Making a Monster is a new series where we discuss wrestling personas and help gain some insight into how to build a character, and how to BE that character.
One of the things I love about this card game is that we all treat it like the real squared circle. The personalities, the promos and the fanfaire. Some of us struggle, but we really want to participate! Were gamers and a lot of us are introverts. So we see people cutting promo’s in the facebook group and we want to participate, but dont know how. This series is for you.
I was inspired on a flight as I watched “Fighting With My Family” on the way back from Detroit. There is a scene with the Rock where Paige and her brother Fanboys/Fangirls out over meeting The Rock. Dwayne switches on The Rock persona, and switches it back off in an instant.
Sure, its The Rock. He’s had a lifetime to craft The Rock. But, The Rock is not Dwayne Johnson and vice versa.
I also did about 10 years of Live Action Roleplaying, and part of that was developing a character that interacted with others in the game, and doing so successfully.
Step 1 – The Concept/Gimmick
What do you want to be? It seems like a simple question. But its not.
For me, being the Ogre is natural because its grounded in reality. I’m a big guy. The word ‘Grace’ has never been associated with me. So it made the concept easy. A big, angry guy who breaks stuff.
The concept dosnt have to be some overarching all consuming concept either. Look at Kane. He was “Isaac Yankem, DDS” before he was Kane. A Dentist. While some people gel with very high concept ideas, others dont. Gimmixks dont have to be so high concept or pervasive either. Superstars like Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins dont have gimmicks, but tag lines. Like Beast Slayer or The Big Dog.
Personally I find its easier to take a part of myself grounded in reality and develop that into a character/persona and stay close to myself. For some people staying close to the truth and exaggerating certain personality traits is mor comfortable.
Weather you have a mask, or a crazy hair color, or even just a cool shirt. Be remarkable! Be the purple cow(Its a book by Seth Godin. Read it if you havnt!) But have something that makes you stand out. The Big Guy, well he’s naturally big, hence the gimmick. But he stands out, literally. It dosnt need to be so extreme, but definately recognisable.
How does your persona speak and act? You dont need to decide on this immediately and can hone and craft this as you continue to do promos and play in tournaments, but you need to be concious of this and when you feel something, use it. Its amazing how many catch phrases come out of just speaking.
And then turn it up to 11…
When you think you have reached the limit before being ridiculus, turn it up another notch. Exaggeration plays well. Two examples that are on complete opposite extremes.
Macho Man Randy Savage: The Macho Man, King, and Madness took machismo and went way over the top. The way this character played propelled him to the top with the crowds. Combined with his technical wrestling ability led to multiple Wrestlemania Championship matches with Hulk Hogan. The rest is legendary.
Alexa Bliss: Alexa Bliss has taken the stereotype of being a beautiful blonde, and amplified it to a tagline of “The Goddess”. The way she speaks and acts is crafted to relect that attitude. She speaks down to everyone. Her face in the ring is that of discontent with her opponent. And even in her current story line, she uses people who she belives beneath her. Leading to her being a crowd favorite heel today.
Cranking it up to 11 dosnt mean you have to just scream and be loud.
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Don’t be married to it.
It may take you several tries or iterations to find something you are comfortable with. It may even be something somone else comes up with. But dont be afraid to try. Don’t be afraid to fail. Be open to recognize if you arnt resonating with your persona, and pivot. If you arnt feeling it, you just arnt feeling it.
In San Antonio River City Wrestling, an Italian pizza maker named Luigi is the current champ. I kid you not.
The SRG Universe is a community, a family, and inclusive. No one will belittle you for your character. But if someone steps up and engages, dont be afraid to engage their persona.