I’m sure like many within the WWE, the opening of last night’s Monday Night RAW – moreover, the incredible promo that Heath Slater cut – hit me in all the feels.
While life has moved on since wrestling’s infamous April 15 of this year where a massive amount of talent, backstage agents, and other WWE contractors and employees were laid off or furloughed due to the impacts of the COVID-19 lockdowns on the company.
One of the more shocking releases was that of Heath Slater, a fan favorite within the landscape of the WWE, one that many believe had been underrated and overlooked in the past, with a 14-year history within the company. It was shocking on so many levels.
Not only had Heath been a valued member of the roster, but his passion for the business, his mic skills, and storytelling in that squared circle also shined through every time he hit the ring, or even social media, or WWE Network programming.
While I’ve always enjoyed seeing Slater perform, last night’s segment was one of the best promos I’ve seen him cut; perhaps, because much of it was coming from the heart. Weaving his real-life friendship with Drew McIntyre, and pushing aside his “I’ve Got Kids” slogan to offer fans a small window of his reality, Slater’s words were filled with emotion around just how hard his release was, and how much he misses wrestling. The job he lost was more than just fun and games: it was not only his passion but a way to support his family.
Whether your income has stopped (or not) because of COVID-19, we can all empathize with this situation, and Heath not only got to the matter of feeling brushed aside, but also to the raw emotion around being denied the ability to partake in your life’s passion – and still be a hero for your kids.
The beauty of Slater’s WWE career is that he never stopped pushing for TV time and the opportunity to connect with the WWE Universe.
From social media campaigns and posts (remember the Social Outcasts) to his last major title run with Rino that brought “I’ve Got Kids” to full glory (something he is still known for today), Slater has always aimed to entertain fans. He can be funny when needs to be, and he truly shines when there is a comedic element within his schtick or storyline; however, when things turn serious, Heath is “all in”, and he once again proved last night that he is just as good with the grim, as he is with the fun.
I saw “Heath Slater” trending on Twitter last night, and boy did his appearance set a strong tone for the rest of Monday Night RAW, which was surprisingly interesting and kept me tuned in for the entire three hours (a first, for me, in a long time). Was it Slater’s surprise and emotional promo (ultimate match)? I’d like to think so! I hope the powers that be see the passion, intensity, and thirst for this business as much as I saw last night.
There’s nothing more I’d love than Heath Slater returning to a WWE ring; however, if nothing else, perhaps last night’s performance proved his star power for another promotion to pick him up so that fans can still enjoy his promos, wrestling matches, and overall entertainment, sometime again soon.
The only thing missing from Heath’s appearance last night was that audience pop, which could be heard in my mind the moment his music hit, and he stepped out on that ramp. #BringBackHeathSlater