Since reappearing in WWE as a member of the Raw roster last month, Brodus Clay has ignited discussion across the Internet about his new "Funkasaurus" gimmick.
With his backup dancers, Motown music and a newfound persona packed complete with silly catchphrases and bodily gyrations, Clay's new act has polarized wrestling fans and wrestling media alike.
But whether you love it or hate it, the fact is that the WWE creative team is pulling out all the stops to ensure that Clay and his funky stylings can become a featured attraction on WWE programming for the foreseeable future.
Since returning to the airwaves, the Funkasaurus has run roughshod over some of the promotion's less-featured talent, culminating in a quick squash of former Intercontinental champion Drew McIntyre at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. He also made quick work of heat-magnets William Regal and Vickie Guerrero in a dance contest during an episode of SmackDown!
The wild new direction, WWE's dedication to getting it over and its reception by the public at large all beg the question: Can Brodus Clay and the company's creative team make this into something more meaningful or will the man who once provided the muscle for Alberto Del Rio's title pursuit remain nothing more than a one-dimensional comedy act?
My money says the best is yet to come.
Even as Del Rio's lackey, WWE fans were responding to the sheer mass and utter brutality Clay brought to the wrestling ring.
His look hearkens back to guys like John Tenta (Earthquake), One Man Gang and Bam Bam Bigelow. In today's WWE, where the wrestlers who are pumped out of FCW are probably best described as carbon copies of a look Vince McMahon covets, Clay's stature and style set him apart from the rest of the roster and provides fans with an alternative to the Randy Orton/Ted Dibiase/Cody Rhodes mold that has become so prevalent.
Will Brodus Clay's stock continue to rise?
Despite the fact that WWE's current go-to funny man, Santino Marella, will probably never be viewed as a serious contender for the WWE Championship (or any other WWE title), so-called comedy characters have been able to transition to main-event stars and fan favorites throughout the promotion's history.
Mick Foley's work as Mankind during the Attitude era is a good example of this. So too is The Rock, who was never there for comic relief, but was allowed to grow and gain a larger audience partly through the humor in his interviews and angles.
Perhaps the greatest example of a less serious character gaining a following and having prolonged success is the Junkyard Dog, who despite being made to bark, dance and initially push a junk wagon to the ring, won several titles with Mid-South Wrestling, had notable feuds with the Freebirds, Harley Race and Ric Flair over the course of his career and whose popularity rivaled that of the immortal Hulk Hogan during the WWF's '80s evolution.
Brodus Clay may not reach the heights of those men, but early returns indicate that the crowd is on his side with the potential for bigger and better things going forward.
A high-profile feud with a big-name heel, i.e. The Miz, his former mentor Alberto Del Rio or Mark Henry, would do well to elevate Clay as he continues to grow into his new role.
Whatever happens, Brodus Clay has the size, the look and the intangibles to be successful and to be taken seriously.
In other words, if all goes well and the WWE braintrust remains committed to him...the Funkasaurus could be playing his Jurassic jazz for a long time to come.