Thursday, August 23, 2018

One Man Gang vs. Akeem

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I've found a new pro wrestling podcast and became an instant fan. It's called Our Vantage Point. The first episode I listened to is number 95. They recap that year (1995) as they also talk about successful and not so successful gimmicks. The One Man Gang was brought up as well as his alter-ego Akeem, the African Dream. There was a debate on which character enjoyed the most success. So I brought the conversation over to the My 1-2-3 Cents Facebook page and created a poll.

As you can see OMG easily beat Akeem. But there were some who were passionate in the reasoning for picking the African based character. Sam Banks had this to say: 

"One Man Gang was very popular in the regional territories in the 70’s and 80’s, but really rose to prominence when he took on the African Dream gimmick in the WWF. 

The WWF is where he did the most memorable things in his career in front of the most eyes, and with the WWE Network available to everyone, his Akeem stuff will be what most people see for as long as the Network exists.
Akeem is the clear answer here. The majority of young wrestling fans since the year 2000 have probably never even heard of One Man Gang, but I would bet they’d know who Akeem and the Twin Towers were."

Jerry Travelstead commented too:

"Personally, don't think this one is close. OMG gimmick wasn't just WWF. Believe he did Mid South, Texas, The Carolinas, and other regional organizations well before WWF. He has popped up as OMG several times when I've been watching some of the older stuff on the network."

I'm still on the fence on the issue. I remember Gang when I watched World Class Championship Wrestling and Midsouth (UWF). Even in his first year or so in WWE he competed as the big man from Halstead Street in Chicago. Then the transformation happened and Akeem was born.

Some fast facts about the WWE tenure of George Gray (the man behind the gimmicks):
One Man Gang debuted in the spring of 1987. He feuded with Hulk Hogan, Don Muraco and Bam Bam Bigelow in that first year. He was in the main event of the first Survivor Series (his team won) and he made it to the semi-finals of the WWE Championship tournament at WrestleMania IV before losing (by DQ) to the eventual winner Randy Savage. 

As Akeem, Gray was back in the main event picture. He and the Big Bossman feuded with Savage and Hogan as the MegaPowers. Again he was part of the Survivor Series main event as well as The Main Event on NBC when the Megapowers finally exploded in 1989. He and Bossman pursued the tag team titles that summer against Demolition. I really thought they were going to win but the Brain Busters did instead.

Akeem vs. Bossman
After that, it seems both men floundered a bit. The Twin Towers split in early 1990 and Bossman made quick work of his former partner at WrestleMania VI. He faded away and resurfaced in WCW as the OMG once again. During the second run in 1995, he picked up the company's U.S. Championship. 

Gimmick Battle Royal
When he returned to WWE in 2001 for the Gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania 17 he did so as the Gang. He also competed as that character at the King of Trios tournament with Chikara a decade ago. 

Both characters had an impact and were successful. But what are your thoughts? Who had more success in pro wrestling, the One Man Gang or Akeem? Weigh in here or on the Facebook page.

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