Laugh all you like, but professionalwrestling is the closest thing we have to gladiatorial combat in our modern society. Granted, it’s fake and someone being eaten by a lion is a pretty strong indicator that something’s gone horribly wrong, but wrestling still stands as the only legitimate fight sport, if you ignore MMA, boxing, kick boxing, Mortal Kombat, American Gladiating and whatever it was Steven Segall used to do before he got all fat and weird. Part of the appeal of wrestling comes from the characters. Covering a wide range of ideas, these gimmicks provide us with a visual representation of our wildest fantasies (who wouldn’t want to see a circus clown get hit with a folding chair?). However, if the characters are a miss, the whole system of homoerotic violence falls apart like so many clown skulls struck by chairs. 8.P.N. News What happens when Fred Durst travels back in time and eats a whole bunch of cheesey gorditas? P.N. News happens. There’s an old tradition in pro wrestling when it comes to character development: find something popular and ruin it. Given his early nineties debut, News could choose one of two fads to model himself after: POGS or rap. Sadly, he chose rap, throwing rhymes every time he entered the ring, often including the riveting literary gem “Yo baby yo baby yo.” It’s like Vanilla Ice if he somehow tried even less. 7.KISS Demon Gene Simmons is more businessman than musician. I can accept that, not because I want to, but because I can’t swing a dead cat without striking a KISS Mr. Potato Head doll, a box of KISS Kondoms or a bottle of KISS fragrance (spoiler: it smells like unpleasant sex). What I refuse to accept is that someone in charge of a multi-million dollar company would want to pay multi-millions of dollars for the exclusive right to paint a muscley guy’s face. Clearly worth the money And yet it happened. Originally the intention was to use all four of the KISS personas, but performers kept passing on the gimmicks. Eventually the KISS Demon saw the light of day, but was only for a brief period of time before he became simply the Demon, forever abandoning the KISS moniker as he entered his Poison phase. As it turns out, people who enjoy watching men pretend to fight and hold one another down for extended periods of time don’t like having their intelligence insulted. Who knew? 6.The Model Enjoying wrestling requires a certain suspension of disbelief. If you’re willing to accept that a professional model is willing to pick up a part time job as a wrestler, risking injury to his body and jeopardizing his primary source of income, you haven’t suspended your belief so much as you’ve brutally murdered it and stashed the body in your basement. Also, please note the button. “Yes, I Am a Model.” You know your gimmick’s solid when the only thing differentiating you from any other crazed, half-naked man is a gaudy button identifying your employment. 5.The Mountie One way to quickly develop an easy villain is to play off your audience’s absurd xenophobia. If pop culture has taught me as an American anything, it’s that foreigners are the devil. Knowing this, what’s the easiest way to anger your primarily American audience? With an evil Mountie Wait, is there even some terrible stereotype of Canadians to exploit in the first place? These are the same people who keep milk in bags. If anything, they’re far too nice and efficent with liquid storage to be considered evil. And why try to demonize the fine folks at border patrol? “Oh no, he’s searching my trunk! This will add ten minutes to my travel time! Curse you, lawman!” 4.Battle Kat When you read “Battle Kat,” this is probably why you think of, right? Right. Tigers mauling Skeletor? Awesome. But I’m actually talking about this guy right here: Battle Kat was a face, meaning you’re expected to root for the man in the furry kitty mask. Yeah, that’s not very likely, but humor me for a moment. Not only did the mask stay on during his matches, Battle Kat also felt the need to express all the mannerisms of a cat, pawing, swiping and occasionally meowing at his opponent. Sometimes bewildering, often times embarrassing, Battle Kat’s only achievement is in the field is signing all of his checks with that handsome paw print. 3.Arachnaman There’s another tradition in professional wrestling in regards to character development: when in doubt, steal things like whoa. When someone plagiarizes an idea, they try to hide that fact the best they can. Substituting red for yellow, WCW called it good and released Arachnaman on an unsuspecting public. Not happy with simply stealing Spider-Man’s appearance, the folks in creative decided to go for the gold and copy the web-slinging abilities that made Spidey so popular, though this was met with less than stellar success. After a string of average-at-best matches, Marvel did the world a favor by penning The Spectacular Lawsuit. Arachnaman was nixed, though he can occasionally be seen on the indy circuit trading blows with Professor Octopod. 2. Max Moon Straight from the dumpster behind the set of TRON, Max Moon is perhaps the only wrestling spaceman in the history of both wrestling and spacemen. Complete with rockets, a jet pack and more pizzaz than the average Broadway show, Max Moon couldn’t last simply on the basis that he was dated well before his debut in 1992. We know very little of the universe around us, but from what we do know we can recognize that, without a practical helmet/oxygen tank system, Max Moon would be a spaceman for all of four minutes max before becoming a space-corpse. Again, suspension of disbelief. 1.Damien Demento When it comes to bad guys, wrestling runs the gambit: zombies, demons, vampires, escape convicts and even man-shark hybrids have all pined for a comically large golden belt at one time or another. However, there are two golden rules that you must follow to be a successful heel: * Look like a bad a?*, and * Act like a bad a?*. Had Damien Demento met these requirements, I wouldn’t be preparing to make fun of him at this very moment. Coming from the “outer reaches of your mind,” Demento tried to disturb his opponents and audience alike by talking to and hearing a voice that existed only in his head, a trait that you may also notice in every nursing home ever. So he was supposed to be crazy, but it didn’t really land. Let’s take a closer look at the man himself: This, ladies and gentlemen, is what happens when a Vegas magician crashes face first into one of those cave man exhibits in a museum. There’s nothing particularly frightening about a man in furry shoulder pads and I’m pretty sure that those “teeth” on said pads were once pillows on his sofa. What’s more, was there a discount sale on tassels? Seriously, try to count the tassels on this guy. You’ll need a calculator and an extended lunch break. Who looks at tassels and thinks “deranged madman?” Tassels are, like, 85% of the average strippers uniform. Either he wants me to be scared of naked women or to stuff singles into his tights. To be perfectly honest, I’m not really keen on either of those ideas.