Great-ing Gimmicks of the Past – Kwee-Wee: WCW, 2000
By mid-2000, WCW had a serious roster problem. For years, they had depended on almost the same stable of wrestlers and now those wrestlers were disappearing. Sean Waltman had left two years prior and was followed by a good deal of other talent Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Giant, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, and Perry Saturn. Randy Savage’s contract had expired the year before and had not been renewed. The ever-undependable Scott Hall had disappeared from WCW TV. Ric Flair had been removed from television after losing a tag team match (partnered with son Reid) against Vince Russo and David Flair with the stipulation that the loser had to retire. Lex Luger had disappeared following that year’s Slamboree. Bret Hart had suffered a career-ending concussion the previous December. Roddy Piper, while still under contact, was no longer on television (it would be terminated a couple of months later). To make things even worse, perennial main-eventer Hulk Hogan had walked out following the Bash at the Beach.
WCW had no choice. They trained wrestlers at the Power Plant in Atlanta and also had wrestlers stationed at Les Thatcher’s Heartland Wrestling Association, which they used as a development territory. It was time to raid the trainees.
On July 10th, we got an inconspicuous debut for one of those new faces. Paisley (Queen Sharmell) was backstage looking for someone to iron one of the Artist’s (formerly known as Prince Iaukea) shirts. She stumbled across someone in wardrobe who wore pink and had his hair teased straight up. He told her that he was the Kiwi, and she was never to speak to him in that tone again. Paisley, of course, was smitten.
The next week, Mark Madden was wandering around backstage after getting misted by the Great Muta and came across Kiwi. He and Paisley got into an argument until the Artist pulled her away. Kiwi’s verdict? Thumbs down.
On Thunder we had a Hardcore title match as champion Big Vito took on the Artist. They brawled backstage, eventually winding up in the same room as Kiwi and Paisley. After nailing Vito with Kiwi’s ironing board, the Artist clocked Kiwi and nailed him with the ironing board, too. We saw Kiwi trying to get up as they brawled back out toward the ring.
Nitro saw Kiwi and the Yung Dragons watching a sex tape between Kidman and Torrie in the back.
Thunder had the Artist taking on Skip Over (better known as WCW New Blood member Elix Skipper). The Artist was in control and turned to Paisley for a chair. Unfortunately, Kiwi was standing at the top of the ramp watching the match for a moment before he returned to the back. Paisley chased after him. That was the distraction Skip needed to get the win.
On Nitro, the now renamed Kwee-Wee was talking with WCW Commissioner the Cat (Ernest Miller). Kwee-Wee was demanding a match with the Artist and waving a pink bunny slipper in a threatening manner. The Cat agreed.
In the match, the Artist slapped Kwee-Wee after coming off the ropes and that was all it took. Kwee-Wee fought back and we had a decent match on our hands. In the end, Kwee-Wee won with a powerbomb and then advised everyone in the back to not make him angry.
The following Nitro saw Kwee-Wee cutting off Pamela Paulshock when she tried to interview him. This interview was notable because we met his wife Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Papaya (better known as BB from the WWF).
On Thunder, the Artist was looking for someone. He found him, too, as he discovered Kwee-Wee getting a massage from Paisley and Papaya. They brawled and security wound up pulling them apart.
On the post- New Blood Rising Nitro, Kwee-Wee had another match. This time he was taking on the WCW 100 Kilogram and Under Champion (renamed from the Cruiserweight Title by Lance Storm) Elix Skipper. Kwee-Wee was making a good accounting of himself until he was distracted by Papaya, which gave Skipper the chance he needed to load up his fist and lay Kwee-Wee out. Afterward, a furious Kwee-Wee pitched the referee out of the ring.
A week later, we had Kwee-Wee and Paisley taking on MIA’s Corporal Cajun (Lash LeRoux) and Major Gunns in mixed tag action. Papaya had already been released. In the end, Kwee-Wee got dumped, then Gunns came off the top (with help from Cajun) to get the win. Afterward, Kwee-Wee and Paisley attacked the winners.
Thunder saw a one-on-one match between Kwee-Wee and Cajun. During the match, Paisley was on commentary while the rest of the Misfits in Action surrounded the ring. Lieutenant Loco (Chavo Guerrero Jr.) seemed especially keen to interject himself into the match. Kwee-Wee wound up with the win. After the match, Paisley and Gunns got into a catfight.
The fight continued backstage and a match was set between the two for later in the night.
Later still, Paisley was with Kwee-Wee and Mean Gene backstage and she challenged Gunns to leave the Misfits in the back.
Paisley wound up winning the match, and then left with Tygress.
On August 30th, Jeff Jarrett brought out his mystery opponent for that night’s Thunder Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Kwee-Wee. Jarrett jumped Kwee-Wee before the match started. In the end, Jarrett put him away with the Stroke. Afterward, Jarrett announced he’d just had the match of the year.
The next episode of Thunder opened with Kwee-Wee taking on Lieutenant Loco. 100 KG and Under champion Elix Skipper soon came out to watch with Team Canada captive Major Gunns. Kwee-Wee wound up winning the match and was named the number one contender to Skipper’s belt. Afterward we had a multi-angle collision Gunns got away and attacked Paisley, which caused Tygress to help Paisley, then Skipper carried her away before the MIA could rescue her.
That brought us to Fall Brawl and Kwee-Wee’s title shot. In the end, after a decent match, Mike Sanders cracked Kwee-Wee in the leg with a baseball bat. Skipper retained his belt easily.
The next night saw Kwee-Wee and Paisley tag teaming to take on Shane Douglas and Torrie Wilson. In the end, Douglas hit Kwee-Wee with his finisher (the Franchiser) and Paisley started screaming how she wanted Torrie Wilson. Douglas obliged and dragged Kwee-Wee to his corner to let Paisley tag in. Then he didn’t tag Torrie in and hit a Franchiser on Paisley instead for the win.
On Thunder, we had a rematch Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Paisley vs. Torrie. Paisley got the win, then Douglas nailed her with the Franchiser after the match. Tygress came running out to save her, then Konnan had to save her from Douglas.
It was October 9th’s Nitro before we saw Kwee-Wee again. We just got a glimpse of him as Major Gunns stopped him backstage to try and get a new top.
Thunder had Kwee-Wee and Paisley on Mike Awesome’s Lava Lamp Lounge. While Kwee-Wee talked about training in the Power Plant with the New Blood Thrillers, Awesome was focused on hitting on Paisley. Then Johnny the Bull (Johnny Stamboli) attacked Kwee-Wee and the Harris twins jumped Awesome.
Kwee-Wee took on Johnny the Bull on Nitro. Unfortunately, before the match even really got started, Johnny landed wrong on his ankle from a monkey flip (move #2 of the match) so Kwee-Wee wound up getting a near immediate win.
On Thunder we had a battle royal to determine the new number one contender. Kwee-Wee was entered and then eliminated almost immediately.
Kwee-Wee made his Worldwide debut that weekend as he took on then-unknown Christopher Daniels. Needless to say, Kwee-Wee wound up with the win.
The 25th’s Thunder opened with Kwee-Wee getting a Hardcore title shot against Reno. Kwee-Wee was ready for action with pink garbage cans. In a nice twist, the announcer mentioned that the New Blood Thrillers had demanded this match in revenge for Johnny the Bull’s injury. Reno won with the Roll of the Dice, then hit the same move again on Paisley.
Kwee-Wee got a rematch on Nitro. This time they brawled backstage and the rest of the Natural Born Thrillers joined in the fun. Long story short, Reno retained.
Kwee-Wee and Paisley put in another appearance on Worldwide as they played “Win the Brain’s Money.Ã¢â‚¬Â They were up $750, but decided to go with one last question for $1000. Bobby got it right, so they won nothing. Fortunately, Tony Schiavone and Paisley were there to keep Kwee-Wee from putting Heenan through a table.
After that, Kwee-Wee only found himself involved in minor feuds. He never again wore gold in WCW, and joined other gimmicks in the “afterthoughtÃ¢â‚¬Â category.
The entire gimmick did have legs, believe it or not. Some people believe that a gay gimmick can end a wrestler’s career, but it can also help make it. Exotic Adrian Street is an excellent example. Street was a flamboyant wrestler who started wrestling in 1957. While in Britain, he bleached his hair blond and began wearing light blue gear. The fans heckled him asking where his purse was, so Street decided to show them a thing or two. He began prancing to the ring, kissed the referee, and gave seductive looks to his opponent. The fans went nuts. As Street’s career continued, he grew his hair out longer, began wearing more and more intricate face paint, and even began wearing gowns on television. His real-life wife also began accompanying him to the ring as Miss Linda.
The trick was that Street was also an incredible wrestler. He would prance to the ring, but once the bell rang he had one goal Ã¢â‚¬â€œ dismantle his opponent. This was completely different from what the fans expected. After all, shouldn’t his offense be limited to “girlishÃ¢â‚¬Â moves like slapping at his opponent? Instead, Street went after his opponent with ferocity and didn’t think anything about busting his opponent open to get the victory.
Similar gimmicks have been attempted over the years with varying success. Goldust was a major draw for the WWF during the mid to late 90’s. Rico (after leaving Three Minute Warning) attempted much the same gimmick as Street, and even met with Street himself for advice on how to do the gimmick. Unfortunately, it did not work for him.
Kwee-Wee was not one of the successful ones. While Alan Funk did his best to get the gimmick over, and even did succeed in winning some fans in the beginning, his scattershot booking later on simply mired the character in the midcard.
Where are they now?
After the WCW closure, Alan Funk did a tour or two with World Wrestling All-Stars before making his TNA debut on their first show. As Bruce, he was one-half of the Rainbow Express tag team with Lenny Lane. He even defeated Taylor Vaughn in an evening gown competition to be crowned Miss TNA. By November, he had returned to his old Angry Allen Funk gimmick, leaving behind all traces of Kwee-Wee
In 2003, he was competing in a tag match with Mike Sanders against Sonny Siaki and Elix Skipper. Siaki botched a moonsault and severely injured Funk when he landed on his face. Funk suffered a broken eardrum, nose, and jaw and also a cracked orbital bone. He has since recovered and returned to the indy scene.
Paisley (Sharmell Sullivan) was picked up by the WWF in the WCW buyout and assigned to OVW. Later in the year she suffered a knee injury and was released. She was re-signed in 2005 and now serves as her real-life husband King Booker’s valet, Queen Sharmell.
David Flair gets some joyful news.