When Brodus Clay made his return to the WWE this January, it was one of the most shocking ones we’ve ever seen.
Not because it was going to rock the foundation of the WWE or because it was some major superstar coming back, but because no one—and I mean, no one—expected Clay to return the way he did.
While the WWE was promoting Clay’s return, they showed video clips of his monster heel character that he portrayed on NXT, logically causing the fans to think that he’d be returning under the same gimmick. But we couldn’t have been more wrong.
Instead, Clay debuted a new gimmick that truly shocked us all—a character that is part Flash Funk, part Ernest “The Cat” Miller and part Rikishi. Clay the monster transformed into Clay “The Funkasaurus,” a dancing giant who apparently thinks that he’s half-dinosaur.
I can honestly say that I was legitimately blindsided by Clay’s return. I had no idea it was coming and was left with a look of utter disbelief on my face when he first started dancing with the “Funkadactyls.”
Even though Clay’s “Funkasaurus” gimmick is pretty ridiculous, the fans seemed to react to it quickly and react to it well. It didn’t take all that long for Clay to get over, especially with the younger kids in the crowd and their parents.
Like many debuting/returning stars, this, of course, led Clay to a lengthy winning streak, where he’d dance, squash a number of lower card workers—like Heath Slater, JTG and Curt Hawkins—in just a minute or two, and then dance again.
It was fine for a while. After all, Clay was getting pretty popular, and we’ve grown accustomed to new superstars having squashes.
But just like it didn’t take very long for Clay to get over, it didn’t take very long for him to get stale, either. Once the comedy behind his dancing got old and once his squashes got old as well, it took just a month or two to realize that the “Funkasaurus” gimmick, quite simply, wasn’t very good.
We’ve seen the “dancing fat guy” gimmick before, we’ve seen the squashes, and we’ve seen the cheesy/kid-friendly characters. We weren’t exactly clamoring to see them again, though.
Yet, Clay has remained in that exact same role for roughly nine months now, with essentially no character development whatsoever and only very brief “feuds” with Big Show, Damien Sandow and Antonio Cesaro that ultimately went nowhere. Although there were opportunities to let Clay do more than just dance, those opportunities came and went without anything substantial happening for Clay.
Is it time to repackage Brodus Clay?
Fast forward to September of this year, and Clay has gone from squashing his opponents to basically being squashed.
In his last two major TV appearances, he was knocked out with a WMD by The Big Show and then easily defeated by Cesaro in a short squash match. Both events were telltale signs that management is souring on Clay, which apparently is indeed the case.
I can’t say I blame WWE officials for wanting to do this. Clay’s character simply hasn’t worked.
While it started off pretty well, it’s washed away pretty quickly. Aside from the pre-teen fans who cheer for Clay, his dancing and the Funkadactyls, there isn’t much reaction to him, and to be honest, there shouldn’t be.
Clay has proven to be nothing more than a weak comedic character of sorts, one who has no depth, no direction and no qualities that make him stand out from the pack. I think Clay himself is much more talented (both on the mic and in the ring) than he’s gotten the chance to show, and that’s precisely why his “Funkasaurus” character needs to go bye bye.
Yes, it appeals to the kids, and no, it’s not Clay’s fault that he’s been saddled with it.
But that doesn’t change the fact that the gimmick’s shelf life has been exceeded and that it’s time to throw it away.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!