Making the case for Brodus Clay

It’s been reported over the internet that Vince McMahon is not happy with Brodus Clay’s in ring work. Clay’s been off TV since the January 30th edition of RAW, although he has worked dark matches. I’m not entirely sure just what McMahon wants out of Brodus.

Brodus Clay is a big man (billed at 375 lbs.) that moves like he’s about 100 lbs. lighter. While I am not a fan of his flying bodypress finisher, it didn’t look all that bad. The guy is a stereotypical brawler. He looks like he can legitimately kick the tar out of anyone he may cross. He also has street cred as he was Snoop Dog’s personal body guard for a time. For whatever reason (I’m thinking it was because of his tweet about squashing John Morrison), McMahon and creative saddled him with the laughable “Funkasaurous” gimmick. Recalling the days that McMahon made Dusty Rhodes wear polka dots and dance like a loon with a rhythmically inept elder black woman, Clay went with the gimmick. Not only that, but with help from none other than Road Dogg, he made the gimmick work.

Just as Clay was starting to get over in a big way, he’s snatched off of TV because of one bad Smackdown match with Heath Slater. My apologies to Slater, but miracles are hard to come by. Not only that, but how bad could the match have been if it followed the squash match formula that all his matches to that time were scripted? And, this happens around the time Miz clearly botches a simple catch.

People genuinely pop for the guy. People were showing up at the arenas with “Somebody Better Call His Mama” signs. People were looking forward to 5 to 10 minutes of a goofy entrance, bad dancing, and a quick squash match against someone from NXT. Now, his segments get replaced by nonsensical debates, and a love triangle that no one in their right mind would give a damn about. As a fan, I feel cheated that just as this guy has started to come into his own, he’s snatched away. Will this lead to another repackaging? Will he be sent down to FCW to work on his ring work? Honestly, I’m not sure where this leaves Clay.

He’s never going to deliver matches on the quality of CM Punk or Chris Jericho. But, he could deliver matches on par or slightly better than Mark Henry or the Big Show. Both of these guys just spent the last year in the World title picture. Clay spent part of last year as Alberto Del Rio’s bodyguard. After suffering a deep cut at Extreme Rules (May 1), he went off to work on the WWE Film, No One Lives. After 3 months of filming, he returned to NXT. He won nine consecutive squash matches and the vignettes for his return started on RAW. He was originally set to return in November but that was pushed back until January for unknown reasons.

On January 9th, he finally returned with the aforementioned dancing, generally goofy, “Funkasaurus” gimmick. Even though he was initially laughed at by fans (and was even made the butt of Michael Cole’s and Jerry Lawler’s on air jokes), he still got over. His theme was available for download on iTunes. Besides that, there wasn’t much effort put behind the gimmick. There was no merchandising to tie into. In addition, the commentators continually mocked his matches. During his matches, he would often yell his spots or “funky” cliches. Still, beyond the terrible gimmick he was handed, and beyond the very company that gave him the crappy gimmick openly mocking him, he made it work and GOT OVER WITH THE FANS!

I just don’t get it. McMahon is looking a gift horse in the mouth. He’s also further alienating and confusing fans. Furthermore, he’s just not seeing what the fans do. Brodus Clay is a guy who wants to be in the business. He has an undeniable passion for wrestling. It must be really hard on him to do so well with what he was handed only to be told by his boss that he’s not doing good enough. Actually, I think we’ve all had that experience before.

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