Hey Scott, Happy Canada Day.
I was thinking about The Shockmaster today (like you do) and it occurred to me that maybe the disaster that the whole gimmick became might have been the best possible scenario: What if the character had really taken off? Don't you think that at a certain point somebody at Fox would have seen this character walking around wearing a stormtrooper mask and wondered when they were getting a check? For that matter, what if Arachnaman had been popular? I can see people getting away with that silliness in Memphis, but on a national stage? What do you think (if anything) the endgame was?
Dude, Shockmaster was WCW's big plan to basically challenge Big Van Vader for the title. It was gonna be SHOCKMASTERMANIA in their world, which makes it all the sillier in the first place. And those aren't even the biggest potential copyright infringements they engaged in, since they also trotted out Art Barr as the Juicer (doing a Beetlejuice gimmick) and not to mention all the Vince Russo stuff that was out of an indy "tribute" show like Buzzkill and Palumbo/Stasiak. I think, in the grander scheme, wrestling has always taken the attitude of "Do whatever you want and then knock it off if someone actually calls you on it." Or in WWE's case, "Do whatever you want and then change the name of the company because a bunch of treehuggers have better lawyers."