Why is R-Truth in WWE?


In the first of what I hope will one day become a hit television series, we look at why R-Truth is here in WWE after all that has happened?

WWE employs several men and women who seem to be little more than time fillers for the weekly RAW and SmackDown marathons. If the company wants to fix the ratings problems of 2015 and tighten up their programming, perhaps it should look into sending some of these wrestlers out to pasture. This week, we take a look at Ronnie Aaron Killings, AKA R-Truth/K-Kwik.

Since his debut as a rap duo alongside Road Dogg (I wish I was joking), R-Truth has become a walking punchline whose sole purpose in WWE is to show up and be ridiculed.

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Case in point, his kayfabe confusion at the 2016 Royal Rumble when he dragged a ladder into the ring and ascended, desperately grasping for a belt that wasn’t there. The WWE was saying, “this guy’s such a buffoon that he thinks this is a Money in the Bank match or something! Isn’t that hilarious?” No, it is not. His shenanigans should have elicited thousands of eye rolls from people who had genuinely been interested in the match up until that point thanks primarily to the debut of AJ Styles. R-Truth lasted a whopping 37 seconds – of which about 30 were devoted to his comedy routine – before being tossed out by Kane.

If you weren’t familiar with his body of work prior to the Royal Rumble, it would be quick to dismiss R-Truth as little more than a glorified jobber. A guy this clueless going into such a signature event can’t possibly be much else, right? While this is most certainly true as of late, the R-Truth of 2012 was a two-time hardcore champion, one-time tag team champion and one time United States champion. He competed in feuds against some of the top stars in the company including John Cena, CM Punk, and Randy Orton. Since then, Truth has been a mixed bag of random appearances and matches with his last victory taking place during the Money in the Bank pre-show against Wade Barrett in June 2015.

So how did R-Truth go from champ to chump? It mostly has to do with his 2011 suspension for a violation of the Talent Wellness Program. The short version is that he tested positive for synthetic marijuana and while this seems like a pretty straightforward explanation there were more backstage politics at work. A few weeks prior to Truth’s suspension, fellow wrestler and travel partner Evan Bourne was also suspended for the same violation. Ok, nothing strange yet.

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  • The twist comes in that both men allegedly smoked the substance at a party together, yet Bourne was suspended almost immediately because Truth was set to team up with The Miz against The Rock and John Cena in the main event of Survivor Series that year. This inconsistency and apparent favoritism led many wrestlers to believe that while the WWE stated publicly it took illegal substance abuse seriously, they failed to practice what they preached.

    A few months later, Bourne would again be suspended for his second violation of the policy. A subsequent foot injury and year-long hiatus sealed his fate and Bourne was demoted to NXT before being officially released from his contract in 2014. Truth’s fate was much worse. While he did contend for and win the WWE Tag Team Championship with Kofi Kingston in 2012, this was during a time when the division suffered from a lack of legitimate teams. Contenders were formed seemingly on a whim (e.g. Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger) and the WWE was struggling to find a place where Kofi could showcase his high-flying skills after a lackluster singles run. Truth and Kingston held the titles for 5 months before losing to Team Hell No and it would be the last time as of this writing that R-Truth would feel the weight of WWE gold.

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    So why is R-Truth still here? The simple explanation is that he can satisfy the WWE’s many other social requirements while bigger stars focus on actual wrestling. When WWE holds a contest or sells VIP access tickets promising that you’ll get to meet a superstar, R-Truth is who they mean. There are more than 70 wrestlers employed by WWE for RAW and Smackdown and that doesn’t include those in NXT. While some of these wrestlers don’t appear on television for a variety of reasons – personal, medical, etc. – the R-Truth of today seems to be used almost exclusively for “comedy” segments involving Goldust’s failed attempts at reforming a tag team similar to the one he and Booker T shared almost 14 years ago. The problem here is that Booker T was and still is a much bigger talent than R-Truth and the entire landscape of the WWE was much different in 2002.

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    No matter the reason, R-Truth accomplishes little more than stealing oxygen from another superstar or a potential superstar who could actually make an impact on the roster. If the argument for keeping him is because he’s “funny”, then perhaps WWE should reevaluate the standards for what makes a viable employee.