The One Man Gang On His Transition To Akeem And If It Was A Rib On Dusty Rhodes
Photo Credit: WIkipedia.org
Celebrating FIVE YEARS of podcasting, the TMPT Empire’s 5 Year Anniversary special welcomed The One Man Gang, Akeem. The Gang, a staple of the WWF during the federation era changed gimmicks right in front of our very eyes as he transitioned into the “African Dream” Akeem and jive danced his way into the history books as a now beloved bad guy of the late 1980s World Wrestling Federation. In this rare interview, OMG details how the change was approached by Vince McMahon and the immense success of the Twin Towers (Big Boss Man and Akeem). The full episode can be heard below. You can also see some highlights below.
Transcription Credit to TMPT Empire
On making the change from One Man Gang to Akeem:
It was just an idea of Vince McMahon and basically he wanted another character and he invented this character and that’s what we tried to go with. He just told me that One Man Gang was too black and white and just wasn’t a good character anymore and he wanted a good, colorful character he could trademark and market. So he came up with Akeem and that was basically it and there really was not too much to it. He came up with the idea and he had his artists come up with the drawings and came up with the costume and sent me to New York and had me sized up with the materials with whatever needed to be done. They had the drawings and the artist renditions and that was it basically. When I showed up to TV, next thing you know they did the video where they bring us up to New York / Connecticut and do the little video and the change that we had talked about with the dancers and the this and that and they changed me to Akeem. Next thing you know I am on TV and now that’s what I am.
On if the gimmick was a rib on Dusty Rhodes:
I’ve been the One Man Gang my whole life, a big bully and basically a big bad guy that would beat people up and now I had a totally new character that was just a goofy and I hate to say “white guy” trying to be cool and dance (it’s basically what it was) and people say it was making fun of Dusty (Rhodes). Well, I tell people if that was the case, why did he bring Dusty into the company? Dusty came in shortly thereafter. So how was that a joke on him? They hired him into the company but I guess it caught on because people still talk about it thirty years later.
On getting more over after changing gimmicks:
At the time I didn’t realize it. I’m just doing the character and I don’t realize that it is really getting over. I am just doing this because if I don’t do this I don’t have a job. I didn’t realize at the time the people really started to take to it. Thirty years later now they want to talk about it and everybody loves it. I’ve even had people come up to my table and see that I’ve got two pictures (One Man Gang and Akeem) and they’ll look at it and look at Akeem and basically say that am I trying to tell them you were the same person? They are just learning this thirty years later.
You can see the entire episode below.