SlayJ wrote:As happy as I am to see Generico getting a shot at earning a great living as a Professional Wrestler, I think it sucks that the WWE is changing his name and his gimmick. Just my personal opinion. I understand the reality in this day and age that anytime someone is signed by the WWE, he/she will be renamed, repackaged and retooled so that Vince can own nearly every facet of that character. And sure, it is probably good for business in some aspects (none of which I care about). But I just find it unfortunate that so many fans treat this greed fueled tactic with such apathy. I suppose at this point the majority of fans are just conditioned to feel nothing is wrong with a guy being established with a name, a persona and a gimmick throughout his rise in the business only to have it all gutted as soon as he reaches "The Big Time". If that's your stand, cool. I think it blows myself.
Back in the not so distant past you would have guys move from place to place and remain who they were...even when they'd show up in in McMahonLand. "The Macho Man" Randy Savage established himself in Memphis and when he came to the WWF, he was still the "Macho Man" Randy Savage. And even if Gorilla Monsoon didn't talk about him jumping off a cage onto Jerry Lawler, there was still a sense of history with the character. The fans weren't totally insulted or had it beaten over their heads that, yeah, this is just a dumb sham. Roddy Piper, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Hawk & Animal, Hulk Hogan...hell, just about EVERYBODY who came to the WWF from elsewhere remained who they were and I loved it! Even Dusty Rhodes with the polka dots was STILL Dusty Rhodes! It helped create that illusion of legitimacy and I appreciated that. There was a sense of reality, cohesion and history to who these men were, instead of them just being "former rugby players" or whatever and having a new name randomly generated with some smartphone app.
The fact that Vince is so paranoid about somebody leaving his company and being able to keep his name and persona is pretty pathetic to me as a fan. Would it kill his business if El Generico came in as El Generico, had a good run for a few years and then went and wrestled elsewhere as El Generico? I highly doubt it. If anything it might help stir up some competition to make Monday Nights exciting again. And I'm also not saying that guys can't get over with different names and gimmicks. I realize that some of them are. And that's great for them. But I still think it's stupid to lobotomize their past to accomplish this. And as for PWG, I'm not always happy with their philosophy of keeping what happens outside of Reseda totally seperate from their storylines. I like having fueds and certain aspects of what happens elsewhere spilling over a little bit (much like the Steen/Generico fued). But at least they allow everybody to come in with the encouragement and freedom to be themselves and work at an elite level. So those are big positives. Anyhow, I've made my long-winded point. Maybe my old-school way of thinking is out of vogue nowadays. But it is what it is. I'll get off the soapbox now.
That was back in the 80's, a different time back when kayfabe was still alive and well, and wrestling promotion pretended that these were the real personas, not some character they're portraying. There was also some drawing power because plenty of fans knew who they were from the territories. You gotta remember that back then, wrestlers had to stay in character 24/7, and faces and heels would get into major heat for being seen traveling together or hanging out anywhere outside of the locker room. So a guy who suddenly changed his name and gimmick would somewhat be exposing the business. Now, with the curtain wide open, that's not really a factor anymore.
And the fact that you bring up that those guys kept their names and characters in some ways, validates Vince's point of having names he can copyright. How many of those guys you named used their names to play a part in nearly driving Vince out of business?
I guess we just look at wrestling differently. I see a wrestler's ring name/ gimmick as no different than an actor playing a character in a TV show or movie. Just because an actor plays one of my favorite characters doesn't mean I can't enjoy him as an entirely different character, as long as he can pull off the role. If a wrestler has the charisma, it will shine through regardless of their gimmick. If a wrestler has the in ring ability, it will still be there no matter what. Sure, they may adjust their moveset to suit their gimmick, adapt to the style of whatever promotion they're working for, or tone down their moveset in order to handle the hectic WWE schedule, but the talent will still be there.
For Generico, his popularity wasn't because of his gimmick. Yeah, it's fun to sing along to his entrance music and chant Ole during the matches. But the reason why we all love him so much was because he is so damn good in the ring. And that's not going to change in the WWE. The mask or the gimmick didn't make El Generico what he was, the man behind the bask made El Generico what he was, and it's still the same guy. We all know that, and anyone who followed him in the indies isn't going to look at him any differently or appreciate his work any less (at least I hope not, aside from the usual indy marks that will crap on anything WWE does no matter what).
In some ways, it's kinda better that they ditched the gimmick. Even in the indies, the gimmick held him back somewhat. I have no doubt that if it wasn't for the gimmick, he would been ROH champion. Also, the reason why his gimmick did get over was because, despite how ridiculous the whole gimmick is, it got over because the fans were in on the joke. I don't believe something like that can be pulled off on a stage as big as the WWE.
IMO you have to look at it this way: let's suppose the El Generico gimmick never existed and the WWE signed some unknown indie wrestler and gave them that gimmick. Everyone would view him as some guy with a stupid gimmick. If he was as talented as Generico, we'd all be complaining that they're wasting such a great talent with that gimmick. Considering that those of us that follow indie wrestling is a very small minority of wrestling fans compared to the WWE audience, and that to most WWE fans, what someone does prior to debuting in WWE doesn't mean shit, they'd just view him as some guy with a stupid gimmick.
And let's suppose he got to keep the gimmick, and actually got over, where would he be? Knowing WWE, they'd have him as a comedic midcarder along the lines of Santino Marella. And Generico deserves better than that.
On another note, I like that philosophy of keeping what happens in other promotions separate. I would absolutely hate the idea of letting the booking of other promotions dictate how PWG runs their shows. Sure, sometimes there are things that are too good not to get in on like Steen/ Generico, but at the same time just because ROH split up a certain tag team or have two guys feuding with each other shouldn't mean that they can't team in PWG, and just because guys are allies elsewhere shouldn't mean that they can't be feuding in PWG. And do you really think PWG water down someone like Adam Cole to some boring generic guy just because ROH does it too? Or that, when the Bucks happened to be faces in ROH, TNA, or wherever else they happened to be working at at the time, that they should've ditched their awesome heel personas in PWG?