The WWE’s development system has helped spawn a number of successful wrestlers. However, sometimes there are gimmicks performed in the development systems that just won’t translate to WWE TV and today Brian looks at some of the more interesting ones.
The WWE has a rich history of colorful characters with outlandish gimmicks. Some gimmicks more memorable than others. It all begins and ends with Vince McMahon and the creative writing team to imagine what a certain wrestler will look, talk and act like. With the WWE forming a developmental system…gimmicks are usually first formed down on the farm.
It usually is to see what works and what doesn’t to a smaller fan base before branching the characters out to a much wider audience. Many of these gimmicks grow and develop down there and when they feel they are ready…get the call up. There are those occasions…however…when a certain wrestler and/or gimmick just doesn’t make the cut and doesn’t see the light of day up north in the WWE. This piece revolves around those gimmicks that didn’t survive developmental.
Before signing with the WWE….Mike Depoli competed as the Amish wrestler known as Roadkill in ECW. He continued the same gimmick for a spell after joining WWE’s developmental territory in OVW. However, he was soon repackage and shaved the beard…grew mutton chops and ditched the Amish attire to become known as Antoni Polaski.
Polaski actually made it up for a couple of TV tapings…but nothing much worth noting about. Depoli was eventually released from developmental and he subsequently retired from pro wrestling
The Frat Pack
After the demise of the male cheer leading gimmick in the WWE known as ‘The Spirit Squad’….all the members were sent back down to OVW for repackaging. For a brief period of time, Nicky and Mikey were kept together as a team and repackaged with a college fraternity type gimmick known as the Frat Pack.
Eventually though….Mikey (Mike Mondo) was released from the company and Nicky was eventually repackaged by the gimmick now known as Dolph Ziggler.
Aron ‘The Idol’ Stevens
Long before he became Damien Sandow or the various versions of that character…would you believe he had a Ric Flair-esque gimmick named Aron Idol Stevens? His character was known as the “Maharaja of the Menage a Troisa.” He wore flashy robes to the ring and always had a beautiful girl or two on his arms.
Two of those were Beth Phoenix (Who represented the good side of Aron Stevens) while Shelly Martinez represented the naughty side of Stevens’ character. The gimmick was eventually scrapped and after a brief run in the WWE as Idol Stevens…later repackaged as the intellectual savior of the unwashed masses Damien Sandow.
Dave Bautista’s first gimmick was that of a demon named Leviathan. He was complete with yellow eyes and fangs and was a member of a faction called the Disciples of Synn.
Before he preached never give up and you can’t see me…John Cena was a heel named Prototype…the true prototype of a pro wrestler, managed by Kenny Bolin.
Before you say…wait…Ryback made it as a character in the WWE. That’s very true…but the gimmick originally was much more outlandish then it is now. The initial concept for Ryback was a wrestler from the future much like the Terminator…who came back in time to destroy all the wrestlers of this generation.
Before Anthony Carelli became an Italian wrestler named Santino Marella…he was pushed heavily as a Russian submission machine known as Boris Alexiev.
This gimmick was taken right out of a horror movie. When WWE developmental signed former TNA star Ryan Wilson…he was transformed into something of a wrestling serial killer named Jacob Duncan. Both the character and wrestler never made it to the main roster…which is a shame because this was a good one.
The Freakin’ Deacon
Way before he became the imposter Kane…Festus and Luke Gallows…Drew Hankinson had the bizarre gimmick called the Freakin’ Deacon down in developmental.