Turkey day is here! The joyous day of feasting, family, football and friends has finally arrived. In the pro wrestling world, Thanksgiving was once one of, if not the, biggest days of the year. Not only was the holiday the launching pad for the WWE’s Survivor Series but territorial feds use to draw huge houses of post-meal families watching some ‘rasslin.
I am weird though, so I do not associate Thanksgiving and wrestling with any particular great event or entertaining match, nope, when I think of Thanksgiving and wrestling, I think of one thing… The Gobbledy Gooker.
Oh yes, the Gobbledy Gooker. You have probably heard of him (it?) but if you haven’t please stop reading and watch the video now. Words just cannot do the Gooker justice.
The back story of the Gooker is simple wrestling buildup. A giant egg was wheeled to the arena for months in anticipation of the 1990 WWE Survivor Series. Just like in the good old days, get an egg, have a guy come up, make money.
As the egg continued to show up on WWE television, questions began to arise: what is in the egg? Who could be in the egg? Why an egg? Wait, really, an egg?
It feels silly having to have this discussion, but the disappointment should have been obvious from the beginning. It’s a freaking egg. What could have came out of the egg and been taken seriously? The way the egg was built up and paraded around television, one would assume it was a huge announcement or a particularly important debuting wrestler.
At the end of the day, though, what could’ve come out of that thing and still had credibility. Is Andre the Giant suppose to emerge from the egg and just go on his normal path? It’s really mind-boggling.
I honestly don’t know who could have debuted, returned or what could have been announced out of the egg. Perhaps Terry Taylor (then The Red Rooster) could have emerged, he had left the WWE in June of that year, but at least that makes sense.
Koko B. Ware could have found a new friend inside the egg. Granted, the egg was a hundred times the size of an actual bird egg, but hey, maybe it was a whole gaggle of birds ala Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Unfortunately, Ware was busy that night, taking the brunt of the then-debuting Undertaker’s offense.
I am really just stretching, but what could emerge from the egg and make sense? You could not debut a wrestler from the egg…could you?
Fast forward to Survivor Series 1990 and the decisive moment, we are about to find out what’s in the egg. “Mean” Gene Okerlund started the segment by telling the Hartford Civic Center crowd that the incubation has finished and the egg was about to hatch!
Here we go!
“Everybody has speculated as to what might be in the egg. Is it a dinosaur; is it a rabbit, balloons…is it the Playmate of the Month? Who knows? Well, the way it sounds to me right now the speculating is all over!”
Here we go!
The egg exploded and of course, duh, it was renowned Mexican professional wrestler Hector Guerrero, brother of the late, great Eddie Guerrero, in a giant turkey costume.
Nobody has really been able to answer the question as to why the WWE hired a talented worker like Guerrero for the sole purpose of throwing him in a giant turkey suit, but it is one of the more galling aspects of the entire ordeal.
Now, despite common thought that the Gooker was a one-time deal, Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer noted on the November 19, 2012 edition of Wrestling Observer Radio that Gooker was suppose to be a mascot, perhaps long-term.
“They (World Wrestling Entertainment) thought that (Gobbledy Gooker) was going to be a mascot, it was going to be a big popular thing for kids. They brought him back about five times before they gave up”
The fact that they brought him back on non-Thanksgiving Day, non-Survivor Series events, combined with the fact that Hector Guerrero and not some random intern or jobber was given this role leads me to believe they had something bigger in mind.
There is really no justification for hiring someone of Guerrero’s level unless he was one of the more talented dancers among unsigned independent wrestling talent in North America.
Either way, the Gooker debuted; the crowd (even kids) hated it. Frankly, the whole concept was doomed from the beginning. It is amazing to me it was even green lighted. The egg, to WWE’s credit, was presented as a huge deal, but in the end, people were clamoring for something bigger than a Turkey mascot.
With that said, what could have reasonably debuted in the egg? There is no way a wrestler comes back from debuting in an egg. As mentioned earlier, The Undertaker debuted at this very same show. Does anybody think we are talking about a 20-0 WrestleMania streak and one of the more legendary performers in professional wrestling history if he debuted in an egg?
Anyway, The Gobbledy Gooker now resides in WWE infamy. He (and Guerrero) returned for the WrestleMania X-7 Gimmick Battle Royal in 2001. While the outfit was different from the original, which I imagine was burned or tucked away in some very private storage locker in New Mexico, the Gooker had a solid return. Although he was eliminated second in the match, a completely new generation of wrestling fans was able to bask in the greatness of the Gobbledy Gooker.
Since then, the Gooker has been dusted off regularly including an appearance at the 2008 Survivor Series as the Boogeyman donned the historic costume. Diva Maryse also had the pleasure of being under the mask on the November 23, 2009 edition of Raw, attacking Melina in her return to the company.
Despite these small returns, The Gooker has never got his due. He has lived on in the internet wrestling community thanks in large part to WrestleCrap.com’s yearly worst gimmick award, the appropriately named Gooker Award.
What was the long-term goal of the Gooker? Although Meltzer said it was merely as a mascot, I have to believe there was more to it. Anyone could have put on a costume and been the WWE’s mascot. And wait, why the hell was a turkey a long-term mascot for the WWE? How much drawing power does a turkey have in any month besides November?
And we think today’s story lines are poorly planned?