Art of Gimmickry

The Naturally Athletic Black Wrestler

Bobby LashleyThere’s nothing wrong with being athletic. In a pseudo-sport like pro wrestling, it’s kind of expected of wrestlers to be athletic. And if you happen to wrestle for Vince McMahon, it’s especially helpful to look the part. Some wrestlers happen to be naturally gifted when it comes to their physical attributes that it becomes part of their character. This is particularly the case with several black wrestlers. There was a funny video that came out about the three characters black wrestlers are allowed to play on TV. One particular gimmick that falls into the “happy black wrestler” category is the amazingly talented, naturally athletic black wrestler.

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Art of Gimmickry

The Cold War Russian Wrestler

IMG_3532While the Cold War had been a thing since the late 1940’s, it was still a pretty intense situation in the 1980’s and, most importantly, a major part of the fabric that made up a lot of 1980’s popular culture. You had Sylvester Stallone defending America’s honor against the Soviets in the best Rocky movie since the first one, Rocky IV. Even “teenage” movie heartthrobs answered the call to arms in the war against Soviet Russia in the original Red Dawn. And wrestling was no different. Always trying to remain relevant with the times, every territory had its own Red Menace, sometimes even two.

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Art of Gimmickry

The Supernatural Wrestler

IMG_2664What’s wrestling without its larger than life characters? It’s the only medium outside of a comic book where clowns, space travelers, battling cats, and mythical man-beasts can all do battle in the name of good vs. evil. Sometimes those characters are so much more larger than life that they exist outside the parameters that govern the real world, and extend to the great beyond. Or somewhere great beyond adjacent. These paranormal grapplers may call upon the spirit of the dead, live off of human blood for sustenance, worship the devil himself, or just like Bray Wyatt showed us at Hell in a Cell, produce hologram images via possessed lanterns. And as cool or absurd as it might seem at first if it’s at least moderately successful, like all other wrestling gimmicks, it’ll certainly be done to death (Thank you, thank you).

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Art of Gimmickry

The Overly Latino Wrestler

bandidosSeeing as National Hispanic Heritage Month officially started on September 15th, I thought this would be a good enough reason to look at The Overly Latino Wrestler. From the Mexican luchadores to the Puerto Rican grapplers. Whether they are salsa-dancing, fiery Lotharios or lowrider driving, gang bangers (and not in the Porn Hub way), the Latino wrestler has been a long-time fixture in the American professional wrestling scene. You might have noticed him. He’s the one who always cuts a promo in Spanish after having already said it in English because how else are we supposed to know he’s Latino?

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Art of Gimmickry

The Pimp Wrestler

Not long ago I caught an episode of Legends of Wrestling on YouTube, titled the “Soul of Wrestling”, which was their way of saying black wrestlers. It’s funny, I get that the word “soul” has a close connection with the black community, but it kind of felt like when people use “urban” when they really want to say is black. It’s these terms that people like to use in hopes of being politically correct, but really failing miserably at it. Black president or not, race will always will be a sensitive matter… within the real world that is. However, within the confines of pro grappling little progress has been made in terms of African-American portrayal.

Enter the wrestling pimp.

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