I saw a lot of people complaining about a particular segment on SmackDown this past Friday night. See, for many years Roman Reigns has been out here calling himself “The Big Dog”. Nobody’s really taken note of this until very recently. King Corbin has decided to make Roman’s status as a dog a thing. One week he brought out somebody in a dog outfit. That didn’t do much to move the needle, so Corbin took things up a few notches this week when he & Dolph Ziggler chained The Big Dog and acted like they were in 1980s Memphis by covering Roman Reigns in dog food.
To be honest, it wasn’t quite Memphis. If it was full blown Memphis, Roman would have been eating the dog food. Memphis & other Southern rasslin’ promotions were all about humiliation. Embarrassing the babyfaces to get heat. Embarrassing the heels to give the fans a payoff. It was one of the main focal points of professional wrestling in my neck of the woods for so many years.
These days, you don’t really see that. Heels beat up babyfaces a lot, but you don’t often see them resorting to the lengths of humiliation. Just standard beatdowns. Neither faces or heels are allowed to act embarrassed ever, of course. When’s the last time something embarrassing happened to Roman Reigns? Exactly!
Wrestling’s history is full of tropes that have been underutilized over the past several years. Here are five that I feel like creative teams/bookers/whoever writes a wrestling show need to look into bringing back.
5. Loser Wears a Diaper & Sucks on a Bottle
We all know that men aren’t allowed to cry. Should they do so, they risk being called a baby! Back in the day, and in areas of the country where heels were known to get emotional about things, they would occasionally get humiliated by being forced to wear a diaper & suck on a baby bottle after losing a match. Often, the whiny manager would end up donning the diaper & sucking on the bottle, and everybody would have a good time laughing at them.
As much as Seth Rollins whines on social media & on TV nowadays, wouldn’t this type of stipulation be perfect for him?
4. Getting Painted Yellow
Since the beginning of professional wrestlers, wrestlers have been accused of being yellow. Yellow, of course, meaning a scaredycat, a wuss, a fella lacking testicular fortitude. Heel wrestlers would drag out the bucket of yellow paint & cover their rival in the substance in order to prove that the wrestler in question was, in fact, yellow. Or, they’d screw up and end up getting painted themselves, which would happen from time to time.
The last time I remember seeing this was when Alexa Bliss painted the yellow stripe down Becky Lynch’s back on SmackDown. Which was cool, don’t get me wrong, but I much prefer when the wrestler gets completely covered in paint. Sends the message loud & clear.
3. Getting Stripped Of Clothing
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Steve, you horny old bastard, you just want to see some of these girls in their bra & panties like it’s the early 2000s all over again!”, right? Well, you’re not completely wrong.
But seriously folks, there isn’t a better way to embarrass somebody known for their snappy dressing than to strip them of their thousand dollar suit. Ric Flair did this angle approximately 1,583 times in various territories building title matches, and it got over every time. Check out the Von Erichs serving as Flair’s minions here! You won’t see that anywhere else!
2. Being Forced to Wear Something After Losing a Match
OK, so if taking clothes off is a little too non-PG for you, how about putting some clothes on? There were few things better than when wrestlers had to adhere to match stipulations and wear something ridiculous around the territory for a period of time. Whether it was a manager wearing a mascot outfit or a male wrestler having a match in a dress, fans always got a kick out of people being made to look foolish.
Look at Colonel Parker in that chicken suit! Such a hoot!
1. Getting Buried Under THE FLAG
Let’s not act like the foreign heel has gone out of vogue in the last couple of decades. WWE has so many of them spread across their brands that it’s tough to keep track of them all. What we’ve been missing is that true All-American babyface that’s all about Old Glory. Well, we had John Cena, but he was never going to get buried under a flag, and it wouldn’t have gotten any heat.
What about Lacey Evans? Now that we’re embracing her past in the Marines & her status as a working mom, she’s the perfect person to get some sympathy when Asuka & Kairi Sane bury her under the Japanese flag. Talk about some heat for those nasties!