This week the Underrated and Under Appreciated Wrestler Series takes a look at the career of a talented wrestler who was sunk by a terrible gimmick- Terry Taylor.
Gimmicks are an essential part of professional wrestling and help wrestlers to get the fans invested in and entertained by their work. Many wrestlers' careers have been significantly enhanced by the use of a well-crafted and performed gimmick. For some of the best, the gimmick is synonymous with the person themselves.
Gimmicks are a double-edged razor though; it is not always the case that gimmicks are a benefit to the performer. There are just some gimmicks that are too poor for any wrestler to overcome. A bad gimmick has the capability of sinking the career of a talented wrestler, such as Terry Taylor.
Terry Taylor was as talented a wrestler as you could ask for. He was great on the mic and could work both sides of the face/heel dynamic with ease. Where Taylor excelled as a professional wrestler, was his skills as an in-ring performer. As a worker, Taylor could hold his own against any wrestler in the business. The only thing he was lacking was size (Taylor was 6'1, 225).
Taylor's career would get its start in the NWA, WCCW, and Mid-South/UWF. During his time in the territories, Taylor displayed everything it took to be a star. Despite his lack of ideal size for the time, Taylor's skills in the ring and on the mic proved to be a hit with the fans. Notable feuds with Ted DiBiase, Nikita Koloff, and former tag partner Chris Adams (Taylor's heel turn in this feud was one of the finest and well-executed heel turns of the era) showed that Taylor was on his way to super stardom.
In 1988, after nine years working the south, Taylor got the call to work for WWF. Taylor was given the services of Bobby Heenan as a manager and all seemed set to give Taylor the push he was worthy of.
Unfortunately, for Taylor, Vince McMahon got it into his head that a gimmick involving a wrestler utilizing the mannerisms of a rooster, dressing in red tights, and having a hairstyle similar to a rooster's would be an excellent gimmick. To compound matters, the gimmick involved Taylor having to pretend to be an inexperienced wrestler who relied on Heenan to tell him what to do during his matches.
Taylor did the best he could do, but it was impossible for him to gain any traction due to this Red Rooster gimmick. After turning on Heenan, he would defeat the newly minted Brooklyn Brawler before becoming a jobber for the remaining time with WWF, and eventually leaving for WCW in June of 1990, for the first time -- Taylor would bounce between WCW and WWF over the next few years, as one of the go-to-guys to job people out to.
Taylor retired from in-ring action in 1994, but would transition to a backstage role as an agent, booker, and writer for WWF, WCW, and TNA over the ensuing years. Last year, 2012, Taylor began to work for WWE for the fifth time as a trainer in their NXT developmental division.
Terry Taylor was a talented wrestler whose time on the national stage was ruined by the creative genius, or lack thereof, of Vince McMahon. Many fans do not recognize the true talent he possessed, due to the inability to look past the Red Rooster gimmick.
Matches of Terry Taylor: