Between my theater and screenwriting experience, I have been writing characters online since 1996. When Play-By-Email and e-feds started to pop up, I had my Pro Wrestling when fans like me (at the time) barely knew kayfabe existed.
That said, I know a lot about creating characters for story. If it's one thing I learned from this evolving society, it's that when it comes to entertainment, they want complication. When it comes to learning something, they want simplicity.
I mentioned what people need in an earlier article, now I'll show you how to get there.
Gimmick Comfort and Turns
Your gimmick is literally your second skin. It is an identity you assume. In order to make it real for others, you need to make it real for yourself. If you are playing a part that is against your nature as a person, look for something you hate more than anything and portray it to the fullest. Some people like performing as a heel, but you need to be able to gaze into a mirror and accept both paths. The alignment (face/heel) you hate the most, you need to be able to say "I hate you so much, but guess what! You're going to make me money whether you like it or not."
It is the dream of every worker to be someone else they prefer to be rather than what is in their day-to-day lives. It is more than possible to make two gimmicks, and if that's what it takes to get you to play them well, go for it. You have to realize the inevitable; if your gimmick is in a promotion for an extended amount of time, the face/heel turn is inevitable.
The way I do this is that I have a series of virtues and vices, no more than three on each column. These are going to stay concrete to that character unless something in the story warrants a complete repackaging. As a face, you show two virtues at all times, but hint at one vice every now and then to show that they are human. As a heel, you want to show off two vices, but one redeeming quality which is used to show their limits.
Let's use Lady Morgue as an example;
- Loyal to a Fault
- Follows the "Old Code"
- Independent (likes to do things with her own two hands)
Most times, she would be heel, being the sadistic aristocrat who barely listens to her manager because she's the one with noble blood (Sadist/Arrogant/Independent). Her manager pulls a Bobby Heenan and slaps her across the face.
Now the Virtues start to show and she has more important things to deal with other than her own image ("Old Code"/Arrogant/Independent). A slap in the face is a challenge according to the Old Code, and she receipts her manager, forcing him to find a worthy opponent for his hubris.
This makes your gimmick more three-dimensional, and allows you to more easily slide into a heel/face turn without sacrificing character integrity. The fun part is that it should be personal kayfabe on what those virtues and vices are on simple paper. This way it keeps a sense of kayfabe between the workers, and they can talk about what their characters can and won't do without bluntly stating their virtues and vices. It keeps things fun for your fellow wrestlers as well as giving them time to read your gimmick. Each version of "yourself" that you play in a promotion is different, but that's for another article. If you find yourselves in the big leagues and the booker wants to listen to you, impress them by having your own slant on your gimmick ready. Remember to at least ask if they want input before giving it to them.
Also, these virtues and vices should not change unless there is a critical story arc that happens. It needs to be something that completely shifts a wrestler's personality and requires a repackage (I.E. Surfer Sting to Crow Sting).
There are deeper methods I use to make characters, but these are the simple steps. If there is a demand for the deeper sides of what I do to create a character, I'll show the Wrestling-Modified version of the D&D alignment chart, and how to make original gimmicks through what I call "Chimera" creating.
One doesn't need too much on the indies, but this is also for those wanting to take their game to another level. Even if you can do fourteen back flips and pull off a 450 splash into a table, the big leagues are also looking for good stories. If you have the option of being able to write your own, it makes their lives easier as well. The more work you do for your gimmick, the less work they have to do. It is only one part of them assessing you, but a part that others neglect.
If there is enough interest in character creation, I'll show you the methods I use to make original characters out of a lot of sources (Chimera Method) and moral alignment vs Wrestling Alignment to help you get your heads into your gimmick better.