When former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson squashed Lou Savarese in just 38 seconds way back in 2000, the "Iron" man shrugged off Jim Gray's post-fight questions and cut one of the most bizarre promos in the history of the "sweet science," when he promised to take the heart of Lennox Lewis and then eat his children.
It was equal parts hilarious, intriguing, and terrifying.
I thought about that promo last night during Monday Night RAW, when Rusev blew a gasket and went nuts on the Big Show, threatening to punch him in the throat, bite his ear, and flat-out kick him right in the Little Show. It was the first time the Russian sympathizer had any real mic time and as far as first impressions go, that's about as good as you're going to get.
I can't imagine that dialog was scripted and if it was, bravo.
His promo is worth recognizing because for me, it colored way outside the lines. I was expecting some sort of Ivan Drago-esque "I must break you" shtick, complete with gratuitous flexing. But this? It's very hard to convince people you're not acting when they know you're acting, but I walked away from that segment thinking "Shit, this guy is unstable."
And Russian! Boo Russia!
As a result, Rusev will face Big Show next week to try to get one back after getting KTFO on Smackdown. Considering how RAW ended (recap here), I would also expect to hear from the laid-out Dean Ambrose, as well as his attacker in Seth Rollins.
Oh, and the 'E will have an exclusive interview with the surgically-repaired Roman Reigns.
I was seeing stars last Monday night and it had nothing to do with a punt to the pills. What makes this new direction so encouraging is that all four of the major players I just mentioned -- along with the likes of Paige and Luke Harper -- is that none of those performers were even on the roster two years ago.
The future is now.
Successfully integrating new and exciting talent on a regular basis does more than just keep the product fresh, it makes the existing roster more tolerable. I usually emit a zombie-like groan whenever Big Show waddles onto my screen, but I didn't mind him here one bit.
Same goes for Mark Henry, who (symbolically) can't seem to beat any of the new blood.
That said, it's still too early to differentiate between the lame duck and the golden goose. I keep expecting Adam Rose to tumble back down the rabbit hole, but then again, I also thought Cesaro would be champion by now (or at least in the running).
It's still anybody's game.
I'm sure Creative will drop the ball, and someone (besides The Miz) will get buried, and all the predictable things that drive us crazy as fans will still happen. But there is more success than failure (or we wouldn't be watching) and whatever this new direction continues to reveal, I'm going to try my darnedest to enjoy the ride.
And since I know WWE secretly reads Cageside Seats, I want it to go on record that I said something nice about the product.