Editorial Note: “In the Rumor Mill” is a periodical opinion piece on various rumors that catch my eye as I float around the pro wrestling circles on the Internet. I can’t emphasize to you enough that this is simply my opinion on these various stories. It is not an effort to either debunk or confirm these rumors, as I am not an insider in the business nor am I connected to anyone who is in any way.
Over the past couple months we’ve seen several new faces on Raw and Smackdown. Among others, Paige, Adam Rose, and Bo Dallas have emerged from NXT to make themselves known on the main roster.
You have heard us discuss the called-up talents on Ring Rap Audio and in various written commentaries here on the site. We are high on what Paige can do, if she’s permitted to do it. Bo Dallas is still fairly new and catching on with us. Adam Rose is probably the weakest character of the three with us.
Of course our opinion as fans has little to do overall, as Vince McMahon still calls many of the shots in WWE as far as talent. So in my lunchtime internet surf, I find that word in the rumor mill is that Vince is still not sold on any of the three, and producer Kevin Dunn went so far as to bury Adam Rose backstage. Here’s my opinion on all three talents and this story.
I feel like Bo Dallas needs time, but we all know Vince isn’t a patient man. There has been some critique of his look and the few extra pounds he seems to be toting. It’s fair, given that the character is presented as one that is inspirational and a bit aloof. Given the flak that Chris Hero got for not hitting the gym as well, I’m not too sure he shouldn’t get a pass. Far be it from me to be critical of someone’s extra midsection pounds at my current weight, but it does play in to the character he is portraying.
Reading the opinions of other fans, they feel as if Dallas is starting to connect. WWE now needs to decide how they want to present him. If they want to present him as a smarmy heel, he needs to start doing more of what gets under people’s skin with his inspirational speeches. Backhanded insults, putting himself over as superior to them and his opponents, and things of that nature will all help define whether or not we should truly Bo-Lieve in him or Bo-lieve we should hate his guts. It does feel like they’re heading in that direction with him, so Vince needs to be a bit more patient with Dallas right now.
Adam Rose going back to NXT and/or being repackaged probably wouldn’t give me too much heartburn. His gimmick is fun, but it doesn’t work on the main roster level. The big party posse also doesn’t click in big arenas like it does at the NXT sound stage, and probably never will.
Rose could benefit from being a heel. He could play that Russell Brand kind of character, or the entitled rock star that comes off as a bit of a sleazebag (as much as the PG product could present him as such). Many of us have “that guy” in our lives and he would be easy to hate.
The other thing Rose could benefit from is ACTUALLY WRESTLING IN A WRESTLING RING! How much work have we actually seen from him since he came up? A spine buster here, a finisher there, but that’s really about all. It’s very hard to develop a guy when he doesn’t actually wrestle to back up his gimmick.
The comment that Paige isn’t working out or impressing, however, really bothers the ever living daylights out of me.
I feel like I say this ad nauseum, but WWE can’t book women’s wrestling to save their life. Let’s face facts – Vince’s ability to book female wrestling has more to do with boobs than it ever has been about in-ring talent. Even when women like Trish Stratus and Lita were around, it was more about their looks and trashy in-ring segments than it was their ability to work. Those women and others worked hard to get over in spite of such horrible gimmickry, and did. I think Paige can do the same if she’s given an opportunity to do so.
Paige has in-ring talent as we have seen from her in both NXT and on the main roster to some degree, but we haven’t heard much from her verbally. We know so little about her, and what drives her character. How does this give fans a chance to connect with her?
Also, Paige’s matches on the main roster are not of the same quality as the ones she had in NXT. She sells for the majority of the match, then mounts a quick comeback and hits either her Paige Tap Out (the Scorpion Cross Lock) submission or the Paige Turner to grab the win.
Perhaps that’s a factor of the women of the main roster not being able to work at her level that she has to dial it back quite a bit to work with them? Aside from AJ (currently absent), Alicia Fox (improving), Emma (missing in comedy gimmick land) and Natalya, who is on Paige’s level of in-ring ability? Not really anyone else.
Paige has only scratched the surface of her contributions to the main roster. Part of the problem is that Vince is so very high on AJ, who is on leave for an undetermined amount of time. Producer Kevin Dunn said to be an Alicia Fox mark as well. I would believe this to be why we get more emphasis on Alicia and her meltdowns than we do Paige when the two are in the ring together.
Throw in the mix that there’s a daughter of a two-time WWE Hall of Famer and 16-time World Champion sitting in NXT with the Women’s Title. Charlotte (Ashley Flair) has shown some ability and can be passable in the ring. She also has the look that Vince seems to like from the ladies, while Paige is not the prototype. Will Charlotte be the next call-up, and unseat Paige?
There is no question that Paige has an uphill battle to be presented in a way that is meaningful and truly showcases her abilities. While far from the perfect talent, she is someone to build a division around though, and WWE is missing out on that chance. So if Paige isn’t impressing, Vince has no one to blame but himself and his lead producer for the most part.
If Vince wants to be disappointed with these three, that's certainly within his rights as the Chairman of WWE. However, he needs to also step back and look at himself and how his creative team and producers are handling these talents. He's booking Paige as the Divas champion with no backstory and allowing his producer to focus on something other than the champion, Bo Dallas hasn't been on the main roster but for a few moments now, and Adam Rose is miscast.
Sure these three are young, up and coming talents and may all likely find a place on the roster. But in order to truly build new roster talent, he needs to go about it in a way that works to their strengths and helps them connect with the fans. So right now, the majority of this supposed disappointment in the rumor mill is on Vince more than it is his talent. He should be able to do better by all three of these acts.