A great vignette can really get fans super excited for a particular gimmick or wrestler’s debut. While a great vignette is good to build up anticipation…it is up to the wrestler and the promoter to get the character actually over and sustain it. This piece revolves around wrestlers with solid build ups…but when it came time to deliver…fell flat of expectations.
When I say falling flat…I don’t necessarily mean The Shockmaster’s debut in WCW. Although his debut was more marred by a blooper than not delivering a solid promo or in ring ability. It was bad and deserves a mention. The Shockmaster never was able to recover from that debacle. There are many other who had a tremendous build up only to falter almost immediately.
“Blood Runs Cold” and so did this gimmick once it debuted in WCW. The vignettes were epic…it really gave you a feel that something or rather someone was going to debut and they were going to be huge. That’s not exactly what debuted for WCW.
No offense against the wrestler Ray Llyod…but the gimmick was something right out of the video game ‘Mortal Kombat’ in a time when outlandish gimmicks weren’t really selling with fans. The wrestler himself wasn’t exactly electrifying on the mic or in the ring either and Glacier never lived up to the hype.
The WWE’s vignettes made it look and feel that this Nathan Jones character was going to be a real badass. Maybe Jones is one in real life…but it was quite apparent from the get go that Nathan Jones just wasn’t ready for the WWE’s spotlight. He was really green in the ring and not even working side by side with the Undertaker could help get Nathan Jones over as a monster. Jones soon faded away from the WWE and into acting.
His promos in vignettes were dark and disturbing. It generated a bit of interest to see what this character named ‘Kizarny’ was all about. When he finally debuted…it was against MVP who was going through a losing streak and was gaining sympathy from fans. The match wasn’t all that crisp and the fans chanted boring. Kizarny was a lame duck and never fully met his potential in the WWE.
The Gobbledy Gooker
Keep in mind, the WWF was heavily hyping this egg for weeks leading up to the Survivor Series in 1990. Everybody wanted to see what or whom was going to break out of the egg. Nobody expected it to be what it was inevitably revealed to be…a wrestling chicken?!?
The rather audible moans and groans from the audience told the tale better than anybody ever could. This was an unmitigated disaster…and a big waste of fans precious time in anticipation for it.
The WWF had big plans for the man they called Brakkus. He trained with the Hart family in Calgary, Alberta Canada….he trained with Tom Prichard in Stamford, Connecticut. He was sent to ECW in Philadelphia for seasoning. Then the vignettes started to air on WWF television showcasing his tremendous physique. That was all that was tremendous about Brakkus as he really wasn’t much of a wrestler. All those years of training and build-up was for not.
He was built up as…”The Ultimate Surprise” and many fans were anticipating the Ultimate Warrior to show up on WCW TV. What they got was a wrestler portraying a weak carbon copy of the real thing.
Despite the rub WCW gave him by winning the WCW TV title and teaming with Hulk Hogan and being managed by Jimmy Hart…The Renegade was the Ultimate bust.
After years of portraying the flamboyant gimmick of Goldust in the WWF….Dustin Rhodes was going to make his triumphant return to WCW as the dark and twisted character known as ‘Seven.’ A series of vignettes began airing on Nitro for his eventual debut. When he finally did debut…he immediately put down the gimmick and broke the “4th Wall” by admitting the gimmick was stupid. In reality, WCW’s Standards and Practices did not like the dark vignettes and said the gimmick needed to be dropped.
The WWE really gave the late Sean O’Haire a solid gimmick…that of a Devil’s Advocate. The vignettes were spot on and really generated interest for his WWE debut. The problem was, instead of rolling with the gimmick…they paired him with Roddy Piper making O’Haire nothing more than a Piper sidekick…muck like Bob Orton was.
Mordecai was a really cool gimmick with a ton of potential…the problem with the gimmick is the WWE wasn’t 100% behind it. After several solid vignettes…Mordecai debuted and soon after disappeared.
When the WWE resigned and repackaged Matt Bloom as Lord Tensai…the vignettes looked really promising. It wasn’t long before fans started chanted boring and became indifferent to the Tensai character and he was eventually repackaged as “Sweet T” in Tons of Funk with Brodus Clay.
Speaking of Brodus Clay…for weeks…and weeks….and weeks…the WWE showed vignettes of Brodus Clay coming to the main roster as a monster heel. WWE fans had seen Clay briefly as Alberto Del Rio’s bodyguard. When he debuted on his own however, he was given Ernest Miller’s old theme music and a gimmick previously used by Flash Funk.
The Reject Shannon Moore
For weeks, ECW (Now owned and operated by the WWE) promoted the return of Shannon Moore with a new look and gimmick. He was known as “The Reject” and was preparing to make his re-debut with the company….that is until somebody from higher up decided that there wasn’t room on the ECW roster for two “punk like” characters. So the Reject became rejected and was basically blown off with one slap..by CM Punk.