"I enjoyed seeing Bo Dallas on my television screen," is a sentence I never thought I'd utter after Bo burst onto the WWE scene at the Royal Rumble last year, but I did last Friday night.
Bo, like his real-life brother Bray Wyatt, was called up the main roster as a totally different character than the first time we saw him. Bo's original character bombed, and he was sent back to developmental where he made some tweaks to become the delusional hero who debuted on SmackDown this past Friday. Wyatt's original character, Husky Harris, was just as bland, so he, too, went back to developmental to create a new character that had a better chance connecting with the audience.
It appears Bo, like his brother, found that character.
Bo didn't make prodigious changes to the character he debuted last year, but he did tweak it enough for it to resonate with the audience. Bo Dallas in 2014 still wrestles for the most part like Bo Dallas in 2013, but his mannerisms and post-match monologues gives the audience something to work with. Last year, he was just a wrestler from developmental thrown to the wolves at the Royal Rumble with no real direction or a well-defined character.
Now, Bo has both.
Bo's catchphrase, "Bolieve", is simple, but simple is what makes his new-and-improved schtick unique and interesting. He's not an in-ring maestro, but he believes as much. He's not a babyface fans, especially kids, adore, but he thinks they do. His delusion and lack of self-awareness is intriguing. It's kind of amazing this type of character hasn't been introduced until now with how long John Cena has been a polarizing figure in WWE. In Bo's mind, he's a better version of Cena. In (kayfabe) reality, he's really just a deranged idiot suffering from a relentless positivity.
The best part? This could get so much better, and a feud with Cena somewhere down the line could be downright delicious.
The term "hot-shotted" is thrown around in the wrestling realm fairly frequently, but it certainly applies to Adam Rose's debut in WWE. Like Bo, Rose was hyped through vignettes before making his grand entrance on Monday Night Raw a few weeks back. Unlike Bo, Rose is already starting to flounder.
But it's not his fault.
Most wrestlers in developmental have time on their side, so they can afford to hone their craft in NXT for a couple of years. Rose simply didn't have that luxury. He turns 35-years-old on July 20. For perspective, Sheamus is 36. It was now or never, which is probably why Rose didn't get as much time to master his new Russell Brand-esque character down in developmental.
The character itself isn't bad -- the entrance music is incredibly catchy, his look is solid, and it's a character that can get over with the audience. What's happened is Rose has been saddled with poor writing for his promos and he's been limited to interacting with Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger. His impact on Monday Night Raw simply isn't significant enough for fans to care about yet. Goofy is fine at times, but if the plan is to make Rose a serious competitor in WWE his booking shouldn't mirror that of a Santino Marrella.
Rose is approaching that territory where he either needs to be inserted into a feud that will help get him over, or he becomes a Damien Sandow or a Santino, and is just a comedy goof. Feuding with Swagger simply isn't going to be enough.
Bo's character is the delusional heel, but perhaps Rose also fits that bill, too. Even though he might see himself as a rosebud, he's been more of a lemon since getting called up to the main roster.