Saturday, December 6, 2014

Who overcame the crappier gimmick

Watched the first episode that's up from the 96 Raws and saw Austin as the Ringmaster face Matt Hardy.

It got me thinking ...

Who had the harder gimmick to overcome: Austin or Rock? Both in theory could/should have been career-killers, but both men went on to be two of the biggest stars in the business' history. Obviously neither made their original gimmick with the company work, but still very impressive they were able to not only wash the stink off of them, but thrived.

Thanks

​Well Rocky had the easier go of it because the company was already behind him, plus he was still a fresh guy in the business and wasn't locked into one position on the card yet.  Austin, on the other hand, was someone who was typecast as the arrogant blond in WCW and who was thought of as an Arn Anderson-level TV title guy​, so he not only had to overcome that crappy gimmick, but WWF's own preconceived notions of where he fit in as well.  So I'd say it was definitely a bigger uphill climb for ol' Stone Cold.  

50 comments:

  1. I'd have to agree. At first I was thinking Rocky given that he faced a bigger and more immediate backlash, but thinking about it he was always positioned as a future Main Eventer, and he got there in the amount of time you would expect (2 years from debut to Main Event, couple of IC title runs along the way). The only real adversity was the unexpected backlash against his first face run. Rocky's character faced adversity, but his main event trajectory never really did. On the other hand, Austin's Million Dollar Champion character screams mid-card heel. Even the early Stone Cold character seemed more like a Bad News Brown-type outsider heel, and it wasn't until the Bret Hart feud that anyone realized he was a main event level guy.

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  2. I give casero the edge over both iofthem. The guy was a fucking yoddler for gods sake. That fact that hes still around after that is amazing.

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  3. There wasn't much wrong with the Ringmaster gimmick outside of Dibiase being used as Austin's mouthpiece. I'm not saying "Stone Cold" wasn't world's better, but a gimmick highlighting Austin's work as a master technician back when he still was one? They should try that again today with someone else.

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  4. Mick Foley told the best story about Austin. When they were working the tent towns during the lean times, before Austin 3:16, one of their merchandise guys came up to Mick with some ideas for Mankind merchandise. Austin came up and said, "when do you think you guys will have a Stone Cold shirt?" The guy said, "Steve, I don't know how to tell ya, but I don't see the company being high on a Stone Cold shirt". Within 2 years, he's the biggest guy in the company, if not the entire industry.

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  5. I've been watching the New Generation PPVs and it's pretty funny how little reaction Austin is getting as the ringmaster. Then KotR 96 and he's finally Stone Cold and I'm thinking "OK finally the crowd is going to pop for him" and when he comes out to wrestle Mero and is doing some of the real Stone Cold mannerisms, the crowd could not possibly care any less. I also forgot that at one point Mero didn't suck. Easy to forget I guess.

    So I give the edge to Austin in this question. Rocky went went from decent face pops straight to "ROCKY SUCKS". It's always better to have people want to boo you than to not give a damn either way in my book.

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  6. Interesting - reading your comment and the one below it from BOConscience gave me an idea...

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  7. Yeah. He's accomplished so much.

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  8. It depends on the guy as most were citing Austin as a future superstar pretty much as soon as he debuted. Even neutered by WWE, he still came out allowed to cut loose and be the ass-kicker needed.
    Course, always think HHH overcoming a bad gimmick, the entire "Grenwhich Snob" meant to be a slam on Vince's neighbors, the bowing and such. Still, even then, you saw something in him, an intensity and such that he'd use, just needed to adapt as best he could.
    All this just shows once more how Jim Cornett nailed it: The best personas are just the real guy taken to the 10th level, something I wish promoters would remember more than dumb scripted gimmicks.

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  9. The one thing I notice (in hindsight, I was a mark during the time) about Hunter's debut is that he is very, very competent in the ring right away. His moves are executed well and there's very little, if anything, botched.

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  10. WWE thought "USA Olympian" Mark Henry and "Wild" Marc Mero were the ones who'd be big merch sellers.

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  11. But Cesaro is still basically a jobber, and Vince McMahon said he's "too Swiss" on Austin's podcast the other day.

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  12. Mero had come into his own in late 95/early 96 WCW and followed that up with a very good WWF debut. I thought he'd make it further than he did.

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  13. I also noticed how boring HHH was, which he's been consistent with for 20 years.

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  14. Cape Cod Melody Tent for life.

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  15. Yeah I missed almost this whole period. I wasn't watching anything from 92-96 and from then on only WCW until 98 or so. So all of this is new to me. All the 96, early 97 stuff, Mero is actually enjoyable to watch. Guess injuries are a bitch.

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  16. By having a job after that gimmick he has.

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  17. Imagine if he said KENTA was "to jap". I dont think that would go over so well.

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  18. Sort of CM Punk hitting his peak when his character was that he was a huge whiner. *rimshot*

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  19. Does anyone doubt Vince thinks that

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  20. And politics. Hunter made sure to bury him when he took the IC belt from him.

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  21. He always wanted to be Harley Race.


    (Harley likes Punk better XDXDXDXD)

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  22. LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL. I upvoted you and downvoted you repeatedly so I could like this 10x.

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  23. Neither really had a gimmick per se. Rock was was simply a generic white bread baby face that the crowd rejected and Austin was a generic heel that the crowd was kind of indifferent too. Once they both found there voice (something that prob wouldn't be allowed to happen in the current mid card era) the rest was history. As an aside, for all the flack Bischoff (rightly) gets for not seeing Austin's star power, VKM didn't see much more in Austin either.

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  24. What people often forget (or are led to thinking by WWE's version of Stone Cold's ascent) is that for a few months after the 3:16 speech, the WWF didn't really know what to do with Austin. He wasn't even on the Summerslam PPV (they had him on the Free-For-All pre-show). The Fed didn't really know what to do with edgy anti-heroes prior to that (Savage's character had the help of Elizabeth to play off of, though he was pretty different from Stone Cold), and Austin really had to show them how it could work.
    As for Mero, although his Wildman character work sucked, his in-ring work in '96 was pretty darn solid. He was the first guy who Hunter was able to have good to great matches with (a fact which HHH would be loathe to admit). Though he never would have been a big star (his character work and promos would have prevented that pretty easily), Mero would have been a useful guy to help the Attitude-era mid-card.

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  25. cesaro would be perfect for that role

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  26. You're an idiot.

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  27. Mero is an interesting case. His Wildman character sucked, but his ring work was good. The Marvelous character was great, but he was pretty broken down by then, and overshadowed by Sable.

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  28. Let's not forget HHH overcoming the Connecticut Blueblood gimmick to single handedly win the Monday Night Wars

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  29. other examples from a few days ago: Ziggler being this over despite him being the cheerleader and "the guy that introduces himself" once and Natalya feeling like a "threat" (in comparison to the other female workers) despite the whole "farting" idea.

    similar discussion: guys that made everything they have been giving work like Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow and of course Daniel Bryan.

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  30. prime example: Fall Brawl 1995.

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  31. A guy nicknamed Ringmaster with an emphasis on his technical skills is a perfectly fine midcard gimmick. Better basic gimmick than whatever Rocky was supposed to be

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  32. IIRC, Austin was seen as, in his words, "a good mechanic, nothing more" and Rocky was a handsome 3rd-generation if-you-designed-a-wrestler-from-scratch dude. Rock would've gotten more chances than Austin did, at least.

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  33. The gimmick was originally conceived for another wrestler (Adam Bomb) as an actual ring master from the circus. Godamn cartoon era

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  34. Russo always mentions fighting with Vince about pushing Austin after King of the Ring. Mcmahon didn't get the 316 thing and didn't want to push him to the moon. Russo wanted his bloody face with 316 for the Raw magazine and Vince kept fighting him. Idiot

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  35. Faith No More guy is super into Austin at KOTR.


    Always my go to fan, if he's into the show you know you're watching a winner.

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  36. "Grrrr im danimal and I take wrestling seriously grrrr"

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  37. You're probably right. Thanks for the constructive feedback.

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  38. and on Jericho's podcast

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  39. you forgot about Ziggler being a caddy for Kerwin White

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  40. Nothing but net, Vince. Nothing but net. :)

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  41. Not really seeing the crappy part of "crappier" but, like usual, I am the weirdo that liked the general idea of Ringmaster as it was executed. So I guess Blue Chipper wins for me? Even then, it seemed like that gimmick was just light on flavor rather than crappy per se.

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  42. That's not a character that's what he really is.

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  43. Indeed - it took Bret Hart lobbying to feud with him that finally gave Austin something to do.

    Say what you like about Bret and his massive ego, but he had a knack for recognising talent, went out of his way to ask for feuds and matches with them, and was happy to give rubs. The feud with Bret made Austin thermonuclear. Any history of Austin's career that doesn't cover that whole period in tremendous detail is deficient.

    Thinking about Hart coming out at RR 97 gives me goosebumps, actually.

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  44. The proper thing is to forget everything related to Kerwin White entirely.

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  45. lol. Yeah, that on the other hand, is terrible.

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  46. Every DVD of the both of the them I've seen, I think they've always given each other a lot of credit for that feud. But what always struck me was that both seemed to enjoy the hell out of wrestling each other.

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  47. It's strange to think that if Austin debuted in the WWE today with his original Ringmaster gimmick, he would probably get the Cesaro treatment at best (if he even made it that far), and put on permanent "WWE Main Event" duty at worst despite the groundswell of support from the fans.

    This beckons the question as to how would-be mega stars will seemingly never see the light of day thanks to the current WWE culture.

    Food for thought.

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  48. Their podcast together is really pleasing to listen to on that basis. It's two legends having an honest, respectful chat about the business and their work together. Wonderful stuff.

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  49. Is it weird that I find Natalya farting... a little hot?

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  50. God, how fucking rich must that guy have been? He was probably a lawyer or some sort of career that didn't require him to put too much effort into his appearance.

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