Pro wrestlers and promoters have been using gimmicks since professional wrestling’s early days. The flamboyant Gorgeous George inspired generations of future stars such as Buddy Rogers, Ric Flair, and Shawn Michaels. Vince McMahon created gimmicks like ‘The Million Dollar Man’ that helped grow his wrestling empire. From Demolition, Doink the Clown, and Goldust to The Red Rooster, The Gobbledy Gooker, and The Yeti, wrestlers' gimmicks have taken fans and the wrestlers on an emotional rollercoaster ride for many years.
Some wrestlers and promoters catch lightning in a bottle with a gimmick. Del Wilkes putting on a red, white, and blue mask and tights to become The Patriot was genius. However, the same formula didn’t work out nearly as well for Hulk Hogan’s disastrous Mr. America gimmick. Other times, a wrestler must drop a gimmick by any means necessary. Ric Flair was being pressured by WCW to assume a “Spartacus” persona when he jumped to WWE in 1991.
Today's great wrestlers are also not immune to being saddled with a bad gimmick. How these superstars overcome such adversity are always interesting stories. The great ones find a way to survive and thrive.
I'm a pro wrestling content contributor for WhatCulture. I've been a fan since the early 1980s and have been writing about it for about ten years. I like taking a historical approach to pro wrestling and have a keen interest in the 1980s.