Posted by: sportsandbeans | September 18, 2006

You Look Wonderful, Dahling. =)

migs id by Migs

I’ve seen a lot of things in my lifetime with regards to WWE gimmicks. The latest Big Vito incarnation, I must say, is something that has the potential to have more to it than meets the eye.

Having a male grappler wear a dress isn’t new in the sports entertainment world. William Regal’s done it (as a result of his tiff with Paul Burchill), and the annoying, “perenially drenched in hubris” Jonathan Coachman had to do it due a loss he incurred at WWE Taboo Tuesday some time back. The similar detail that the Regal and Coachman “case studies” possess is that the dress gimmick was put forth to ellicit a laugh or two. Period. Fast forward to Big Vito and your sister’s prom dress, though, and what you get is a round of chuckles, and, in truth, a legit character that can go somewhat long term.

Big Vito Big Vito was born Vito Lograsso, and started wrestling in ECW in 1990 under the pseudonym Skull Von Crusher. Later, he worked with WCW (where he teamed up with Johnny The Bull to form the team “The Mamalukes”; here, Vito won the WCW Tag Titles twice and held the WCW Hardcore Title briefly as well), and in TnA Wrestling (teamed with Glenn Gilberti, Trinity, and Johnny Swinger to form the “The New York Connection) in such of sports entertainment glory. By 2005, Vito had signed with WWE, and was aligned with ex-Cruiserweight champion Nunzio. After ECW was formerly restablished under Vince McMahon’s ownership, the former was left all by his lonesome on Smackdown when Nunzio bolted for the WWE’s “newest” brand. With his role in future storylines in limbo, WWE creatives thought of qutting the Mafioso gag and play dress up- literally.

Vito’s new gimmick has the potential to go far because I feel he has enough physical prowess and fundamental communication skill (his “relational aspect” isn’t at it’s peak just yet, but it’s slowly improving, with him being involved in more on-screen verbal encounters in a commentator’s capacity or within the context of “happenstance”, or, him bumping into other talents on Smackdown for filler spiels), and willingness to take hits, to let the new function take it’s course. His old role as the “silent but violent” afforded him very little room to show any sort of on-screen flexibility. As long as he looked dapper, made allusions to the brilliance of Italians and the grandeur of Italy/The Mafia, he could be said to have been fulfilling his obligation to the WWE in an outstanding manner. Vito’s current character uses the oddness behind the garb not to promote a homosexual persona, much less, an abhorrable one. Rather, the whole idea behind him wearing a dress has been to allow for the emergence of more of the “fun-lovin’ paisan” with substance and less of the one-dimensional bruiser with a vocabulary of a squirrel.

WWE management has allowed Big V to strut his stuff, so much so that he’s even been given a chance to fight the current World Heavyweight Champion King Booker in a non-title bout (some would say that this match’s booking is rooted in the fact that Smackdown has a severely depleted roster, but I think it’s been made more as a result of a higher degree of confidence placed on the hefty Italian’s broad shoulders). Being thrust into any sort of limelight in the WWE has attached to it a great opportunity and responsibility. Much can be attained and concurrently, much can be lost at the snap of a finger. My colleague Milo and I have alluded to the WWE’s penchant for misusing its personnel in the past, hence, if I were Vito, I wouldn’t just “dress to impress” at this point. I would pretty much live and breathe the vocation of bestowing depth upon my character, such that it not only fills seats, but manages to attach a label on the WWE which says that not only preaches quantity/variety, but launches forth QUALITY, as well.

This Italian fella’ may never turn out to be the next Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, but he does have the means at hand to be decently successful member of the WWE roster. In truth, followers of the industry ought to give sports entertainment athletes like Vito, those who toil for many years without getting an apt amount of recognition for reasons all too “rational” in accordance with this world’s often harsh and inequitable code, the biggest round of applause. Getting beaten up week in and week out, along with having someone’s derriere shoved in your face, or, along with having your derriere exposed for the whole world to see for “minimal” compensation materially and in terms of morale, is no joke. This bit of showbizness doesn’t seem to be on the way towards becoming reformed anytime soon, and such means two things: one, that sometimes, earning your keep can mean having to strip you of your ego, and/or dignity, and two, there are people who will do what they’re paid to do, but do it with a sense of professionalism and class which allows them to know where to clearly “draw the line”, invariably (yes, Vito’s wearing a dress can be seen to be too raunchy a prospect by some, but really, nothing degrading to the point of stabbing a soul to death has happened just yet; less whimsical, or laughable, rewards come to those who persist in flowing with the business’ status quo without being consumed by it).

Based the most recent chain of events surrounding Smackdown, Vito can be said to be anything but a fluke. Hopefully, this situation will allow for the bolstering of more talent whose moments in the sun are WAY past their due dates. =)

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