If you browse through our blog, you’ll see articles that look at gimmicks and angles that almost happened…but thankfully didn’t. This piece takes a similar look at other things in wrestling that almost happened…and in some cases were filmed…but never occurred. Near misses or hits that were changed at the last minute for various reasons…
Daniel Bryan Coming Out Of The Closet
According to former WWE creative writer Brian Maxwell Mann…in 2010…the WWE wanted an angle where Daniel Bryan would continually turn down the advances of the Bella twins only to reveal that he was gay. The WWE wanted a to have a positive gay character for fans to look up to.
The idea was eventually scrapped and the pay off to that angle was D-Bry revealing he had a girlfriend in Gail Kim.
Here’s what Mann wrote about the angle…
FUN FACT: In 2010, USA wanted WWE to introduce a positive gay character. The Bryan/Bellas triangle was supposed to lead to DB coming out.
— Brian Maxwell Mann (@BrianMaxMann) January 10, 2015
Mark Jindrak in Evolution
When the WWE faction called ‘Evolution’ was about to debut in 2003…it had a much different look to it. Oh yeah, Ric Flair, Triple H and Randy Orton were already chosen and locked in as members, but Batista was not. As a matter of fact, the wrestler originally chosen to be a member was a wrestler named Mark Jindrak.
Jindrak was a graduate of the WCW Power Plant and wrestled for WCW before coming over to the WWE after the company purchased all of WCW’s assets. Jindrak and fellow WCW alumni Chuck Palumbo were almost immediately welcomed additions to the roster. According to reports….both men showed humility and respect to the veterans in the locker room while some other WCW alumni did not. That helped Jindrak get an “in” with a star like Triple H and he was eventually chosen to be a member of his new faction.
Vignettes were filmed with Jindrak as a member of Evolution. So what happened? How did Dave Bautista end up with the gig that Jindrak had locked up? According to Jindrak himself, he was ‘young and stupid’ and left it at that. Jindrak was then replaced with Batista and the rest is history. Who knows how Mark Jindrak’s career would have developed if he had remained with Evolution and the WWE?
Before we shed a tear on the WWE career of one Mark Jindrak….don’t…because he is doing just fine…even better than fine. He became a HUGE star in Mexico…not only as a wrestler named Marco Corleone…but as a model and actor as well.
Missy Hyatt as Peggy Sue
According to Hyatt, one of the plans for her in her brief WWF stay, was to become the valet of The Honkytonk Man known as ‘Peggy Sue.’ Plans changed and Missy left the company…and the gimmick went to Sherri Martel instead.
The First Choice For Kane
According to Dan Spivey, he was the original choice to play Kane in the WWE. Apparently, Vince McMahon thought that Spivey would be perfect for the masked role. Spivey had previously wrestled for the company teaming with Mike Rotundo in the new U.S. Express and again as the dark character…Waylon Mercy. Spivey turned down the role and decided to retire instead due to various injuries to his knees and other body parts.
Tim Horner with the Midnight Express
Beautiful Bobby Eaton and Terrific Tim Horner….the Midnight Express? It could have happened and according to Tim Horner…almost did. In 1987, longtime Midnight Express member ‘Loverboy’ Dennis Condrey was on his way out of the NWA and Jim Crockett Promotions. Depending on what reports you believe, he either had a serious drinking problem that was starting to affect his in ring skills…or…Jim Crockett wanted the team to get younger…or Condrey just wanted to spend more time at home with his family. Regardless of the reasoning, Dennis Condrey was out and a new tag team partner was needed for Bobby Eaton.
As the search was underway, wrestler ‘White Lightning’ Tim Horner was believed to have the inside track on getting the spot. Horner was no stranger to tag team wrestling as he was a part of a semi successful team with Brad Armstrong in the ‘Lightning Express.’ He seemed like a solid choice…that is until Stan Lane became available. Stan lane was coming off a tremendously successful tag team run with Steve Keirn as the Fabulous Ones in several territories.
Jim Crockett and Dusty Rhodes brought Stan up from Florida to gauge his interest in teaming with Eaton and forming a new version of the Midnight Express. Lane agreed and instantly meshed well with Bobby Eaton…Horner still had a career in the NWA and briefly the WWF/E…albeit less successful in some aspects to Sweet Stan.
According to Mike Bucci (The wrestler who portrayed the Simon Dean character) the name originally pitched by him for the gimmick was “Sonny Slade.” They eventually settled on the name Simon Dean….(A rib on Dean Malenko whose real name is Dean Simon.) Other ideas Bucci pitched for the Simon Dean character was to have a female counterpart named “Jean Dean” and wanted her to be played by Jillian Hall. He also wanted a couple of muscle men to watch his back during matches and call them “The Bod Squad.” Bucci thought that Chad Wicks and Tank Toland would be perfect. They eventually became known as the Dicks and the Shane Twins would be added to his group as Gymini.
Good or bad, the newest tag team in the WWE….Konnor and Viktor…The Ascension…is getting a lot of talk lately. This wasn’t the original vision for this team however. The team started out as a faction..very much like the Four Horsemen…Evolution….the nWo….etc. It was later whittled down to just a two man team consisting of Konnor and Kameron aka Kenneth Cameron (Thomas Latimer) The team would soon dissolve after Kameron’s real life run in with the law.
Konnor was eventually paired with a new developmental talent named Rick Viktor and the duo would become NXT tag team champions and held them for nearly one full year.
The Spirit Squad
Kenny, Johnny, Nicky, Mikey and Eli?!? That roll call was going to happen if WWE creative had their way originally. WWE brass had made the decision to add Ohio Valley Wrestling prospect Elijah Burke as a member of the heel male cheer leading faction known as the Spirit Squad. Normally, you would think a young talent would be excited to get the call up to the main roster…not necessarily in Burke’s case.
Elijah wasn’t enamored with the idea of debuting as a cheerleader and reportedly turned down the offer to be called up. So with Elijah out…former tough enough contestant Nick Mitchell (Mitch) got the nod instead. Elijah would eventually debut six months later as a manager/wrestler with Sylvester Terkay.
Tyson Kidd and his manager search
In 2011, the WWE was attempting to repackage Tyson Kidd. They first paired him up with a towering bodyguard named Jackson Andrews…but after Andrews was released by the company….Kidd was given an angle where he was searching for a new manager to lead him. It all transpired on the WWE.com exclusive show ‘Superstars.’ He would be managed by the likes of..
Eventually…the angle was dropped and Tyson Kidd remained in no man’s land for a couple of years.
Paul Burchill’s Pirate Wench
When Paul Burchill was wrestling under a pirate gimmick…he was very…very briefly given a wench aka a valet in Shelly Martinez. She was quickly removed and later returned as Ariel….a vampire with Kevin Thorn.
The repackaging of Danny Basham
Doug and Danny Basham were former two time WWE tag team champions and were aligned with JBL as his “Secretaries of Defense.” After the team broke up…both Doug and Danny were repackaged….Doug became the “Bashman” and was frequently used on many WWE B shows like Velocity…etc.
Danny was repackaged as a character called ‘Damaja.’ A gimmick he previously used in OVW…a very dark and gothic character. Vignettes were filmed and he worked house shows…but the gimmick was dropped and Danny was released.
The Other Dolph Ziggler Gimmicks
There was a point in time when Vince McMahon wasn’t exactly sold on the entire look and feel of the Dolph Ziggler character. (Some may argue he still isn’t) Never the less, for a very brief period of time…Dolph was asked to chop of his lock blonde locks and let the bleach blonde grow out to its natural color. He was also given a much more aggressive attitude and move set…in place of the brash, cocky attitude we were growing accustomed to. It didn’t last long at all.
Before he became Kerwin White’s caddy and before he became Nicky of the Spirit Squad…he was ‘The Natural’ Nic Nemeth, A character very similar to the eventual Dolph Ziggler gimmick…but was given a bodyguard named ‘Big Rob’ aka Rob Terry now with TNA wrestling. He did the character on several house shows…but the character and name were pulled.
Finally, we wrap up this piece with a little story about the birth of the infamous ECW Zombie. Recently, the man who portrayed the gimmick…..Tim Arson…tragically passed away…but he told a story that he was not the original choice to be the undead wrestler.
The original choice was a wrestler named Chad Collyer who at the time was a WWE developmental wrestler. When his name went on the board backstage…mysteriously Collyer was nowhere to be found. Arson was suggested and eagerly did the gimmick. The gimmick helped Arson get more bookings in the U.S. and as for Chad Collyer…people are still searching for him.