Karrion Kross is an intriguing figure on the WWE roster. Not because of what he does in the ring or how he excels as a character. It’s more because it seems like no matter what WWE does with him, he isn’t connecting with viewers, media personalities, or fans. WWE is making another attempt with him and this time they’ve included Authors of Pain and Paul Ellering. Let’s see if this iteration brings him any closer to the success those in his corner want to achieve.
There are a lot of things about Kross that are well-presented in the world of professional wrestling. He’s big, athletic, and knowledgeable about combat sports and that translates to his in-ring performances. He looks like the final boss that you’d find playing a new video game. He can even speak well on the microphone. While he may not talk about topics that engage the audience, his delivery and timing aren’t an issue as with so many other performers. Kross can do both professional wrestling and sports entertainment. But his run with WWE hasn’t quite lived up to what was expected, especially if you look back to his time in WWE NXT.
Perhaps this was due to the way he was pushed while on the Black and Gold brand. This was back when Keith Lee, Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, Pete Dunne, and others had the gaze of viewers – with each man having their push for the main event scene. Yet, Triple H put Kross in the position to smash them all. Unfortunately, his angle with Samoa Joe didn’t deliver what many hoped.
Then came the dreaded main roster call in which Vince McMahon made it his mission to embarrass Kross and perhaps Triple H along the way. That sub-two-minute defeat to Jeff Hardy still haunts everything that Kross does nearly three years later. Even though he has a drastically different look and his wife Scarlett with him, Kross can’t seem to find any momentum. Hopefully, this new pairing goes a long way in changing that.
With AOP, Kross has a big tag team that was in a similar position. They two were pushed as a threat to every tag title when they were introduced to WWE NXT. But when they hit the main roster, no one cared. There was a moment when fan interest was strong, but that was because they were next to Seth Rollins and he continues to make any gimmick work. Just like Kross, AOP had the look but didn’t have the “rizz” as these children are saying in 2024.
There’s an interesting comparison that could be made between Bobby Lashley and Karrion Kross. Lashley looks like a superstar in all aspects of the industry. But something kept him from truly getting over with the crowd. That was until he was linked with MVP, Shelton Benjamin, and Cedric Alexander. The Hurt Business was booming and fans were clamoring for them every step of the way. That presentation of Lashley looked more “real” and gave off the aura that he is a sports entertainment superstar. Much of that was due to the infusion of those three men around him. WWE can get Kross over in a similar fashion, but that must come with leveraging the names they’ve added.
If this new group is going to work, the solution should be to put more focus on Scarlett and Ellering. Ellering has been linked to some of the greatest tag teams in wrestling history. He knows how to get those groups over and with WWE’s new creative direction gaining steam, putting the focus on him should be the first step.
Then, Scarlett needs to step into the ring more often. She can perform and has more than a decade of in-ring experience. WWE quickly slotted her into the valet role, but the transition should begin to see her step into the ring more often. Adding her to the list of talented in-ring performers in the women’s division opens more opportunities for storylines that can be used to make Kross and AOP more interesting.
Karrion Kross checks many of the boxes within both professional wrestling and sports entertainment. He’s getting another opportunity to stand out on the WWE main roster, and this time WWE should take some of the spotlight off him to make the entire group shine.