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The Gimmick / Professional Wrestling

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"Are you Latino? That's a gimmick. People will love that. You can come out to Latino music. We'll drape you in a Puerto Rican flag."
Walter Klasinski
Unlike actors, the large majority of professional wrestlers don't really have character roles but rather are reacting to where they are placed in a book, what spots they are given, how an audience reacts and just use gimmicks to make things more interesting. After all, you can't help but react the way you really would, but what if you decided to react to everything in the most negative way you can possibly perceive it? You are going through a rough patch so why not use it? Maybe you strive to react in the ways you think will be best for your merchandise sales? If nothing else, people will not have to think hard to understand why someone would act in such a way. Even if your gimmick is that of a survivor from the lost city of Atlantis, you had better react to all things as if you are a survivor from Atlantis. If the gimmick is not a part of you, it has to become part of you or will likely failnote .

To a professional wrestler, finding something within to magnify and project outward is almost as important as being physically conditioned, almost as much as wrestling in of itself. Something that immediately lets fans pick one out from amongst their peers can give fans something to latch on to and believe in. Drawing people's attention is the first step to drawing crowds. Interest can make crowds want to see one win... or get one's head beat in. So long as they are interested enough to tune in or buy tickets, you win something. Simply dying a few hairs blond did wonders for Sputnik Monroe. Randy Savage's memorable voice and odd way of speaking hyped fans for his matches that much more. And, of course, George Wagner had people speculating as to whether he was gay or straight.

On the other hand, there's an old saying in wrestling: "The best gimmicks are a guy being himself but turned up to eleven."

Some commonly reoccurring wrestling gimmicks have pages on this wiki. They are not mutually exclusive to each other and many different variations of each are explained in more detail on each respective article.

Specific Professional Wrestling Gimmicks

  • Jake "The Snake" Roberts, whose gimmick was being evil. And having a snake. However, he may end up being just as well known for his born-again Christian gimmick in the 90s, as it led to "Stone Cold" Steve Austin delivering his Austin 3:16 promo, and the Attitude Era at large.
  • The One Man Gang's gimmick was having a chain and squashing jobbers, then he reappeared from an over seas trip to get in touch with his Deepest Darkest African roots, becoming a Pretty Fly for a White Guy Akeem the African dream.
  • Prolific in the late '80s and early '90s WWFE, when every wrestler would be gimmicky. See Wrestling Doesn't Pay for examples. WWE's developmental program/TV show, NXT, has been bringing this back since its reboot in 2021.
  • El Centurión began as a guard who apparently competed in Lucha Libre as a second job. Then he became Konnan el Barbaro, a somewhat goofy masked tribesman. After his unmasking Konnan became an inspirational athlete in bright colors and his US and Cuban roots were played up to help solidify CMLL's then new international image. Then he became a rapping gangster with lots of bandanas and Sun Glasses At Night in WCW. Then Konnan became a power hungry executive/manager during his late AAA, Lucha Underground and World Wrestling League runs.
  • The Undertaker's gimmick has switched between being a grave digging zombie, a wrestling evil in hearts of all men, a wrestling biker, a wrestling grim reaper and the last outlaw. Through it all, the gimmick of being unbeatable at Wrestlemania has been his only constant.
  • Black Magic started out as a simple mat technician, then became the Foreign Wrestling Heel Lord Henry Norman, then became the dance battler Norman Smiley, then went to being the cowardly screaming Norman who was forced into WCW's hardcore division and would dress in the home team uniforms of the cities he wrestled in.
  • Charles Wright went from a No Celebrities Were Harmed Charles Barkley, to Voodoo sorcerer, to ultimate fighter, to political revolutionary, to pimp, to moral guardian to pimp again.
  • Pretty Boy and Wannabe playboy Scotty The Body also had a Surfer Dude gimmick as Scotty Flamingo. Then in ECW he became the depressed nihilist Raven and Stevie Richards began imitating Raven's old gimmicks before his own gimmick settled on being Raven's ascended fanboy and Psycho Supporter who wore a small midriff baring shirt. Then Francine became Stevie Richard's ascended fangirl. Then Victoria became Stevie Richard's psycho supporter.
  • Goldust's gimmick was being ambiguously gay and being a movie critic who took himself so seriously he dressed and painted his body to look like an Oscar award. Then he got sick of movies and became The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust, a gimmick which involved dressing in the most offensive manners possible (such as Black Face) and reciting poetry. Then he returned to form as Goldust but got electrocuted by Stevie Richards, adding a speech impediment to his gimmick. He popped up in TNA as Black Reign, whose gimmick was being Goldust without the gold and having a pet rat named Misty.
  • The Rock's gimmick was speaking in third person at all times and comically overselling.
  • K-Kwik/Ron "The Truth" Killings was just a wrestling rapper, except for when he was a wrestling political activist such as his TNA run, but then he was betrayed by John Morrison and became an insane conspiracy theorists who talks to people who are not really there and hates all you little Jimmies. He also developed a fear of heights and spiders. He was also the bad toothed Pretty Ricky but most fans would rather forget that one.
  • LuFisto's gimmick was started as Lucifer, then became a tease who tried to get men to drop their guard so she or her partners in crime could beat them up more easily. Then she became a Kawaii anime about garbage wrestling. Then she became a bitter veteran driven crazy(or crazier) by her own resentment.
  • Baldo's gimmick in Century Wrestling Alliance was being bald. Then Albert was one half of Trish Stratus's T&A. Then he became the disgustingly hairy A-Train. Then went to Japan where he became the star Giant Bernard who beat people up and half of Bad Intentions with Karl Anderson. Then returned the the US in an Akeem like fashion as Lord Tensai. He then tagged with the Funkasaurus and became disco dan Sweet Tea.
  • Macaela Mercedes started out as an ill tempered narcissist before becoming the relentlessly cheery high flier Jillian Hall. But then Jillian got breast implants and became a malicious, vain bully. Then Jillian became "the fixer", a freelance consultant who needed a protective mask when she wrestled do to a giant mole that grew on her face. Then the Boogeyman bit the mole off Jillian's face and her biggest client fired her, seeing her slip closer to her cheery gimmick before becoming a narcissist again. Then she became convinced she could sing, even though she couldn't.
  • Bryan Danielson started off as a bland vanilla midget who was picked up by Spanky because he needed a partner but then merged the ROH World and Pure wrestling titles and became an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy. Then he became the bland vanilla midget rookie Daniel Bryan until he won one of the ladder matches at Money in the Bank, burnt his bridges and degraded into an insane Small Name, Big Ego who hates goats and the word yes. This was partially based on real life, where he was the very definition of vanilla midget before working on speaking.
  • Carly's gimmick was wearing a wife beater, not wrestling like his father and carrying a shovel. Then in Ohio Valley Wrestling his gimmick became being Ambiguously Gay. Then he began to imitate Razor Ramon's gimmick of speaking in third person and taking other people's things before settling on eating apples, spitting on people and having an afro.
  • Eddie Colon's gimmick was wrestling like his father but then he became a gangster by teaming up with Hunico, Camacho and his cousin Orlando. Then he and Orlando became masked Mexican bullfighters.
  • CM Punk started out as half of a Chick Magnet Tag Team. Then he became militant Straight Edge who screamed "better than you!" Then he became the brainwashed thrall of Raven. Then he became a cult leader. Then he became the Harley Race invoking "Best In The World"!
  • Brazo de Plata Jr was just that, the son of his father, the largest of the second generation of Los Brazos(who were all third generation luchadors). That bored fans of IWRG and CMLL, however, so the second line of Brazos all got new gimmicks fans found more interesting, except Plata Jr, whose Classical Mythology inspired "Kronos" still didn't take. So he went to Triple A and became a Monster Clown, or rather, Psycho Clown, leading the Circus of Fear that would become the promotion's most popular group.
  • Shortstack was just a midget wrestler. Then the leprechaun Hornswoggle's gimmick was to be a projectile for the fighting Irishman Finlay. After he got popular he became more of a prankster that lives under the WWE rings. And was the anonymous Raw GM who only spoke through a computer.
  • The Boogeyman's gimmick was that he was an actor from a failed television program who got Lost in Character, believing he really was the Boogeyman. He also had the gimmick of randomly appearing to beat up people the fans did not like, talking to clocks, wrestling with glass from smashed clocks sticking out of his head and eating worms.
  • The base gimmick of Leva Bates is a geeky super hero who wants to protect honorable professional wrestlers from all the evil they encounter in their line of work (except in places where it is the other way around). Extensions of the gimmick include "specialized armor" (goggles to stop eye poking and other case by case bases) and channeling her favorite characters.
  • Brodus Clay's gimmick was being a gangsta thug before it became based on his real life job as a body guard but then he became a giant dancing Disco Dan and the only living, breathing Funkasaurus in captivity.
  • Cheeseburger's gimmick was being the underfed whipping boy of the Ring of Honor locker room but then became a blood thirsty man-leech Landa in Chikara derivatives Wresting is Fun and Wrestling is Respect.
  • Mr. 450's gimmick was doing aerial maneuvers that involved rotating 450 degrees before landing. But then he began wearing "armor", a single eye headlamp or "scouter" and grew his facial hair out a little, becoming a combination of Napa and Vegeta from Dragon Ball and even playing a Bruce Falconer inspired tune before his entrances to invoke the show. Then he got a cybernetic cowl to become "Mecha Wolf 450".
  • El Chico Illegal Chicano's gimmick was being a Puerto Rican who looked like a Mexican but then he became a Puerto Rican patriot and played up being part of the famous Cotto family. Then Puerto Rico's boxing commission basically forced him to abandon amateur fights, which he did as a hobby, and turn pro. After he won a few pro bouts he became a Boxing Battler in the wrestling ring as well. The Chicano ring name stuck through it all, though. Even when he wrestled in Mexico as a Puerto Rican wearing a Puerto Rican flag on his head.