Ghastly Gimmicks: The World’s Largest Love Machine

Viscera, Big Daddy V, world's largest love machine, Lilian Garcia, WWE, wwf, pajamas

The Great Romances of the 20th Century

Nelson Frazier, better known has Viscera, was never the most fortunate guy when it came to gimmicks. King Mabel brought very little to the table, and the “generic oversized thug” role he filled for most of his career wasn’t exactly groundbreaking. Still, one of his characters stands head and shoulders above the rest in terms of being worthy of embarrassment – The silk-pajama-wearing World’s Largest Love Machine.

This ghastly gimmick began in 2005 when Trish Stratus enlisted Viscera’s help to take out Kane, who at the time was “married” to Trish’s arch-nemesis Lita. Not one to offer his services for free, Big Vis forced himself upon Trish, straight dogging her in a backstage segment before showing up to a “business dinner” with a supply of XL condoms. When Vis failed to eliminate Kane from the picture at Backlash ’05, Stratus put an end to their partnership, and Big Daddy V put her on the shelf with a big splash for her troubles. This, of course, turned Viscera into a babyface (wrestling!).

With Trish out of the picture, Vis turned his attention to ring announcer Lilian Garcia. Week in and week out, he’d attempt to seduce her, and although his advances were unwelcomed at first, Garcia eventually came around. The couple shared a number of in-ring kisses (one featuring nachos), and eventually, Lilian thought it was time to take things to the next level. At Vengeance ’05, Garcia proposed to the World’s Largest Love Machine in the middle of the ring. Before he could accept, however, The Godfather and his Ho Train made their way to the ring to remind Big Vis of everything he’d be leaving behind should he chose to take himself off the market. Unable to resist the hos, Viscera left a devastated Lilian Garcia in shambles. Naturally, he’d begin pairing up with fellow ladies man Val Venis as part of a tag team that was aptly named V-Squared. During this time, he began using a signature maneuver called the Viscagra, with which he’d literally dry hump opponents into the canvas.

A year later, Vis attempted to reconcile with Lilian, who was less than enthused to give him another chance. He and Charlie Haas competed for her affection for a short while, but when she said that she only liked them both as friends, things took a dark turn. Viscera responded to being put into the friend-zone by Samoan Dropping Garcia, after which he and Haas shared a good laugh. You can’t make this stuff up. Most of the World’s Largest Love Machine’s “highlights” are featured in the short tribute video below, inexplicably (but oddly appropriately?) set to Bobby Pickett’s “The Monster Mash.”

Ghastly Gimmicks: That 70’s Guy

Mike Awesome, that 70s guy, ace, wwe, ecw, wrestler, career killer, fat chick thriller

Hello Wisconsin!

In the spring of 2000, the reigning ECW Champion made a surprise debut in WCW on the April 10 edition of Monday Nitro. He was a big man, standing 6’6″ and tipping the scales at nearly 300 lbs, but he was as quick and as agile as a cat. He was buzzy, debuting for a rival promotion while still carrying Extreme Championship Wrestling’s top prize. Perhaps most importantly, he was mean, having left a path of destruction in his wake at every stop he made during his career. His name was Mike Awesome, and he was a can’t miss superstar who missed and missed hard.

Things started all right for Awesome in WCW as the big man took on a “career killer” gimmick shortly after his debut, the result of throwing Kanyon off the top of a cage and putting him out of action for a while. It didn’t take long, however, for things to take a turn for the worse. A couple of months into his tenure with the Georgia-based promotion, Awesome watched as things went to hell at Bash at the Beach 2000. In an infamous kayfabe-shattering moment, Jeff Jarrett laid down in the middle of the ring and allowed Hulk Hogan to pin him. The circumstances surrounding the incident are still disputed today, but that’s a story for another time. The reason it bears mentioning now is that Mike Awesome was a relative of Hulk Hogan’s through marriage, and after Hogan left the company on such bad terms, it’s widely believed that Vince Russo took his aggressions out on Awesome, saddling him with gimmicks that were failures by design. Continue reading

Full Match Friday: Johnny Gargano vs Candice LaRae

It’s no secret that we here at are big fans of the Cruiserweight Classic. Hell, we’re already eagerly looking forward to next year’s edition. While TJ Perkins took home the trophy this time around, when the tournament kicked off, my pick to win the thing was “The Whole Shebang” Johnny Gargano. I’d seen Gargano wrestle years earlier at the old ECW Arena, and was excited when he debuted on NXT and was subsequently announced for the CWC. He may have fallen short of victory, but he certainly did not disappoint, delivering two excellent matches before he was eliminated. There are good times ahead for Johnny Wrestling.

Yesterday, we profiled one of the absolute best woman wrestlers in the world today, Candice LaRae. She has squared off with some of the top female performers of this era, but something that sets her apart is her ability to keep up with the men during intergender matches. She is inarguably a show-stealer. She’s also the new bride of Gargano, as the couple was just wed a week ago today.

In today’s match from Absolute Intense Wrestling’s September 2014 WrestleRanger event, these newlyweds go to war with one another, and they pull out all the stops. With so many high spots and false finishes, this one has such a big match feel to it that it could be a pay-per-view main event. So take a timeout from your Friday to get your indy wrestling fix with Johnny & Candice – you’ll be happy that you did. Just don’t hold me responsible for the commentary.

Profilin’: Candice LeRae

Candice LeRae, wrestling, disney, johnny gargano, joey ryan, pwg, pro wrestling guerrilla, women's wrestlingHailing from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, the 5’2″ Candice LaRae may look like an unassuming “diva,” but don’t be fooled by her cuteness. LaRae was changing the course of women’s wrestling years before the “revolution” that debuted on Monday nights last summer.

Wrestling professionally since 2002, Candice LaRae’s dance card is filled with the names of this generation’s top female performers – she’s wrestled the likes of current NXT trainer Sara Del Rey, Cheerleader Melissa, Awesome Kong, and Kimber Lee, among others. Beyond that, LaRae has demonstrated time and time again that she can hang with the boys, having squared off with guys like Eddie Kingston, Claudio Castagnoli (now Cesaro), Chuck Taylor, and Necro Butcher. She’s done tours in SHIMMER & Shine, Chikara, Ring of Honor, Combat Zone Wrestling, Insanity Pro – the list goes on. Basically, there is no challenge too great for this Canadian Goddess. When opponents hear her arrival signaled by The Darkness’ “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” over the arena’s PA system, they’d best have brought their A-game.

LaRae’s arsenal of moves is downright insane. From her signature Balls-Plex (more on that later) to her smash mouth high-flying, there’s very little that Candice LaRae doesn’t do. After tiring her opponents with DDTs and suicide dives, LaRae will often bust out a Canadian Destroyer or a springboard reverse rana that will leave the crowd in awe. Utilizing a collection of moonsaults that would make Lita jealous, LaRae also manages to maintain an impressive technical prowess, never hesitant to tie an opponent up in an octopus hold. With her in-ring ability being what it is, it should come as no surprise that she was an immediate fan-favorite upon her 2006 debut in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. Continue reading

Ghastly Gimmicks: The Dicks

Chad wicks, Tank Toland, wwe, wwf, the dicks, tag team, wrestlers2005 was a strange time in the WWE. The Attitude Era was over, but the PG Age had yet to begin. It was a transitional period during which the company attempted to continue pushing the envelope with shocking gimmicks and storylines, but had already said goodbye to most of the gritty in-your-face characters that had made the adult-oriented programming of the past several years a success. The result was lots of sophomoric humor akin to what the WCW was producing during its death throes, with plenty of offensive stereotypes to boot. This may not have been as evident anywhere as it was in the tag team division.

The 2005 WWE tag team division featured: A team of swinging club-goers, a trio of tractor-riding Mexican stereotypes, a Road Warrior / Rapist combination, two Middle Eastern terrorists, some tobacco-chewing rednecks, a superhero and his protégé (a Super Hero In Training, otherwise a S.H.I.T.), an Englishman and his mentally challenged nephew, and of course, The Dicks.

Comprised of Chad Wicks and Tank Tolland, The Dicks were standouts in Ohio Valley Wrestling, where they first began teaming. By the time they reached the main roster, however, it was failure by design. Saddled with a Chippendales gimmick that saw them use baby oil to blind their opponents, The Dicks were, well, a couple of dicks. During their five-month tenure on Smackdown, The Dicks primarily interfered in the matches of other teams, but did manage to notch a few victories of their own along the way. In early 2006 it looked like The Dicks may be on the rise, but a real life altercation quickly derailed any momentum that the duo had.

Most likely due to a combination of their juvenile gimmick and their short statures, The Dicks found themselves the targets of heavy locker room ribbing during their stint in the WWE. According to the Wrestling Observer, James Dick (Tolland) was able to take the pranks in stride, while Chad Dick (Wicks) had a harder time dealing with the situation. Chad’s poor reaction to the ribbing only caused locker room leaders like JBL and Chris Benoit to heap it on more heavily. Eventually fed up with his partner bringing this heat down on them, James Dick punched Chad square in the mouth, breaking his own finger and busting his partner’s lip. Shortly after the real-life altercation, the WWE unsurprisingly released The Dicks. Upon his release, Tank Tolland continued his career in Ring of Honor, while Chad Wicks faded into the sunset. The days of The Dicks were over before they ever really began.

Full Match Friday: Eddie Guerrero vs Rey Mysterio Jr.

Today, we close out Cruiserweight Week with a match that was instrumental in making the idea of a cruiserweight division not only palatable, but exciting, for American audiences. In his youth, Rey Mysterio’s high-flying antics were an awe-inspiring spectacle. Regardless of how tired his shtick may have gotten by the end of his WWE tenure, the man revolutionized the sport. Without Rey, this is no Lucha Libre movement. Meanwhile, if you watched the CWC, you heard just about every competitor cite Eddie Guerrero as a source of inspiration. These two were both masters of their craft, and they both brought their A-games to WCW Halloween Havoc ’97. This Mask vs Title match is a truly impressive athletic display, and if you’ve never seen it, it’s mandatory viewing. It changed wrestling forever.

Of course it wasn’t just Eddie and Rey who altered the wrestling landscape and opened the floodgates for a generation of smaller competitors. Guys like Dean Malenko and Juventud Guerrera had a lot to do with it, as did Chris Jericho and Ultimo Dragon. Today, cruiserweights rule the indies. Despite its questionable beginnings, the Cruiserweight Championship has become an important part of North American wrestling, and matches like this are how that was accomplished. Now, thanks to the groundwork laid by men like Mysterio and Guerrero, the future of the cruiserweights is looking brighter than ever.


10 Candidates for the 2017 CWC

TJ Perkins, HHH, Triple H, CWC, wwe, Cruiserweight champion, trophy, finals

Last night, live on the WWE Network, the Cruiserweight Classic came to a close. TJ Perkins, who upset Kota Ibushi to advance to the finals earlier in the night, defeated Gran Metalik in the hard fought tournament final. In addition to being the winner of the inaugural CWC, he also became the champion of the newly launched cruiserweight division, which will debut on this week’s episode of Raw.

As good as it is to know that we’ll be treated to cruiserweight action on Monday nights from now on, the CWC will leave a void in our weekly wrestling intake that will be difficult to fill. The past ten weeks have been nothing short of magical, and seeing Perkins and the rest of his peers move from their Network bubble onto the flagship show is a bittersweet sensation to say the least. That said, all eyes are on the future. This cruiserweight division has the potential to make Monday Night Raw great again. Moreover, I couldn’t help but notice the commentators’ emphasis on this trophy being the first one to be awarded. It would seem to me that this would indicate that they’ll be a second, and possibly many, many more.

With the WWE having already scouted the globe to find 32 elite competitors for the 2016 Cruiserweight Classic, what might next year hold should the tournament return? Today, we’ll take a look at 10 early candidates for the 2017 CWC. So without further ado… Continue reading