I recently attended the 2014 Cauliflower Alley Club Convention/Banquet in Las Vegas, where several professional wrestlers from the past and present were honored, matches were held, baloney was eaten. While I was out there, I had the chance to meet "The King of Belts" Reggie Parks, which was essentially my reason for taking the trip – and worth every penny. Reggie is the coolest cat you'll ever meet, just a humble, all-around class act. While the meeting was brief, I will treasure it forever. And my bucket list just got one item shorter.
Belts and baloney aside, there are so many things to love about the wrestling business. But if there's one thing I enjoy more than anything else, it's the insider lingo. As I've gotten to converse with more people who are actually involved in the business, my vocabulary has increased ten-fold – mainly with the addition of one word. You heard that right. One magical word.
The word was originally used to describe anything that a wrestler would use to set himself apart from his fellow grapplers. It could be a character, an object, an article of clothing, an idea. For example, Jake "The Snake" Roberts: his gimmick was that of a man who embodied the characteristics of a snake. The actual snake he brought to the ring with him was a gimmick in itself. Ditto Koko B. Ware's pet bird Frankie, Hacksaw Jim Duggan's 2x4, Jim Cornette's tennis racket, the list goes on and on. It can also be used as an adjective, such as "gimmick table" (where wrestlers sell their wares) or "gimmick battle royal" (where gimmicky wrestlers from the past battle for supremacy).
But where this little gift from Heaven really shines is in its ability to be sort of a "catch all" word, one that can describe anything, whether it already has a name or not. A timely placed "gimmick" can make a sentence. Hell, it can make a conversation. Time and time again I am amazed at how versatile a word it is. Take, for instance, when my friend Conrad Thompson ordered "the seafood gimmick" from our waitress in one of the finest establishments I've ever been allowed into – she instinctively knew what he meant. Or when Stone Cold Steve Austin recently used it on his podcast to describe a certain part of the female anatomy (I'll let you figure out which one). Dave Millican uses it in just about every gimmick...I mean sentence. It's quite addicting.
Just remember to tread lightly. If handled improperly, it can really blow up in your face. Use it sparingly at first. Once you feel comfortable, you can start peppering it into conversations with those who are familiar with it. Before you know it, you'll be gimmicking everyday words while you converse with co-workers and loved ones alike. For example, you might want to tell your kids to brush their gimmicks before bed. Or you can bore Bob in accounting by describing how your CrossFit regimen is helping you lose that gimmick around your waist.
And if your wife asks you to grab your tools and take a look at her gimmick, well, you'll know what to do.
|Cool display of boxing title belts in our hotel's lobby (MGM Grand).|
|Yes, I got yelled at for trying to climb onto the apron.|