When a new talent comes into WWE there is always a moment when we hold our breath and hope for the best. It applies to anyone from Finn Balor to Adam Cole. Vince McMahon can sometimes see a gimmick that’s working and think he can change it to make it better.
Jim Cornette recently spoke about Vince McMahon’s affinity for changing wrestling gimmicks on an episode of Jim Cornette’s Drive-Thru.
“Vince would want to change [anyone he signed] into something he owned and whether it was just changing Vader to ‘The Mastadon’ that he got talked out of or changing Cactus Jack to Mankind that he didn’t get talked out of — but at least he got talked out of ‘Mankind The Mutilator.’ But Vince has to see something and say follow that direction with the guy and then creative services gets involved hence ‘Chilly McFreeze.'”
If you didn’t know, Steve Austin was supposed to be Chilly McFreeze. Yup, it’s a good thing that one didn’t see the light of day because “McFreeze 3:16” might not have caught on.
Cornette went on to discuss another gimmick that did get changed though and it didn’t receive the best reaction.
“With Al Snow what doomed him was the ropes.” Cornette continued, “Vince would ask people — he would ask the guys, ‘what do you do? What are you good at?’ and I’m sure somebody told him Al [Snow] could do some great things he does a springboard moonsault you know he’s agile, he’s a flyer and he does this and that.”
“Okay now [Vince] is thinking ‘Avatar’ — I don’t know what connects in Vince’s mind but he put that f-cking outfit on and he gets up there — and the ropes, as we’ve talked about in the WWF rings, were real ropes wrapped with tape but they’re real ropes. They’re not quarter inch airplane cables steel cable in a garden hose like in every NWA ring, in every Southern ring in every ring practically I’ve ever been in — the WWF rings and I think Verne [Gange] because he’s from the 50’s used ropes too like a boxing ring.”
“But anyway, Avatar goes out there to hit a move that he hits nightly in Smoky Mountain Wrestling, a springboard from the apron to the top to f–king dive into something and he’s on those g-ddamn flimsy ropes and he busts his ass. And Vince sees it and he was doomed from that point out.”
Vince McMahon’s first impression is obviously important because sometimes you don’t get a second chance. Thankfully for Al Snow, he was able to go to ECW and get his gimmick with Head over. He came back to WWF and the rest is history.
Vince McMahon has a history of taking someone and changing them from making Kane a dentist to altering Sunny and Chris Candido into the workout guru characters in the Bodydonnas. Sometimes it works, but other times the gimmick falls on its face.
If you use any portion of the quotes in this article please credit Jim Cornette’s Drive-Thru with a H/T to Still Real To Us for the transcription