The origins of the Red Rooster gimmick, as told by John Layfield

Recently on his blog, John Layfield, a.k.a. JBL, offered some history behind one of the worst gimmicks ever in WWE history: Terry Taylor as the Red Rooster.

Anyone who watched wrestling in the late 1980s will recall Taylor, dressed in his red tights and red ring jacket, with his hair teased up in a red mohawk. He also moved his neck like a hen when he came to the ring and even yelled out an occasional “cock-a-doodle-doo.”

I challenge anyone complaining about the WWE product today to find a dumber gimmick than the Red Rooster.

It was a shame, too, because Taylor was talented. I remember first reading about his matches in the Apter mags when he was in the NWA and later Bill Watts’ UWF. It always irked me (actually, it still does today) that the WWF just can’t bring in an established star and let them be … the star they already are. But as we all know, there isn’t a great wrestler that Vince McMahon can’t find a “better” gimmick for.

But I digress, because the point of this post isn’t to rail on the Red Rooster, but rather explain the character a bit, as told by Layfield on his website. In short, it appears the gimmick was given to Taylor because he was an office stooge — in other words, he ratted out his misbehaving fellow wrestlers to the WWF brass.

The Red Rooster was a rib; they wanted him walking through airports moving his head back and forth like a chicken,” Bradshaw wrote. “It was a rib from the office to put him in the gimmick to begin with. I can’t think of anyone in history that had more heat than the Rooster. Before I arrived in WWE, the boys, allegedly, had cut up the Rooster’s suit for being a stooge. What did he do? He stooged the rib, that’s why he had monster heat.”

Bradshaw added that he never liked stooges to begin with, so he and Taylor never got along.

The rest of Bradshaw’s post veers off into an incident he and Ron Simmons had with the late members of the Public Enemy tag team, who were brought into the WWF by Taylor and Vince Russo. It’s a good piece for anyone interested in the backstage doings of the WWE.



  1. Joe Lowry

    Speaking of WIldifre Tommy Rich, interesting bit on you tube via Bill Apter. Apter was at a turnbuckle promortion and asks Tommy a few questions about why he never joined the WWF circus in the 80’s. His response was that he was old school and did not want anything to do with the “sports entertainment” theme. He goes on to mention why he took time off after he lost the NWA title. He also comments on his fueds most notably with the late Buzz Sawyer.

  2. Evan J Rodgers

    The Red Rooster gimmick was part of the whole gimmick thing getting totally out of hand. I am reminded of Steve “The Brooklyn Brawler” Lombardi fueding with the Red Rooster. It was good to see Lombardi getting a push because he had worked so hard. I remember when he started out on WWF TV, I always thought he had some kind of talent. It’s interesting that you mentioned Tommy Rich, I am suprised that he never (to my knowledge) wrestled in the WWF. I think alot of fans stopped watching wrestling because of Vince taking the gimmick thing too far, but he also brought in alot of fans who otherwise might not have been interested, so maybe it all balances out. Boring or not, Terry Taylor did have talent and a work ethic and I’m glad he is still working in wrestling, he deserves it.

  3. Chuck Mullen

    Taylor was boring. What else can I say, I watched tons of Georgia and Mid South back in the early 80’s… and yeah he was pushed hard, but I would just HAVE TO THINK, or believe it was cause of his look… really, much like Tommy Wildfire Rich, whom no doubt if rumors are true was mostly pushed cause of HIS LOOK… though I enjoyed Rich, much more in Jarrett and Lawlers Mid Southern region, than say in Georgia Championship Wrestling or elsewhere… and to think this goofball Taylor, headed up TNA’s “talent relations dept…” <— really does such a thing exist? oh yeah it does and its now headed by another GOOF, JBL's bestie, good OL Bruce Sniff Sniff Pritchard.

    Anyway the thought that Taylor is now employed again by WWE for Developmental is just crazy… I personally never liked him as a talent, but never the less, its guys like Russo, Nash, and him that keep getting decent paying management type jobs in the industry whereas too, guys that could and should be getting these spots, WELL, simply… DON'T… moving on…

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