About two weeks ago, Jim Ross blogged about Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas, admitting that while he wasn’t as “organic” as what he was in NXT, he was still a talented kid with natural wrestling ability. Ross’s tone was one of admiration. At the same time, he also sounded a touch cautious about Dallas in terms of his gimmick, saying that “time will tell if this presentation clicks” and also sounded off on how much time there would be to tweak the character.
Our own Andrew Ravens covered this story and said that he fully disagreed with what Ross had to say about Dallas. He’s fully justified. Right now, the silly gimmick is completely overshadowing everything else he does in the ring. It’s hard to see anything positive out of him.
I agree on the gimmick — I don’t agree that Dallas doesn’t have what it takes.
Dallas, in reality, is part of the Rotunda/Windham wrestling dynasty. His grandfather is the great Blackjack Mulligan and his father is Mike Rotunda (AKA “I.R.S.”). He even came up through the ranks with his brother, though Dallas arrived a lot later than Bray Wyatt did.
He has had about 10 matches since arriving in WWE. There are only two that I really enjoyed: one against Sin Cara and one against Kofi. The latter stood out because both guys were so incredibly matched. Unfortunately, since then, Dallas been booked against people like Titus O’Neil and Fandango. Titus should have wiped the floor with Dallas and, instead, I had to suspend disbelief (or is it “disBO-lief”) and pretend that Dallas was a better wrestler. His matches against Fandango were absolute jokes.
Yes, characters should be given the time to steep or build or whatever word you’d like to use that makes you sound like an expert at telling people how things should be.
The problem is that I don’t see Dallas going anywhere with this. At this rate, he’s like Damien Sandow in that there’s only so long you go without so much as tweaking a character.
Ross’s theory comes in to play here.
When would be a good time to play with Dallas?
WWE has been known to tease us with their athletes until a feud or angle is introduced. That’s a practice, however, that hasn’t been so successful. Newbies such as Emma and Adam Rose don’t feel ready for prime-time and WWE’s Creative team has been reluctant to swallow the bitter pill of failure which would lead to making things better. The problem with changing things around is that some wrestlers just don’t work. No matter how much they’re dressed up, they will never get over with an audience which has become cynical.
With Dallas, it’s different — the talent IS there.
That brings me to Money in the Bank when he interrupted Daniel Bryan’s single-handed mood-destroyer of an interview during the Money in the Bank Kick-Off Show.
During the segment, Dallas was delivering his usual shtick, preaching about “The Ladder of Life” (which Bryan was “climbing”) and that he would eventually find his way to the top again. Bryan’s response was sarcastic and cold: he got the “concern” but Bo was really acting like a “Bo-ner”. It was your typical Dallas spot on a larger stage.
But, besides the venue, something was different: the look on Dallas’s face.
It isn’t a new thing for the character to be completely shut down and rejected. Nearly everyone he brings in for a hug has rejected him. Fandango shoved him away and Titus O’Neil slapped the mic from his hands. Both times, Dallas recovered and laughed it off in a way that made you sympathize with him. He was that underdog who won you over, sweeter than hell, making honey taste like motor oil.
With Bryan, we saw the first big fracture: his usual bright-and-cheery facade was cracking and the smile was twitching, practically falling from his face. You could see Dallas’s heart breaking as if something inside him withered and died.
THIS is where Dallas needs to head if this character is going to succeed in any way.
There is nothing worse than a man who doesn’t truly believe in himself. Does Dallas really have it in him to “inspire” people or is he lying to himself and others?
I find that to be a fascinating potential twist.
Also fascinating is the connection his real-life brother, Bray Wyatt. The two had a feud in NXT but Bo never joined the Wyatt Family and paid the price for it.
As WWE rarely (or never) shares the same universe or continuity as NXT and nearly everything comes out of NXT is ret-conned so that there’s no catch-up work required when a star arrives from the minor leagues, it’s unlikely we’ll get the same story — but a variation wouldn’t be unthinkable or unwelcome. A match between the two of them would be earth-shaking.
But that’s probably far into the future.
As for the “talent” portion, Dallas is a Rotunda. The talent is there. Anyone who says that he’s doesn’t have the ring saavy or the smarts hasn’t been paying attention to him or his family’s portfolio. He was outstanding in NXT (a three-time FCW champion and was in 2013’s Royal Rumble) and has the potential to be a main event Superstar.
It all depends on the mentality of a WWE Creative team who is thirsty for something as big as Daniel Bryan and the YES! Movement. Do you risk turning Bo into another Sandow or Emma or Adam Rose or, worse, Los Matadores…or do you realize what you have and work with it and provide the edge that would make this succeed?
Let’s hope it’s the latter.