Feature: Steve Anderson on Patriot Squared


Well, I guess Tom Brandi and Del Wilkes had to make wrestling news somehow.

Yesterday, Wilkes took exception to Brandi’s use of his Patriot gimmick and the assertion that the former “Salvatore Sincere” (a proud member of the Lame Gimmicks Hall of Fame) did NOT purchase it from him. Brandi defended himself.

At least, I think he did.

He talked about being in the best shape of the dozen or so “Patriots” that walk the earth with the Doink the Clowns (or is it Doinks the Clown). He doesn’t need the name. He could be The Eagle, The Freedom Fighter, or Mr. America (oh wait, that’s taken). Yet, he chooses the Patriot. He never claimed to be Del Wilkes (why would he), nor did he play him on TV. He even alleged that the Honky Tonk Man has his son don the mask during autograph signings.

Notice that he did not mention Wilke’s refuting his claims of buying the gimmick. Something Brandi has alleged before.

Thanks to this site, fans can get a slight taste of the seedy underbelly that exists in the independent circuit. Those of you who have worked in it and attended many shows know what I am talking about. Big name wrestlers are advertised, only to have imposters playing the role. I even heard about one show that had a fake Nitro Girl. Seriouslyâ<80>¦

Del Wilkes and Tom Brandi’s dispute over a colorful mask is sadly par for the course. The rule, not the exception. Only scratches the surface. Okay, no more clichés.

There are hard-working wrestlers who are talented and not famous. They are overshadowed by those who had a cup of coffee or long stint in the spotlight. Living off a name or a gimmick you “purchased” can be a gold mind. Similarly, wrestling promoters are out there living their dream and keeping their honor and dignity. Few and far between (okay, one more), my friends, but they are out there. However, they have to overcome misperceptions and put up with egotistical has-beens who want to suck the marrow out of the business. That’s a dramatic way of referring to their payoffs affecting those that work in an area on a regular basis.

I have no problem with Tom Brandi using the Patriot gimmick. I could care less if Del Wilkes appears as the Patriot. The gimmick has been out of the big spotlight for so long, it has become an independent staple. Few fans today even remember his brief WWF run. Let alone his stint as the Global Wrestling Federation champion, featuring a feud with the Dark Patriot.

It’s like laying claim to a leisure suit. Okay, you own it. Now what?

I believe there was a time when there was honor between wrestling promoters. Handshake agreements not to work in the other’s territory were abided by for the most part. Sure, there was chicanery, but not the kind that exists today. Faux superstars, pot-bellied Patriots and clowns as far as the eye can see.

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