5 Incredibly Stupid Wrestling Gimmicks That Were Still Kind Of Awesome
During the “Golden Era” of wrestling in the mid-90’s, I was a huge fan. I watched wrestling pretty religiously, probably until my freshmen year of high school or so. I feel like people whose parents didn’t let them watch wrestling missed out on a pretty significant piece of pop-culture that they’ll never be able to get back. Anyway, here are five wrestlers that had pretty stupid gimmicks, yet were still kind of awesome:
5) Hacksaw Jim Duggan
The Gimmick: A blue-collar janitor who loved America, had a beard, and hit people over the head with a two-by-four.
Looking back on Hacksaw today, I can’t figure out if he was supposed to be a parody of the type of blind patriotism that is so prevalent amongst the American populace. I’m not sure the WWF was that self-aware, but either way, the Hacksaw gimmick was lame. What kind of patriot spends his time whacking people with giant pieces of wood?
Why it was still kind of awesome: Mainly because he spent his time whacking people in the head with giant pieces of wood. During the early-to-mid-90’s, wrestling weaponry was pretty sparse. A chair shot was pretty shocking, and seeing someobody get tossed through a table was apocaplyptic. So seeing the maniacal Hacksaw weilding that two-by-four was scary. He was crazy enough that, as a 10-year-old, I thought he might just kill someone.
4) I.R.S. (Irwin R. Shyster).
The Gimmick: An I.R.S. tax-collector, with the initials I.R.S. As Cosmo Kramer would say, that’s like an ice cream man named Cone.
I.R.S. was a heel who spent much of his time harassing fans, announcers, and fellow wrestlers about paying their taxes. He memorably got into a feud with Native-American wrestler Tatanka over Tatanka’s failure to pay a gift tax on his headdress. He also wrestled in a short-sleeve shirt, slacks, and a tie. Of course, the whole thing was absurd. I mean, were we actually supposed to believe this guy moonlighted as a tax collector while wrestling every Monday night?
Why it was still kind of awesome: I.R.S. was a really good wrestler, so I think most fans were able to ignore his persona. He also joined up with Ted DiBiase’s Money Inc., one of the better stables during that era.
The Gimmick: A flamboyant gay man.
I didn’t realize this at the time, but Goldust was a pretty homophobic character. He wore a ridiculous white wig and during one match he tried to kiss Razor Ramon. I guess trying to start a gay panic in a business that operates primarily in the deep South isn’t the worst idea in the world in terms of drawing heat, but it looks pretty horrific in retrospect.
Why it was still kind of awesome: There were three reasons why Goldust was good to have around 1) he was actually a decent wrestler. 2) He brought Marlena. 3) He might have had the best entrance music of all time. Seriously, it was epic:
2) The Bushwackers
The Gimmick: Two batshit-crazy, possibly inbred Australian guys.
The Bushwhackers would run around like mental asylum patients on the loose. They would scream nonsensical words. They would lick each other and their opponents. Their behavior was indicative of some deeply-rooted psychological scars. But the fans adored them.
Why they were still kind of awesome: They were fun to watch. These guys knew how to work a match. Also, I respected them for sticking together for pretty much their entire careers, whereas most other tag-teams eventually break into the solo ranks.
1) Doink the Clown
The Gimmick: Some nut in a clown suit, often accompanied by his little-person sidekick, Dink.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Doink. As a youngster, my dad took my brother and I to some type of independent wrestling matches, and we both got our picture taken with Doink. But even I have to admit that a guy wrestling in a clown suit is just goofy. It’s disheartening, I would imagine, for a hard-core wrestling purist to see someone like Bret Hart reduced to getting pied by some dude dressed as a clown.
Why it was still kind of awesome: Well, in the classic video game Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game, Doink was by far the best character. I mean, the guy had a hand buzzer. You can’t beat that.