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The "Best" of Gangrel in WWF
by Samoa Rowe
Written October 19th 2020
Hope you're all having a spooky and socially distant Halloween HavoK season. I have a confession to make: I. Love. Gangrel. Yes, that Gangrel, the wrestling vampire played by David Heath, who was a bottom card sensation in the World Wrestling Federation from 1998 to 2001. I loved his music, look, and fiery entrance. Every time I turned on a WWF show, I would cross my fingers that he would be featured, and if he was, I wanted to see him win. Obviously, those things never really happened, so I was often disappointed. Such is life. Anyway, let's take a look back at some of Gangrel's biggest hits and lowest lows from his short WWF tenure.
Gangrel vs. Scott Taylor (with Brian Christopher)
Sunday Night Heat- August 16th 1998
Gangrel enjoys a generous swig of the totally mysterious, not at all fake blood, from his goblet. Bell rings and he pounds away on poor Scotty and hits a fallaway slam. Taylor pops up for a power slam but his dancing allows Gangrel to deliver a spike DDT for the win at 1:50. Standard squash for Gangrel, but his entrance through the fire along with his killer music already rules. 1 for 1.
D'Lo Brown vs. Gangrel
WWF In Your House: Breakdown- September 27th 1998
Our favorite vampire is making his PPV debut in prestigious singles action! Gangrel is hungry for blood AND success and aggressively hits a vertical suplex. Corkscrew elbow by Gangrel gets 2. Brown hits a heel kick and talks a lot of trash. Power slam by Brown but he misses the flying axe handle. Brown uses a blind low blow to retain control and nails a running powerbomb! Brown blocks a DDT and serves a vertical suplex for 2. Brown doesn't seem to be taking the match very seriously as he continuously showboats and makes nonchalant covers. Gangrel shoves Brown off the buckles and throws some headbutts. Brown's suplex gets 2 and he yells at the ref for his slow count. Gangrel escapes a chinlock and dangerously flapjacks D'Lo face first into the ropes. Mark Henry arrives at ringside as Gangrel hits a flying forearm of sorts. Henry bear hugs Gangrel and rams him into the ring post, which allows Brown to easily finish with his sitout powerbomb at 7:54. Average midcard match, **. 2 for 2.
Winner: D'Lo Brown
Gangrel drops Henry with a discus elbow and drops Brown with his implant DDT.
Gangrel vs. Edge
WWF Raw is War- September 14th 1998
There's a vague backstory that Edge and Gangrel knew each other prior to joining the WWF. Maybe they were roommates or played rugby together, who knows. Edge runs in through the crowd and ambushes with a flying clothesline. Gangrel cuts him down, but Edge sneaks in for an electric chair facebuster! Gangrel fires back with a double underhook suplex. Gangrel follows with a Tiger Suplex and bulldog for 2. Edge hits a brutal draping neckbreaker, but misses a diving headbutt. Edge hits a back drop to ringside but Gangrel swats away his dive and he hits the floor hard. DDT on the floor by Gangrel and they're both counted out at 3:39. Gangrel spits blood into Edge's face and stands tall. Perfectly cromulent TV match that served as a prelude to the Brood. 3 for 3.
Kane vs. Gangrel (with Christian)
WWF Raw is War- October 26th 1998
Kane's classic entrance with the red skies and pyro, followed by Gangrel's spooky music and mist (sadly, no ring of fire tonight) might be the pinnacle of Halloween atmosphere in WWF history. Bell rings and Kane totally unloads on the vampire, but Christian pulls the ropes to spill him to ringside. Gangrel ambushes with an axe handle off the apron, but Kane casually drops him with a clothesline. Back to the ring, Kane blocks a suplex and hits a double arm chokeslam. Side slam by Kane, but Christian pulls his leg to block the flying clothesline. Kane knocks Gangrel off the buckles and hits the clothesline anyway. Chokeslam by Kane ends it at 3:03. Standard TV match of the era, short match with lively action and little or no downtime. 4 for 4.
Kane fights off a double team by Gangrel and Christian, but Edge runs in and helps the Brood take over. Kane sits up like a zombie and the Brood flee into the stands.
Hardcore Championship: Road Dogg © vs. Gangrel
WWF Raw is War- January 18th 1999
Road Dogg does his shtick on the mic. He ain't Buffy, but he is about to become a vampire slayer! Road Dogg interrupts Gangrel's ritual blood spray with a lid shot. Gangrel breaks a kendo stick over the champ's head. They brawl into the crowd and Road Dogg back suplexes Gangrel over the barricade for a 2 count. Road Dogg fetches a table but Gangrel hits a low blow and then a powerbomb through the table! Road Dogg kicks out! Road Dogg comes back with a DDT onto the broken table and sets a new table up at ringside. Gangrel scores some weapon shots, but Road Dogg drapes him on the table for an elbow drop, senton, and top rope elbow before the table finally breaks. Brutal "I AM THE TABLE" moment. Road Dogg follows with a vertical suplex onto the wreckage and then hits some cringe-worthy unprotected chair shots to the head to win at 6:01. Good thing vampires don't feel pain, Gangrel took Foley levels of punishment in this one. 5 for 5.
Winner and still Hardcore Champion: Road Dogg
Gangrel vs. Goldust
WWF Shotgun Saturday Night- January 23rd 1999
Goldust has a Goldust-ized version of Head, which I guess means he's feuding with Al Snow. Gangrel cheap shots to start the match and nails a hard Irish whip. Goldust responds with a clothesline and front suplex. Running knees to the head by Goldust gets 2. Gangrel answers with a double underhook suplex. Side Russian leg sweep by Gangrel gets another 2 count, as does an implant DDT. Goldust rallies and delivers a spinebuster. Goldust delivers Shattered Dreams for the DQ at 3:24! That's funny, I feel like Dustin would spend the next 20 years getting away with that spot with referees watching and wincing. Really good 3 minute match, I think this is the sort of TV match that would draw casual viewers back. 6 for 6.
Winner via DQ: Gangrel
European Championship: X-Pac © vs. Gangrel
WWF Royal Rumble- January 24th 1999
Earning a singles match for a title on PPV has got to be the peak of Gangrel's WWF tenure. He's aggressive, but the crafty X-Pac still hits a back suplex and leg drop for 2. X-Pac gets caught in the buckles and Gangrel capitalizes with a double underhook suplex. Jerry Lawler argues that Gangrel would be a great European Champion because "that's where Transylvania is." That's so racist, obviously Gangrel is really from Bon Temp, Louisiana. X-Pac survives a chinlock and hits a flipping clothesline. Spin heel kick by X-Pac, followed by the Bronco Buster. X-Pac punches Gangrel off the top rope and hits a high crossbody for a botched nearfall. GANGREL WAS ROBBED! X-Pac finishes with X-Factor at 5:51. Dominant win by X-Pac, who never looked like he was in any real danger. Match was just okay, **. 6 for 7.
Winner and still European Champion: X-Pac
The Ministry of Darkness (Viscera, Mideon, and The Undertaker) vs. The Brood (Gangrel, Edge, and Christian)
WWF Raw is War- February 1st 1999
While officially in the match, Undertaker opts to watch from a special Taker Throne on the stage. Gangrel dukes it out with Mideon but soon suffers a backdrop and biting. Viscera power slams Gangrel into place for a big leg drop. Edge and Christian rush in to overwhelm Viscera while the ref's back is turned. Edge hits Mideon with a spinning heel kick, and the Brood hit a double flapjack. The Brood are gaining too much momentum so the Acolytes charge in to attack and draw a DQ at 2:12. This was a nothing match that only served to set up a dark angle. 6 for 8.
Winners via DQ: The Brood
Referees rush in to help, and the Brood inexplicably kick them out, and then continue getting beaten down by the Ministry. The Acolytes wrap a noose around Gangrel's neck as Undertaker saunters in and seemingly baptizes him before stringing him up. The Ministry aren't monsters, so they stop before Gangrel completely chokes.
Gangrel vs. Ken Shamrock
WWF Raw is War- March 29th 1999
This is the night after Wrestlemania 15
, and Gangrel is fresh from helping Undertaker hang Big Bossman in Hell in a Cell. Shamrock arrives with a murderous look on his face. They brawl at the opening bell and Gangrel hits a power slam for 2. DDT by Gangrel, but Shamrock answers with a dropkick. Shamrock demands to know what the Ministry has done with the kidnapped Stephanie McMahon and repeatedly smashes Gangrel into the ring steps. Shamrock totally loses his temper and relentlessly attacks, risking a DQ. Shamrock finishes with the ankle lock at 5:38. This was a bit long winded, as it served the greater angle of the Ministry vs. Corporation. 6 for 9.
Winner: Ken Shamrock
The lights go out and Shamrock falls victim a blood bath. He still manages to put Christian in the ankle lock and forces him to reveal that Stephanie is being held captive in the basement.
WWF Tag Team Championship:
WWF Raw is War- May 24th 1999
Kane and X-Pac © vs. The Brood (Gangrel and Edge, with Christian)
This is from the infamous "Raw is Owen" event the night after Over the Edge 1999
. You wouldn't know it from just cherry picking this match, it's total business as usual, which feels a bit icky. X-Pac is currently a beloved babyface, the term "X-Pac heat" would develop later. He locks up with Edge but takes a shoulder block. X-Pac leap frogs and ducks to hit a roundhouse kick. Gangrel and Kane tag in to crowd approval. The Brood quickly catch Kane with a double DDT, but he pops up nails Edge with a hard backbreaker. Kane back drops Gangrel and fends off an interfering Christian. Edge misses a head of steam and X-Pac hits an enziguri. Gangrel returns only to suffer Kane's flying clothesline. Kane cleans house on the Brood and sets Edge up for X-Pac's Bronco Buster. Chokeslam to Gangrel, and Kane slams X-Pac onto the vampire for the win at 4:03. Short, fast-paced matches are never boring. 7 for 10.
Winners and still WWF Tag Team Champions: Kane and X-Pac
Edge and D'Lo Brown vs. European Champion Mideon and Gangrel
WWF Raw is War- July 19th 1999
Edge has broken off from the Brood and may have some potential as a singles competitor. Edge would like a piece of Gangrel but is forced to wait as Mideon crawls in for a lockup. Edge blocks a hip toss and flips into a dropkick. Mideon hits a short arm clothesline as Gangrel guffaws from the corner. Mideon misses an elbow drop and D'Lo Brown gets a hot tag with 2 minutes gone. The match breaks down, and Edge snaps Gangrel's neck on the ropes. Brown piles the bad guys into the buckles and catapults Edge into a spear on Gangrel. Brown spinebusters Mideon into place for the Lo Down Frog Splash and win at 2:54. Rapid match that quickly advanced some lowercard angles. 8 for 11.
Winners: D'Lo Brown and Edge
Bloodbath Match: Edge vs. Gangrel
WWF Raw is War- August 2nd 1999
The only way to win is to dump a bucket of fake blood on your opponent. Gangrel fires the first shots, but is too eager to go after the blood, which allows Edge to answer with a spin heel kick. Side Russian leg sweep by Edge and a power slam. Gangrel grabs Edge's hair to snap his head into the ropes. He slams Edge neckfirst onto the ropes. Edge absorbs a hard Irish whip but bounces back with a spinning DDT. Double underhook suplex by Gangrel, but Edge hits a suplex on the floor. Gangrel hits a flapjack into the ring steps. Edge answers with the electric chair facebuster! Gangrel responds with a superplex and fetches a chair. Edge blasts the chair into Gangrel's face with a spin heel kick. Gangrel blocks a spear with the chair! DDT by Gangrel and he fetches the bucket, when the lights go out and the Brood's music hits. Lights come on, and Gangrel is covered in blood, with Christian standing over him! Gangrel loses at 7:40, as Edge and Christian embrace! This was a hard hitting match that felt like an Iron Man match by Attitude Era standards. 9 for 12.
The Rock vs. Gangrel (with The Hardy Boyz)
WWF Raw is War- August 23rd 1999
Rock calls Gangrel a jabroni and threatens to stick his "cup of blood" up his candy-@ss! Gangrel has now recruited Matt and Jeff Hardy as the "New Brood" which wouldn't last. Rock meets the New Brood on the ramp and hauls Gangrel to the ring for a beatdown. Vertical suplex by Rock gets an early nearfall. Crowd chants "Rocky" as Gangrel tries to leave. Rock cuts him off, but Gangrel lands a clothesline on the ramp. Watching Gangrel control offense on The Rock is somewhat surreal and novel. Rock quickly comes back and hits a DDT for 2. Matt trips Rock, who still manages to sidestep to throw Gangrel over the ropes. Gangrel snaps Rock's neck on the ropes. Jeff leaps off the barricade onto Rock, and Edge and Christian run in to dispatch the Hardyz. Meanwhile, Gangrel's side Russian leg sweep gets a 2 count, but Rock aggressively punches and nails a Samoan Drop. Rock blocks a DDT and hits an atomic drop. Rock Bottom and Peoples' Elbow seal the deal at 4:48. Gangrel was already getting outshined by his newest lackeys. Good win for The Rock in a glorified squash. 9 for 13.
Winner: The Rock
WWF Smackdown!- February 3rd 2000
Chris Jericho © (with Chyna) vs. Gangrel (with Luna Vachon)
Jericho welcomes us to "Detroit is Jericho" and brags about becoming the undisputed IC Champion. He thanks Chyna for watching his back, and he might really need her with Luna lurking in Gangrel's corner. I think the most endearing thing about Gangrel is how much he always seems to enjoy his march down the ramp, grinning and kind of strutting to his music. Hot start for Jericho, but Gangrel stays in it with a back heel kick. Jericho gets tossed to ringside, where Chyna blocks Luna from interfering. Gangrel lands a couple of elbow drops for only 1. Jericho quickly comes back, hitting a bulldog and running forearm. Side Russian leg sweep by Gangrel and HE'S GOING TO WIN THE TITLE AND Jericho kicks out. Jericho rolls through a Sunset Flip and locks on the Walls. Luna climbs the ropes, but Chyna trips her up. Gangrel taps at 2:39, and my little heart breaks. A lot happened in under 3 minutes, good TV match for the era. 10 for 14.
Winner and still Intercontinental Champion: Chris Jericho
We skip to the July 9th 2000 Sunday Night Heat. Mideon tries to join the APA but Bradshaw rudely says no. Mideon wants a tag match, but unfortunately Faarooq is out of town, so the APA will take his name and kick his @ss next week. Mideon asks for a handicap match instead and goes looking for a partner, which leads to...
Gangrel and Mideon vs. Bradshaw
WWF Sunday Night Heat- July 9th 2000
Gangrel is sporting an updated look, with a sleeveless shirt that reveals his tattoos. He certainly looks more formidable anyway. Bradshaw enters to a big time pop and pulls Mideon to ringside and throws him aside. Bradshaw takes the fight to Gangrel in the ring, but Mideon returns and saves his partner from a powerbomb. Mideon traps Bradshaw in a drop toe hold for Gangrel to hit a clothesline from behind. Gangrel's implant DDT gets 2. Bradshaw saves himself with a boot to Gangrel and backdrops Mideon awkwardly to the apron. Clothesline from Hell finishes Mideon at 2:28! Crowd enjoyed this quite a bit, giving them some cover for an ugly little match. 10 for 15.
Bradshaw (with Faarooq) vs. Gangrel
WWF Sunday Night Heat- July 16th 2000
Michael Cole is now describing Gangrel's persona as an "alternative lifestyle." Kayfabe is truly dead if we cannot pretend he's an actual vampire. Bradshaw must be bigoted against vampires as he's needlessly rough at the opening bell and hits a punishing back suplex. Gangrel answers with a spinning back elbow and running clothesline. Bradshaw cuts him off with a fallaway slam. The Clothesline From Hell finishes it at 1:40. For a sub-two minute match, this was a rough night at the office for Gangrel. 10 for 16.
Gangrel vs. Perry Saturn
WWF Metal- October 7th 2000
This time, commentator Kevin Kelly portrays Gangrel as an enigma. Gangrel has been trying to rebuild his career throughout 2000, but he's fallen very low on the pecking order and is barely clinging to his main roster spot. Saturn has had his ups and downs in the WWF since arriving with the Radicalz and unloads with punches and kicks at the opening bell. Spinning elbow by Gangrel and a power slam into an elbow drop gets 2. Saturn answers with a jawbreaker and thrust kick. Gangrel absorbs a flurry of punches but then catapults Saturn into the buckles. Saturn responds with a belly to back suplex and rolls into the Rings of Saturn for the submission at 3:51. Gangrel can't buy a win these days... or ever. 10 for 17.
Winner: Perry Saturn
European Championship: William Regal © vs. Gangrel
WWF Metal- November 11th 2000
Regal cheekily greets all his friends in Texas, and issues an open challenge for his title. I believe this is Gangrel's final televised match in the WWF before getting cut in 2001. I hope these Texas fans felt properly grateful to be the last to experience Gangrel's awesome ring of fire entrance. Hot start for Gangrel as he hits an overhead suplex for 2. Regal responds with a series of punches to the back of the head. Back suplex by Gangrel, but Regal drives his shoulders to the buckles and smashes him against the apron. Gangrel escapes a chinlock but Regal hits a suplex for 2. A drop toe hold sets up the Regal Stretch but Gangrel gets the ropes. Side Russian Leg sweep by Gangrel and a powerslam sets up a pair of elbows, but Regal kicks out. Regal snaps the neck and scores the win at 4:01. Gangrel did a nice job making Regal look like a bruiser in this short match. 11 for 18.
Winner and still European Champion: William Regal
Gangrel and Viscera vs. The Undertaker
WWE Smackdown!- September 23rd 2004
Last week, Gangrel and Viscera made totally random comebacks to help JBL beat up Undertaker. They would both earn contracts, which would lead to Viscera returning as a mainstay to TV, while Gangrel would toil in developmental limbo. JBL watches from the top of his limo, but his smile turns to a frown as Undertaker tears through his hellish henchmen. Taker goes Old School on Gangrel, but has to knock Orlando Jordan off the apron, allowing Viscera to ambush and hit a sitout powerbomb. JBL gloats as Gangrel hits an aggressive elbow drop and Viscera nails a big splash. Viscera misses a second splash, and Undertaker hits a somersault clothesline on Gangrel. Taker runs wild and hits Big Vis with a DDT and Snake Eyes into a big boot on Gangrel. The Tombstone Piledriver finishes Gangrel at 2:53. JBL has a frownie face as the Dead Man stands tall. This was actually a really fun squash, Gangrel and Viscera made good fall guys. 12 for 19.
Winner: The Undertaker
Final Thoughts: I think I've proven, without the shadow of a doubt, that Gangrel is the greatest vampire to ever step foot in the World Wrestling Federation. Yes, yes, injuries, creative changes, and having more talented henchmen set him back... but his music ruled, and you can't teach that.
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