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Sunday, March 1, 2015

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Great Moments in Wrestling History: The Enhancement Guy Era

Some of these men are among the greats. However, if you don't recognize someone, chances are, they belong to what True calls...the Enhancement Guy Era.
The New Generation. Designed seemingly to highlight the new era of greatness exemplified in guys such as Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, The 1-2-3 Kid, Owen Hart, Razor Ramon, and more. And while those wrestlers got to showcase what they brought to the table, there was another era building during the tail end of the New Generation period: The Enhancement Guy Era. Now, by Enhancement Guys, I don't mean a super jacked-up steroid freak, but rather a wrestler who is not expected to be very much and exists merely to put over other guys once he's racked up a few wins over jobbers. You see, it's one thing to be a no name jobber, who shows up, gets defeated on an episode of Superstars, then you're not heard from again on TV. Its another thing to get a cheesy vignette, a small feud, pick up jobber wins, then go nowhere. Unfortunately, WWF had a bunch of those guys. Every week, an enhancement guy would make his arrival to WWF TV, beat some no-name, repeat this again the following week, then end up losing from that point on. Hell, even in the previous era, a guy like Repo Man or Skinner could get a feud and PPV spot at times. Once The New Generation got here, an enhancement guy wasn't even good enough for the free for all before the PPV, and was very seldom seen on RAW. The closest thing to an enhancement guy who tasted a little success was probably Waylon Mercy (Ed. Note: The guy who had a Bray Wyatt gimmick twenty years too early) or Duke "The Dumpster" Droese, and not even that lasted too long. I remember Droese having a small feud with Hunter Hearst Helmsey, but aside from that, nothing of note comes to mind. Below are some of those enhancement characters and just how awful they truly were.

The Goon:
This asshole carried around a hockey stick to the ring and wrestled in his "hockey uniform". In what cellar of hell was it determined that a "former hockey player gimmick" was acceptable to bring to life? The Goon arrived, beat a few jobbers, became one himself, then fizzled out. Rightfully so.
I can't even find the words to describe this one. If you lived through it, then you already know. If not, just Google it.
Salvatore Sincere:
To this day, I'm confused by this gimmick and purpose of it. Salvatore started out with a mini-feud against Marc Mero over Sable, and after losing his TV match to Mero, he also just fizzled out.
Man Mountain Rock:
This was ridiculous. The gimmick was that of a rocker dude who loves to wrestle that plays guitar (of course he does). Like most enhancement guys, he started off with a vignette and some promo, then fell into losing matches before eventually going away as well.
Aldo Montoya:
Can it get any worse than this? The future Justin Credible was saddled with the gimmick of wearing a damn jock strap on his face essentially. He racked up a few wins and seemed like he could possibly break through, but of course, he began losing frequently until he disappeared.
T.L. Hopper:
A plumber. That's right, a fucking plumber. 'Nuff said.
At some point, someone thought it would be cool to put Savio Vega in a damn mask and having him be Kwang. Kwang, of course, started off on the good path, until he ended up on the losing end more frequently and got repackaged as simply Savio Vega.... What a concept.
This one had potential. This one wrestled Bret Hart on PPV so he can't be one, right?
Unfortunately, Hakushi started off promising then suffered that oh too familiar fate. He was talented in-ring but forced to face the curse of the enhancement (Ed. Note: More on Hakushi to come this week in Speed on the Beat's WIRTB Review of "In Your House 1").
There are so many others who fit this description, but I'll stick with these for now. Next time on "Great" Moments, we take a look at Heidenreich's poetry lessons.
Until next time,
The Immortal


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