The Patriot Post 1997

Discussion in 'The Wrestling Archives' started by The Brain, Dec 12, 2015.

  1. The Brain

    The Brain King Of The Ring

    Mar 8, 2009
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    A lot of people have said 1997 was their favorite WWF year. It was definitely a turning point and even though we hadn't come to know the phrase yet the Attitude Era was underway. The roster was filled with both established and up and coming talent. The line between kayfabe and reality was being pushed back. We were starting to see things that we'd never seen before, perhaps most notably how the Hart Foundation were received differently in different parts of the world. Out of nowhere a career long low card wrestler showed up in the WWF and was put in the middle of it all. Long time WCW viewers probably never saw The Patriot as a main event wrestler but thanks to the USA vs. Canada storyline that was going on at the time that's exactly where he found himself upon his arrival in the WWF.

    Just two weeks after his debut in July 1997 The Patriot defeated Bret Hart on Monday Night Raw. At the Ground Zero PPV in September he found himself against The Hitman again, this time with the WWF title on the line. Despite losing to Hart just getting a PPV title shot against the WWF's top guy was more than anyone could have expected out of The Patriot. He was definitely overachieving in his new home. Unfortunately for him it ended just as quickly as it had begun. Patriot was supposed to be on Team USA against Team Canada at Survivor Series but an injury just a week before the match took him out of the event. He hasn't been seen since.

    What would have become of The Patriot had he never been injured? He came in hot. Would he have been able to sustain any momentum into 1998? Normally when someone makes a thread like this he goes on to say what great things could have come. I may be killing my own conversation but I'm not sure The Patriot would have made it to his one year anniversary with the company anyway. Although The Patriot came in strong he did end up losing at Ground Zero and again at Badd Blood. He wouldn't have made a difference at Survivor Series and would have been part of the losing team there too. After that there was only one member of The Hart Foundation and Team Canada left in the WWF and the angle was over. Without the USA vs. Canada angle I'm sure the Patriot's stock would have fallen rather quickly. He probably would have gotten a spot in the Royal Rumble and maybe even WrestleMania XIV if WWF could have found someone to stick him with in the tag team battle royal. My guess is he would have found himself competing on primarily Shotgun Saturday Night after that before quietly disappearing.

    Sorry I didn't come up with any creative story telling how the Patriot would have gone on to even better things in 1998 and beyond. You may think the thread is kind of pointless. 'OP's question: What would have been different. OP's answer: Nothing.' Weird, right? I'm just curious if anyone has a different point of view. Are you more optimistic? What do you think would have become of The Patriot had he not been injured?
    tdmoon likes this.
  2. FromGlasgow

    FromGlasgow Championship Contender

    Sep 26, 2014
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    I couldn't see him having a huge year in 1998 either, I think he could have at least had regular work as a mid carder putting others over, I thought he was ok and I remember enjoying watching his feud with Bret Hart but to be honest I didn't miss him and barely even noticed he was gone once he left.
  3. shooter_mcgavin

    shooter_mcgavin Mid-Card Championship Winner

    Sep 14, 2009
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    If he stuck around until 1998 I can see The Patriot taking off his mask and becoming Del Wilkes since at the time the WWF was either giving wrestlers crazy gimmicks or giving them a more edgier and realistic persona, and you can do either with The Patriot gimmick. Also with Bret Hart gone after the screw job there wouldn't be any reason for The Patriot pro-USA gimmick anymore.

    The best I can probably think of is that he will probably be feuding with The Nation once The Rock became the leader. I am sure Wilkes would have ended up working with Henry, D-Lo (European Title), The Godfather, or maybe Owen Hart while teaming with Shamrock, Blackman, or Farooq with this feud.

    One other possibility is him being a tag team with either Farooq or Bradshaw with their College Football background.

    Or he may have ended up joining the brawl for all and getting injured like half of the roster.
  4. OYDK

    OYDK King Of The Ring

    Feb 19, 2014
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    I always felt that The Patriot was just in the right place at the right time. No doubt WWE looked at him, saw a big guy with a strong southern accent and a former college football career, and decided he'd be the perfect fodder for Bret Hart. He didn't necessarily earn his way to the top, he was just kind of thrown in there for the sake of continuing the storyline, and this is what kind of turned me against him. Personally, I thought he was pretty garbage and generic in the ring and on the mic and Hart/Wilkes was by far my least favorite feud of 97.

    Maybe I'm being a little hard on Wilkes, but I just don't like watching somebody who is not a main eventer, in the main event. Especially at a PPV. I don't think he goes anywhere past 97. Not only was the gimmick useless after he lost to Bret, but he also just didn't fit in to the era and he wasn't that good. He was typical old-school Hogan style, and WWE was moving away from that direction. Maybe you can tell, but I just didn't enjoy him at all to be honest.
  5. Mustang Sally

    Mustang Sally Sells seashells by the seashore

    Nov 12, 2008
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    The statement above reminds me of the outset of Kevin Owens' WWE career. He was started at the absolute top, fighting John Cena in his first match on the main roster, and even beating him cleanly. We figured great things were in store for Owens......yet, typical of today's dissatisfied fan base, there's fury because he isn't fighting today at main event level.

    Still, there's a chance he will someday. As with just about everyone who enters the main roster, Kevin has to earn it, and his auspicious beginning served only to send people's expectations falsely soaring. Now, he's where he belongs, working hard and earning whatever place in the organization he can build himself to.

    Same goes for Del Wilkes. The Patriot came in to great the OP says, defeating Bret Hart after only two weeks with the company. That's incredible, but no more so than Kevin Owens beating John Cena. After that, Wilkes' exposure was still great with Owens.....starting your career at the absolute top can often be a curse rather than a blessing. If you start on top, there's only one direction left to go.

    My own view? The Patriot had a chance to be fighting for championships for years to come. His look was great, his body was athletic and impressive. Plus, the 'real American' gimmick was fully in play during the 90's, just as it wasn't in our parents' generation......and unlike today, in which we cheer wildly for any nationalistic symbol, yet it often seems more like an organized chant than a heartfelt love for whatever the symbol represents.

    No way to tell what would have become of Del Wilkes, and I don't know why he left the company.....but he had the tools and the gimmick to make it big.
  6. TheLittleOne

    TheLittleOne Occasional Pre-Show

    Mar 23, 2009
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    drugs are bad mmkay.. del explained alot on podcast with steve austin..
  7. stingray11214

    stingray11214 Cena is no Bruno & Cole is no Solie

    Aug 14, 2014
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    The Patriot was great in his GWF years. He would have brought the house down if he was walking in eating a hot dog in those days. Man, was he fantastic. His interviews were to stand at attention for. Sadly, the injuries took their toll. !998 would have been a good year for him. Had he lasted until 2001-2002, he would have had a WM "Moment", as it was after 9/11. He would have held the World strap at some point. Sad.

    N!CKALAS CAGE Dark Match Winner

    Apr 8, 2014
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    I don't think the Patriot would have progressed much higher than the lower midcard once Bret left. The gimmick itself was very limiting. A gimmick change might have given him more opportunities to grow and move up the card.

    On a side note, if the Patriot stayed in WWF, Kurt Angle would have had to debut with a different theme song. That song was a big part of Angle's WWE run and one of the more memorable ones considering how it goes so well with the "you suck" chants.
  9. X

    X RIP Sgt. Michael Paranzino / RIP CM

    Feb 6, 2007
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    He served his role. He was never more than a stopgap for Bret to kill time until facing Shawn again, they basically told him exactly that when he was hired. Del Wilkes was always a solid hand, but man, I have rarely ever seen a more roided up human being in my life, the man practically had steroids bursting out of the seams of his biceps. Bit shocked he's still alive actually.

    I mean really, where could he have fit into a post-Montreal world? He was already seeming out of place by September with the emphasis on edgy characters and attitude. I can't see him gaining any kind of traction after the Hart Foundation were gone, and really, the crowds would have cheered for any American facing Bret and company.

    Wilkes is really one of those guys who was perfect for his small part and nothing else. Like a career midcarder he was useful and contributed, but he had a definite ceiling and he wasn't getting past that.
    NSL likes this.
  10. NSL

    NSL Life's A Bitch, And Then You Mosh

    Nov 3, 2008
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    He really tried to build himself up as something more than he was on Stone Cold's podcast, but I think he really bought into a lot of the smoke Vince was blowing up his ass. He had the look and gimmick down, and served his role, but I think he would have stuck around for maybe another year as a low-midcard guy, but once the Attitude Era got rolling, he would have been a goner. There was just no room.

    I'm sure he would have reappeared in WCW, and possibly gotten some midcard TV time, but nothing too serious. After that, who knows? Maybe pop up in the early days of TNA? That might have worked. But, I think his career was on its last leg when he lost to Bret anyway.
  11. Waylon Mercy

    Waylon Mercy Pre-Show Stalwart

    Jun 11, 2012
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    I could never buy into the Patriot as a credible opponent for Bret. Maybe it was just due to the fact that I was a total Bret mark, and was really loving his heel turn at the time. The Patriot gimmick just seemed too generic and convenient as a counterpoint to Bret's anti-American stand at that time. Also, I think we were all a bit spoiled by the incredible run Bret and Stone Cold had prior to that, and the terrific, and very realistic feud with Shawn Michaels at the time. I guess I just felt that Bret was too good for a prolonged feud with a guy in a mask, wearing the stars and stripes and draped in the American flag. The Patriot wasn't around that long, anyway, and just seems a footnote in the storied career of the Hitman.
  12. THTRobtaylor

    THTRobtaylor Once & Future Wrestlezone Columnist

    Jun 2, 2006
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    The Patriot was one of the few guys I got genuinely excited to see join the WWF, I always felt though that had Sting made the leap in 94 that he'd have been their USA type hero long term and that Patriot was there as an cheaper alternative.

    From what Wilkes has said, he basically scammed the medical and was never in shape for the role he took, but what he did produce was pretty good and exciting for the time. He fit well as a counterpoint to Bret in the ring and was someone who could carry the persona and emotion behind the mask better than most of the era.

    He's another from that era that they signed hurt, and it'd be interesting to see how they'd have turned out had they gotten back to their best... If Pillman recovered, he'd have been one of the biggest of all time, but he didn't... Not sure Del Wilkes would have gotten to that level, but he could easily have had a year as a solid main eventer during the Attitude Era had he dropeed the mask in anger, perhaps at the expense of Mick Foley or Kane's pushes.
    tdmoon likes this.

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