Gimmicks That Have Worn out Their Welcome in WWE and AEW

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured Columnist IVMarch 19, 2023

Gimmicks That Have Worn out Their Welcome in WWE and AEW

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    A character gimmick in pro wrestling is only good as long as fans keep reacting to it or don't outright revolt against it.

    Gimmick fatigue can settle in for a number of reasons. Sheer overuse to the point of becoming stale is a problem. But so is a character that just isn't working because of lack of development or other reasons.

    Some Superstars can survive and even play off this. just look at John Cena's whole career. On the other side of the coin is Roman Reigns, who eventually flipped the gimmick script and developed one of the best modern characters and runs ever.

    Looking at WWE and All Elite Wrestling, prominent examples exist in both promotions. The acts have become stale, yet there is a silver lining for the following Superstars—they're talented enough to mix it up and get things going in an interesting direction again at a moment's notice.

Bray Wyatt

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    This one hurts.

    Bray Wyatt had one of the greatest returns in modern pro wrestling history, and the commitment to long-form storytelling that matches the ethos of this new Triple H-led creative team is awesome.

    But the experience for fans has been...not awesome.

    Since his return, Wyatt has had one technically official feud with L.A. Knight, and the highlight was a strange Pitch Black Match at the Royal Rumble—sponsored by Mountain Dew.

    That was a jarring contrast compared to Wyatt's spooky character. He's got amazing ideas and characters, but it just isn't working in the ring. Now the plan for WrestleMania appears to be a random-feeling feud with Bobby Lashley.

    Wyatt is one of the most interesting performers in modern times, but it's not hard to see why some fans would pine for the days of his hillbilly spooky cult leader characters.

Jon Moxley

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    Give this man a break.

    We mean that in the nicest, most respectful way, too. It was a poorly-kept secret that Jon Moxley was ready for a literal vacation after a long AEW title reign before all of the drama unfolded.

    Drama happened, Moxley carried the company on his back when he was supposed to be away, then he lost the title.

    And he never took a break.

    Moxley was a stunning workhorse for WWE and has been the same for AEW. It has endeared him to fans in a way that most will never be able to match, and especially so after he escaped the creative purgatory of WWE's silly promos for him near the end of his run there.

    But right now, despite still putting on great matches, Moxley's style and character have become stale. It's a well-known meme about him bleeding in every match for a reason. A brief hiatus will make the hearts grow fonder and freshen up the whole thing.

Edge vs. Judgment Day

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    The tale of Edge and Judgment Day started great. In February of 2022, Edge turned heel for the first time since 2010. The group eventually betrayed him, and after a winding path of tag teams and such, Edge eventually lost to Finn Bálor in an "I quit" match at Extreme Rules.

    That's long-winded as it is, but fast forward to 2023, when Edge returned and resumed the feud, which will now see him fight Balor at WrestleMania in a stale gimmick match called Hell in a Cell.

    Look, this whole thing has been an amazing way to really get fans acquainted with the talent of Rhea Ripley and Dominik Mysterio. Factions are a good thing in pro wrestling!

    But this thing has dragged on far too long. Judgment Day can do plenty of interesting things without Edge and vice versa. That's not saying disband the group, but even though the feud took a brief hiatus, the constant sparring with Edge, even despite the history, feels a bit much.

Chris Jericho

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    Another tough one, as Chris Jericho is on a short list of GOAT candidates, especially after the way he carried AEW on his back in the early days while elevating the crop of younger talent around him.

    But in the ring, Jericho feels stale at this point. And around the actual fighting, things feel even worse.

    The Jericho Appreciation Society is just spinning its wheels at this point, which doesn't help. And while Jericho deserves kudos for elevating Ring of Honor, that saturation contributed to AEW's current problems of just too many things happening at once.

    Jericho exists in that weird space where fans appreciate him for many reasons but also can't just ignore how stale things have become. He's been brilliant at evolving his entire career, so it's no wonder fans are waiting to see when the next change will happen.


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    Is it too early to let this one fly?

    Omos is a fascinating spectacle at 7'3" and 403 pounds, something readily apparent by how tall he stands over someone like Brock Lesnar right now.

    But fans need more than that from a giant character. Just being big wasn't enough for Big Show (remember how many subtle character variations he had?) and it can't be for Omos, even this early in his career.

    The alliance with MVP helped. But not picking up wins against notables (Mustafa Ali and Dolph Ziggler don't count) isn't helping, either.

    To be fair to Omos, he's still relatively new, and he's in a tough box to break free from in the industry. Here's to hoping glimpses of what fans have already seen and a high-profile encounter with Lesnar at WrestleMania can make everything around him as interesting as the physical side of things.