R-Truth carved a niche out for himself in the WWE as a rapping mid-card face, but by last year he had gotten extremely stale. A surprising heel turn reinvigorated his career, but after being involved in some high-profile angles, Truth has since gone back to being a face and has essentially lost any progress that he had previously made.
Truth gets a good crowd reaction and certainly has some excellent qualities, but as has been the case with everyone in this series thus far, the issue is whether or not he has what it takes to ascend from the mid-card purgatory and become a full-time main-eventer.
Truth has shown flashes of that at certain times, but he has yet to take the ball and run with it.
Keep reading for the newest edition of my daily, 25-superstar countdown, in which I break down the upside, direction and long-term potential of every meaningful WWE competitor. Today I will determine if Truth has world championship gold in his future.
After attempting to become a star in the music industry, R-Truth burst onto the wrestling scene in 1999 when he was signed to a developmental deal by the WWE.
Truth competed in Memphis Championship Wrestling as K-Kwik and went on to win the Southern Heavyweight Championship on two occasions. By late 2000, Truth was promoted to the WWE roster as he formed a tag team with Road Dogg.
Truth and Road Dogg had moderate success and were often in the Tag Team Championship picture, but Truth was forced to go off on his own when Road Dogg was released from his contract in 2001. As K-Kwik, Truth had his moments and even went on to win the Hardcore Championship twice, but he was used primarily as enhancement talent and was released in 2002.
He would go on to have his greatest success in TNA where he wrestled as K-Krush initially before going by his real name, Ron Killings. Truth was involved in several important feuds and he became the first ever African American NWA World Heavyweight Champion, winning the title on two occasions.
After six fruitful years with the promotion, Truth came back to the WWE in 2008. He has been with the company ever since.
Seeing as Truth is currently a Tag Team Champion with Kofi Kingston, you would think that they would be involved in an important storyline, but that simply isn't the case.
The Tag Team Championships have been reduced to meaningless props at this point, since they are rarely defended and aren't used to fuel any feuds. Rather than defending their titles, Truth and Kofi have been doing battle with Big Show for the past few weeks.
When Show went crazy and beat down Brodus Clay prior to their match two weeks ago, Truth and Kofi came out in an effort to save Brodus. That didn't go particularly well as Big Show destroyed both of them. Show continued his reign of terror as he punched Truth's lights out during an interview and easily defeated Kingston in a steel-cage match.
Now it is unclear where Truth goes from here, particularly since he isn't currently on the No Way Out card.
Truth apparently has a foot injury that may be keeping him out of action. This explains why he hasn't wrestled for the past two weeks. Even if he was healthy, it isn't as if there is much for him to do.
Being in the tag-team division is a death sentence in the WWE these days, and it is holding Truth back more than it is helping him at this point.
R-Truth certainly has a lot of good tools at his disposal, and chief among them is his personality and overall gimmick.
Back in 2010, Truth was absolutely awful because his entire shtick was him rapping down to the ring and yelling "what's up?" The kids enjoyed it, but most people had grown incredibly tired of it.
His heel turn was like a breath of fresh air, because it gave him license to be different.
He instantly turned into a psycho who rambled nonsensically on the mic and believed that there was an imaginary person with him named Little Jimmy. Truth has since gone back to being a face after his entertaining partnership with The Miz ended, but he has still maintained his oddball character.
Perhaps he isn't as edgy as he once was, but you never quite know what Truth is going to do.
In addition to that, I would call his in-ring skills a strength as well. He isn't up there with the top workers in the company by any means, but he is above average and can more than hold his own between the ropes.
Perhaps he will have to get even better in that regard if he is ever going to be a main-eventer, but he has some solid ability.
As good as Truth's gimmick is for getting him over, it may not be conducive to a main-event run.
I simply can't see a world champion running around with an imaginary friend, and that is essentially what Truth does at this point. When Truth was a heel he still had the same creepy antics, but it was more believable that he could possible win a world title because he was ruthless and sinister, and had a very serious side.
The biggest thing working against Truth at this point may be his age. Many would probably be surprised to know that Truth is already 40 years old, so there is no telling how much time he has left in the business. He has been around for well over a decade and has accomplished a lot, but if he is ever going to become something more, time may be running out.
Truth abruptly went back to being a face when he and Miz broke up, but it was basically Truth's fault as he violated the WWE's Talent Wellness Program. That resulted in Truth being written off television for a month and returning to feud with Miz.
I don't believe there is any way that Truth reaches new heights in his current gimmick, and I'm not sure the WWE trusts him enough after that wellness violation to do much more with him.
Seeing as Truth hasn't been involved in a lot of big angles in WWE, he doesn't have many matches that really jump out.
In terms of importance to his career, his match with John Cena for the WWE Championship at Capitol Punishment was a pretty big deal. That match marked the height of Truth's impact as a heel, because he had essentially ascended to top heel status.
Unfortunately for him, it didn't last very long.
The match itself against Cena wasn't a classic by any means, but there was solid in-ring work from both competitors. It looked like a believable championship match.
Looking like a legitimate contender was half the battle for Truth, because he had essentially spent his entire career as a mid-carder. During that time period Truth did look like a true threat, and this match deserves some praise.
There were many who believed that Truth might actually beat Cena and get a little run with the WWE Championship, but that obviously didn't happen.
With his heel character, I believe that Truth could have remained in the title hunt a bit longer, but the creative team decided to curtail his singles push and put him with The Miz. They were a good team and had some big rivalries, but it effectively ended Truth's hopes of a title run.
Truth has already done a lot, as he has won the Hardcore Championship, United States Championship and Tag Team Championships in the WWE, as well as the NWA Heavyweight Championship in TNA.
Because of that, one would have to say that his career has been a success. With that said, though, the holy grail still eludes him as he has yet to capture the World Heavyweight Championship or WWE Championship.
At this time last year, I would have said that Truth had a pretty good chance to win a world title. He was red-hot as a heel.
At this point, however, it would really surprise me if he ever got back to that level. The WWE had a real chance to put Truth over and to see what he could do as a main-event heel, but either he wasn't given a fair shot or the WWE didn't like what it saw from Truth during his brief feud with Cena.
I anticipate Truth spending the remainder of his career as a mid-carder, although if he goes back to his crazy heel persona, you never know. For as long as Truth is a face, I simply can't envision him accomplishing much more.
Not everyone can win a world title, and Truth is one of those guys who I see falling short.
How He Gets There
The WWE gave up on heel R-Truth far too quickly. While a big part of that was Truth's wellness violation, the creative team could have done a better job of reintroducing him as a heel rather than having him attack Miz and deviate from his character.
I absolutely despised Truth prior to his heel turn, but I found him very entertaining afterward. There is no doubt in my mind that he has to be a heel in order to be a major player.
Turning him would be pretty simple. He and Kofi could lose the Tag Team Championships with Kofi getting pinned, resulting in Truth snapping and attacking Kingston. The two of them could have a short feud with Truth going over before Truth embarks on the main-event scene.
One thing that he would have going for him is the fact that there is a serious lack of main-event heels. You have guys like Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio, but none of them are indispensable in their current roles.
If the WWE does the right thing and makes Truth a heel once again in the coming months, then he may be able to get back to where he was last year. If he continues to be a fun-loving, comedic character, then Truth has essentially gone as far as he can in the WWE.
Check back daily for new entries in this WWE 25-superstar countdown. Here are the five most recent editions for your viewing pleasure:
19. Brodus Clay
18. David Otunga
17. Kofi Kingston
16. Jack Swagger