WRITING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
How to Get Over (and How to Not).
- Wrestlers hailing from the future
never, EVER get over, except as a Wrestlecrap memory. See Tekno Team 2000, Max Moon, and The New Breed. Apparently the
future has no concept of "workrate" or "heterosexuality."
- Wrestlers with numerical names
tend to be trickier. Y2J-era Chris Jericho was super over and pushed hard, despite H's best efforts to bury him. Legion of
Doom 2000 got over, in spite of Hawk's attempts to jump off the Titantron and Droz's bulimia. At least it was
better than the version with the Nazi rapist who loved kids. The less said about 3 Live Kru, the better.
- If you debut wearing a gladiator
helmet, for fuck's sake, lose it immediately. Studies have shown that losing said douchetard cover results in the user getting
over, and getting really fucking tough. See Konnan, who went from the little warrior that could to the trash talking thug
almost overnight, and was ballsy enough to walk out on his TNA contract AFTER they paid for his kidney
transplant. Not that it's hard to tell TNA to go fuck themselves. Viewers across America do it every Thursday. Then
we have Farooq Asad, pre-empting Russell Crowe's performance in Gladiator by several years. He also predates Russ' mean
streak by legit busting Ahmed Johnson's kidney. He drops the helmet, forms the stiffest tag team in the WWF/E in
the last decade, and then gets massive pops by saying one word. To call him badass is an understatement. Listen
to the Road Dogg shoot, where he happily recants tales of Ron kicking the shit out of him. If you respect the guy, an ass
kicking is a blessing.
- If you want a very short career,
form a gimmick off of a topical pop culture artifact. See Arachnaman, Johnny B. Badd, and whoever played Robocop in that godawful
Sting angle. Pirate Paul Burchill can be considered an exception, as he got massively over, but Vince didn't get the character
and totally buried him. Now he's playing out an incest angle. I consider it a positive career move. It's not like he's gonna
get heckled by incest chants wherever he wrestles for the rest of his life. I'm also voting McCain, and don't drink.
- Sex machine characters always
get over, provided the sex machine is a legit sex machine. See Shawn Michaels and Rick Rude for positive examples. It's a
very tough quality to determine, as everyone's tastes are different. However, sex machine characters definitely lose audience
points by being either greasy (Latino Heat Guerrero), obese and/or with cataracts (Viscera, who definitely should have changed
his name to Uterus back then. Does he even wrestle anymore? Do I really even care?), or having to pay women in order to fuck
him (The Godfather).
- Shootfighter gimmicks never work.
See the universal malaise towards Ken Shamrock, despite his hot sister, and Dan "The Beast" Severn, despite being Tom Selleck's doppelganger,
Then there's Kurt Angle, who went almost instantly from horse fucking and wife stalking to suddenly being a no-nonsense
tough guy who knew how to fight....based on his training in the Olympics. Do a lot of amateur wrestlers throw punches
and apply Kimuras, Kurt? And finally, we have Steve Williams, who inconveniently lost a shootfight tournament during
his push - which was rigged for him to win - to Bart Gunn.
Once again, he lost a shootfight to BART GUNN.
- Wrestlers pushed on
the basis of wrestling skill and wrestling skill alone rarely get over with anyone but smarks or those who can appreciate
workrate (trust me, there is a difference). See "Gunner Scott," Chris Nowitski, and Charlie Haas, who flounder
on the midcard with no interest to justify a push but not sloppy enough to cut. It's like Hell, only with more verbal
debates and Lucha masks. However, Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle, and Finlay (to a degree) all managed to get
fairly over and huge pushes at the same time despite being "vanilla midgets." I love how Kevin Nash found these guys to be
boring, and year long title reigns full of run in DQ finishes would be a better alternative. Kurt is fucking nuts now,
Dean's working the road and watching his friends die, and Finlay may be paired with a midget, but these guys were real technicians.
Which brings us to Benoit. Say what you will about his crimes. I still find it hard to reconcile it with the image
of my hero, and my favorite wrestler. But it's like Michael Jackson; say what you will about their personal fuckups, but professionally,
you have to give them credit. Jackson sold a bajillion albums
and Benoit was the best wrestler on the planet for the better part of a decade.
- Making up a superhero will get
you over as a guilty pleasure. Half the audience loves how ridiculous you are and envies your ability to act out their childhood
desire (or something), as with The Hurricane, Shark Boy, and The Blue Blazer (despite his clear inability to fly). However,
as with Rosey, MascarHaas, and Glacier, most of the audience will probably realize that they're paying money to watch a grown
man dance around in a cape, and will boo the rightfully earned shit out of you.
- Finally, when all else fails,
just fuck with the crowd. That always gets you heat, even if it's cheaper than TNA stock. When they needed a gimmick to get
over, The Dudleys found one. Bubba on the mic was and still is so awesome. He's one of the best talkers in the business, and
he would just rip on the audience. Ditto JBL, who went from boo-he's-rich heat to JESUS-FUCK-I-WANT-TO-KILL-YOU heat. The
fattier he got, the angrier the crowd got at him. He was so fucking smug it made you passionate in hatred. How he earned his
spot, however, is still a fuckin mystery....and by mystery, I mean rookies. Bottom line is, the crowd likes being included;
even if you single out the retarded kid in the third row with a Project Wish T-Shirt and a Mankind action figure, yelling
at the crowd makes them yell back, and it's certainly better than being ignored.
a few cautionary guidelines to follow. Seeing as I'm not a wrestler, or rassler, and I've never gotten over anything except
hangovers that felt like my soul was raping itself, I may be entirely full of shit and know nothing on the subject.
Reading through Bret Hart's
new book, I began remembering his feud with HBK ever since the beginning, from their first ladder match all the way up to
the screwjob/workjob, whichever way you see it. It made me realize how these two guys had such legit heat on one another,
yet worked so well together. I think the anger added that intensity that so many other mid-card feuds were lacking. Piper-Mountie,
Anydangway, I began to think how weird the world would be if Shawn and Bret had traded places. For starters,
Bret would confuse the audience during his debut week, as many would mistake him for Sherri Martel's sister with a touch of
the Down's and wonder why anyone would fight her. On the other hand, Shawn would become a sex symbol anyway simply by standing
next to Jim Neidhart. He would look suspiciously hairless too, despite that eternal patch on his chest. It's like uranium
rods. It stays active for eighty years and burns anything it touches.
In the middle years, Bret would kick the
crap out of Shane Douglas after not getting the shit kicked out of him in Syracuse. It turns out his years of training in Stu's
dungeon, plus his +2 accuracy modifier, allowed him to easily dispatch a group of monsters. Meanwhile,
at Wrestlemania IX, Shawn would still find a way to avoid jobbing to Hogan via the greatest two-time transitional
champion in history, Yokozuna (I swear, Mr. Fuji is the essence of over).
Finally, Bret would renounce his faith
in God following the tag match no-show. In a post-match interview, Bret declares "God never did shit for me," adding that
he "was still pissed about the whole Owen thing." He is struck by lighting on the spot as a cautionary example. Shawn, on
the other hand, would suffer a broken cheekbone and career-ending concussion at the feets of Bill Goldberg
(The Hartbreak Kid?), who was too busy saving animals or being Jewish or something to pull his kick properly. Coupled with
his stroke several years later, Shawn went on record to say that he had lost his smile.
In other words, not
a lot would be different. We'd still have lost smiles, sex symbols, and a whole lot of bitching and whining in the meantime.