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Out with the old, in with the new
Mat Matters Editorial
By JOHN POWELL -- Co-producer, SLAM! Wrestling


Could Billy Gunn enter The Matrix? Billy Gunn flies at Justin Credible in Toronto in 2001. (Toronto Sun Photo: Greg Henkenhaf)

As the legendary Owen Hart used to say, enough is enough. It is time for a change. One of the major reasons some fans have lost interest in the WWE is that the federation hasn\'t really developed any new talent or personalities in years. Besides Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar and Jon Cena, it\'s all the same old faces doing the same old things. While people like Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, Shawn Michaels, Goldberg, Booker T and Ric Flair don\'t really need to update themselves because it is who they are not what they are that gets them over, others who aren\'t so charismatic or are not fortunate enough to have a storied reputation, need a gimmick of some sort to connect with the fans.

Whenever a fresh face debuts in the WWE nowadays there is no thought given as to how they should be packaged. Whatever happened to the character promos? Garrison Cade, Jon Heidenreich, Orlando Jordan and Matt Morgan are just kinda thrown out there from week to week without any personality or gimmick for fans to latch onto. What exacerbates the problem is they are not given much mike or promo time to establish a crucial connection. Don\'t blame the talent. Blame the WWE for not backing them as they should. How can the WWE possibly build towards a bright future with such a slothful approach to booking? On the other side, there are those whose gimmicks wore out their welcome eons ago yet the WWE keeps pushing these stale personalities onto viewers. Talent like Rikishi, Billy Gunn, Hardcore Holly and Scotty 2 Hotty are utter bores not because they can\'t work a hell of a match but because their one note personas play like broken records. Fans could care less about them as they don\'t have anything exciting left to offer.

This is Wrestling 101, folks. You\'d think they would know how to develop a deep and varied roster by now. In the spirit of such shows as \'Extreme Make-over\' and \'While You Were Out\', here are some new persona improvements...free of charge and off the top of my head for the WWE. These suggestions may not be the answer to the WWE\'s problems, hell they might not be any good at all...but... they could spark a step in the right direction.

Al Snow

He has the gift of gab as well as the gift of grappling. Just another ECW alumni who has been terribly misused by the WWE. Unless it is his choice to disappear into the background, he should be in the ring or behind the announcer\'s desk perhaps replacing someone like...Michael Cole. Taz and Snow would play well off one another. His wrestling style too would fit perfectly with someone like Tajiri if they made Snow into a bad ass, martial arts-ninja-samurai dude.

Christian

Hey, I love Christian as much as the next guy and I am pleased that he has escaped Edge\'s shadow and proven that he is more than capable of standing on his own...yet...there is something missing. A spark. A flame. Something. Mocking The Rock\'s gimmick isn\'t good enough and the Christian persona is just plain flat. The WWE should follow up on the operatic thingy they had going. Maybe an overly theatrical thespian character to team with Rico. They could be a good match in the same stable.

Garrison Cade

He and Jindrak need some sort of gimmick...otherwise they are just two big guys. Whoopie! Demolition 2003 anyone? Well, maybe not but something, anything is better than the boring babyfaces they are.

Goldust

Bring back that Dark City persona (\'Seven\') that was sent packing in WCW. That was awesome...what little we saw of it...or use it on someone else.

Jon Heidenreich

The \"Little Johnny\" thing is just stupid especially since the WWE didn\'t even follow up on it. Take him and Rob Conway and make them Sgt. Slaughter\'s recruits. Have Sarge put them through \"basic training\" to become defenders of the red, white and blue like he once was. Of course, you could get some cheap laughs by having Sarge\'s idea of \"basic training\" consisting of bar fights or trips to stripper clubs.

Lance Storm

Yet another great talent who was tremendous elsewhere but sloppily handled in the WWE except for his partnership with Steven Regal. The WWE really has to capitalize on Storm\'s snooty persona in some manner. Perhaps Regal, Storm and Nowinski could form some kind of snobby alliance like The Blue Bloods in WCW.

Mark Henry

Bodyguard material. Have him protect Theodore Long...and that\'s it. Sorta like the role that Mr. Hughes played in the past. Let him wrestle once in a blue moon.

Mark Jindrak

See Garrison Cade.

Rob Conway

See Jon Heidenreich.

Rosey

The superhero-in-training stuff is goofy. It was funny for like three and a half seconds. Move him to Smackdown! and team him with Rikishi as a gangsta version of the Islanders. Make them into a devastating and brutal tag team posse. They could even mess with Cena to push his face role.

Steven Richards

Oh, my lord. Where to begin? If you saw him as \"Big Stevie Cool\" in ECW, you know the guy can run his mouth and is a decent wrestler too. If you are going to have him wear pink wrestling trunks and act as a subordinate to a female lead, send him to Smackdown! to work with the Bashams. Teaming him with Spike Dudley as the underdog but insane-o tag team wouldn\'t be a half bad idea either as long as Richards can incorporate the look he had in ECW.

Test

A lost cause. Put a mask on him.

Val Venis

Val Venis and The Godfather party it up. (Greig Reekie: Toronto Sun Photo)

How about this? Either return him to his Steele days but with an El Santo humourous flavour to him or make him (since he is into politics) into some crazed, right-wing conservative suit. Have him mess with the divas and the broadcasts. Alternatively, you could align him with Billy Gunn as a pseudo porno tag team complete with Godfather-like Hos. As we all know, Hos equal ratings.

A-Train

Put a mask on him or he\'s a bodyguard for The Bashams complete with S/M slave wear.

Billy Gunn

The whole Mr. Ass thing has to be one of the dumbest gimmicks the WWE has ever aired. Okay, Bastian Booger and Duke The Dumpster were worse but Mr. Ass is right up there. Gunn needs a complete make-over. Maybe dye his hair black and do some Matrix-like deal with him. Nickname him \"One\" or something. He could be the silent guardian like Sting was in WCW. He is athletic enough to pull off some of the moves...or there is the Val Venis idea above.

Bradshaw

Play off his \"stock-picking acumen\" as the evil, junk-bond selling corrupt corporate trader. Think Irwin R. Shyster.

Hardcore Holly

Hardcore? How? Yeah, right. The dude wears spandex wrestling trunks to the ring. Do some promos of him hitting the streets and wearing grunge wear. He has to live up to his moniker. ECW-style is the way to go with Holly. Thug life, baby.

Jamie Noble

The trailer park trash deal just doesn\'t cut it. It is so eighties. How about a Dean Malenko - I-am-the-best-technical-wrestler-around thingy? He could be well suited for a Raven-esque, pontificating loner role too.

Matt Morgan

Gotta re-establish the tie with Paul Heyman as his biggest supporter. How about a mortician gimmick or he and Nathan Jones could act as Heyman\'s muscle. His personal hired goons so to speak.

Nathan Jones

A lost cause. Some major reconstructive surgery needed here. Best idea. The Heyman goon angle above.

Orlando Jordan

The WWE needs to bring his real background into play. People would warm up to him if he spoke about the poverty he lived through, the nomadic lifestyle as a child and his stint in the U.S. Forest Service. He could be a great face if given the chance. He has the ability and the desire.

Rikishi

Rikishi shows off his...umm...gimmick.

What do you say about a wrestler whose ass was his gimmick? Well, there is Gunn...but that will get us nowhere fast going there. The monster, gangsta Islander team with Rosey would work as foils for Cena.

Scotty 2 Hotty

That lame Worm and everything else has to go. The whole thing is so dated. No wrestler should ever be shamed into selling that ludicrous move...ever again. Lump him in with O\'Haire\'s cult with a new get-up.

Sean O\'Haire

What happened? A really promising persona scrapped as soon as Piper was shown the door. Why? It has so much potential especially if you O\'Haire follows through on his early promos and is portrayed as a Marilyn Manson-like cult leader. Since Shannon Moore is without a mentor have him join O\'Haire\'s loony band that\'s like the Undertaker\'s group or Raven\'s Flock but give the people individual personalities so they can stand on their own. Kane could be involved in some way to force Taker to live through the hell he put others through...like the crucifixion angle and what not.

Shannon Moore

See Sean O\'Haire.

Spanky

Another brilliant gimmick courtesy of the dead-heads populating Titan Towers. Put him with The Hurricane as his superhero side-kick...without the insipid hero-in-training angle. Get him a new name...pa-leeze.


Have any gimmick or angle ideas of your own? Send them along to us here. We might post them on the site in future.