From Killer to Comedian: When the WWE Waves the White Flag

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Brian Damage

Sometimes the repackaging of a superstar is exactly what the performer needs and helps get them over with the fans. However, there are times when those repackages turn the superstar into a laughing stock and that is the focus in this latest pieces as Brian looks at some of the less than success repackaging of performers.

The WWE has a pretty bad habit of doing something that at times…makes fans go nuts….and not in a good way. A large wrestler who may stand over 7 feet tall and weigh over 300 pounds comes into the company as a bruising monster heel. Maybe the fans don’t gravitate to this wrestler right away. What do you do? Do you continue trying to push said wrestler as a devastating beast who annihilates their competition OR do you go back to the drawing board and repackage the wrestler?

If the WWE decides to repackage you…BEWARE!!! More often than not….you are headed for a gimmick that will kill all your credibility and make you a joke….literally! This piece looks at the once pushed monster heels that slowly turned into WWE comedy acts. Why? Vince seems to like larger than life wrestlers that can act goofy apparently. Nothing says wrestling ratings more than good old fashioned comedy…or so the WWE’s creative might think. It happens more than you’d think and it is a tell tale sign that the WWE just doesn’t know what to do with you. Let’s take a look….

Vladimir Kozlov

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Vladimir Kozlov was going to be the “Rusev” of his era. He had size, strength and a martial arts background. It seemed that he would be pushed as a monster foreign heel and it certainly started out that way. Perhaps the fans just didn’t believe Kozlov as a bad ass…or maybe Vince McMahon saw something extra in him.

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That extra something was pairing him with company jester Santino Marella and becoming silly version of himself. I must admit…I liked the team in small doses…but the comedy act killed whatever chances (if any) Kozlov had to be a monster heel once more.

Kurrgan

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Kurrgan was suppose to be a new era in wrestling giants for the WWF/E. They sold him as an unstoppable force with a devastating finishing move…the iron claw. Kurrgan was pretty agile for his size and while his physique might not have been what the WWE expected from a man his size…he had potential.

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The potential was dressing him up as a hippy and dancing around the ring as a member of the Oddities. The group was originally intended to be a faction of monster heels…but quickly turned as a comedy act for the company.

Rosey

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While his ring name was out and out silly…there was nothing silly about Rosey and Jamal as 3 minute Warning in the WWE. They were being pushed as a monster tag team when Jamal was fired from the company. So it was only natural to turn Rosey from a Samoan bruiser to a “Superhero in Training.”

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The Big Show

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When Paul Wight signed with the WWE…BIG things were expected from him. He immediately was thrust into the spotlight as a member of Vince McMahon’s corporation. Without getting into all the sordid early history of Big Show in the WWE….when he appeared on Saturday Night Live and stole the show….he went from a giant to joke.

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While he has somewhat recovered from this initial comedy run…he still never really sustained the monster giant persona for long periods of time.

Brodus Clay

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Brodus Clay started out his WWE career as the bodyguard to Alberto Del Rio. That stint was short lived and he soon disappeared from our sight. Vignettes began airing with the promise that Brodus Clay would be a one man wrecking crew. What we got instead was a dancing dinosaur of sorts…

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Lord Tensai

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Speaking of Brodus Clay, his future “Tons of Funk” tag team partner…Sweet T wrestled briefly in his return to the WWE as Lord Tensai. He had a successful run in Japan as Giant Bernard after multiple gimmicks and names in his first WWE run. Reactions were mixed to the Tensai character and before too long….he was dancing along with the Funkasaurus.

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One Man Gang

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So the One Man Gang comes in as a big bad ass from Chicago and all of a sudden…turns into a white black man named Akeem?!?

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The Great Khali

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When the Great Khali started out, he was immediately thrust into a program with the Undertaker. It wasn’t too long after that, that Khali went on to win the WWE’s World title.

Then, the WWE saw more comedy than destruction from the Khali character and soon after…the Great Khali becomes the silly, goofy…Punjabi Playboy.

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Sure, there have been plenty of others who went from monsters to jokesters like Kamala…Kane…Snitsky…Jon Heinreich etc…it seems to be a last resort when WWE creative can’t come up with anything else.

Just imagine if the did the same to guys like Andre the Giant or the Undertaker. That would be no laughing matter…

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5 thoughts on “From Killer to Comedian: When the WWE Waves the White Flag

  1. Yep, this is among the many idiotic things that Vince has done over the years. I remember hearing about Brodus Clay coming to the WWE and they hyped him up so bad. Then he came in with that gimmick and it was like…. “oh shit”.

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    • You weren’t the only one that would have thought that. Looking at the gimmick on paper in WWE creative there had to be a feeling of “this doesn’t have much longevity” in it.

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  2. It’s the comedy stuff like this that has turned me off from the WWE for more than 10 years. And a lot of long-time fans feel the same way.We don’t watch and don’t miss it.

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