The 2015 Survivor Series marks 25 years since the debut of The Undertaker and this year’s event is being billed around the deadman. Of course, The Undertaker wasn’t the only person to debut on that show. However, The Gobbledy Gooker’s run with the WWE is remembered for all the wrong reasons and those are covered in today’s post.
“Everybody has speculated as to what might be in the egg. Is it a dinosaur? Is it a rabbit? Balloons? Is it the Playmate of the Month? Heh, who knows? Well, the way it sounds to me right now, the speculating is all over! Oop, stand back! I think that egg is ready to blow!”– ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund
This year at the Survivor Series….the WWE will pay homage to the debut of the Undertaker which took place at the event in 1990. 25 years of the Undertaker! 25 years of memories..whether it be casket matches, Hell in the Cell matches…Buried Alive matches…the Streak at Wrestlemania etc. There is no doubt that the Undertaker left an indelible mark on the landscape of the WWE in his 25 years with the company.
What people seem to forget (Or at least try and forget) was the debut of another gimmick that very same show. A gimmick that was probably a little less memorable than the dead man’s. Then again…maybe not. Don’t get me wrong, nobody is comparing the two debuts….but one can argue that each had a lasting impression. It’s just that both got entirely different responses.
In case you didn’t know by now, the gimmick in question was the debut of the Gobbledy Gooker! Yes, while we celebrate the 25 year anniversary of the Undertaker’s WWF/WWE debut….we also must take a look at the hatching of perhaps one of the worst characters…not only in WWE history, but in the entire history of the industry. Despite all the harsh ridicule from fans and critics throughout the years…we still remember the wrestling Turkey!
To speak of this gimmick…we first must go back in time to 1990. It was a time when the then World Wrestling Federation was more like a three ring circus. Outrageous and cartonnish characters still ruled the company. Characters like the Bushwackers, Tugboat, ‘The Birdman’ Koko B. Ware and the Honkytonk Man all gave the WWF that cartoon vibe.
In the weeks leading up to the Survivor Series, a giant egg started appearing on WWF television. The announcers started speculating what could be inside of the egg. Was it a new wrestler? Was it money? We the fans had no idea…only speculation…but it certainly raised everyone’s curiosity. It was announced that the egg was due to hatch at the Thanksgiving Night extravaganza known as the Survivor Series! If this wasn’t a reason to purchase the pay per view…I don’t know what was?!
If you followed the dirt sheets or called the wrestling hotlines like I did back in the day…there was a lot of talk that the egg was going to hatch and reveal the debut of the former Mark Callous in WCW aka Mark Calaway. Many have said that was an initial idea from Vince McMahon…thank goodness that never transpired. What we actually got was something a little more indescribable. Something feathers, a beak and huge golf ball eyes. It wasn’t a new wrestler…or maybe it was??? What it was was a large turkey who called himself the Gobbledy Gooker. How Gene Okerlund found that name out is beyong me..because the Gooker didn’t talk…he gobbled.
Either way, the musical theme of the “Turkey in the Straw” blared over the PA system to a smattering of jeers and boos from the fans in Hartford, Connecticut. Gorilla Monsoon and Roddy Piper who were on commentary for the event tried their very best to sell it as it was the next coming of Hulk Hogan…but alas..the fans in attendance weren’t buying it. Pretty remarkable when you think about it…considering this was an era that was full of ridiculous gimmicks. This one though..was just a bit too ridiculous.
The big question remained…what the heck was a Gobbledy Gooker?!? It was pretty much a turkey (That we knew) but was it a wrestler? Was it a mascot? What purpose did this “bird” serve? For the next couple of weeks, we would see McMahon’s brilliant creation appear in promos with other cartoon characters like Tugboat and others. Somehow, they didn’t seem to outlandish standing next to the Gobbledy Gooker.
As stubborn as Vince McMahon was and is with certain “genius” ideas of his…even he saw the writing on the wall that this turkey gimmick was nothing but a big fat turkey. Soon…the Gobbledy Gooker faded away albeit temporarily.
So who was the unfortunate individual that was saddled with such a lame gimmick? It was none other than Hector Guerrero….a second generation wrestler who comes from the great Guerrero wrestling family. Now this wasn’t the first goofy gimmick Guerrero had in his career…some will remember him as the man from outer space known as Laser Tron…but I digress.
You would think that Hector Guerrero was mortified about portraying a wrestling turkey. You would be wrong! Guerrero did in interview in 2010 where he was more upset about the fans and critics turning on the Gobbledy Gooker like they did. According to Hector, it wasn’t meant for the adult fans…but for the kids. It was a harmless, fun loving gimmick to put smiles on kids faces. I guess, in a way, I can see Hector’s rationale in his thinking. While the gimmick may have been dumb… it gave Guerrero a job with the all mighty WWF. When the gimmick was rejected…he was basically out of a job.
The Gooker was such a bad gimmick, you would figure the WWE would bury the character 6 feet under never to be seen again. Well, this is the WWE we are talking about and anything and everything can make a comeback and the Gooker did…a few times. First, in 2001 at the Wrestlemania X-Seven Gimmick battle royal…Hector Guerrero reprised his beloved Gobbledy Gooker. Then, in 2009…the Gooker appeared on Monday Night Raw and attacked Melina…only to be revealed as Maryse Ouelett.
The Gooker also did a series of shorts on WWE.com and the WWE app where he went to work at the WWE’s world headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. Not too bad for a gimmick that was all but laughed out of wrestling back 25 years ago in 1990. Will we ever see another return of this “fowl” character? Remember, in the WWE anything and everything is possible. So while we celebrate the amazing legacy of 25 years of the Undertaker…please keep in mind a little bird who also celebrates an anniversary.