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10 Weirdest Wrestling Characters (That Actually Worked)

Absolutely bizarre and wildly implausible but they generated money and sold tickets.

In the early days of professional wrestling, wrestlers toured with travelling carnivals as part of the athletic (or €˜at€™) show. The carnies, impresarios and con artists that ran these shows (this was long before the terms €˜booker€™ or €˜promoter€™ entered the lexicon of the wrestling biz) figured that people would be more inclined to pay money to see their wrestlers if they had imaginative backstories, costumes and €˜gimmicks€™. So, one guy could be a freak of nature who€™d been living in a cave and subsisting on stolen livestock until he was 25, whilst his opponent for the night might be a lion tamer or a reformed pirate. Why not? It€™s all showbiz in the end, after all... When wrestling first appeared on TV in the 1950€™s, such outlandish, larger-than-life characters became even more important to the business. Early TV stars like €˜Killer€™ Kowlaski or Dick The Bruiser defended their characters in public and €˜worked their gimmicks€™ both in and outside the ring. For €˜Polish Power€™ Ivan Putski, this meant adopting a thicker, more pronounced accent when he met with wrestling fan Bob Dylan, for Johnny Walker, AKA Mr. Wrestling II, it meant having his wife pretend that she€™d never actually seen her husband without his signature mask and for Tonga Fifita, AKA Haku/Meng, it meant tearing the flesh away from a man€™s back with his teeth. Still, there are only so many gimmicks in the world and a great many wrestling characters have strained credulity to breaking point over the decades. So, here are ten gimmicks that, despite being absolutely bizarre and wildly implausible, actually generated money and sold tickets.
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I am a professional author and lifelong comic books/pro wrestling fan. I also work as a journalist as well as writing comic books (I also draw), screenplays, stage plays, songs and prose fiction. I don't generally read or reply to comments here on What Culture (too many trolls!), but if you follow my Twitter (@heyquicksilver), I'll talk to you all day long! If you are interested in reading more of my stuff, you can find it on http://quicksilverstories.weebly.com/ (my personal site, which has other wrestling/comics/pop culture stuff on it). I also write for FLiCK http://www.flickonline.co.uk/flicktion, which is the best place to read my fiction work. Oh yeah - I'm about to become a Dad for the first time, so if my stuff seems more sentimental than usual - blame it on that! Finally, I sincerely appreciate every single read I get. So if you're reading this, thank you, you've made me feel like Shakespeare for a day! (see what I mean?) Latcho Drom, - CQ