One of Vince McMahon’s mantras is that wrestlers need to reach up and grab that metaphorical brass ring. But sometimes, that’s pretty damn hard to do.
If you show up for work and are given the gimmick of Bastion Booger, Meat, Battle Kat, or Phantasio, how are you ever going to make it to that next level? Most often, terrible ideas like that can sink somebody right out of the gate. Other wrestlers are a bit luckier. Their gimmick may still be awful, but they show enough heart, dedication, and creativity to someday make something work. They are the exceptions.
Fans have come to expect that Vince’s creative team isn’t all that creative (or at least the boss doesn’t let a lot of the good ideas come through). This leaves wrestlers doing everything they can to get noticed. Sometimes they take their push into their own hands and it doesn’t go so hot (remember Ted DiBiase’s Posse Parties in the parking lots?). Other times doing something outside of the box is exactly what is needed to get them noticed. They end up beating the system and take all the credit themselves.
At least for a little bit.
10. Matt Hardy Shot His Own Vignettes
In 2005, Matt Hardy was not in a good place.
He’d been out of action for months with a bad knee injury. His long-time girlfriend Lita cheated on him with one of his best friends in Edge. And yet, Matt was the one released from the company. It’s hard to imagine sinking much lower.
Years before his popularity skyrocketed due to producing videos at his home in the BROKEN Universe, Matt made a couple to highlight a new gimmick he was working on at the time: “The Angelic Diablo.” Along with that, he took to the web and vented about the company on his own website. Even though Matt had gone through all sorts of hell, he came across as a bit emo at times and the videos sure didn’t look or sound great. Still, his message resonated with fans. They could tell he was p*ssed off, screwed over, and wanted to prove he was wrongfully released. That passion for him made it to the airwaves.
On TV, fans began chanting “We want Matt!” during Edge and Lita segments. It was a touchy situation, and at first, management tried to ride it out. But the crowd support for Matt only grew louder until Vince McMahon finally relented. He re-signed the elder Hardy and brought him back to the company.
Unfortunately, it was a bit of a flop. Matt had the biggest promo of his life staring him in the face and he blew it. The boss wasn’t too impressed, and Matt came out on the losing side of the battle.
Still, the support he received from his fanbase was overwhelming and his videos and online writing detailing his journey were what got him his job back.