Long the home base of bizarre gimmicks that would make even Vince McMahon cringe, the Memphis area was always welcoming new characters, many based on movies. So it came as no surprise that sooner or later, movie monsters would be adapted for gimmicks. One of the most successful was Nightmare Freddy, or just Freddy, as he is usually called. Freddy is, of course, based on Freddy Krueger, the child-molester turned serial killer, in the Nightmare On Elm Street films. He even came out wearing the bladed glove.
Oh, and he was a babyface, as you can tell here, where he was teaming up with Dustin Rhodes.
Yes sir, nothing says “clean cut hero” more than a monstrous burn-ward escapee who had a thing for 8 year olds.
Freddy was, in fact, portrayed by Tommy Gilbert in a rubber mask. Gilbert, the father of the late Eddie “Hot Stuff” Gilbert and Doug Gilbert, left his refereeing duties to become a wrestler once again, but opted to stay under a mask during the tenure. He even got to feud with a guy named Master of Pain, who later went on to become The Undertaker. I’m fairly certain this feud does not rank among UT’s favorites.
Freddy was just the beginning of the “movie monster” gimmicks in Memphis. Soon after his success (and yes, Freddy was actually over), they brought in Jason to team with him (No relation to Jason The Terrible, who used a similar gimmick). Frankenstein and The Wolfman would soon follow, and Leatherface showed up at some point, too. Note to self: obtain any further illegal narcotics from the Memphis area.
Tommy’s son Doug would eventually take the Freddy gimmick over to Japan, where it gained even more popularity, and helped start a “movie monster/wrestler” boom over there as well, most notably in the W*ing federation, where he joined his brother Eddie in a very controversial match. Feeling betrayed by the company, Doug, wrestling as Nightmare Freddy, and Eddie, as The Boogeyman (from Halloween), broke character after a tag match, removed their masks, and shot on the company, a situation that has since been recreated as an angle for such characters as Beaver Cleaver and Se7en. Even after this, Doug continues to wrestle as Freddy in Japan, and is still very popular, fighting other “monster” wrestlers like Leatherface (another carry-over from Memphis) and The Cryptkeeper.
As a total coincidence, Freddy and his one-time partner Jason appeared at a Memphis card just recently, taking part in a five man elimination match that also included a new Lord Humongous and yet another take off of the Frankenstein gimmick. Though Doug Gilbert is working with the company, it is unknown if he was under the Freddy mask this go-round.