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By Drew Kannegiesser

How to Make A Monster.

Is it just me, or has there been a gradual shift in most federations to an old-school booking style? There's been less storylines that develop outside the ring, and more of a focus on ring psychology. Like Memphis wrestling, the Dub and the Panda both seem to be reaching out to fans again, as opposed to flipping them off. But you know what Memphis staple they really need to bring back? Monsters.

I think we can all agree that there's a guilty pleasure in monster heels (not like big shoes) and monster faces (not like Liza Minelli), and I think it stems from the sheer escapism. On some level we know that the match is scripted, and we know that Kamala takes off his facepaint and goes home to his wife, but we love the characters regardless. In a sense, monster characters encapsulate what wrestling is all about: performance, spectacle, and escapism. However, there has been a stunning lack of good monsters lately. A short list:

- Abyss. Where to begin? Despite having a decent moveset for a big guy, the former and future Chris Parks has been floundering on the midcard, lacking a good mouthpiece to make people pay attention to him. Worse still, a year straight of junk hardcore matches has made most people forget about what talent he did have. That and the whole "Kane lite" gimmick has made it hard for our man Parks.

- Kane. Don't get me wrong, he used to be badass. But then the whole pregnancy, fake scars, May 19th and Is-He-Dead gimmicks made his character nothing more than a schmuck with family issues. That and the fact that he ended up jobbing for everyone between Shane Helms and Shane McMahon made it a little hard to fear the guy, bald head and lack of eye notwithstanding.

-Snitsky. Jesus. I guess being a baby-killing bearded foot fetishist wasn't enough to get the guy over. They had to shave his body and give him trunks that look like a diaper too. I just find it tough to be scared by a guy named Gene, no matter how bad his teeth and bacne are, or his workrate.

- Umaga. Now we're getting somewhere. He's a screaming maniac, and either a Bulldog or Bulldozer, depending on whether or not Adamle calls it. He puts on fun matches, half because he plays the role so well and half because he actually busts his ass doing it. Like Glen Jacobs, who jobbed and became a famous monster, so too did fair Jamal. Maybe it's a J name thing. He's done a great deal, considering the limitations of the character, and I mark out every time this Samoan savage remembers to lay on top of a guy for three seconds.

Part of me wonders whether or not it is possible to get over as a monster without the pre-90s suspension of disbelief. In the era of the smark, it's a lot harder to see a monster heel as more than just a dumb gimmick. That said, Taker is still massively over, Kane gets a good pop, and Delirious brings the roof down. I think it's possible, the only question is how. Follow the steps!

1. Get a manager. You can't be a screaming madman from the Andes and suddenly cut a promo in a Boston accent. The mouth focuses on talking. You are not the mouth, but the body. Save your energy for growling in| the background.

2. Never wear a shirt. Proper monsters don't understand fashion. Besides, it raises weird questions. I always used to wonder if Kane got his singlet custom made, or did he just find a secret rack at Eddie Bauer. Monsters aren't civilized, and they should dress accordingly. Plus, they can show off their weird scars or jungle tattoos as well. This leads nicely into rule #3:

Grow your hair. Snitsky gets an F. George Steele, Umaga, Pampiro Firpo; those motherfuckers get straight A's. Few things are scarier than a man who wears a sweater under his shirt. However, the gimmick fails when that becomes the sole feature of the guy. See Prince Albert or Bastion Booger, though the latter might be explained by his singlet and penchant for eating garbage. He got the crowd involved, just with the wrong kind of heat.

4. Always attack everyone all the time. Kids, old people, refs, the boss, the jobbers, the vets. Everyone from Vader to Samoa Joe looked unstoppable simply by kicking the shit out of people who couldn't defend themselves. Call it crazy, but it always works. Just look at the last two elections.

5. Don't talk. Kane, Yokozuna, Abyss, Undertaker, Mankind, Blackpool, you name it. Once a monster talks, we realize that they aren't a monster anymore. Fact is, it just makes it harder to take the guy seriously as a savage when he cuts a better promo than BG James. Silent but deadly is the rule. Actions speak louder than words. Shit, even take Goldberg. Dude never cut a promo in his life and got over; then he got a 'character' and got stale. Bottom line, as with the old school, you will get over far more by what you do in the ring than you do outside.

There. Now pay me fifty bucks, follow my instructions and go join a roster. I need some more escapism.


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November 2006


by Sean Carless

With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).