David Otunga hasn’t had any notable singles feuds or won any World titles (thank God), but he still skyrocketed up the WWE ladder quicker than most.
Following his stint on the first season of NXT, Otunga almost immediately found his way onto the main roster as part of the Nexus on Monday Night Raw. Instantly, he was placed into a high-profile feud that allowed him to compete in the main event of SummerSlam in 2010, win the WWE Tag Team Championship and compete in the main event of Raw against John Cena.
The more we saw of Otunga, though, the less we wanted to see of him.
The guy has a great look, and in fact, he is still one of the most jacked up dudes on the WWE roster. But he was, as they say in the wrestling business, greener than goose poop.
Otunga never showed a ton of in-ring skills on NXT, and his lack of the most basic wrestling abilities translated to Raw, where he was quickly recognized as someone who has no business being on the main roster. Well, at least if he is going to be used as a wrestler.
That’s why fans were outraged when the WWE decided to put the tag team titles on Otunga and Michael McGillicutty, arguably the most boring tag team champs we’ve seen in the WWE in the last 10 years, not to mention ones that were far from great in the ring as well.
The speculation was that Otunga had his semi-high profile spot on TV because of his relationship with actress/singer Jennifer Hudson, and though I have no way of knowing if that is indeed the case, I would guess that Hudson’s fame indeed had a lot to do with Otunga staying on Raw rather than being sent back down to developmental.
Yet, somewhere along the way, WWE officials wised up and decided that Otunga would no longer be a part of notable stables like Nexus and the new Nexus. Instead, they decided to use Otunga’s real-life law degree from Harvard and make it the basis of Otunga’s character.
Otunga is now essentially the legal advisor for the interim Raw general manager John Laurinaitis, a role that I think is a perfect fit for him.
Though Otunga leaves a lot to be desired in the ring, he was always above average on the mic and able to generate a solid amount of heat from the crowd. In his new role as Laurinaitis’ sidekick, that’s all he has to rely on.
If he can go out to the ring and cut some solid promos, then he should be fine because his alliance with a hated heel like Laurinaitis is already going to get him solid heat every time he even appears on camera.
Otunga can serve as Laurinaitis’ lackey for as long as he wants as far as I’m concerned because he’s no longer getting pushed over guys with far more talent or taking up a ton of TV time like he used to. He’s using his two biggest advantages (his mic skills and alignment with Laurinaitis) to actually add something to the WWE product.
Plus, Otunga is now in the perfect role to become a jobber for the WWE’s top baby faces. He is a heel version of Santino Marella, if you will.
As evidenced by that massive knockout punch he took from The Big Show or that squash match against Randy Orton on the “Holiday edition” of SmackDown, it looks like Otunga is going to be the guy who opens his mouth too much and then finds himself on the wrong end of a beatdown from a baby face star.
That’s Santino to a T.
You find yourself losing matches to big stars in quick fashion, you put yourself in a similar situation the next week and then the same thing happens again.
It’s a solid way to build up some momentum for a baby face without hurting the credibility of someone on the roster who is going to be used a full-time wrestler.
Otunga is no longer primarily an in-ring competitor. He’s an “on-screen performer” more than anything else, one whose main purpose will be to make others look good.
That’s fine by me because Otunga’s role is harmless, and he plays it well.
Kudos are in order for the WWE for finally finding the right way to use someone who shouldn’t see much time in the ring.