U-Turn: The Brief, Unmemorable Heel Turn of WWE’s Eugene

Brian Damage

Nick ‘Eugene’ Dinsmore debuted in the WWE in 2004. He portrayed a lovable, innocent character that was supposedly a wrestling savant inside the ring. Eugene never really became a huge star during his run with the company….but was a mid card mainstay. Some within WWE creative wanted to add another wrinkle into the Eugene character. According to Dinsmore, WWE creative proposed a heel turn for Eugene a couple of times.

Each time, Dinsmore was ready, willing and able to do it as he wanted to be a company man. The issue was always Vince McMahon who was gun shy about turning a “special needs” character into a hated heel. Because of that, McMahon always balked at the idea. By the time 2006 rolled along, the Eugene gimmick was getting pretty stale and needed some sort of change. WWE creative once again approached both Nick Dinsmore and Vince about trying a heel turn.

As usual, Dinsmore was all aboard and felt that the change in attitude would help take Eugene to another level. Several rumored ideas were pitched including Eugene getting his medication stolen by Cryme Tyme…thus the change in personality. Another rumored idea was for Eugene to come out on RAW after the initial turn and talk and act normally. Possibly revealing that his “special needs” was all an act and just did it to get his foot in the door of WWE.

The actual heel turn occurred in November of 2006. A tag team match pitting the team of Eugene and his friend and partner ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan against the team of the Spirit Squad who were teasing dissension for a couple of weeks. The stipulation in the match was that the losing team had to split up forever. Needless to say, Eugene and Duggan lost the match and were forced to split up.

After the match, Eugene was visibly distraught and Duggan hugged his friend and comforted him. Once Duggan turned to greet the fans, Eugene’s facial expression changed to pure anger and he attacked Duggan from behind. Eugene took Duggan’s trademark 2 X 4 and repeatedly struck Duggan with it…all the while screaming…”I’m Special!” Nick Dinsmore really went all out for this beat down, because he felt it needed to be both believable and effective.

As Jim Duggan laid unconscious, Eugene shoved the referee down and began chasing him around the ring. Dinsmore recalls how he blew up and exhausted himself with the heel turn beat down wanting it to be memorable. Eugene finally walked up the ramp pulling his own hair completing the initial turn. The next time Eugene was seen was the very next week.

Val Venis was in the ring on “Kiss Cam” with a couple of beautiful women. Eugene interrupted the segment and wanted a kiss from one of the girls. When the girl turned him down….Eugene went into another rage and brutally beat up Val Venis. Apparently, it seemed the gimmick was going in the direction of Eugene not being able to accept no longer getting special treatment because he was a special needs wrestler.

The last heelish act of Eugene’s brief heel run was a bounty was placed on DX by Vince McMahon. Eugene tried to collect on that bounty but was quickly disposed of by Triple H and Shawn Michaels. During the two beat downs of both Jim Duggan and Val Venis…the WWE fans really never reacted positively or negatively to them. Vince…who never was really 100% in favor of the angle…decided to take Eugene off of television and scrapped the idea before it ever really got going.

Ultimately, Eugene would return to being a babyface, underdog character. No real explanation was made as to why Eugene turned face again or actually why he turned heel for that matter. If you were to ask Nick Dinsmore himself…not even he really has an explanation. In total, the Eugene heel experiment lasted all of 3 weeks. Who really knows what could have been. Some fans have said it could have worked, while others said it was all in bad taste. No matter, the angle disappeared and never was brought up again during Dinsmore’s WWE tenure.

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