people's names, like The Ultimate Warrior, or Mr Perfect, or The Undertaker.

Once things started getting a bit more drab (trunks and real names) I'd latch onto the likes of a Boogeyman or Pirate Burchill simply because it was a bit different and harked back more to that era.

These days I'd love for there to be more than just The Fiend who really feels like a gimmick beyond 'is a wrestler'. Wouldn't want a company full of them but a bit more variety would be very welcome.

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6 hours ago, AshC said:

1995 WWF is underrated as fuck.

Really ?

 

i lived through it, i was -14 at the time and remember this time period being underwhelming outside of any Shawn Michaels matches really. Same for Bret really.

 

The Royal Rumble was the Shawn Show.

Wrestlemania was a dud outside of the main event and to be fair the LT-Bam Bam match was way better than it had any right to be .

King of the Ring was a stinking turd and should have been the Shawn show.

Summerslam was excellent, everybody had their working boots on.

 

Survivor Series was fine.

 

WCW didnt get going until sept of that year.

 

ECW was raw but a welcome change of tone .

 

What am i missing ?

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1 hour ago, HarmonicGenerator said:

Once things started getting a bit more drab (trunks and real names) I'd latch onto the likes of a Boogeyman or Pirate Burchill simply because it was a bit different and harked back more to that era.

As someone who started watching wrestling in late 2002, I've always considered the era in which Boogeyman and Pirate Burchill existed as character-led. You had people like them, Eugene, Palmer Cannon, Simon Dean, King Booker, Cryme Tyme, The Mexicools, the Mini division, Jimmy Wang Yang, Kevin Thorn, Matt 'the teacher' Striker, Hornswoggle/Little Bastard and the Spirit Squad all floating around at roughly the same time. 

At the time I hated a lot of these acts, and I think, looking back, the reason was mainly because WWE is rarely capable of writing the kind of humour that is needed for characters like that to work. Also, I was a bit more of a pretentious smarky type during my teenage years, so there would have been a bit of that too...

Edited by RedRooster
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Yes and no.

Wrestling needs more characters, yes, but authentic ones that people can actually believe in. You can't just stick a gimmick on someone and expect people to care. Warrior, for example, was cartoony as fuck but he genuinely believed in it and you could tell with his performance. That's why it worked. Same with Undertaker. Nobody else could've pulled that gimmick off even half as well.

Now, with a few exceptions it feels like WWE wrestlers are pretty far removed from the creative process around their own characters.

6 hours ago, AshC said:

1995 WWF is underrated as fuck.

In ring maybe. The rest of the presentation is just so.....weird. The last time I saw any of it, I wanted to go back in time and bully myself.

I'm honestly not sure who the product was aimed it. It feels like they went "Well our audience are teenagers now. But not cool teenagers. You know the ones who don't go out a lot and can't talk to girls?! That's who we need to appeal to!"

I can't find it but they did an In Your House promo video where an awkward ginger boy fantasised about Razor Ramon coming round, in his ring gear, to watch wrestling with him. Who the fuck was watching that and thinking "THAT'S the guy I want to be!?"

The less said about Vince's reaction to Michaels' stripteases the better.

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The last decent ‚Äúcharacter‚ÄĚ I can remember was Tyler Breeze and his ‚ÄúPrince Pretty‚ÄĚ character in NXT. Smug heel who you wanted to see get beat up.

It seems 80% of the roster‚Äôs character is, ‚ÄúFormer indy wrestler who wants to wrestle 100¬†miles an hour in a match full of super-kicks, dives, and near-falls‚ÄĚ.

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3 minutes ago, Your Fight Site said:

The last decent ‚Äúcharacter‚ÄĚ I can remember was Tyler Breeze and his ‚ÄúPrince Pretty‚ÄĚ character in NXT. Smug heel who you wanted to see get beat up.

It seems 80% of the roster‚Äôs character is, ‚ÄúFormer indy wrestler who wants to wrestle 100¬†miles an hour in a match full of super-kicks, dives, and near-falls‚ÄĚ.

I honestly laughed out loud when Eli Drake showed up in NXT and got an unironic introduction of "the hottest free agent in all of wrestling". For years it seemed like that was the only character trait anyone in NXT was allowed to have, and had been applied to every signing ever.

I don't think they've found the balance between relying on the equity built up in people's pre-WWE careers and allowing people scope for reinvention. Before NXT went down the super-indie route - and I'm going to place the marker around the debut of Samoa Joe, who came in under his existing name and gimmick and with little introduction beyond "look, it's Samoa Joe!" - there was an expectation that anyone coming in to NXT would, on some level, be given a new lick of paint for a WWE career.

I know to some indie fans that can be sacrilege, but generally it's the best option - the majority of the fanbase don't know who you were before, so you need to be introduced to them. Not only that, but a lot of wrestlers don't particularly like their existing ring name or gimmick on the indies - sometimes it was given to them by a promoter or trainer and they stuck with it because they'd built up a following under that name and don't want to risk changing it, or sometimes it was a name they chose when they were 18 and have massively outgrown. The chance to reinvent themselves on arrival in NXT should be a welcome one. Without it, we wouldn't have got Sami Zayn, and without the continued scope for reinvention that NXT used to have we wouldn't have got Sasha Banks growing into "The Boss", and Becky Lynch would still be doing river dance. 

WWE as a whole have been more than usually risk averse in recent years, and I think it's more apparent in NXT/NXT UK than anywhere else. There's a real sense - reflected in the likes of Dolph Ziggler on the main roster - that you'll always be who you always were, with either wrestlers or the creative team not being prepared to take a punt on letting someone try something new, or show a bit of personality. There's barely anyone on the current roster that would pass the "describe their gimmick in three words or less" test.

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2 hours ago, unfitfinlay said:

In ring maybe. The rest of the presentation is just so.....weird. The last time I saw any of it, I wanted to go back in time and bully myself.

I'm honestly not sure who the product was aimed it. It feels like they went "Well our audience are teenagers now. But not cool teenagers. You know the ones who don't go out a lot and can't talk to girls?! That's who we need to appeal to!"

I'm the opposite. In fact, the in ring quality is among the aspects I care about the least.

Although one of the very few kids at school still watching by 1995, I was more than aware that popularity was down the toilet. You couldn't find any merch in shops, no one was talking about the WWF and shows were being held in high school gyms and tiny convention centres. 

That said, going back to watch the whole year not that long ago, the shows were a breeze to watch. The build up to WM11 was light years ahead of the show itself and you even had midcard stories playing out such as Horowitz/Skip etc.

1995 is rightfully panned for having Bret slumming it out in the midcard and a highly shackled Diesel character not being allowed to be himself, but generally and in hindsight I found weekly TV to be nowhere as bad as usually made out to be.

In regards to characters, I don't really know most of the WWE roster these days, but its not an accusation you can throw at a company like Impact, where pretty much every roster member has some kind of obvious gimmick.

Edited by garynysmon
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28 minutes ago, BomberPat said:

WWE as a whole have been more than usually risk averse in recent years, and I think it's more apparent in NXT/NXT UK than anywhere else. There's a real sense - reflected in the likes of Dolph Ziggler on the main roster - that you'll always be who you always were, with either wrestlers or the creative team not being prepared to take a punt on letting someone try something new, or show a bit of personality. There's barely anyone on the current roster that would pass the "describe their gimmick in three words or less" test.

I'm not sure I agree, at least not entirely. Don't get me wrong, there are definitely people on NXT who this could apply to, but would argue that they're taking risks with gimmicks/characters on NXT that you don't see as much on the main roster. 

At the moment you have Xia Li, Dexter Lumis, Velveteen Dream, Cameron Grimes, Karrion Kross and the Gargano 'family' among those working with personality-based, and in some cases fairly unique, gimmicks. I'm not saying all of these characters work, but risks have definitely been taken, and NXT has certainly moved away from essentially being Triple H's fantasy indie-fed. Probably through necessity to be fair, given that AEW has filled the niche that it once occupied. 

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The lack of characters and the clamour to present everything with a realistic feel is a massive issue for me. If I want real fighting, I'd watch MMA. I'm in wrestling for the mentalness of it all, it was a soap opera for men as they say (I understand the sexism in this comment and that women like wrestling too, I am just referencing the statement that used to be thrown about). This drive towards a proper sport feel is honestly what is putting me off and I can't see why some fans want it that way at all. I'm far more likely to go, "Orton burned a guy to death, better check that out", than I am to go, "it felt like a real fight, better watch it", however shite the segment is.

I like gimmicks. For example, even just Apollo Creed's segment on SD (which I won't spoil for anyone who hasn't seen) made me so much more interested in his overall character as he is clearly moving into more of a gimmick than just a serious wrestler.

Edited by FUM
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On 2/26/2021 at 2:52 AM, NavigatorFan said:

Rewatching 1995 WWF and they have a bin man, truck driver, dentist, hog farmer, blue blood, tax man, personal trainer, speedway driver and a Portuguese man o war.

I think you’ll find there were two personal trainers. Definitely the best pair in wrestling at the time, too.

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Yes, very much missing characters and personalities that come across as legit or compelling. 

The gimmicks slapped on those mid nineties wrestlers isn't the answer though, we just need some workers to rise out of the crop of mark athletes. 

Entertainment arts always have and always will rely on emotional connections and suspension of disbelief. I can't do either with 95% of modern day spot monkeys. 

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