Let’s see here. Say you’re in charge of character development at WCW. Enhancement talent extraordinaire DeWayne Bruce – better known as Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker – is fresh off a totally ludicrous stint as a savage, man-eating leprechaun, needs a gimmick change. What could we rename him?
Jack Squat? Well, it certainly fits what the pint-sized grappler had accomplished thus far in WCW. However, let’s try another, shall we?
Jack Sh*t? See above.
Jack Off? No, the wrestling world wouldn’t be ready for masturbation until a midget and a trash can met up a decade later.
Jack Of All Bad Gimmicks, Master Of None? Nope. Sorry Dwayne, Ed Leslie has that one trademarked.
I’ve got it!! We’ll call him Jack Boot. Yeah, that’s a winner. Nevermind that the term “jackboot” is most associated with the boots the Nazis wore in World War II. Political correctness, be damned!! Get Mr. Boot outfitted in the hokiest camouflage outfit you can find, and get him on WCW Saturday Night pronto.
With his questionable gimmick, and even more questionable name in tow, Jack Boot first unleashed his fuhrer..oops, I mean fury, to WCW rings in November of 1996. HIs character, well, the best I can say is that he was supposed to be some sort of grumpy militant. On one occasion as he was walking to the ring, Jack mumbled something to the effect of, “…society is dying. Only Jack Boot has the cure.” Well, if the cure for all of Earth’s poverty, environmental, and war-related problems involves getting your ass kicked by the Dungeon Of Doom on a weekly basis, hey, I’m all for it. That sure would cut down on government spending if proven to be effective.
Even though his resume only consisted of a few defeats and no victories in his first month, Jack Boot somehow found himself booked for the main event of WCW’s November pay-per-view!!! Take that, all you non believers!!!!! What a second, I better rephrase that. Jack Boot found himself, along with FIFTY-NINE other men, in the main event, three-ring battle royal at World War 3. Somehow, his achievement now seems less noteworthy. Boot didn’t win the battle royal, but he did have a good showing. He outlasted about 40 of the other wrestlers, hanging on close to the end, before finally being eliminated by Scott Hall and the Giant.
Despite his remarkable performance, the PPV proved to be both the rise and sunset of Jack Boot’s short-lived legacy. About a month after Jack Boot’s debut, he suddenly disappeared. In his place reemerged the more public-friendly Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker. No longer a mere cop, Parker was now a sergeant in the military. In retrospect, was the shortlived Jack Boot gimmick a casualty of Turner trying to be more PC? Well, in addition to being a piece of Nazi footwear, the term “jackboot” also defines a strong militant, so maybe that was what WCW was shooting for. Then again, we’re talking about a company that introduced the “surely not offensive to 99.9% of the world” gimmicks of the Final Solution and Blitzkreig, so who knows? I’m just surprised that amongst all these potentially offensive gimmicks, that this fellow veteran of TBS programming never showed up to lend his managerial advice. Now that I think about though, Jack Boot had it bad enough without the bumbling Colonel Klink from Hogan’s Heroes guilding his career.
One more note about our current JOTW. Despite Ed Leslie having the WCW record for most gimmicks, the underappreciated, former head of WCW’s Power Plant – Mr. DeWayne Bruce – has him beat in terms of lack of gimmick longevity. He went from evil police officer, to leprechaun, to rambling militant, to military sargeant, in a matter of no more than eight weeks. Just try and top that one, Edward!!!
And before you email me, Ed getting arrested for highjinks in a subway station, and thus becoming publicly known as Jack Ass, does not count as an official gimmick change.