Will Heath Slater and the 3 Man Band Truly Be Successful in WWE?

Tom Clark@tomclarkbrFeatured ColumnistNovember 8, 2012

photo by wwe.com
photo by wwe.com

The 3MB.  Man, where to start?

From the moment that Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre decided to start wearing black leather and playing air guitar, WWE fans all over the world have shared a similar reaction.

“Dude, what?”

Slater’s silly yet likable gimmick is actually getting some traction with fans and has now been mimicked by two other guys.  

Don’t look now, but Heath Slater has some bros.

On its face, the idea of this trio may not be very impressive.  After all, WWE creative has a penchant for taking workers who have virtually nothing in common, putting them together, then throwing the idea at the wall to see if it sticks.  

This little move means that the company realistically has run out of ideas for these Superstars on an individual basis. 

Nothing could be more true than in the case of Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre, who both had essentially reached a stopping point in WWE.

Jinder seemed as though he may have been getting somewhere in the company at first.  He appeared on TV fairly regularly and fans were getting accustomed to seeing him. He’s a good worker, has a good look and is a believable heel.

The “us versus them” mentality is a time-honored tradition in the industry and is a guaranteed way for a heel to get heat.  And it’s so easy.

All a guy has to do is come out waving another country’s flag, hurl insults at the crowd and he immediately becomes public enemy No. 1.  It worked for Ivan and Nikita Koloff, the Iron Sheik, La Resistance, all the way down to Bret the Hitman Hart and the Hart Foundation.

But for me the problem is while it works, this type of gimmick only works for a short time.  

These days, fans don’t really seem to care about the foreign-born Superstar’s hatred of them in the long term.  Basically, once the crowd has had the opportunity to chant “USA” for the duration of his match and then the guy gets back through the curtain afterward, their interest seems to go with him.

They move on to the next match, as if to say, “Yeah, he hates it here; he should just leave.  So, what else is going on?”

Jinder is no different as it definitely seemed that his character had gone as far as it could with this gimmick.  Be honest, how much did you really care about him?

Then we come to Drew McIntyre, who is the epitome of unfulfilled potential in WWE.  

From the jump, Drew was sold to fans as the chosen one, a future main eventer and World Champion. He was supposed to represent the next generation of WWE Superstars and be the guy who would become a featured attraction in the company.

But, we’ve heard all this before, right?

I have always found it interesting that WWE has actually used Drew’s unrealized career to their advantage on TV.  There have been so many times when he has appeared on camera and someone has pointed out to the entire world that this guy has fallen very short of expectations.

My thought has always been, instead of advertising that fact, why not just work with the guy to help him find the right gimmick to get over?  Perhaps that is exactly what’s happened now with the 3 Man Band.

Now, fans are talking about Jinder and Drew long before they’re on camera, as well as after.  Does that mean that they have suddenly become top stars in WWE?  Not at all.  But it does mean that they may finally be on the road to relevancy, all thanks to the Southern rock Superstar, Heath Slater.

Man, that’s hard to say with a straight face.

Never let it be said that you can’t make something out of nothing in WWE, as Slater, much like his new partners, was going nowhere extremely fast.  But when Heath began running his mouth and getting squashed by returning WWE Legends, a funny thing began to happen.

Fans began to watch.  And they actually began to care about him.  

Why?  Because the guy gets it.  He gets it, and fans now understand that.

Heath knew that while losing on TV every week may not have been the ideal scenario in the minds of many fans, that it was his opportunity to shine.  The fact that he was willing to keep taking those bumps and be thought of as so overly ridiculous, really does appeal to fans. They began to respect him for not being selfish and complaining about his lack of push, so much so that when the 3MB was formed, they were not laughed out of the building.

The real question here is will Heath and his gimmick successfully translate to Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre?  Will they finally find their niche in this new group, or is it such an odd fit that it is doomed to fail?

Will they get over like Too Cool, another quirky, utterly ridiculous team who caught fire and found their place in the company?  Or will they never quite reach that point, eventually becoming stale and played out, like the Mexicools?

Only time will tell, but my attitude at this point is that WWE creative may as well run with this, especially since they have made very little effort, with very little success, in regards to Jinder and Drew.  And, with Heath Slater, the original One Man Band at the helm, how can they possibly fail?

Definitely hard to say that with a straight face.