The untimely death of Matt Osbourne got me to thinking. In his role as the original Doink The Clown, he took what immediately appeared to be a bit of a lame gimmick and turned it into something quite special – a dark character with a painted on smile, exacting sadistic actions to wrestlers and fans alike, while also working as a skilled technician in the ring. Check out his matches with Mr Perfect and Bret Hart for some of his best work in mid-1993.
Osbourne’s run as Doink came to an end in the latter part of the year as he was fired from the WWF for re-occurring drug issues, and with it, the character then becoming a lame babyface which lacked the edge or sparkle of the original portrayal. However, it was a great example of making chicken salad out of chicken guano, and is relevant to a couple of women who are plying their trade in WWE today.
Before we get to that, it’s worth pointing out some of the other gimmicks in mainstream wrestling over the years – including which had mileage and which crashed and burned…
One of the first names which springs to mind is Jillian Hall, who was lumbered with two pretty lame gimmicks during her run – the first being the gigantic growth on the side of her face during her role as the “fixer” for MNM and later John Bradshaw Layfield, and then as a bad singer. Hall survived the first “addition” to her character, and then managed to make the tone-deaf warbler schtick work to such a point that she was one of the top heels in the Divas division – though it can be argued that it was go-away heat. Still, it made her a good foil for babyfaces, and fans enjoyed seeing her shut up. Hell, she even managed to sneak in the shortest of Divas Championship reigns, and her A Jingle With Jillian album reached number 20 in the UK album chart in 2007. Considering she was highly touted by Jim Cornette during her time in Ohio Valley Wrestling and how she massively changed her look to get noticed by WWE, it was a good reward for someone who strove to get her shot, and probably got a bigger piece of the pie than she ever should have. Good for her.
While it didn’t last very long, Mighty Molly did well as The Hurricane’s sidekick before repackaging herself as a chaste and virtuous Molly Holly en route to winning the Women’s Championship in 2002. However, the superhero character turned Hurricane’s delusions of being a comic book character into something more tangible – at that point, it could have sunk, but fans enjoyed it and made them an entertaining mid-card act. Having said that, she was never going to win titles in the role, so it was fortunate for Molly that she was turned heel and tidied up.
On the flip side, there are the gimmicks that did not work. When she debuted the day after WrestleMania XI in 1995, Rhonda Sing was dressed in black and was hugely sadistic in attacking Alundra Blayze, “breaking” the Women’s Champion’s nose in the process. It seemed as if she would reprise her Monster Ripper character which worked so well in Japan in the WWF, serving as the next mighty challenge for Blayze to go through. However, she was given a new character which required her to put her hair into ponytails, dress in bright colours and polka dots and skip about the place with scrawny boyfriend Harvey Whippleman in tow. Despite winning the Women’s Championship, the Bertha Faye sucked and her matches with Blayze couldn’t match up with the previous run involving Alundra and Bull Nakano, partly because she was reportedly asked to not use the power moves that the men were doing. Frustrated, she asked for a release after just a year, which was granted.
Poor Katarina Waters. After spending two years polishing her work in OVW, she debuted in WWE as the “sister” of Paul Burchill with early indications suggesting that the two were in an incestuous relationship. However, that implication was swiftly canned and Katie Lea Burchill entered a feud with Women’s Champion Mickie James, which saw her lose a title challenge at Night Of Champions in June 2008 and then saw her star fade, with the siblings relegated to the ECW brand and doing little of note. She was released in April 2010.
Six months later, Waters arrived in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling as the figment of Angelina Love’s imagination which then became solid, only to manipulate, trick (and possibly drug) Love into doing her bidding. Winter and Love won the Knockouts Tag Team Championship in December, with Angelina’s new friend replacing an injured Velvet Sky, which drove a wedge between the Beautiful People, with the reign lasting for four months. She won the Knockouts Championship from James in August 2010, though the reign lasted less than three weeks, as she dropped the title back to Mickie.
As a character, it was hard to get a grasp of what Winter was meant to be and how she should be treated by fans. As a consequence, fans treated her with confusion and apathy, which made it hard to market her. In the end, the mystery surrounding her character was never cleared up on screen as she departed the company in September of that year. It must be disappointing for her to have been given two rotten gimmicks in North America’s two biggest companies.
Currently in NXT, there are two characters being portrayed by women which are different to their gimmicks when they wrestled independently – having said that, both of their gimmicks were primarily that they were wrestlers, and that’s it. One of the characters is a bit more bedded in than the other, but it’s worth looking at both – and we’ll start with the newer one…
Being a good wrestler isn’t enough in WWE, as was evidenced by Eugene and Daniel Bryan. As a result, it was always likely that Davina Rose would be given a character to go along with her ability. Consequently, we have Bayley – the happy-go-lucky, smiley babyface with the big smile and the slightly naïve demeanour. She has been shown hugging wrestlers in awkward moments, talking about how much she likes robots and generally appearing to be slightly child-like. Some claim that the gimmick has autism connotations (though Asperger’s is probably more accurate) but it could just be that Bayley has no hate in her heart – except when she’s hit, when things change. In fact, that sounds somewhat similar to Earthworm Jim’s buddy Peter Puppy, who turns into a monstrous dog when he is hurt or scared.
It’s early days with Bayley, but it’s hard to hate it, as the gimmick is pretty adorable.
The other character is one which, on paper, looks like it should have been a career killer of Jillian Hall bad singing proportions, but like Hall’s wailing, it seems to be working and turned her from a delusional heel to a babyface who fans are getting on board with.
Seriously – who thought that Emma’s bad dancing and implied clumsiness by trying to skin the cat into the ring would have got over to the point where you’re seeing large portions of the crown at Full Sail University in inter Park, FL joining in? Who thought they would will her into the ring with cheers when she tries to enter through the ropes in that fashion? Not me, that’s for sure – I thought that it was going to flop and she would return to Australia, reprising her Tenille Tayla character in the process. However, everyone loves a trier, and she certainly is that. As of this point on TV, Emma is into the semi-finals of the NXT Women’s Championship tournament following an impressing victory over Aksana on last week’s episode, locking in the DilEmma (Muta Lock) for the tap out. Before the match, she was interviewed spraying bubbles everywhere and sporting an EMMAlution t-shirt… this has caught on in a way that few could have imagined.
Now, it’s hard to say if it’s really over or if it’s an ironic support for someone who you may look at and say “aww, bless her”, but either way, it’s working out for her and giving her more TV time in the ring, as well as giving her a chance to prove that she can work a character, run with it and make it your own. In a strange way, the gimmick is more like Doink than Jillian, as she has turned a potential sow’s ear into a silk purse. It just goes to show how thinking positively can help pull you through the quagmire that you may find yourself in.
Elsewhere in the past week, we have started our rundown of who has had a good half year – Kellie Skater and Ayumi Kurihara are the first two we’ve named, with four more to come. We also have two Fight Like A Girl interviews with Canadians Leah Von Dutch and Courtney Rush; the second Wrestling… Yay! piece from Rhi Lockwood looking at PWWA, and videos of matches featuring Madison Eagles v Storm, and Chyna v Chris Jericho.
Got any news, results or upcoming events that you want to tell everyone about? Are you a female wrestler looking to tell us about upcoming bookings? Are you a fan who went to a show and saw a match, and would like to tell others about it – what you liked, what you didn’t and would like to encourage others to check it out for themselves? Send us an email!
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The best of the rest
Kaitlyn got a small measure of revenge on AJ Lee on last week’s SmackDown by turning the tables with the impersonations. She came out during the Divas Champion’s non-title match with Natalya dressed as her former friend, distracting the titleholder for long enough for Natalya to get the win. AJ responded on last night’s Raw by showing an old modelling photo of Kaitlyn with the image photoshopped so she looked really overweight – a segment which was pretty weak. Yesterday, it was announced on the company’s website (and later on Raw) that AJ and Kaitlyn will meet at Money In The Bank a week on Sunday with the Divas Championship on the line… Stephanie McMahon leaned on Raw General Manager Vickie Guerrero to exercise her power to make sure AJ Lee tows the line. She also revealed that Guerrero will have a job evaluation on next week’s Raw where she will either be promoted or fired. Stephanie’s involvement in storylines at the moment is a huge and unnecessary distraction… There was also a horrid moment on the show where the cast of Total Divas (including the two new recruits) bickered amongst each other, with the Bellas claiming they were the stars of the show – though Brie and Nikki were spectacularly wooden and nobody came off well. In fact, they claimed it was to highlight the Divas – but from what was presented, what it’s highlighting is a bunch of bickering, bitchy women who can’t work together. It’s hardly a great advertisement for women… Congratulations to Natalya – she is now married to Tyson Kidd – though former WWE employee Trent? claims the pair eloped some time ago and the ceremony was purely for footage for Total Divas. Natalya responded, saying that the ceremony was totally legit… Brie Bella also teased that she and Daniel Bryan may be getting hitched in the near future, while Naomi also revealed that she’s engaged to Jey Uso… Diva-in-training Jo-Jo Offerman worked as a third Funkadactyl on last week’s Main Event show… New Diva signee Brittany Fetkin has started training in Florida… On last week’s NXT episode, Emma became the last semi-finalist for the NXT Women’s Championship tournament by beating Aksana… Nikki Bella was photographed in a wheelchair at the weekend… There have been rumours concerning an NXT trainer – but because of libel laws, we’re going nowhere near it. We hope others are legally confident in what they are publishing… Rebecca Knox has arrived in Florida to begin her WWE developmental contract.
Taryn Terrell talked to UK weekly men’s magazine Zoo to hype next January’s Maximum Impact tour, claiming her worst injury was when she broke her arm during a match… Mickie James retained her Knockouts Championship against Velvet Sky on last Thursday’s Impact Wrestling. Sky was distraught at not winning… The Knockouts Tag Team Championship has been removed from TNA’s website. It’s probably for the best… Nick Hogan tweeted that sister Brooke is getting married. Kayfabe must not matter to him, considering she is still married to Bully Ray in a storyline… No spoilers, but the Ladder Match between Taryn Terrell and Gail Kim on next week’s Impact Wrestling is reportedly better than their Last Knockout Standing Match at Slammiversary.
It wasn’t much of a secret following her video where she hinted at it, but Allysin Kay is off to Japan for three months, which explains why she was suspended by SHINE… Katarina Leigh is working on a new TV show in production called Relax – California Style… Jenny Rose will face Christina Von Eerie at Women Superstars Uncensored’s Uncensored Rumble on August 10. Meanwhile, Lexxus and Nevaeh will face off with the winner challenging for the WSU Championship on October 12… NCW Femmes Fatales has announced its 13th show will take place on October 26… No real advancement in the Heidi Lovelace/Taeler Hendrix storyline last week. Hendrix, Lovelace and Nikki St John defeated Trina Thompson and the Blossom Twins in a dark match where Heidi pinned Trina following a cheap shot from Taeler. Meanwhile, Lei’D Tapa continued her run of dominance in the promotion by beating Jessie Belle… Serena Deeb is off to Japan in July to work for Wrestling New Classic. She faces Lin Byron on July 25… Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling’s Big Bad Mama passed away last week from cancer at the age of 61. Lynn Braxton was featured on seasons 3 and 4 of the show… Veda Scott and Gregory Iron lost the Absolute Intense Wrestling Tag Team Championship to the Batiri on Sunday, with Scott also being curbstomed into cheeseburgers, as abstract as that sounds. Also on the show, Seleziya Sparx swerved everyone by turning heel and realigning with Ethan Page to help him with the AIW heavyweight title… Amazing Kong revealed on her fansite that she is in the process of recording a music album… SHIMMER is one of the first four promotions which will be featured at the WWNLive Experience next year on WrestleMania XXX weekend. However, the event is not linked to WrestleCon, as WWNLive and WrestleCon organisers HighSpots could not come to an agreement… Jessicka Havok will wrestle Mickie James at 2CW in August.
Pollyanna is off to Japan in August. She will be training with Emi Sakura at Gatoh Move for 5 weeks… Kasey Owens also arrives in Japan today to train with Ice Ribbon for the next three months… Christina Von Eerie is the second of five SHIMMER wrestlers announced for Ocotber’s Bellatrix 7 show… Violet O’Hara defeated Saraya Knight at Herts and Essex Wrestling on Saturday when special referee Skarlett fast counted Knight’s shoulders down. Skarlett and Saraya will face each other in a Ladder Match on September 14 with Knight’s Women’s Championship on the line.
Tiffany worked Thursday’s Wrestling New Classic show – Goya Kong was her second… The pair also worked the Reina card, with Kong losing in the main event to Dump Matsumoto.
Australia & New Zealand
Storm and Mighty Mel made their Japanese debuts at the weekend, losing to Hanako Nakamori & Syuri in the opener of Saturday’s Reina show.
June 26: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Miyako Matsumoto b Kurumi; Mio Shirai b Risa Sera; Neko Nitta b Hamuko Hoshi & Meari Naito in a 3-way; Hikaru Shida & Tsukasa Fujomoto b Aoi Kizuki & Hailey Hatred
June 26: WWE NXT (Winter Park, FL) – Emma b Aksana
June 26: Ohio Valley Wrestling (Louisville, KY) – Lei’D Tapa; Heidi Lovelace, Taeler Hendrix & Nikki St John b Trina Thompson and Hannah & Holly Blossom
June 27: Wrestling New Classic (Tokyo, Japan) – Bolshoi 666 b Lady Face; Syuri b Tiffany; AKIRA, Osamu Nishimura & Michael Kovac b TAJIRI, Lin Byron & Koji Doi
June 27: TNA (Ottumwa, IO) – Mickie James b Taryn Terrell
June 27: AAA (Naucalpan, Mexico) – Sexy Lady & Taya Valkyrie b La Jarochita & Lolita
June 27: TNA Impact Wrestling (Peoria, IL) – Mickie James b Velvet Sky
June 28: Pro Wrestling WAVE (Tokyo, Japan) – Tomoka Nakagawa b GAMI; Hikaru Shida b Moeka Haruhi; Yuu Yamagata b Ayako Hamada; Arisa Nakajima b Fairy Nihonbashi; Kana & Yumi Ohka b Sakura Hirota & Ayumi Kurihara; Misaki Ohata b Aya Mizunami & Kagetsu in a 3-way; Shuu Shibutani b Cherry, Hikaru Shida & Mio Shirai in a 4-way
June 28: Wrestling New Classic (Saitama, Japan) – Lin Byron b Kaho Kobayashi; TAJIRI, El Hijo del Pantera, Makoto & Koji Doi b Osamu Nishimura, AKIRA, Syuri & Michael Kovac
June 28: TNA (St Joseph, MO) – Mickie James b Taryn Terrell
June 28: AAW (Berwyn, IL) – Miss Natural b Heidi Lovelace
June 28: WWE (Bismark, ND) – Brie Bella b Naomi
June 28: WWE SmackDown (Columbia, SC) – Natalya b AJ Lee
June 28: Lucha Libre Feminil (Monterrey, Mexico) – Zaga b Katary; Estrella de Fuego v Zaga went to a draw; Angelica & Lady Jaguar b Lady Flamer & Polly Star; Lady Puma b Silvie Silver
June 29: Reina (Tokyo, Japan) – Hanako Nakamori & Syuri b Storm & Mighty Mel; Mima Shimoda, Tiffany & Marcela b Leon, Ray & Rabbit Miu; Estrellita b Makoto; Dump Matsumoto b Goya Kong
June 29: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Hikaru Shida b Kurumi; Kurumi & Rabbit Miu b Mio Shirai & Miyako Matsumoto; Aoi Kizuki b Hamuko Hoshi; Manami Katsu & Tsukasa Fujimoto b Rydeen Hagane & Risa Sera
June 29: Premier Wrestling Xperience (Concord, NC) – Amber O’Neal & Santana Garrett b Amanda Rodriguez & Amy Love
June 29: WWE (Fargo, ND) – Naomi b Brie Bella
June 29: WWE (Cedar Rapids, IO) – AJ Lee b Kaitlyn
June 29: East Coast Professional Wrestling (Shirley, NY) – Nikki Addams b Aida Marie
June 29: Herts and Essex Wrestling (Takeley, England) – Violet O’Hara b Saraya Knight
June 30: JWP (Kawasaki, Japan) – Eri Susa b Lady Raideen; Fairy Nipponbashi b Rabbit Miu; Kayoko Haruyama, Sachie Abe & KAZUKI b Morii, Manami Katsu & Sareee; Command Bolshoi b Tsubasa Kurigaki; Arisa Nakajima & LEON b Hanako Nakamori & Syuri
June 30: Squared Circle Wrestling (Whitby, ON, Canada) – Angelina Love b Xandra Bale
June 30: Absolute Intense Wrestling (Cleveland, OH) – Obariyon & Kobald b Veda Scott & Gregory Iron to win the AIW Tag Team Championship
June 30: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Princesa Blanca b Dark Angel
July 1: WWE Raw (Sioux City, IO) – Kaitlyn b Alicia Fox
July 4: TNA Impact Wrestling (Las Vaga, NV) – Gail Kim v Taryn Terrell
July 4: GOUGE (Raleigh, NC) – Mia Svensson v Tori Lynn
July 4: Ring Wars Carolina (Fayetteville, NC) – Mia Svensson v Devyn Nicole
July 5: Pro Wrestling Alliance (Campbelltown, Australia) – Evie v Kellie Skater v Jessie McKay
July 6: Ring Wars Carolina (Fayetteville, NC) – Mia Svensson v Aida Marie
July 6: nCw Femmes Fatales XII (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) – Mercedes Martinez v Sweet Cherrie; Angie Skye v Christina Von Eerie; Midianne & Deziree v Leah Von Dutch & Xandra Bale; Courtney Rish v Cheerleader Melissa; LuFisto v Kimber Lee; Missy v Sassy Stephie; She Nay Nay v Veda Scott
July 7: FutureShock (Stockport, England) – April Davids v Viper
July 7: Europe Catch Tour Association (Gravelines, France) – Queen Maya v Lady Lory; Skarlett v Morgane Leigh
July 11: Ring Of Honor (Chicago, IL) – Michael Elgin, BJ Whitmer & MsChif v ACH, Tadarius Thomas & Athena
July 12: SHINE 11 (Ybor City, FL) – Mercedes Martinez v Nikki Roxx v Su Yung v Taylor Made; Angelina Love v Amazing Kong v Ivelisse Velez v Kimberly; Jessicka Havok v Saraya Knight; Leva Bates v Mia Yim
July 13: Melbourne City Wrestling (Tullamarine, Australia) – KC Cassidy v Siren Munroe
July 13: Extreme American Wrestling (Corby, England) – Shanna v Alpha Female
July 13: World Xtreme Wrestling (Minneola, FL) – Kimberly v Mercedes Martinez
July 14: Smash Wrestling (Toronto, ON, Canada) – Seleziya Sparx v Leah Von Dutch
July 14: WWE Money In The Bank (Philadelphia, PA) – AJ Lee v Kaitlyn
July 20: Pro Wrestling Elite (Ayr, Scotland) – Mickie James v Nikki Storm
July 20: IPW:UK Ferocious Females (Swanley, England)
July 20: Battling Bombshells: Stars, Stripes & Bombshells (Hollywood, FL) – Chelsea Diamond v Cherry Layne; Mercedes Justine v Silvie Silver; La Renne v Brittney Savage; Luscious Latasha v Solo Darling; Jewells Malone v La Morena Aleishka; Santana Garrett v Melissa Coates; La Rosa Negra v La Amazona
July 26: New Horizons Pro Wrestling (Perth, Australia) – Eliza Sway v Portia Perez; Kellie Skater v Nikita Naridian; Storm v Saraya Knight; Tomoka Nakagawa v Miami
July 26: Bombshells Ladies Of Wrestling (Iselin, NJ) – Cheerleader Melissa v La Rosa Negra; Angelina Love v Shelly Martinez; Annie Social & Missy Sampson v Amber Rodriguez & Jennifer Cruz; Sumie Sakai v Jessie Kaye; Alicia v Alexxis Nevaeh; Craig Steele & Amber O’Neal v Johnny Silver & Silvie Silver
August 3: Pro Women’s Wrestling Alliance (Parramatta, Australia) – Evie v Madison Eagles
August 10: Women Superstars Uncensored’s Uncensored Rumble (Voorhees, NJ) – Jessicka Havok v Athena
August 16: Squared Circle Wrestling (Boonville, NY) – Jessicka Havok v Mickie James
August 25: Insane Championship Wrestling (Edinburgh, Scotland) – Kay Lee Ray v Carmel Jacob
September 14: UK Main Event Wrestling (Maidstone, England) – Sakura Lily v Bacardi
September 14: Herts And Essex Wrestling (Braintree, England) – Saraya Knight v Skarlett
September 22: Insane Championship Wrestling: Fierce Females (Glasgow, Scotland)
October 6: Bellatrix 7 (Norwich, England)
October 6: Absolute Intense Wrestling Girls Night Out 9/10 (Cleveland, OH) – Allysin Kay v Veda Scott
October 19-20: SHIMMER: Women Athletes (Berwyn, IL)
October 26: NCW: Femmes Fatales XIII (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)
– Lee Burton
– Photos by WWE, Hikaru Shida, Yuichi Kojima & Tabercil
– Data collated from (but not limited to) Cagematch, joshifans.com, PuroLove, Dramatic DDT, Luchablog, Lords Of Pain, Wrestling Observer, Open The Puroresu Gate, PWInsider, NHB Girls