WWE: Nine Gimmicks Inspired by Mainstream TV Shows
WWE is lacking in one thing among others, as of late. That thing, is characters. Obviously, Creative isn't working around the clock to remedy this situation so I suppose it falls on the shoulders of the fans to come up with ideas--while they don't get used, it's fun.
Now, as a budding author, I think I'm pretty good with coming up with characters and one of my biggest inspirations is something very simple: television. I watch a lot of TV, and from those I get ideas from which to springboard into something more original.
That thinking has led me to the realization that there are plenty of interesting gimmicks from other television series WWE could borrow from and use to help its own programming--and they're all relatively mainstream (and we all know that's Vince McMahon's favorite word).
So, I did a little thinking, and here are nine interesting gimmicks based on television characters that I believe WWE could use for its roster.
Series: Burn Notice
Character: Michael Westen
This one is actually pretty simple, but I find Jeffrey Donovan plays the role really well, and it all boils down to a couple of key factors: "Seriousness" and "Coolness." The character played by Donovan, when in many situations throughout the course of Burn Notice, while often very serious, almost always exudes an aura of "cool" about him that you simply don't see very often.
I think a gimmick such as this would work well for some sort of authority figure, or at the very least a manager or commentator, because while Westen is a capable fighter, as often seen in the series, the main point of this gimmick doesn't translate well in matches. But, in a non-competitive role, I think the gimmick could work with the right person playing it.
Now, the downside is that this role will probably always be incomplete. Michael isn't who he is without his personal trauma, but in a very un-edgy WWE, I don't think we'll get much of that. The character though, still has a lot of mileage.
Show: American Dad
Character: Stan Smith
Gimmick: Pig-headed Conservative
Think "Damien Sandow...but dumber." People generally don't like politicians, but I think the usual party-poopers that conservatives are usually billed as garner a little more heat than most other political characters. Heat that would translate well for a heel.
Which brings us to the prototype for this gimmick: Stan "The Man" Smith, the star of American Dad. Stan is a CIA agent with some rather close-minded thoughts. He hates fat people, is a hypocrite, doesn't believe in gun control, and if it isn't American, it's not his (unless you include his in-laws, which he generally dislikes anyway).
He's the type of character I think people would love to hate. You love him because he's so stupid, but hate him for pushing his ideas on you.
Again, a lot like Sandow and his current gimmick but for the sake of difference, he's a lot stupider. Where Damien Sandow would give you a long, drawn-out speech about why he's better than Yoshi Tatsu, The Conservative would merely state it's because he's American. He'll be mad at the same stuff as Sandow, but for totally different (and dumber) reasons.
I see this being a good midcard gimmick, maybe upper mid-card (with one or two world title reigns), depending on who uses it.
Veteran/Newbie Tag Team
Characters: Dr. Percival Cox and Dr. John Dorian
Gimmick: Rough Veteran and Eager, yet silly Rookie
For those who don't know, John Dorian is a young, up-and-coming doctor who latches on to Dr. Cox as his mentor, and later father figure (after his own dad dies of a massive heart attack.) Dr. Cox responds to this by berating Dorian by constantly referring to him by female names, at one point explaining that "our thing is that you are a little girl."
Though, deep down, and even he doesn't want to admit it, he sees great potential in J.D. to be a better doctor than himself and often confides in J.D., giving him the nickname "Newbie."
On their own, J.D. is a goofball. Very childish, but also extremely bright (and lucky). He refers to himself as a "Sensi" (sensitive guy), always sees the good in people, takes great pride in his appearance and has a habit of daydreaming (usually snapping back to reality with some odd comment nobody else understands).
Dr. Cox is arrogant, spiteful, cynical, hates himself and almost everyone else around him, and tends make long-winded speeches to get his point across.
The premise is that, while the eager, younger superstar does everything he can to please the impossibly cynical and brooding veteran, it's never good enough...though on rare occasions, the veteran does offer a glimpse of hope that the Rookie is in fact, getting to the level he wants him to be at, which is better than him.
This gimmick team actually opens up a lot of doors. The veteran can eventually play a heel or even tweener, while pushing the rookie on. As a team, the banter between both could be very humorous, but also effective. The gimmick also has the added benefit of working for both heels and faces.
Short and Sweet
Show: King of The Hill
Character: Dale Gribble
Gimmick: Conspiracy Theorist
Since I generally love it more than RAW, I tend to flip back and forth between RAW and King of The Hill and one of the reasons I watch is named "Dale Gribble."
The conspiracy theorist of The Alley, Dale is never at a loss for an explanation (even if it makes no sense), and while I'm sure it's been done before, I don't see any reason not to do it again.
Dale normally loves to make references to Aliens and The Government (which has me thinking he and The Conservative would make a good team) and constantly blames them for things that have gone wrong, will go wrong, or could go wrong.
A lazy moocher, this character could be quite a hit as a face, allowing the character portraying the gimmick to do so more like the source character, perhaps hiding his eyes and smoking a lot (though in WWE, it may not be allowed).
Given a few tweaks, to make his laziness stand out more and some mic time, I see this one being big.
Characters: Cosmo Kramer and Newman
Gimmick: Mad Geniuses
Honestly, I can't come up with a better way to describe this tag team gimmick. Kramer and Newman are generally seen working together on some sort of get-rich-quick scheme, usually with odd tactics and with some...surprising results.
Just a thought, but from the looks of Kramer and Newman, I think Derrick Bateman and Husky Harris, but that's for another time.
Anywho, I see this being a rather funny but effective tag team. With a mix of serious and funny promos, and the almost water-and-water-mixed-with-oil dynamic Kramer and Newman bring to the show when working together, I see this team getting over very well.
Kramer was one of the more popular characters on the show and though he didn't appear in each episode, Newman did well in his appearances as well.
The Ginyu Force
I like to imagine this is the result if The Ginyu Force went up against Cena, Punk, Orton, or Sheamus.
Series: Dragonball Z
Characters: Jeice, Burter, and Captain Ginyu
Gimmick: Flamboyant Security
Every GM needs a little backup, and I think that would help people take A.J. a bit more seriously, which makes me think a little group similar to The Ginyu Force would help. Simply put, you'd need a leader, and a tag team who aren't afraid to get a little wacky with some posing and dialogue.
Jeice and Burter made an impressive team, though they were beaten quickly enough. Still, this provides WWE another chance to create a new stable and with what could be a sustainable gimmick, with some key wins (and the fact they're faces so it means they'll probably come out ahead often anyway), they could be a very impressive group.
For the character to play Jeice, we'd need someone who can do flamboyant: my thought would be someone like Justin Gabriel, though he's teaming with Tyson Kidd right now, so maybe Trent Barreta?
We'd also need someone pretty big to play the role of Burter and Jack Swagger comes to mind. Give them a few matches together and I see them jelling into a somewhat effective team, especially under the right leadership, though who could lead this face stable is a mystery to me.
Perhaps some of you can come up with an idea for A.J.s "head of security."
This particular incarnation hasn't been on TV, but It's one of my favorites.
Show: The Batman (various)
Character: The Riddler
Gimmick: Puzzling Authority Figure
Like the "Secret Agent" idea I pitched earlier, this is the kind of gimmick that wouldn't translate well in the ring. This "Riddler" inspired gimmick, is one meant to be heard and seen outside the ring, rather than inside. The Riddler is not known for often being a fighter, but a thinker.
So, what got me thinking, is that the there aren't many authority figures or even non-wrestling figures that get to really talk and make themselves stand out. The last guy who was good at that threw his shoe, and then got shown the door.
I've been playing a lot of Batman: Arkham City trying to beat The Riddler missions and some of his cutscenes as I find his clues and hostages make me think he'd be pretty interesting to have perhaps as a manager for someone.
Aside from that, I also think he'd be a pretty interesting GM character, often leaving his foes guessing as to what's next, making the fans think, pointing out flaws in logic (that's a lot to sift through), it would make for something very different, I feel, and welcome.
Show: Black Dynamite
Character: Black Dynamite
Gimmick: Black Dynamite
His name is Black Dynamite, and whoever gets this gimmick is gonna be all right. He may be a stereotype, but I still say it'll be out of sight. This gimmick can walk the walk, and talk the talk. I'm kind of just rhyming to keep with the theme, but that doesn't mean this one won't be supreme.
I know as soon as people see it they'll cry "Another racist gimmick!?" But give it a few weeks, and they'll get with it quick. New on the scene, but an impressive show nonetheless. To the writers and voice actors, they must be blessed.
A main-event gimmick, I could say for sure. Changing the WWE Title picture, which has looked so racially pure. Now, this rhyming thing is getting kind of old, and no I haven't lied. So, I think it's time to get to the next slide.
In all seriousness, though, I think it's a nice gimmick. Tough, not embarrassing, main-event worthy. I don't really see a downside to it, unless you're going to be overly sensitive and bring race into the matter.
Imagine if A.W. was this harsh on Darren and Titus.
Show: Regular Show
Characters: Mordecei, Rigby, and Benson
Some of you may be aware of a little show known as "Regular Show," wherein two friends (Mordecai and Rigby,) are seen constantly slacking off at their jobs, paying for it, and rarely learning anything from the ensuing adventure while their Boss (Benson) continually threatens them with losing their jobs.
Now that I've caught you up to speed, I will say that (from what I gathered), this could be similar to what The Dudebusters were meant to be. Just two regular guys, hanging out. However, the key here is the third player: the manager/Boss: Benson.
The character playing Benson will take a role, similar to that which A.W. played, with a bit of Jimmy Hart mixed in, but much meaner. Berating, almost to a heelish extent, the ability of his two employees, losing his temper, and looking a bit like a jerk when they come away victorious.
Thus ends my article. I know there was a lot of comedy, but I also think the gimmicks balanced out (or could balance out) with enough seriousness.
Let me know what you think about them, and if you have any other ideas about gimmicks you'd like to see from TV, how you'd improve these, if anyone on the current roster could use these, etc. Thanks for reading.