The WWE has always been the perfect medium for adaptation. Characters and storylines from film, television and literature have often been adapted for the ring in ways that were inventive and fun. For example, when Chris Jericho went heel and started wearing suits and speaking more deliberately and villainous, he cited the character Anton Chigurh from No Country For Old Men as the inspiration for his change in tone. Jack Sparrow obviously played some part in the inspiration for the short lived Paul Burchill Pirate gimmick, and I can’t help but think the WWE thought they were playing homage in some way to Forrest Gump with the Eugene character.
Presently, Daniel Bryan’s meteoric rise in the hearts of the WWE Universe can easily be compared to Rocky. Daniel, just like the iconic Stallone character is a hard working underdog who people (Vince McMahon) don’t think has what it takes to win the title. The key to this working has been the fact that Daniel Bryan is proving his mettle week in and week out instead of losing often like the WWE has tended to do to try and build an underdog story. An underdog that barely ever wins win is just a loser, but the formula they are using with Bryan is the way to go when you want to build support behind an underdog. The WWE and Daniel Bryan’s take on the classic story of underdog to champ has been electrifying to watch.
Watching Daniel Bryan’s narrative play out got me thinking about other characters from film that I’d like to see adapted for the squared circle. Paying homage to great characters within the WWE’s narrative would be an absolute joy to watch. So without any further adieu, here are the three film characters I would most like to see adapted for the ring.
Jean Dujardin’s George Valentin
This pick is more for novelty than anything else, but the fact remains that I think a character modeled after George Valentin from the Academy Award Winning film “The Artist” could work in the WWE. Like the film, the character would be a throwback to a different time. I would have that detail present in the way he moves, how he wrestles, and his reactions to the things happening around him. The biggest novelty of the character (if it were up to me) would be to have him not speak. The character is a silent film. I know it sounds preposterous but the explanation for this doesn’t have to be that deep. The character is a former actor turned wrestler who before joining the ranks of the WWE decided to turn his life into art by turning it into a silent film. His promos are done facial expressions and dialogue intertitles. Even when he’s having a confrontation in the arena, his words will be conveyed on the titantron via dialogue intertitles. Finally, the piece de resistance; his finisher would be called the silencer! You’re welcome WWE.
In all seriousness, it’s not a world-changing gimmick, but it would be interesting to see if it be pulled off. The question isn’t whether or not this gimmick can be achieved; it’s who would be the right person for it. They need to have very animated facial expressions, be very disciplined performers, and possess the ability to convey and garner emotion without the use of spoken word. Finding the right performer is key, but I definitely think this shtick would be a fun one.
Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones
I honestly do not understand why the WWE hasn’t had an adventurer character that I can remember (if any of you can remember one, enlighten me). Of all the characters they’ve had appear on TV, from a Boogeyman, to a Ballroom Dancer, to Eugene, one of the most fun ones would definitely be someone who has been on adventures outside of the WWE. A character that sailed into the Bermuda Triangle and lived to tell the tale. A character that searched for Mayan Gold in Mexico. A character that has explored the pyramids in Egypt. The character would be so cool if portrayed correctly. He’d be the smartest guy in any room, brave, clever and silver-tongued, and finally something that 95% of WWE superstars aren’t, which is practical. He would avoid fights where he’s outnumbered, and would use anything at his disposal (within reason) to come out of a physical confrontation the victor. Those specific character elements have been used before (Eddie Guerrero and most recently Dolph Ziggler), but I want the full Indiana Jones experience in a WWE character.
The explanation for such a character’s presence in the WWE’s narrative wouldn’t be difficult to explain. After a life of going on adventures and living to tell about them, he wants to embark on a new adventure, the WWE. He’d be a really heroic figure in the WWE landscape, and I would most certainly give the character a test run with the right superstar.
Robert Downey Jr. (and Marvel’s) Tony Stark
Now here’s one that would be exciting. Imagine if you will that there was a silver-tongued multi-millionaire whom had invested in the WWE, and decided that he wanted to compete, mostly for fun, but over time came to see how much real effort is needed to be a WWE superstar, and begins to grow as both a competitor and a human being. That character, depending on the portrayal would be the WWE’s (most likely crude) version of Tony Stark. The WWE’s obsession with showing that rich people are villains is tired, and Tony Stark is the epitome of the obscenely wealthy not being bad. Tony Stark may be a little self involved, rude, and dismissive, but there is no denying that he is a good person at the end of the day, which is demonstrated through his actions.
I think a character like this would be fresh in the WWE landscape, a change from the norm of wealth being bad. The character would be nuanced and interesting to watch develop on a weekly basis. Is there anybody in the WWE today with the charm of a Robert Downey Jr.? Outside The Rock, I’d say no; but that doesn’t mean you can’t attempt to pay homage to what the character Tony Stark represents. If you ask me, this kind of a character would have been a much more interesting and exciting way to debut Ted DiBiase Jr. A young man that invests in a company his dad helped put on the map, he decides to take a stab at it now that he has some stake in the company and discovers that he’s pretty good at it. His narrative would then progress towards him taking the business, its history, and his placement in it seriously. You could still do something similar, but it seems they’ve given up on young Ted.
There you have it, but as always I want to know what you guys think! Do you think wrestlers based on these iconic film characters could work? What characters would you want to see adapted for the ring? Should I do a second edition based solely on villainous characters?
Until next time folks, I’m Matty J. Douglas saying I’m off to see Fruitvale Station. I’ve heard good things so it seems like a great way to spend the afternoon on my Friday off. Have a great weekend everybody!