When I started doing editions of A Matter of Character on FCW/NXT superstars, I made a list of the most talented and promising superstars in developmental. Of all the guys with a real shot to make some noise once called up to the big leagues, Bo Dallas, son of Mike Rotunda (I.R.S.) was near the bottom of my list. Nothing against him, but objectively he was very young (21 turning 22 at the time) and had a lot to develop and prove before I would be willing to say he belongs on the main shows. He certainly had talent and promise, but there were a plethora of guys who I thought were more ready.
Needless to say I was surprised that they decided to call him up to the main roster, and even more so that they are involving him in a fairly high profile rivalry with Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett. If it were up to me, I would have kept him in developmental after giving him a little taste of the big time in the Royal Rumble match. He still has a ways to go in terms of being a finished product, but it’s undeniable that he does have potential and I’m a fan of his, but this might be too soon to put him on the main stage.
This week’s A Matter of Character is going to put the spotlight on Bo Dallas. I will analyze his character and point out its strengths and flaws, as I perceive them. I will also make suggestions for improvement where I see fit. So enough lolly gagging, Let’s Do This!
Bo Dallas, a 3rd generation competitor, is a great in-ring talent whom in my opinion has yet to put it all together. I’ve been watching him on FCW and NXT since he’s debuted in 2008 at age 19, and while I liked his raw talent and youth, he has yet to really impress me with one of his matches. Don’t get me wrong, his matches have almost entirely been good, and he’s definitely an NXT standout who’s better than some guys on the WWE Main Roster, it’s just that I haven’t been wowed by any maneuver or story he’s told in the ring. At 22 years old has a lot of time to cultivate that talent and to grow into one of the WWE’s best in-ring superstars, but right now has a ways to go.
As far as his look is concerned, it’s okay. He stands out a bit with his long (and wet) black hair, and the single glove on the right hand is a small touch that helps set him apart from everybody else, but if I’m being honest, when I look at him I don’t see “it”. I do see "something" there but presently he seems very plain to me. It doesn’t help that physically, he’s not the best or a standout with anything. He’s a good not great wrestler, he’s pretty good looking but not the best looking guy that I think a female audience would gravitate toward, he’s athletic but far from the most athletic guy on the roster. He’s an amalgamation of pretty good attributes that I feel could have spent more time developing into someone that would really pop when transitioned to the main roster.
You can call Bo Dallas a lot of things, but Mr. Personality is not one of them. I simply haven’t gotten a great grasp on Bo’s personality, or maybe I just don’t find it all that interesting. He seems like he’s just some positive, upbeat, plucky superstar from the South, who’s overly satisfied with just being here. He doesn’t show any fire or intensity, but has child-like enthusiasm in spades, which is fine I guess, but I want something more out of him.
He’s a 3rd Generation Superstar, and in my opinion he shouldn’t act so surprised that he beat Wade Barrett. With his pedigree, he should have expected to beat him. The old adage “Act Like You’ve Been There Before” definitely applies to Bo as far as I’m concerned because I for one don’t want to cheer for a guy whose reaction to victory is “oh golly gee, did I win?” That kind of superstar wears out their welcome real fast. Everyone likes an underdog, but the underdog has to expect that he’ll win despite the odds. When the underdog himself acts surprised he won, it starts to look like the victory was nothing more than a fluke.
WORDS AND ACTIONS
Bo Dallas’ biggest weakness as a superstar is his mic work. It’s poor, to be kind. Most if not all of his promos have a very weak delivery, and he tends to ramble when he has to fill time but has nothing to say. He also dips in the cliché well far too often for my liking. If you thought John Cena’s pre-Rumble promo was bad (and it was), that’s Bo on a regular basis, minus the confidence that John exuded during that awful promo.
His actions are better, only because he’s only ever come across as overly enthusiastic in all his actions in and out of the ring. He seems to rely on that enthusiasm to get across that he’s a good guy and to be fair to him, his portrayal of childlike enthusiasm and positivity is spot on. That being said, he hasn’t shown me any ability to express any other emotion believably, so in that regard, the jury is still out on him as a performer.
As I said before, he seems to lack drive, motivation or intensity. He just seems happy to be there, and that in and of itself is a piss poor motivation for a guy in a competition based business. The problem is that he doesn’t exude enough natural charisma or personality to start a framework for what his motivation should be.
I could go the route that because he’s a 3rd Gen Superstar, he wants to escape from his famous father and grandfather’s shadow, but that’s very generic. I could try to paint him as a rebel, stemming from growing up in a house with I.R.S. as his father, and show that rebellion in any form motivates him more than anything, which I suppose is a pretty good motivation, but again is very contrived and would require more than over-enthusiasm from the performer to portray believably. I have no idea who Bo Dallas is as a person, which makes the possibilities for him endless but finding the interesting and compelling character that fits him is a daunting task.
Bo Dallas may be one of those rare superstars that finds the right character for himself on WWE TV. It won’t happen during this Wade Barrett feud unfortunately, but I hope that Bo Dallas can be this generation’s Rocky Maivia. What I mean by that is that like Rocky Maivia, all Bo brings to the table is enthusiasm and naïveté. There is nothing interesting or compelling about Bo, just like there was nothing interesting or compelling about Rocky Maivia. Will Bo become The Rock? I’m not saying that and quite frankly I don’t think he has it in him, but hopefully Bo can become someone interesting and entertaining watch through the right angle. He still needs a lot of development, and on the main roster, it’ll be a trial by fire.
Of all the standouts on NXT, I felt like Bo was the least ready to transition to the main roster, for the bevy of reasons I covered in this analysis. He lacks any interesting character traits that the WWE Universe can latch onto, and his only hope for survival is to continue to get support for being an underdog. Personally I think this Wade Barrett feud would have been better served with Richie Steamboat as the upstart babyface. Hell, as much as I like Kassius Ohno as a heel, bringing him up as babyface to feud with Barrett (who I’ve noticed has borrowed heavily from Kassius’ character on NXT, down to the elbow smash finisher and compression sleeve on the right arm) could have worked much better than Wade vs. Bo, who I don’t think is ready, character-wise for this push.
That being said, he’s in this position and it looks like the WWE is at least toying with the idea of putting the Intercontinental Title on him. This would be a mistake and one of the most uninteresting and forgettable title reigns in WWE history due to the lack of compelling character traits Bo Dallas possesses. Let him get close, but in the end, I’d keep the title on Barrett, and transition Bo into a tag team with Michael McGillicutty. They’re both 3rd Generation Superstars and have teamed numerous times on NXT. The WWE needs some tag teams at the moment and this team would allow Bo to develop more personality without as much scrutiny as he would receive trying to carry the Intercontinental Championship. It also allows him to stay on the main roster rather than get shipped back down to developmental, which is usually a bad sign, although Bo’s brother Bray Wyatt developed into something better as a result of being shipped back to Florida.
There you have it, but what do you guys think? Are you fans of Bo Dallas? Do you think he can be a main event level star? Or do you agree with my criticism of him? What would you do with him on the main roster?
Until next time folks, I’m Matty J. Douglas saying congratulations to the Baltimore Ravens on their Super Bowl win. I’m very happy for Ray, Ed, Anquan, Torrey, and even Flacco. Have a great week everybody!