|Killer Kowlski & Big John Studd|
By Kevin Hunsperger
The Executioner gimmick is one that has been used by several different wrestlers through the years. In the 1970's the tag team version of the gimmick held the WWWF tag team titles. The men wore masks to conceal their identities, but we know that Big John Studd and Killer Kowalski were the original duo. They added a third executioner during their tag team title reign: Nikoali Volkoff. Back then it was before the "Freebird" rule in tag team wrestling and the Executioners were stripped of the tag titles for using all three members to defend.
Another Executioner in the WWF was played by "Playboy" Buddy Rose. He wrestled under a mask and was in the opening match with Tito Santana at the first Wrestlemania. Rose's version of the Executioner was nothing more than a jobber in the 1980's.
|Duane Gill & Barry Hardy|
In the 1990's more jobbers donned the mask and wrestled under the Executioner title. Duane Gill (aka Gillberg) and Barry Hardy (I don't think he's related to Jeff & Matt) lost to teams like Men on Mission, the Quebecers, and the Rock N Roll Express.
The most recent Executioner (I believe) was Terry Gordy. The former Freebird had returned to the WWF in 1996. He joined forces with Paul Bearer and Mankind to attack the Undertaker. Gordy didn't stick around long in the WWF. He only wrestled a couple of matches in his brief stint. I wasn't a fan of this gimmick for Gordy, because I felt like the WWE was hiding the identity of one of the most gifted big men in the business.
Gordy had a lot of success with Michael Hayes and Buddy Roberts as the Fabulous Freebirds. Then he and "Dr. Death" Steve Williams formed one of the best tag teams of the early 90's. They won multiple titles in Japan and had a decent run in WCW.
So I don't know if Gordy's deal was a short term one or if he was terminated. My guess is he was just brought in to feud with Undertaker and after getting tombstoned during an "Armageddon Rules" match at In Your House: It's Time.
The Executioner gimmick didn't do much for the men who portrayed it, but I thought it deserved a mention during this month of Halloween posts.
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