Throughout the history of professional wrestling, many gimmicks have come and gone, some went on to be a success while others failed. Many gimmicks whether they succeeded or failed cannot be forgotten by fans who admired them. Over the years, the WWE has made many creations that we can’t forget.
Here are five gimmick wrestlers you might remember:
1. Kamala: He pulled off one of the most unique gimmicks in history, featuring a ferocious cannibalistic beast from the Jungles of Uganda. A gimmick that was loved by the fans whether he was a heel (bad guy) or face (good guy). This gimmick was the idea of WWE Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler.
In his first run in the WWE in 1984, he cut a promo where he devoured a live chicken. Furthermore, his first run saw him feud with Andre the Giant and when he unsuccessfully challenged Hulk Hogan for the WWE championship. His second run in 1986-87 saw him the peak of his career as he famously feuded with Jake “The Snake” Roberts and unsuccessfully challenging Hogan again numerous times for the championship.
Kamala’s second run ended when he left the WWE due to frustrations involving his pay. In 1992, he returned to the WWE and went on to feud with the Undertaker, culminating to the first ever casket match in WWE, which Kamala lost. Shortly after his feud with the Undertaker, Kamala would go on to feud with Bam Bam Bigelow. Kamala and Bam Bam were scheduled to wrestle in a match at Wrestlemania IX, but the match was canceled and Kamala was released from the company not long after.
2. Irwin R. Schyster: Schyster was an evil tax collector. Ironically, his initials were I.R.S. He would harass and scold wrestlers and fans to pay their taxes. He often called the fans tax cheats and started rivalries with other wrestlers by accusing them of not paying their taxes.
Schyster debuted in 1991 and immediately began making an impact as I.R.S. participated in the 1991 King of the Ring tournament, making it to the finals where he lost to Bret “Hitman” Hart. I.R.S. soon formed a tag team with Ted DiBiase known as Money Inc. and they went to hold the tag team championship on three occasions. The team ended in 1993 when DiBiase retired as an active competitor and I.R.S. returned to singles competition, unsuccessfully challenging Razor Ramon for the Intercontinental championship and feuding with the Undertaker.
3. Sgt. Slaughter as an Iraqi sympathizer: Slaughter was based off of G.I. Joe as he was portrayed as an American hero who always fought for America’s honor.
After a five-year hiatus, Slaughter returned to the WWE, but not as an American hero. During that time, the August 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait took place, so it was decided that Slaughter would be portrayed as an Iraqi sympathizer. After capturing the WWE championship from the Ultimate Warrior at the 1991 Royal Rumble, things began to heat up because as Slaughter was leaving the ring after the match, fans were throwing insults and objects at him. The next day, Slaughter, as well as McMahon began receiving death threats.
The death threats were so severe that Slaughter had to wear a bullet proof vest in public and while wrestling. At one point, while he was feuding with Hulk Hogan, Slaughter was cutting a promo building up to the match. He had originally been asked to burn the American Flag, but refused. Not long after, Slaughter turned face and began cutting promos saying he wanted his country back.
4. Papa Shango: Shango was a voodoo practitioner. McMahon got the idea for this character from the 1973 James Bond film Live and Let Die.
Shango was known for placing curses on his adversaries and his feud with the Ultimate Warrior, but the feud was dropped after Warrior left the company. He also unsuccessfully challenged Bret Hart for the World Heavyweight Championship. When the character debuted in 1992, McMahon planned for this character to go a long way but the fans were not impressed, hardly making an impact.
5. The Mountie: He portaryed a villainous Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer. The Mountie came onto the scene in 1991. He often carried a shock stick with him and he often used it to “shock” his opponents during or after his matches. His first major feud was with Big Boss Man.
Boss Man and Mountie both had gimmicks of a law enforcer and the feud began when Mountie proclaimed himself as the law and order in the WWE. The feud culminated in a “Loser Goes to Jail” match and Mountie lost. He achieved his biggest accomplishment when he defeated Bret Hart for the Intercontinental Championship only to lose the title two days later to “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.
After failing to regain the title, the Mountie fell to the mid-card status and the character began to fade out of the picture. Shortly after losing in 30 seconds to then WWE champion Hart, Mountie disappeared from television and was never seen or heard from again.
Gimmicks play big roles in the art of professional wrestling. It takes knowledge, creativity, as well as a wild imagination to come up with unique gimmicks. It’s all about entertaining the audience and drawing a reaction and interest from the crowd.