We begin our class today with a variation of one of the great opening lines in the history of literature.
“He had the best of gimmicks, he had the worst of gimmicks.”
In the first half of 2014 in the WWE, two young new superstars named Adam Rose and Bo Dallas emerged, looking to continue the success they had experienced in NXT. Each one had something unique to offer the wrestling world that seemed to capture fan attention, both positively and negatively. It seemed, as recently as two months ago, that these rookies were going to be fixtures on RAW and Smackdown for years to come.
Now, however, it seems that their two career paths are heading in opposite directions. Adam Rose has, almost overnight, become a joke, fighting with Damien Sandow over ownership of a Sonic hot dog. Bo Dallas, on the other hand, is riding high into Battleground, where he stands as a potential favorite to win the vacant Intercontinental title.
How did this happen? How can one man’s star rise so quickly while another plummets equally as fast?
Let us first begin with Adam Rose. The leader of the Exotic Express has what is admittedly one of the more entertaining entrances I have ever seen, though the original song he came out to, “World Goes Wild”, was much more fun than the one he currently uses. (Apologies to Jim Johnson, WWE’s musical genius.) Looking past his entrance, though, what else does Adam Rose bring to the table? An interesting use of the ring ropes as a swing? An unusual version of the DDT? A giant stuffed bunny? There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot to the Adam Rose character besides his entrance, and there’s a very good reason why.
Adam Rose made his debut on the March 6th episode of NXT. Just about one month later, on the RAW following Wrestlemania XXX, vignettes began, asking us to climb aboard the Exotic Express. There is not a whole lot to Adam Rose’s character because he never had time to develop anything other than the entrance before he was brought up to the main roster. Thus, after the crowd grew accustomed to the crowd surfing, the “whoa whoa whoa”ing, and the groupies in costumes, they seemed to lose interest in poor Adam.
Now, let’s talk about Bo Dallas.
Dallas’ promos also began running on the RAW after Wrestlemania, but Mr. “Bo-lieve” had been a fixture on NXT for almost an entire year before getting the call up to “The Show”. This gave him a chance to fully flesh out his character – the poses, the cheesy grin, and most importantly, the interaction with the fans.
[Quick homework assignment, class. Take a few hours over the next week or so and watch the last few NXT episodes featuring Bo Dallas, somewhere in the late-May, early June timeframe. You’ll gain an entire different level of appreciation for the character.]
“But Teacher,” I hear you saying, “we HATE Bo Dallas. I mean, come on? He’s terrible! I want to throw my television out the window each time I see that giant smile of his!”
I know that. I truly do. But that’s entirely the point.
Today’s lesson: The worst thing for a wrestler to experience is not hate, but apathy.
You hate Bo Dallas because you are SUPPOSED to hate Bo Dallas. Bo Dallas is everything the average WWE fan does NOT want in a wrestler. He’s smarmy. He’s disingenuous. His hair is ALWAYS wet. (Though people don’t seem to mind that same attribute about Roman Reigns.)
Bo Dallas has gone to great pains to make sure you can’t stand him, which guarantees that he’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Whether or not he walks out of Sunday’s PPV with the title, I doubt 2014 will end without gold around Bo Dallas’ waist.
As for Adam Rose? Unless we see something deeper from him in the next few weeks, the crowd is going to continue not caring, which is going to put the Exotic Express on course for NXT. Permanently.