In order to be successful in pro-wrestling, one must have a character and a purpose. I mean, how could any promoter expect anyone to get the audience behind them unless they know what that person is fighting for?
Of course, having a gimmick doesn't make someone inherently more successful than those without one. For example, Bret Hart's gimmick (if you can call it that) was "Canadian guy who was good at pro-wrestling," and he had a much more fruitful career than Skinner. Or The Berzerker. Or The Red Rooster. Or Mantaur.
Okay, maybe gimmicks do more harm than good in many cases, but they do give talent an opportunity to get themselves more over than they previously were without one. Case and point - The Ringmaster became Stone Cold Steve Austin. Enough said.
Anyhow, with only a handful of original ideas left, sometimes wrestlers have to recycle old gimmicks or integrate pieces of someone else's character into their own. 99 times out of 100, these attempts are completely worthless. Very occasionally, someone manages the impossible.
Interesting to note, however, is that it often doesn't matter who used a gimmick first - it always matters who used the gimmick most effectively.
10. Ripped Narcissist
Worked for: Rick Rude
Didn't work for: Rob Conway
Narcissism is a common trait among heels in professional wrestling, but perhaps no one throughout wrestling history was quite as full of themselves as 'Ravishing' Rick Rude.
Rick Rude possessed an unequivocal arrogance that remains peerless to this very day. And honestly, it was somewhat justified. Not only did he look like an Adonis, but he could get it done in the ring. Though he was never World Champion, Rude was always an effective foil to top babyfaces, and his egotism set the precedent for many future talents looking to get themselves over as a heel.
Unfortunately, the gimmick doesn't guarantee success. just look at Rob Conway.
To his credit, Conway did have a near-perfect physique, but sadly that was all he had to offer. The "Con-Man" possessed no discernable mic skills and was almost immediately relegated to Sunday Night Heat as a result. The only memorable thing about him was his horrendous entrance theme, which belonged nowhere near a pro-wrestling show.
To mess up such a sure-fire heat magnet of a gimmick is actually pretty impressive, but Conway somehow managed to do it, thus highlighting the importance of charisma in professional wrestling.