Home > Uncategorized > Monstrous mistake: Why Brodus Clay’s new ‘Funkasaurus’ gimmick might be destined for extinction

Monstrous mistake: Why Brodus Clay’s new ‘Funkasaurus’ gimmick might be destined for extinction

January 11th, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments
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Given WWE’s increasing focus on providing its TV audience with outrageously bad comedy, nonsensical swerves and unpredictability to generate Twitter-trending topics as opposed to delivering solid storytelling and developing compelling characters for the long-term good of the company, it shouldn’t be surprising that Brodus Clay, a classic throwback monster heel with tremendous potential, finally made his delayed re-emergence on Monday’s RAW as “The Funkasaurus,” a jivin’, boogeyin’ babyface with the mannerisms of “the American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, Flash Funk and Akeem” the African Dream.” (I wonder if some kayfabe-era fans saw “Funkasaurus” trending Monday and wondered if Terry Funk was back once again with a silly gimmick a la “Chainsaw Charlie.”)

Bringin' the Funk: Brodus Clay's new Dusty Rhodes-like gimmick is risky bidness, baby.

History shows that when a monster heel is switched for the sake of comedy, it’s usually the beginning of the end for the character–when the aura of mystique and invincibility have been eventually shattered after several months or years of buildup before falling to the top babyface in a series of matches and then dropping bouts to give a rub to second-tier stars. (Think Kimala/Kamala toward the end of his Memphis and WWF runs.)

On Monday’s RAW, I was expecting Godzilla and wound up the Godfather, accompanied by dancing hos. Adorned in a red tracksuit and bucket hat, the big man looked like he’d just eaten Run, DMC, and Jam-Master J. While the makeover was certainly shocking and did in fact get Brodus trending on Twitter (which carnival-barking Michael Cole was quick to point out), the timing of the gimmick is suspect.

In a new series of vignettes in November building up to Clay’s reappearance, it appeared the company was dedicated to getting Brodus over as an unstoppable force, much like the brilliant job that Jerry Jarrett and Jerry Lawler did with Bam Bam Bigelow in Memphis. Maybe I’m too old-school, but I loved the oddball look of the Brodus character, as he stood out among a cluster of muscular clones in today’s WWE.

With the right push and a series of dominating wins on RAW, Brodus could have been the next big heel in the business instead of being wasted as Alberto Del Rio’s flunky as he’d been portrayed in the past. Taking him off TV was a step in the right direction, but Monday’s long-delayed follow-through may have been the fatal stake in the heart of the beast, as the man from “Planet Funk” (hey, it could be worse…could be Planet Stasiak) shucked and jived his way to a win over Curt Hawkins, despite being packed like a sausage in a bright-red singlet.

Now we get the re-masked Kane chokeslammed down our throats again as a movie-monster-type heel, regurgitated like Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Leatherface, etc,. in so many sequels and remakes that don’t do the original version justice. With Kane getting the mega-monster push, perhaps WWE felt a bruisin’ bad-ass Brodus would get lost in the Big Red Machine’s massive shadow. But I just can’t see The Funkasaurus having a long shelf life–again, this is more like a gimmick that winds down a career when the fans no longer take a big man seriously like George Steele’s transformation from “the Animal” to the lovesick puppy dog chasing Miss Elizabeth in 1986. (Granted, that new direction gained Steele a lot of money and noteriety, but it was effective because we’d seen him as a crazed maniac for several years, so the babyface turn meant more as they successfully executed the “Beauty and the Beast”-type angle.)

For Clay’s sake, I hope I’m wrong. Nothing would make me happier if the guy made the funky-like-a-monkey routine click with the people like Dusty decades before. But personally, I’m rooting for WWE to get the Funk out as soon as possible and mold Clay into the monster he was destined to be.

 

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  1. Sean D,
    January 11th, 2012 at 16:17 | #1

    On top of everything else, I’d almost swear they even recycled one of Ernest “The Cat” Miller’s old WCW themes.

  2. January 11th, 2012 at 17:19 | #2

    You mentioned that the monster heels that go the comedy route are usually doomed, but Mark Henry and R-Truth have been doing well. I see Brodus Clay as the guy who filled that roll once those other two got pushed. I’m not really liking what they’re doin with Kane. I expected a monster without the cartoonishness to it. It was a little cartoony with he and he Undertaker in his first run with the mask, but this isn’t 1998.

  3. January 11th, 2012 at 17:45 | #3

    Except that he’s never done anything to show that he’s particularly good at being a monster.

    The power of hope isn’t enough to make people suit the role you’d like them in.

  4. January 11th, 2012 at 17:59 | #4

    As someone who, for some reason, still watches NXT I was actually more surprised to see Curt Hawkins on Raw than I was with this funkiness. I do like his theme music..

  5. Claywell
    January 11th, 2012 at 18:22 | #5

    Bowden: Have you heard anything about Clay doing something or posting something on Twitter and getting in trouble for it? I’ve read somewhere on the Interwebs that he posted something on Twitter about his return, got in some big trouble for it, and this is the result. After building him up as a heel, this is what we get stuck with? The ring announcer had this look on his face like ‘Really? This is what I’ve got to say?’

    As far as Kane, I marked for the return of the mask. And I’m willing to let the cheesiness slide because, let’s face it, there are only two people who can do crazy shit and get away with it today — Kane and the Undertaker. But Monday was too much. It’s not believable — unless you’re a 12-year-old kid or something. I do, however, like how he wears the executioner’s mask over the red mask.

    Something else that’s taken a back seat to all the Kane-Cena crap: C.M. Punk’s title run and Dolph Ziggler’s ascension to the No. 1 contender’s spot. The WWE is crushing the potential that feud has by pushing all this Kane-Cena crap each and every week.

  6. admin
    January 12th, 2012 at 09:57 | #6

    Cewsh–the key is having the right push, getting him over as a dominating force. Clay’s never had that opportunity. It all depends on the push and perception. Mark Henry, despite his physical presence, was a joke until the Hall of Pain gimmick. Bam Bam Bigelow was pushed as the ultimate monster in Memphis and got over as the man who might be the one to retire Jerry Lawler. Bam Bam was then subsequently wasted in his first WWF run as a babyface, followed by yet another ill-fated babyface run in WCW before getting his mojo back as a heel monster. Has nothing to do with “hope”–it’s about smart booking and positioning a guy as an unstoppable force on a collision course with the top babyface. Cheap comedy is good for a few laughs, but again, I question the shelf life on this gimmick. Maybe Clay can recover after this a la Henry (Sexual Chocolate), but it’s going to be an uphill battle to get fans to take him seriously after this, in my opinion. Thanks for the comment, though.

  7. admin
    January 12th, 2012 at 10:02 | #7

    Will: First, R-Truth is not a monster heel. And, yes, Henry did finally recover from Sexual Chocolate but it took a serious, killer-instinct gimmick and transformation into an unbeatable monster to finally get him over as World champion material after 15 years with the company. Goes to show that with the right push, almost anyone with talent can get over.

    I just don’t think this gimmick is the best fit for Clay to make that connection with the fans–and it may in fact kill him off long term–but time will tell.

  8. Steve
    January 13th, 2012 at 06:26 | #8

    Clay now looks like the love child of Dusty Rhodes and P.N. Newz.

  9. cody
    January 13th, 2012 at 23:13 | #9

    Still better than the crap with Cena it needs to stop

  10. Mike Andrews
    January 18th, 2012 at 10:40 | #10

    Why do they always give big guys like him ball-squeezin’ size-too-small red singlets? At least Akeem had a full body spandex dashiki…

  11. Nathan
    February 1st, 2012 at 13:42 | #11

    The problem is that the so-called creative team is not creative at all. They rehash old story lines and use childish gimmicks. It works for them because the majority of today’s society has limited brain power. Therefore, the WWE and TNA can make millions off the gullible public with unrealistic, unoriginal and just plain stupid story lines geared towards kids and mentally challenged adults. Nonsense such as BARRett BARRage or Kane rehashing his monster mask gimmick are simply illogical nonsense. Using the TRY anything approach doesn’t work. For wrestling to be better it has to stop being aimed at “special ed” babies. Until that happens (which may be never) WWE will remain UNDERtainment for not reaching its full potential. Last, but not least, changing John Cena’s character from a “superman” like character to a weak nobody will not sell tickets to anyone with half a brain. Unfortunately the smart or “normal” fans are being totally disrespected. Did you all really believe Vince McMoron was blown up?

  12. Nick Jr
    February 6th, 2012 at 10:40 | #12

    Up until the last 10 years or so wrestling was a lot more realistic. Yes it was still cartoonish and yes they still had the “blind referee” gimmick but definitely not as exaggerated or used as often as it is nowadays.

    Good enjoyable wrestling is like a recipe. It requires some good story lines, good acting and mostly some good wrestling. Today wrestling is geared mostly towards the simple minded adolescent. It is missing many of the key ingredients that would make it 10 times more enjoyable as it did in the 1980s and early 1990s.

    While sugar in a cake recipe makes the cake tasty, putting double the amount of sugar will only mess it up and take away most of the flavor. That’s exactly what’s happening today in both the WWE and TNA. Both organizations are afraid to be original. Instead they rehash old gimmicks (such as Kane’s mask) and copy stupid things from each other. They do it because because they have 1000s of gullible naive fans.

  13. PR Exec
    March 6th, 2012 at 16:34 | #13

    How stupid in my opinion. Rock VS Cena????
    Undertaker VS HHH (3rd time at least) with Michaels the referee??? First match: If Cena wins Rock was out of it too long. Rock wins and disappears. Someone interferes. Only possible outcomes. Michaels either costs HHH or the Undertaker the match. Either way it’s just plain stupid. Also stupid is that Undertaker was away for a year. Why does HHH always have to get in on the big match – because he’s the bosses son in law?? Even if it was $5 I wouldn’t waste my money. The one who said wrestling was way better 15 years ago was correct. Today it’s just for those who give away free money for gimmicks and nonsense that never ends so you can pay more $$$$$$.

  14. Nathan
    March 14th, 2012 at 17:48 | #14

    Another stupid match at WM is Shamus VS Bryan. I remember when they fought in the past and Bryan got beaten badly and easily. He was blown away by Shamus. The only difference now is that Bryan will resort to some underhanded stupidity to possibly win. This is another useless and boring match.

    Also the GIANT has easily crushed Rhodes many times in the past. Even with the stupid fake injured face Rhodes was useless. He can’t act to save his life. Unfortunately it’s yet another useless match at WM.

    I don’t know which has gotten worse – WWE or TNA.

  15. PR Exec
    March 16th, 2012 at 05:15 | #15

    Yet another boring match is Orton VS Kane. Before the mask gimmick WWE had Kane losing to everyone – including BEGINNERS. Now he returns with the mask and arbitrarily, with no reason or explanation, attacks Orton just to start a fake feud. The build up to WM is just plain garbage. It seems that they make last minute decisions with no thought or regard for fans interests. It could be so much better. This is what happens when a father leaves his business to his special ed kid.

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