WWE‘s Attitude Era in the late 1990s launched many successful wrestling characters that fans, to this day, fondly remember. Even wrestling characters who were never main event superstars made a name for themselves in one of the hottest periods in pro wrestling. One of those wrestlers who fit the criteria is the vampire-like individual Gangrel, best known for his formation of The Brood, as he became one of the beloved acts of the Attitude era. Additionally, although Gangrel’s run during the Attitude Era only lasted a few years, he made a brief return to WWE TV in 2004, targeting The Undertaker on behalf of JBL.
Gangrel and the Ministry of Darkness
Gangrel may not be the most successful WWE Superstar, but he, along with Edge and Christian, contributed to a beloved Attitude Era act. The Brood were a gothic trio, giving “bloodbaths” to their opponents. Gangrel played a crucial role in all three appearing as vampires and thriving as over-the-top personalities.
When characters became more valued in the business, Gangrel and the rest of The Brood successfully used the opportunity to succeed in that same generation of struggle. The success of The Brood has even influenced this current generation of wrestling to some extent. One can consider Edge’s nostalgic run in WWE and the Doomsday faction as an example of being heavily influenced by The Brood.
Gangrel also has an on-screen history with The Undertaker during his association with The Brood. There was a time when The Undertaker and Gangrel became allies when The Brood merged with The Ministry of Darkness in early 1999. Although the merger didn’t last long, The Brood’s association with the Ministry of Darkness made their act more special. And given the success of the Ministry of Darkness, it helped bolster The Brood’s credibility as Edge and Christian moved on to bigger things in WWE.
It should be noted that The Brood had some memorable moments regarding their alliance with The Ministry of Darkness, particularly The Undertaker. For example, who could forget that The Brood helped The Undertaker hang Big Boss Man at WrestleMania 15 after defeating him in a Hell in a Cell match? There’s a reason Gangrel got involved in The Undertaker’s business after he returned in 2004.
Gangrel returns to SmackDown in 2004
Fast forward to mid-2004, during the early years of the Ruthless Aggression era, The Undertaker had recently revived his Deadman gimmick after returning to WrestleMania 20. As he continued to be pushed as a talent main event on the SmackDown brand, he began chasing after JBL and his WWE Championship in the fall of 2004. “was mentioned.
The Undertaker’s main event feud with JBL ultimately led to Gangrel’s return. After many years out of the company, Gangrel wasn’t the only one to return to WWE, as Viscera also returned to the company. Gangrel and Viscera appeared on a September 2004 episode of Smackdown, devastating The Undertaker.
It turned out that Gangrel and Viscera were JBL’s mercenaries, as they were scheduled to face The Undertaker in a Handicap match on the fifth anniversary edition of SmackDown. It looked like The Undertaker had his work cut out for him, taking on Gangrel and the massive Viscera in a two-on-one match, all while having to deal with JBL’s dirty tricks. However, in a Handicap match that lasted less than three minutes, The Undertaker easily defeated Gangrel and Viscera despite being outnumbered, scoring a victory over a Tombstone finisher against Gangrel.
Gangrel’s Short Run During the Age of Ruthless Aggression
Gangrel’s 2004 WWE run was just a few appearances on SmackDown, and that was it. However, over the next few years, Gangrel was offered to wrestle in WWE in some capacity. For example, after his short Ministry of Darkness reunion on SmackDown, Gangrel struggled from time to time for the development of WWE over the next few years, although nothing came of it. He was also originally supposed to return for ECW’s 2006 relaunch, but this did not materialize.
Even though Gangrel’s run in WWE in 2004 was forgotten by many, he and Viscera featured in one of the most hyped matches on the fifth anniversary edition of SmackDown. At least there was some level of nostalgia when he returned.