michael dworkis shines a light…
This week Michael Dworkis looks at two of the new big men in the WWE — Brodus Clay and Big E. Langston.
Called a wrestling machine who is forced to shimmy and shake for the fans, Brodus Clay is a real force in the ring. A big man who I call the modern-day Human Suplex Machine. Remember Taz anyone? From ECW? The original ECW? He is now the guy who stuffs cheeseburgers down his throat and says “Holy Cow! You’re right again Tenay!” on Impact Wrestling. Back to Brodus…
The former Snoop Dogg bodyguard signed his developmental contract with WWE in 2006 and began his training in Deep South Wrestling (DSW). His first gimmick was that of a “gangsta thug” by the name of G-Rilla. That gimmick worked out through DSW and into FCW, until he was released from his developmental deal in 2008.
Undaunted, he re-signed in 2010 and changed his ring name to Brodus Clay, which comes from the real name of rapper Snoop Dogg, Calvin Broadus. I guess having once served as bodyguard for the famed rapper allows some creative leniencies. This time he would appear on the fourth season of NXT, with Ted Dibiase Jr. as his pro, but then turned on him and aligned with Alberto del Rio instead. Clay was one of the few who defeated a number of the main-roster superstars on NXT, but came in second place on the season finale. Regardless, Clay was brought up to the main roster and remained aligned with Alberto del Rio while feuding with Edge and Christian. The big man made a big impact.
Following an injury and hiatus due to being cast in a film, Clay appeared on WWE Superstars, defeating jobbers weekly. Again pulled from television, promos began to air for his “return” to Monday Night Raw. The promos made Clay appear like a monster, a machine, a new brutual, unstoppable force. Along the way the gimmick began where his debut was going to take place “next week” and this disaster lasted for months, and the serious promos ceased to air. Reason being, when Clay finally did make his debut, he was not the wrecking machine we all thought he would be, but as the “Funkasaurus” dancing man, complete with backup dancers. Still a force in the ring, he made squishy out of everyone, from jobbers, to The Miz, to even Dolph Ziggler.
Current Status: Mid-Card Hell
Despite this history of being fully-trained by WWE developmental and clearly having the tools to be a major star, Clay remains stuck on the second-tier, having never won a singles championship, and his fan-friendly gimmick now involves him bringing kids in the ring to dance after his matches. This is not a bad thing, in fact this reminds me of how wrestlers would interact with younger fans back in the 80’s and early 90’s. I could not even tell you who Clay is feuding with, or if he is even involved in any feud. For a moment, I thought we would see a new dimension when CM Punk antagonized him for being an incredibly talented wrestler who panhandles to the fans. We got that for his one match with Punk, which he lost, and then Clay returned to his cheerful attitude.
Aside from participating in the Royal Rumble, I do not see much in his future. The roster is becoming overcrowded with new talent, which WWE needs to push. John Cena and Randy Orton are losing steam, and it will soon be time for new blood to rise to the top. Brodus Clay is uber-talented, and watching him on NXT had me at the edge of my seat. I had never seen so many suplexes thrown during a match since the days of Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle. Unless Clay is allowed to bring more wrestling to the table rather than typical big man splash splash splash moves, I do not see good things for this guy.
Future Outlook: Extended Stay in Mid-Card Hell
BIG. E. LANGSTON
Who the hell is this guy? He rushes in, lays an almighty beat-down on John Cena, and becomes an instant meme star with names like Ryblack and Choc Lesnar. We are supposed to take him seriously, because he rarely speaks. So where did Bobby Lashley 2.0 come from?
The former Powerlifting record-breaker and champion began his WWE career in 2009 and immediately assigned to the FCW developmental territory. Ettore Ewen was dubbed as Big E. Langston and in just three years, his WWE homegrown training would lead him to debut on Monday Night Raw. During his FCW run, he held the FCW Tag Team Championships and even defeated Antonio Cesaro at the 2012 WrestleMania Axxess event. Later in August 2012, he debuted on NXT, destroying all opponents, even demanding the referee make a five-count. Does that gimmick ring a bell? Do your homework and go look up King Kong Bundy. He became part of a major story arc where he shot down advances by Vickie Guererro who then placed a bounty on him, awarding $5,000 to anyone able to defeat him. At the NXT taping on December 6th, Big E. Langston defeated Seth Rollins to become the second NXT Champion. This did not air until January, but anyone using the internet knew otherwise.
Current Status: Big Guy Who Stands Around Looking Tough / Part of the Ziggler & AJ stable
Back in December 2012, he made his debut appearance mauling John Cena, but, what is the big man doing now? Well, nothing. Langstong is aligned with Dolph Ziggler and AJ Lee as their bodyguard/strongman guy. We have yet to see him compete in a match on Raw or SmackDown, with his only involvement interfering to help Ziggler in his matches. My guess is that he will be built up slowly as the intimidator, although with tough guys like Cena, Orton, Sheamus, Kane, and Ryback on the show, he will only be able to intimidate the non-main eventers, which is tough when the corner you are standing in is for a guy who… is in the main event.
Langston will likely not hole any titles in 2013, but will instead be given the time to develop on his own and into his own wrestler. We have a lot of big men on the main roster now, and I hope WWE Creative realizes the talent pool is starting to overflow. Langston has talent as evidenced on NXT, and the fact he is NXT Champion. This is something that should be brought onto Raw or SmackDown and recognized. Yes, NXT is the “minor league” of WWE, but should still see some mainstream recognition so the fans among the WWE Universe will not remain in the dark when newcomers make the transition from NXT to Raw or SmackDown. Personally, I have not watched NXT, and did not know of Big E. Langston until I did a Google search. WWE needs to give NXT more attention so guys like Langston are demanded by fans, and not just a surprise.
Future Outlook: Cloudy.
Editor’s Note: Having watched Big E. on NXT week in and week out, I am not impressed. He’s bland on the mic and what’s the difference between him, Ryback and Big Zeke — Ezekiel Jackson? Those two guys have charisma and personality…Big E…woof.