Recently, The Brood reunited on an episode of E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness. Among many other things, pro wrestling veteran Gangrel talked about WWE Chairman Vince McMahon's aversion to vampires, how he eventually brought his vampire character to WWE, how he came up with the concept for The Brood, and his relationship with WWE's Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon.
Apparently, Gangrel was told by Vince McMahon that Gangrel's vampire gimmick would never see the light of day (and not because sunlight kills vampires). A week after that conversation with Vince, then WWE writer Vince Russo called up Gangrel to ask if he would do the vampire gimmick.
"Vince McMahon told me himself I'll never use the vampire character, like, 'get rid of the fangs' because I was an idiot. I had fangs bonded in. That's probably why they only let me be The Black Phantom to hide the fangs. Like, 'this guy's an idiot! Like, he bumps real good and will do a good job, but cover his head! Let him wear the mask!'" Gangrel continued, "'so make sure you trim down, grow the hair out, and we'll definitely give you a job, but just not a vampire.' And they did. I was sitting home [for] a week, sitting home. Vince Russo called up. I don't know if it was when he got that creative control thing, that brief 30 days or whatever it was. I'm real fuzzy on that kind of stuff. And he said, 'hey, are you still doing that vampire thing?' I said, 'are you kidding me?' So on a Friday night, I got everything ready for that Sunday to debut against of all people, mi amigo, Scotty 2 Hotty."
Interestingly, Gangrel shared that the idea for The Brood was based on The Lost Boys, not the Peter Pan characters, but the vampire flick.
"I was really big on The Brood because of The Lost Boys." Gangrel recalled, "I came up with it through The Lost Boys. And I said, 'man, they don't even [have] to win! It's going to be cool. When they get their asses kicked, I'm telling you people will like them.' And they were like, 'no.' I said, 'old man, I'm telling you nobody hates a vampire.' And I heard everybody say they hate vampires."
According to Gangrel, convincing WWE brass about the viability of vampire characters in pro wrestling was an uphill battle till the idea clicked with Russo and then WWE producer Bruce Prichard.
"I never heard anybody heel on vampires besides Vince McMahon." Gangrel remembered, "he didn't like it. So I just kept giving them research through all these years and then, at that time, when I was in the camp and stuff too, like, I [brought] up, 'look, it's such an underground thing and it's like Dungeons and Dragons, roleplaying.' I gave them stuff from White Wolf Masquerade. I was just trying to show them that there was a community out there. 'This isn't going to go anywhere like vampire movies, they're coming and people don't hate on vampires. It'll be cool.' And they were like, 'naw, naw, naw, we don't get it. We don't get it.' Then, eventually, Vince Russo was like, 'ah, I kind of get it!' Then it clicked in Bruce Prichard's head, 'oh, I get what you're saying.'"
When the yearlong run with The Brood concluded, Gangrel was injured and directionless. Gangrel revealed that he was friends with Stephanie McMahon and she suggested that he change his look, but 'The Vampire Warrior' was complacent at the time.
"After The Brood, I kind of just drifted off." Gangrel admitted, "I got hurt. I didn't get hungry. I didn't pitch ideas. I was friends with Stephanie. I was sitting, hanging out with her all the time, and she goes, 'maybe you need to change your look.' She was always trying to smarten me up, but I was just like, 'ah, I'll just go with the flow. Whatever. I'm just grateful to be wrestling' and I'm still wrestling today and I'm grateful. But if I would have maybe asserted myself and the stuff that I do see and do know and let them know that I know that, or let them see that I see, maybe I would have been looked at in a different way."
I buried Paul, walk with me. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription, brother.
Source: E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness