Watching RAW last night…it really hit me how many All-American Boys have made their way into WWE over the past decade. I’m going to start calling them AAA’s. There’s so many of them. It’s one of the big differences between the current era and the golden era’s of wrestling in the past.
These AAA’s don’t really have a discernible gimmick beyond being a heel or face. They’re basically out there playing themselves, for a most part. They use real-sounding names…most of them aren’t cutting good promos.
Here’s my list of current AAA’s in WWE:
You’ll notice that’s a fair portion of the roster…and most of the rookies…but it’s not nearly all of the roster. Now check out the FCW Roster. This is the developmental promotion for WWE. Out of 47 stars…there’s maybe 4 or 5 that are using what we would call “classic wrestling names;” like Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Edge, The Rock, etc.
Let’s compare this with some of the folks from the 80’s roster:
Andre The Giant
Billy Jack Haynes
Bam Bam Bigelow
Koko B Ware
Davey Boy Smith
B. Brian Blair
Jumpin Jump Brunzel
King Kong Bundy
Big John Studd
Bad News Brown
Honky Tonk Man
One Man Gang
You’ll notice there’s a lot more gimmick names in this roster. Not normal-sounding times, but ya know…wrestling names! Larger than life names.
That’s something that’s really being missing over the past decade, larger than life characters. You have all these characters who look the same. For the longest time I’ve been trying to figure out why I have a harder time remembering wrestlers names, storylines, and who is holding what belt…while in the Attitude Era I could tell you everything! I’ve been chalking it up to my age and thyroid problems…but I think this is a big part of it! It’s harder to differentiate between them all and even when you can it’s harder to care.
This is one area where TNA is out-shining WWE, in that they have wrestlers with actual wrestling names. Bully Ray, Sting, Abyss, OBD, etc. This seems to be a better way to do. Unfortunately since TNA keeps employeeing drug addicts and has crappy writers…this doesn’t really help them at all…
Now, that doesn’t mean there isn’t some great breakout talent from these AAA’s! Luchy Lucy has this great post that talks about Dolph’s Zigglers hair. Which seems like it’s irrelevant, but there’s more than meets the eye. Earlier this year Ziggler went brown for a couple of weeks. Then after that he was back to his trademark platinum blonde.
Why does this matter?
With the blonde, he stood out. This is what wrestling is missing…and this is why all of the popular characters are popular. They stand out. It’s my motto for wrestling in practice: Get unique and badass or get the fuck out.
At the moment, Zack Ryder is doing the best at standing out. He has a very Macho Man-esque gimmick. The outlandish costume, the catchphrase…and it’s very refreshing to see. He’s taken that sort of gimmick and put a Millennial spin on it. In a sea of AAA’s…he’s an AAS (All-American Star)!
If WWE would allow their stars more creativity with their gimmicks, and if they wouldn’t hire lacklusters who have little to offer, WWE would again rise in popularity. Fans want larger than life characters. They should be exceptional and special. When they aren’t it makes it much harder for them to get over with the fans…and much harder for WWE as a company to make money.
You know it.