Happy weekend TJR faithful, and welcome to a brand new, albeit overdue edition of A Matter Of Character. Those that know me and speak with me about wrestling on a regular basis know that I have a habit of choosing weird favorite performers. Guys that aren’t the obvious superstars that dominate screen time each week. I tend to gravitate to the underutilized and under appreciated (by both WWE and its fans).
One superstar that I find myself being a huge fan of these days is none other that Brad “Be Rad” Maddox. I understand that he hasn’t had the chance to spread his wings yet on WWE TV, and that most fans see him as a useless annoying twerp. I just happen to think that those people are streets behind when it comes to the enigma that is Brad Maddox.
This weeks AMOC will examine Brad Maddox as a character and performer. I will explain to you why I think he’s the bees knees, and why anyone who hasn’t should join his fan club. Enough dithering, Let’s Do This!
Brad Maddox is not a physical specimen. He’s far from it in fact. Don’t get me wrong, he’s in good shape physically, but to be a WWE wrestler, he falls a little short of what most would imagine in their heads. He barely reaches 6 ft as far as his height is concerned, and only weighs 200 pounds. I’d venture to guess that The Rock could eat Brad Maddox in one sitting.
Guys who are smaller usually have a harder time succeeding in the WWE, but it’s not impossible. They just need to be exciting, fast paced, in ring performers. Unfortunately Brad Maddox isn’t any of those things. Having seen him wrestle, his style is slower and more ground based. He wrestles like a man twice his size with half the strength. He isn’t bad in the ring, I’ve just never seen him put on an exciting match. That said he sells like a champ. Ironically enough he’s a hard sell, because he doesn’t fly around like we’ve been trained to think guys his size should.
All that being said, Brad Maddox has a look that plays very well into different personas. He looks like a cocky d-bag, as well as an underhanded weasel. He has a look that is as versatile and unique as his other skills are.
Brad Maddox has personality for days. I find him so entertaining to watch just interacting with people because it feels like he’s giving me something that I’ve never seen before. We’ve seen the faux cocky superstar that Miz is playing currently a thousand times before and we’ll see it a thousand times in the future. Brad Maddox could play the same kind of character, but he puts a twist on it.
Instead of playing arrogant, he plays an oddball style of confidence, which is so weird to see, but he pulls it off. It’s as though he is very arrogant but doesn’t want to come off as such, so when he talks he’s actively toning himself down, so as not to outright offend, even though what he’s saying is often pretty offensive to the person he’s interacting with. Other times he sounds like he’s trying to come across as sympathetic, despite being an arrogant SOB. It’s such a weird dichotomy to even think about pulling off that I commend his performance wholeheartedly. His personality is one of contradictions, arrogance without wanting to seem so, power hungry while wanting to seem weak, villain but wanting to play the hero. I love it.
WORDS AND ACTIONS
My favorite thing about Brad Maddox is the way that he talks. I’ve heard some say its bad, but I absolutely love it. Take these videos that he’s posted on his YouTube channel since being away from WWE TV. They’re fantastic. Maybe it’s because everyone talks the same these days, but any time somebody breaks from the normal tone and tempo, they’ll have supporter in me.
What makes me really like Brad Maddox’s promo styles is his frequent a liberal use of inflection. It throws off the cadence with which he is speaking and goes a long way in separating him from most of the guys in the WWE. Is he Dean Ambrose, not quite, but Brad’s comically constant changing of tones throughout his promo are unbelievably entertaining to me. He is a brilliant performer that is being underexposed and underutilized by the WWE every week he’s not on TV.
His actions are fairly conventional, he is a weasel always trying to sneak or trick his enemies rather than meet them head on. As a character trait, it is perfect for a guy his size and skill set. It also goes along with his personality very well. He is a man of deception.
The least interesting thing that they have done since they brought Brad Maddox to TV is make his motivating factors be money and pleasing The Authority. It’s partially the reason why his run as GM was useless (that and the fact that he was on TV only a handful of times doing GM things).
His motivation is pretty simple to ascertain once you’ve watched him perform a few times. His motivation is trickery. He is a man of contradictions and deception. He wants you looking at his right hand when you should be looking at his left. As I said before, he is arrogant but wants to come across as humble, he wants power while looking to be weak, he wants everything but for you to believe he has nothing. He’s trickster, a problem starter, and an unassuming, chaotic catalyst for conflict.
His major confliction would be his entire nature. Everything about him is a contradiction or a lie to hide his true motives. Sometimes it will be impossible to hide his true intentions, sometimes people will see through his façade, and sometimes others will think they know what he’s up to, when you only know exactly what he wants you to know. Brad Maddox needs to become the Coyote of WWE, the wily trickster who uses his deceptive abilities and gullibility of others to climb the ladder of success.
Since being away from the WWE’s TV Universe, Brad Maddox has posted a series of videos of him on vacation. They started off fairly banal, him declaring he was taking a vacation to Mexico, him lounging on a beach, and him exploring a dark cave in Mexico. Things took a turn when he claimed to have been separated from his group and trapped in the cave. A series of videos followed with him slowly losing his mind as time passed and he remained stuck in the cave. Finally he revealed that he wasn’t in a real cave, but rather an emotional cave since being fired as Raw GM. In short we had been watching a man lose his mind without a purpose, so he ran a gambit on us, to feel the rush of trickery again.
This kind of long con needs to be the way that he gets himself back into WWE. It shouldn’t be one of those “he’s back, I guess” moments like when RVD or any other superstar return from injury or hiatus. Have mysterious videos play in the arena for weeks to come, very similar to the ones on his YouTube channel that start fairly normal and descend into madness, that all end with the tagline “Where’s Brad?” until finally he does return after one of his videos finishes rolling… with The Ascension.
I think pairing Brad Maddox, the devious trickster with the demonic tag team The Ascension would be a perfect marriage to bring Brad back to TV. HE could manage and help them cut their promos for a long while before venturing off on his own to play more mind games with others and climb the ladder of success and chaos. In the future, after or even during his run with The Ascension, you could have him return to active competition and win his matches all though trickery (i.e. playing possum, setting up distractions, all the common ways dumb babyfaces usually get beat by smart heels, as well as some innovative new ones). Sell him as Brad The Trickster, and he will definitely become a more compelling and useful character.
There you have it, but as always I want to know what you think! Am I too high on Brad Maddox? What did you think of his trapped in a cave series? How great a performer is he? Could Brad The Trickster work? Could you see him complimenting The Ascension as their colleague in deception and destruction?
Until next time folks, I’m Matty J. Douglas requesting a slow clap for Drake as ESPYs host. I thought he did a really good job. Have a great weekend everybody!