The Fountain of Expies
"Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat."
in Professional Wrestling
.George Raymond Wagner
(1915-1963) was an American Professional Wrestler
as Gorgeous George
. He started his career in 1932 on the carnivals circuit under his own name. He was inspired to develop a flamboyant image by reading an article in Vanity Magazine
about the wrestler Lord Patrick Lansdowne who would come to the ring wearing a velvet robe accompanied by two valets. He started dressing like that and heard some women in the crowd call him "gorgeous."
He took it and ran with it, creating the first truly great gimmick
in pro wrestling, one of the the first gimmicks that wasn't a generic "athlete," a farmer or a Foreign Wrestling Heel
. He helped sell a lot of televisions in that industry's early years. As for his in-ring achievements, he was a 1x AWA (Boston) World Heavyweight Champion
, a multiple-time Pacific Coast (Portland) Light Heavyweight Champion
, a 1x Gulf Coast (Alabama) Heavyweight Champion
and a 1x NWA Southern (Georgia) Heavyweight Champion
. He was inducted into the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2002, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter
Hall of Fame in 1996 and into the WWE
Hall of Fame in 2010.
As usual, you can find the basics at The Other Wiki
George Wagner is the Trope Namer for:
"Read my tropes, you peasants!":
- Agent Peacock: He may have spent a lot of time brushing himself, even in the ring, wore feathers and other gaudy outfits while calling himself "gorgeous" but he was still seen as a legit competitor once the bell rang.
- Alliterative Name: Gorgeous George
- Ambiguously Gay: Well to have the trope take his name, he had to be. He was not the first ambiguously gay professional wrestler in the country, citing Lord Patrick Lansdowne with his two valets and velvet robes before him. George set out to be less on the ambiguity and more on the gay though, only taking one valet, Jeffries, and acting much more effeminately.
- As Himself: In 1949's Alias The Champ.
- Ascended Fanboy: Was a fan of professional wrestling growing up, even though he was a freestyle wrestler first.
- Badass/Rated M for Manly: In contrast to his character, George was known as a genuinely tough guy in Real Life.
- Biography: 2008's Gorgeous George: The Outrageous Bad Boy Wrestler who Created American Pop Culture by John Capouya.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: He was one of the first heels to find major success, rather than being a perpetual loser or jobber to the stars.
- Camp Straight: The Gorgeous aspect of his gimmick was just that, a gimmick. In real life, he was completely straight, as far as anyone knows.
- Cheap Heat: Unusual example, as he would toss bobby pins to the fans, which normally would be strictly baby face cheap pop behavior.
- Delinquents: He was one as a child, though this lead him to professional wrestling as they would stage matches in the YMCA, so it was not all bad.
- Dirty Coward/Combat Pragmatist: Just check the page quote.
- Downer Ending: His death of a heart attack at age 48.
- Dyeing for Your Art: He became a platinum blonde in order to look more effeminate.
- Early Installment Weirdness: How many people do you think could get away with that finishing move today, especially without a Name Of Power?
- Face-Heel Turn: He started out as a good, clean wrestler but his wife told him he would not make any money that way. So he turned on his heels so hard he became the architect of two different heel archetypes.
- Finishing Move: Hiptoss
- Game-Breaking Injury: Retired in 1962 after being diagnosed with a serious liver condition.
- Gimmick Matches: He had a match against the Masked Marvel that was held at the Seattle Aquatheater, where the ring was surrounded by water.
- I Work Alone: He was in several tag matches over his career, but he wasn't very successful in them.
- Iconic Wrestler: To say the least. He was one of the first television stars in any genre, and his influence extended beyond the ring, to James Brown, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Muhammad Ali, and everyone they influenced, etc.
- Large Ham: Well, duh.
- Legacy Character: As mentioned below under Wrestling Family, his son and his great-nephew would take up his mantle in their careers. Lanny Poffo was also slated to have a run in WCW with the Gorgeous George name and character, but it never happened because... well, because WCW.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Beyond calling himself gorgeous, he also frequently wore pink bathrobes, dresses, gowns and other "girly" outfits. He also had a purples spotlight. Despite this, he was a lot less of a gimmick wrestler than many of his later imitators.
- Real Song Theme Tune: Edward Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance" later used by Randy Savage, making him the Ur Example of wrestlers using entrance music. This is often miscredited to The Fabulous Freebirds, though they were the first to use rock music for their entrance.
- Red Baron: "The Human Orchid," "The Toast of the Coast," "The Sensation of the Nation"
- Start My Own: He had a turkey ranch in Beaumont, CA and had a cocktail lounge in Van Nuys named "Gorgeous George's Ringside Restaurant."
- The Fighting Narcissist: Is responsible for several of these, who (somehow) missed the ambiguously gay aspects of his gimmick or did not want to incorporate them into theirs.
- Traumatic Haircut: He lost a hair versus mask match to The Destroyer, and had to endure the shaving of his "precious" locks.
- Trying to Catch Me Fighting Dirty: He would always try to cheat in his matches after turning heel
- Wrestling Family: His adopted son Gorgeous George Jr. and his great-nephew Rob Kellum, who wrestled in Memphis as Gorgeous George III, in WCW as the Maestro and in various independents as the Stro.
- Wrestling Psychology: He was not the largest or even the most gifted athlete of his day but he was known for convincingly selling and had a freestyle background, so he knew what a real wrestling match should look like if it was called for.