When Matthew Bloom (a.k.a. A-Train, Albert, Prince Albert, etc.) debuted as Lord Tensai, I immediately questioned it.
I didn’t like the whole Japanese gimmick, the fans couldn’t separate him from his past as Albert, and I honestly didn’t see him ever being able to get over with a gimmick that just wouldn’t translate well to the WWE audience.
Apparently, the WWE agreed with me.
It didn’t take long for creative to drop the “Lord” part of his name, take him out of the main event angles on Raw and relegate him to a spot on Superstars.
However, there are more changes to come for Tensai, because dropping half of his name is reportedly the first step in a major gimmick overhaul for the man formerly known as Albert.
Original plans called for Tensai to be participating in the storyline The Big Show is currently involved with.
Tensai is expected to go through a makeover which has already started to take shape as they have dropped the robe and modified his name. Tensai worked the dark match last night squashing Alex Riley, then in the post-show main event they did a John Cena vs. Tensai and Lauranitis handicap match and Tensai was the one who took the pinfall.
Fantastic move by the WWE here.
They know a failure when they see one, and it’s safe to say that Tensai was failing miserably.
Quite simply, the Lord Tensai gimmick was not getting over. It was an awful attempt at trying to do something different, and it just didn’t work from the very get-go.
Although Tensai wasn’t trying to be Japanese, no one took him seriously as someone who embraced the Japanese culture, and the “Albert” chants were the only thing you could hear amidst the silence during his matches.
His rough start became pretty obvious when he was demoted to Superstars not even two months after returning, which is clearly a big step down from the main event angles on Raw.
The WWE had to do something to try to make this Tensai experiment work, and it’s started that by having him lose the robe and tweak his name. You may have also noticed that he’s being abusive toward Sakamato, which could indicate that he’s going to drop his manager sometime soon as well.
To be honest, though, I’m not sure that this gimmick makeover is even going to help Tensai get to the level that the WWE expected him to be at.
As evidenced by the fact that his planned spot atop the WWE was given to Big Show, Tensai hasn’t panned out quite like the WWE brass thought he would. Furthermore, I’d say that—in addition to his weak gimmick—a lot of the blame for that can be put on his in-ring work, which leaves a lot to be desired.
I guess the WWE is trying to make this investment worthwhile by getting something out of Tensai, but what I’ve seen from him so far doesn’t make me too confident that he’s going to do anything of note anytime soon.