One of my favorite gimmicks (Gotta love this irony) from the old ECW days was “No Gimmicks Needed” Chris Candido. Chris Candido was given the name “Skip,” paired with “Sunny” and given the Fitness guru gimmick. It wasn’t quite as bad as Aldo Montoya, but it was an era when there was bad gimmick after bad gimmick. When he went to ECW, Paul Heyman saw the talent and realized he didn’t need to be a fitness guru. There, he created “No Gimmicks Needed” Chris Candido. And in ECW, Chris Candido became more successful than he ever would have being “Skip the Bodydonna.”
Raw was becoming Gimmick Land. We had Austin as the guest host/GM. We had Power to the People (which they couldn’t even do right). And then we had Raw Roulette. Aside from a few matches, it was AT BEST lackluster and disappointing. I mean, who wants to see divas in a submission match? Really? (<——– Miz voice)
And then something happened. CM Punk cut the promo of the century. Some people have come so far as to call it “The Promo” (like they’re the NFL or something). Now everybody is going to be tuning in next week with a million questions. “What will happen to CM Punk? Is he staying or going? What will John Cena say? What’s going to become of Money in the Bank? Who gets the title shot? Who is Colt Cabana?” There might even be some smarks tuning in to see where they go from there. “Are there going to be any more ‘shoots’ like that?” There are no gimmicks next week, just questions raised by a riveting, compelling promo.
And to all the wrestling fans who complain about the WWE product being TV-PG, take note. THIS PROMO WAS CUT DURING THE TV-PG ERA. TV-PG is not the enemy. Yes, it’s responsible for Rey Misterio being pushed like crazy, no bra and panties matches (which I hated to begin with, because you could have way more good-looking women doing way more explicit things with a simple google search) and no blood, even at Extreme Rules. If you want envelope-pushing Attitude Era wrestling, start with Ring of Honor. Check out Smart Mark Video. There’s plenty of TV 14 (and above) companies there. I heard about this Urban Wrestling Federation on PPV. Try them out. Go to your local indy promotion. Chances are, you’re going to have something edgy and a nice alternative. Plus, you’ll help support the economy.
To create a good wrestling product, all you need is compelling storylines that make people tune in. I mean, Punk said “ass” a few times and was bleeped when he said “douchebags.” I could have watched it with my mother. But I was still on the edge of my seat soaking up every word he said. All you need is a reason to watch. TV-PG, TV-14, all I know is that I have a reason to watch again. And no gimmick is needed.