7/16/14 Wrestler of the Week – Bo Dallas

 

Any time a wrestler gets to work with luminaries like El Torito and the Great Khali in the same week, he’s a virtual lock to make a big impression. The fact that Bo Dallas has such a quirky and enjoyably annoying character that he can turn those impressions from outrageously negative to overwhelmingly positive is a big mark in his favor. Dallas has not had a proper program since he joined the main WWE roster, but his impact is everywhere. He has rubbed shoulders with Daniel Bryan, compiled a 15-0 winning streak that actually resonates, and, judging by the fans in the crowd- sold about as much merchandise as anyone on the roster other than John Cena.

Dallas created my favorite moment in an otherwise lackluster episode of Smackdown on Friday. He carried forward the miniature feud that started with Los Matadores earlier in the week. This time, though, he took on their mascot, El Torito. As much as of a tradition as there is for little person wrestling, there is just as much of a tradition for heel wrestlers getting heat by beating up the most popular of the little wrestlers. You don’t even have to look very far into the past for an example- JBL squashed Hornswoggle in a cage when it was revealed that he was not actually Vince McMahon’s son (and for those who did not watch that feud, it was every bit as ludicrous as that sentence makes it sound). Dallas made the most of his opportunity on Friday. He took a few shots from El Torito to get the humiliation rising, he delivered the Bo Dog to an overmatched opponent to get natural heat from the fans, and he bowled over El Torito outside the ring when he ran his victory lap. The final element was the most important because it was an original way to get attention. A lot of getting over in wrestling is doing a good job of things that have been done thousands of times before, but any time a wrestler can do something that is his own, it will help him stand out. Whether Dallas came up with that twist on his own or got the idea from writers and agents, it was a great twist.

His match against Khali on Monday was another example of a time-honored way for a sheepish heel to get heat. He entered the ring and made an open challenge to anyone who could display as much heart as El Torito did in their match on Friday (a clever invocation that reminded everyone to boo him). Khali answered the call and promptly laid him out with a big chop. Dallas rolled to the outside, and when Khali followed him, he dropkicked him in the knee. As we all know, it takes Khali about 30 seconds to stand up once he is on the ground, so Dallas followed that dropkick with a Bo Dog off of the apron to secure a count-out victory. I loved the way he took pride in the count-out and I loved that he encouraged the referee to count faster and faster. He tried to give Khali a pep talk after the win and Khali slapped the microphone out of his hands. Dallas stumbled backwards and had a look of total fear and confusion on his face that punctuated the segment perfectly.

The mix of heavily-gimmicked and lightly-gimmicked characters in WWE confuses me sometimes. I don’t know how Fandango, Adam Rose, and Goldust can pretend to exist in the same universe as Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, and Cesaro. The beauty of Dallas is that he can exist in either world. His gimmick is so pure that he just seems like a delusional version of a regular person rather than a caricature gimmick. That characteristic helps remove the ceiling on his potential that limits most of his extremely gimmicky colleagues. I don’t know how far Dallas will go in WWE, and I am certain that he has aspirations much higher than lower-card matches against Los Matadores, but he has performed so well with the scraps he has been given that I think he deserves an opportunity to do even more.