When Mike Rotunda returned to the WWF in 1991, he was more like his WCW Michael Wall Street character than he was the Rotunda last seen in the promotion. To explain this new persona, he was rechristened Irwin R. Shyster in a series of vignettes where he said how all wrestling fans were tax cheats.
Perhaps a new wrestler is set to make their debut, or they're coming back under a different name. Or perhaps they've tweaked an aspect of their character.... or they've gone outside the ring to promote an upcoming feud.
No matter what the motivation, a good vignette can really help build excitement for a wrestler. WWE has been producing these for the better part of 30 years to familiarize their audience with both new and old personas.
If done correctly, the vignette will help fans know something about the wrestler's character, or at least their motivation, and it helps them get behind the star. And hey, even if the wrestler doesn't live up to their vignette potential, at least it was different than the in-ring product.
In ranking the Top 50 WWE Vignettes, Canadian Bulldog's World looked at the following criteria:
How memorable were the spots?
Did the vignette help to explain who the wrestler was or their current storyline?
Did the vignette establish how unique the wrestler is from their competition?
If you'd like to be a part of this conversation, Tweet us at @canadianbulldog using the hashtag #Top50, or leave a comment below.
Ready? Here we go!
In 1990, WWE Hall of Famer Ravishing Rick Rude targeted WWF World Champion The Ultimate Warrior. Over several weeks of vignettes, Rude was shown training with his manager Bobby Heenan and increasingly getting more serious about his longtime rival, even shortening his hair to develop a new look.
"You can call me Sparky"
The late 2004 introduction of Muhammad Hassan (and manager Daivari) to Raw audiences was an interesting one. Through a series of vignettes, Hassan explained he was an Arab-American who was tired of being stereotyped after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It was a brilliant way to debut a nuanced, effective heel.
Prior to his WWF debut in 1996, WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley began showing up in a series of vignettes, his face covered by shadows and his fingers covered up because of a childhood injury. Playing with rats in his cave, tearing his hair out and shrieking, the world soon became familiar with the Mankind persona.