WWE News: What Is David Otunga's Potential?

Sharon GlencrossContributor IAugust 29, 2012

photo from wwe.com
photo from wwe.com

Well, here is something few would have ever predicted.

Over the last year, David Otunga has emerged as one of wrestling's best heel characters.

His smug, smarmy lawyer gimmick—rooted in Otunga's real-life legal training at Harvard—shone on episodes of Raw and SmackDown and provided the star with a platform on which to show off his superior mic skills and vibrant personality.

This was even more impressive considering how Otunga had initially been dismissed by many—both on-screen and off—as a talentless bodybuilder coasting on the success of his real-life girlfriend, Oscar-winning singer/actress Jennifer Hudson.

In fairness to the critics, Otunga's awkward and bumbling in-ring performances did not help to deflect the negativity, and it's very possible that had he not remade himself as a lawyer last year as part of the walkout angle, he would currently see himself in dark-match limbo, or even future endeavoured.

So, thanks to his new gimmick and his association with villainous general manager John Laurinaitis, Otunga rose to prominence on Raw.

Of course, since Laurinaitis was fired and taken off television, his stock has plummeted and he's been regularly jobbing on Raw and SmackDown, even losing to Zack Ryder last Monday (considering Zack loses to virtually everyone, this is quite the comedown). 

But relax, all you Otunga fans; all is not lost. Indeed, he has quite a few opportunities for success right now.

For one thing, Otunga is set to star in an upcoming WWE Studios' movie—The Hive, starring Oscar winner Halle Berry.

While many may roll their eyes and assume this will be yet another WWE movie that sinks without a trace on release, there is a lot of evidence to indicate The Hive—a thriller about a phone operator's quest to save a kidnapped girl from a serial killer—may do quite well.

Indeed, the level of talent involved is quite impressive: Aside from Berry, child star Abigail Breslin and Michael Imperioli, from The Sopranos, also feature. Brad Anderson (who has worked on critically-acclaimed shows like Boardwalk Empire, The Wire and Fringe) is directing. The Hive could be the first WWE film in a long time that is an actual hit, something that would surely help Otunga's stock in the company.

And come release time, look for the former Nexus star's profile to get a boost, as the company attempts to promote and market the movie. After all, WWE don't put complete nobodies in their movies, do they?

As far as his wrestling career goes, a John Laurinaitis return isn't out of the question. If this does happen, look for these Otunga and Laurinaitis to have a reunion on-screen (those two really were one of the all-time great heel duos in wrestling).

There's also the fact that Otunga's lawyer character is very adaptable—meaning the star can easily be paired with a top heel again, even if Laurinaitis never does come back to Raw. Indeed, David was even seen offering his services to new GM AJ this week. (She turned him down though, after he hinted she needed legal help in case she did something “crazy.”)

Summarily, while Otunga's current position may look precarious on the surface, he has more options than people realize. No doubt the company, keen to capitalize on his talents and real-life mainstream appeal, will recognize this too.