Follow TV Tropes


Establishing Character Moment / Professional Wrestling

Go To

  • Pre-debut vignettes are specifically this trope, producing a character for the audience to get a feel for, before they even wrestle a match.
    • The Satanic spiel of Kevin Sullivan, his Army Of Darkness, as well as his summoning ritual to bring about The Purple Haze.
    • Razor Ramon's 1st promo showed his disdain for intellectuals and that all he respects is strength. Meanwhile, he'd "live the good life" while showing nothing but disdain for ex-girlfriends and wait staff.
    • Razor's Spiritual Successor Carlito had pre-debut vignettes that saw him walking around the Caribbean, smugly lecturing the audience on what "cool" is... then taking a bite of his apple and spitting in someone's face.
    Carlito: I spit in the face of people who don't want to be cool!
    • Val Venis' pre-debut vignettes showed him lounging around porn movie sets clad in only a towel, spewing out double entendres like they were going out of style. One such vignette ended with the not-at-all-subtle tagline "Val Venis Is Coming." Another featured a cameo by Jenna Jameson, the It Girl of late 90s porn.
    • Fitness guru Simon Dean debuted with an informercial for his "patented Simon System." You could even call the number at the bottom of the screen!
    • Probably the mother of 'em all as far as pre-debut vignettes go was Mr. Perfect, in which he'd perform incredible athletic feats, and brag about being the perfect athlete. In one, he bowled a perfect game. In another, he'd throw a football, then run downfield and catch his own throw.
  • A wrestlers theme song and entrance is another example of being able to establish a character prior to actual wrestling. One example is Hulk Hogan and his theme "Real American," which illustrated Hogan's character as a man who fought for what was right, stood up against the bad guys, defended America and its values and always came up victorious.
  • Randy "Macho Man" Savage debuted in the WWF dressed in a gaudy purple robe that makes Ric Flair look modest.
  • Kamala: James Harris' Ugandan headhunter-cannibalistic savage gimmick had been used with success in several regional promotions, including USWA before "Classy" Freddie Blassie brought him to the WWF in the summer of 1984. The trope came into play during an infamous promo on the WWF's Tuesday Night Titans show, where Blassie — along with Kamala's "handler," Friday (also a holdover from USWA) — brought a caged live chicken onto the set. As Blassie bragged that Kamala would soon defeat both André the Giant and Hulk Hogan, Kamala was preoccupied by the chicken. When hosts Vince McMahon and "Lord" Alfred Hayes questioned Kamala's behavior, Blassie declared that it was time "for the chicken to do a disappearing act. He's going to eat him alive!" With several off-stage screams being heard, McMahon tried to stop Kamala and yelled out, "No! No! No!" as Friday opened the cage and Kamala reached for the chicken. A cut shot showed Kamala sitting on the couch with feathers around his mouth and a completely insane look in his eyes. (The idea of the promo being, of course, that he was a feared savage that could and would, given the chance, literally eat his opponents alive.)
  • When Tommy Dreamer started out in ECW, he was a hated pretty boy wrestler who looked like a WCW reject. Then, he had his famous Singapore Cane match with the Sandman, which he lost and, as part of the stipulation, had to be caned. With his back bloodied and him being unable to stand, Tommy should've stayed down. Instead, he got up and said, "Thank you, sir. May I have another?" He got his wish, and it was here that Tommy went from a hated pretty boy to the "heart and soul" of ECW.
  • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin when he won King of the Ring 1996: "You sit there, and you thump your bible, and you say your prayers, and it didn't get you anywhere! Talk about your psalms, talk about John 3:16... Austin 3:16 says "I just whipped your ass!"
    • When he first became Stone Cold, he refused to wrestle a jobber and lost by forfeit. Then he came back and beat up the guy anyway.
  • Goldberg made his WCW debut by Jackhammering the nearly 350-pound Hugh Morrus and pinning him.
  • Kane showed what he was made of when he showed up at the Hell in a Cell Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker match and ripping the door off the cell.
  • The Big Show interrupted a steel cage match between Stone Cold and Mr. McMahon and he threw Stone Cold onto the cage, causing it to break open.
  • Chris Jericho's WWE debut is one of the most famous instances of this trope ever. He interrupts a promo by The Rock to proclaim himself as "saving" the company.
    Jericho: WELCOME TO... RAW! IS! JERICHO!!!
  • Retroactive example, as Samoa Joe was initially only suppose to be in Ring of Honor for one night. But when fans saw him get kicked in the back of the head by Low Ki, and smile, they made it clear they wanted to see more of this guy.
  • John Cena debuted in 2002 as a generic wrestler wearing generic gear coming to the ring to generic music so bland the audience likely tuned it out. But the impression of a lifelong mid-carder or one destined to be future endeavored vanished when he took the fight to Kurt Angle, countering Angle's finishing slam and ankle lock during their match and in general showing the attitude of a man who would never back down to any threat.
    • Six months into Cena's WWE career, he was on the road to being lost in the shuffle until a Halloween episode of Smackdown, where he appeared dressed as Vanilla Ice, cutting promos in freestyle rap. He hasn't looked back since.
  • Umaga debuted in WWE by utterly demolishing Ric Flair.
  • Project 161 had been teased for ages, but it's establishing moment was when a mass of assailants attacked the Briscoes after their ladder war and suspended a bleeding Jay upside down. As his blood rained down on Jimmy Jacobs, it became better known as The Age Of The Fall.
  • The NXT Riot was this for The Nexus.
  • The debut of Kharma (the former Awesome Kong) in WWE. While the vignettes that had been airing painted her as no one to be trifled with, her first actual appearance came at Extreme Rules 2011, where she came out after Michelle McCool lost a Loser Leaves Town match. She took her time getting to the ring and stalked an absolutely terrified McCool (a multiple time Women's/Diva's champion, mind you) for a good two minutes before getting in the ring and completely destroying her with an Implant Buster, then cackled insanely while the rest of the WWE Divas division looked on in horror from the locker room, knowing they are monumentally screwed.
  • Sin Cara's WWE debut introduced both his flying-trampoline ring entry stunt and his general ability otherwise to virtually fly into the lights. In a run-in against Sheamus.
    • It also unintentionally established his tendency to mess up when performing moves, as he leapt over the ropes wrong and nearly came down directly on his head.
  • When Delirious debuted for Elite Wrestling, he did so barefoot, and among his first actions were trying to eat Cheese Burger, as well as trying to eat the hair of the referee.