Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Another Gorgeous??

Jimmy Garvin was a wrestler, mainly known in the 80's, who wrestled with World Class Championship Wrestling. He was known as Gorgeous Jimmy. Sounds quite a bit like Gorgeous George if you ask me. This shows how much of an influence Gorgeous George was on the wrestlers of today's era. Gorgeous Jimmy was even a heel himself and had some of the same traits as Gorgeous George like wearing a real fancy robe.
As a heel, Gorgeous Jimmy had many feuds, one of which we saw in the viewings was with David Von Erich. This feud ended quite funny actually as we saw in the viewings. After Gorgeous Jimmy lost his feud with David Von Erich, his valet Sunshine and himself were forced to work on David's ranch and basically be his slave for the day.
He also had a feud with Chris Adams. This feud lasted for the rest of this career with World Class Championship Wrestling. He later moved on to wrestle for the American Wrestling Association and then with the World Championship Wrestling. Finally in 1993 Gorgeous Jimmy left World Championship Wrestling for the Global Wrestling Federation. Here he would re-spark his feud with Chris Adams after ten years of their first feud in World Class Championship Wrestling. This quick died away as the Global Wrestling Federation took a fall shortly after Gorgeous Jimmy joined it.


Omar said...

I think the reuse of the "Gorgeous" moniker was a way to capitalize on what Gutowski would call an effective motif. At the most basic level, wrestling is composed of particular flavors of performance and character. It treated simply as tactics for drawing heat, it would make sense to repeat or reinvent popular tactics, to continue to do what works.

The persistence of the "Gorgeous" charater, with his haughty demeanor and fine tastes bespeaks of the effectiveness of this persona as a heel that the crowd loves to hate. Truly there was the one and only Gorgeous George. But the newness of his character in his heyday allowed him to forge an archetypal heel persona that has been emulated ever since.

Sam Ford said...

Good point, Omar, about the recurring motifs in pro wrestling texts. We see a lot of them, don't we, in names, gimmicks, match types, storylines, etc. "Nature Boy." "Gorgeous." "Living Legend." "Bruiser." "Crusher." Several wrestlers have had these types of names somewhere in their title, and Jimmy Garvin is another one of these guys.

By the way, Chris, great for you to flesh out a little more info about Jimmy Garvin and some of the other places he wrestled. When he was in WCW for a while, he actually teamed with Michael Hayes as a later version of The Fabulous Freebirds who were such an important part of WCCW history. While the original version was Hayes, Buddy Roberts, and Terry Gordy, Hayes and Garvin were fairly well-known as well.

Sam Ford said...

One other point that I mentioned in class that you would have missed. Those skits with Garvin were some of the first of that type of way of fleshing out a wrestler's character. While it was kind of goofy, it does show how out-of-the-ring antics became more important in this era, taken to its extreme with WWE's "Tuesday Night Titans," which will see a few brief clips of next week. That was a wrestling show that featured very little wrestling but a lot of skits and segments instead.

katejames said...

The recurrance of the Gorgeous character is very indicative of the character and narrative structure of wrestling. As Manning points out in "Will the Sheik Use his Blinding Fireball?", "it is not individual men, but types of men at stake in the wrestling ring" (110). On the most fundamental level, there is only good and evil in the wrestling world (and the flip-flopper), but never more ambiguous characters. Within the two catagories, there are then subcatagories, as mentioned- the snob, the ethnic stereotype, etc. These wrestling personae are like Shakepeare characters, familiar but being played by different actors over time.

I think the repetition serves two purposes- 1- to draw on the credibility and effectiveness (as Omar points out) of the protypical/ legendary version of the character to strengthen the current version of the character, and 2- to add crdibility to the prototype/ legend by echoing and reiterating it. The feedback over time can only clarify and strengthen the development of storyline. It compounds into a digestable, relatable package that dynamically connects to audience.

Sam Ford said...

Another good point, Kate, that came up in class. I think your question is key. Vince McMahon in the mid-90s said that the "old formula of good guy versus bad guy is passe," on their own show, but it doesn't mean they still don't book things in a face vs. heel way. It indicated more a shift in the requirements for being a face or a heel than a change in how wrestling is done.

Look back at Larry Matysik's piece on Sam Mushnick, though, he points out that Sam often booked face versus face or heel versus heel, especially when a title is on the line. Right now, I mentioned John Cena as an example of a wrestler who has generated both a face and heel reaction from fans simultaneously. And Wrestlemania this year features two title matches where both champion and challenger are face. It seems that when matches exist outside of the "good guy versus bad guy" mentality, it is often with a championship on the line...

Oh, and just to clear up confusion, the "Will the Sheik" essay is written by Jim Freedman, the same guy who wrote Drawing Heat, but it appeared in a collection of essays by Frank Manning.