WWE Pushed to Punished, Edition 21: An Inconvenient R-Truth
For the first time in nearly two months, I return my WWE Pushed to Punished articles to Bleacher Report, where I'll be renewing the series for an additional five editions going forward. For those unfamiliar with the concept, the series analyzes the career of a past or present WWE Superstar who was once seen as the future of the business, only to be de-pushed in the end, for whatever reason.
Here, I'll be tackling the topic of someone who has fit that exact bill for well over a year now due to a mistake that cost him his push last November. Of course, I'm referring to WWE's resident rapper, R-Truth.
He wasn't always a loving lunatic, as he also had one of the best heel runs in years in the latter half of 2011. Before that, though, he was simply the guy who annoyingly asked everyone "what's up?" on a consistent basis.
Prior to returning to WWE a few years back, Truth was known as K-Kwik for a handful of years during the Attitude Era. He was released in 2002 and jumped ship to TNA Wrestling before making a WWE comeback in late 2008.
Vignettes aired on the SmackDown brand throughout the summer of 2008 hyping the re-debut of Killings, now known as R-Truth. He finally made his first televised appearance on the August 29 edition of SmackDown, defeating Kenny Dykstra in one-on-one action.
That was the night Truth debuted his infamous "what's up?" catchphrase, and we haven't been able to shut him up since then.
He stacked up numerous victories from that point forward and engaged in his first feud with then-United States Champion Shelton Benjamin. Despite his impressive wave of momentum, Truth came up short of capturing the U.S. title in the Cyber Sunday pre-show with his undefeated streak being snapped in the process.
In subsequent months, Truth would be hardly utilized in a meaningful manner without any real direction. Although he was featured on the WrestleMania 25 promotional poster, he didn't actually appear on the show, but was instead a lumberjack in the event's tag team title dark match.
Starting in July 2009, various vignettes aired teasing the debut of Truth's alter-ego, Pretty Ricky. A short while later, the gimmick was randomly scrapped and was never to be seen again.
Thankfully, the man formerly known as K-Kwik entered a program with a debuting Drew McIntyre the following month, but found himself on the receiving end of a beat-down almost every week. The feud concluded at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view event, where McIntyre soundly defeated Truth.
Although he failed to qualify for Team SmackDown at Bragging Rights the first time around, he managed to score a spot on the team days before the event by winning a multi-man tag team match. At the event, Truth's team emerged victorious after Raw member Big Show turned on his teammates.
For the remainder of the year, Truth traded victories with CM Punk, who at the time was starting to form the Straightedge Society. His team would defeat Punk's at the Survivor Series event in November, despite being eliminated from the bout early on.
In February 2010, R-Truth was announced as one of the Pros on the inaugural season of WWE NXT, acting as a mentor to David Otunga. The two teased tension between one another at various points in time, which lead to Otunga's elimination from the show on the season finale.
Meanwhile, Truth entered his first-ever Elimination Chamber that very same month in a match that was contested for the World Heavyweight Championship. Unfortunately, he was the first one eliminated from the contest at the hands of longtime rival CM Punk.
Oddly enough, Truth formed a tag team with John Morrison and managed to become the number one contender to the Unified WWE Tag Team Championships, but they were unsuccessful. Even still, he appeared on the grandest stage of them all, which is something he couldn't say the year prior.
Shortly thereafter, Truth was sent packing to the Raw brand for the first time in his career as apart of the 2010 WWE Draft. Sure enough, the move ended being the best thing for his career and character as a whole, as that's where he received his first real push in WWE.
He began feuding with Ted DiBiase upon his arrival on Monday nights, whom he defeated at the Over the Limit event, with this being first singles win scored on pay-per-view. The next night on Raw, Truth defeated The Miz to win his first singles title in the WWE in the form of the United States Championship.
However, Truth would lose the star-spangled strap a mere three weeks later in fluky fashion and failed to regain it from the Awesome One thereafter. He was scheduled to compete in the Raw Money in the Bank Ladder Match that July, but due to an attack from Miz (and a real-life injury), Truth was removed from the matchup.
He teased reviving his rivalry with Miz upon his return two weeks later, but it ultimately led to nothing. Truth was, however, named one of the seven members of Team WWE, set to do battle against the Nexus at SummerSlam.
Team WWE scored the win at the summer spectacle, but Truth wasn't one of the final men left standing. He debuted new entrance a few weeks later entitled "Right Time," but since it didn't stick, it went back to using "what's up?" a short two months later.
This occurred right around the time that Eve began acting as his valet, but that pairing didn't last long, either. He qualified for Team Raw at Bragging Rights, but unlike the previous year, Truth was on the losing end.
During the month of November, Truth would act as the voice of reason for John Cena, who at the time was a full-fledged member of Nexus. Many speculated that it could've led to a heel turn for the former U.S. champ, but it ultimately didn't. Obviously, they spoke too soon.
That December, Truth returned to NXT as the Pro for Johnny Curtis, who ended up winning the competition the following March. Despite this, the duo was not granted their promised shot at the WWE Tag Team Championships following Curtis's victory.
He competed in the dark match battle royal at WrestleMania 27, but came up short. In a shocking turn of events, Truth became the number one contender to the WWE Championship eight days later on Raw.
The following week, John Morrison challenged Truth to a match where his WWE title shot was on the line. Truth came up short of scoring the victory, but no one expected what was about to come next.
Following the match, Truth brutally assaulted his former tag team partner and even went as far as to smoke at ringside, which is banned in England arenas. Of course, this monumental moment would result in Truth's long overdue heel turn, which would jump-start one of the most fun runs in modern WWE history.
He cut a vengeful promo the following week at the 2011 WWE Draft, breading and degrading the entire WWE Universe. It was during this promo that Lil' Jimmy, Truth's perception of the younger audience, was born.
Also at this time, Truth began to develop more of a crazed persona that saw him talk to himself more often than not and babble about the most nonsensical things. All in all, it was extremely enjoyable and it garnered him strong heel heat in the showing.
Although he was unable to compete in the WWE Championship match at Extreme Rules, he still made an appearance and cost Morrison the match. The next night on Raw, Truth assaulted Morrison on the entrance ramp, which would render the Shaman of Sexy inactive indefinitely.
In Morrison's absence, Morrison would catapult to the top of the WWE by appearing in entertaining segments each and every week on Raw. His feud with Rey Mysterio was short lived, but he still managed to defeat the Master of the 619 at Over the Limit.
From there, Truth would set his sights on then-WWE Champion John Cena, whom he defeated via count-out in the main event of an edition Raw. With this victory, Truth would earn himself a shot at the prestigious prize at Capitol Punishment and become one of the company's top heels in the process.
As expected, the loony villain would come up short of leaving the event as WWE Champion, but he still had an impressive showing against the Cenation leader that fateful night. His role on Raw was somewhat curtailed from that point forward, as he was unable to capture the Raw Money in the Bank briefcase at the event of the same name.
Eight days later on Raw, Truth interrupted newly-named WWE CEO Triple H and asked him what he'd do to benefit the former U.S. Champ. Following a hilarious verbal exchange between the two, Truth called "conspiracy" against HHH before being ambushed by a returning John Morrison.
Despite the hot feud between the two, it was blown off on Raw a few weeks later rather than SummerSlam. Instead, they were placed in a six-man tag team match in the opening bout of the summer spectacle, where Morrison's team emerged victorious.
A few weeks later, Truth aligned with The Miz after attacking Santino Marella on Raw, calling themselves the Awesome Truth. Although Truth wasn't as spotlighted as much as he originally was, he was still a part of an entertaining act that gave him the television time he deserved.
They challenged Air Boom for the WWE Tag Team Championships at Night of Champions in September, but lost the match by disqualification. The next night, the duo was "fired" by Triple H at the conclusion of the flagship show due to their despicable actions.
At the Hell in a Cell event two weeks late, Awesome Truth attacked everyone in sight following the WWE Championship matchup. They were then escorted out by police, but it wasn't long before they were rehired by Interim Raw General Manager John Laurinaitis and placed in a match with Triple H and CM Punk at Vengeance.
Shockingly enough, Awesome Truth pulled out with the victory against the former WWE Champion, but not without help from a returning Kevin Nash. It was heavily rumored that the three vigilantes would align as the new nWo, but sadly, it never came to fruition.
Later that night, they ambushed John Cena and cost him the WWE Championship. They would then go on to be buried by Cena in subsequent weeks before the final nail in the coffin came at Survivor Series, where they lose to the dream team of The Rock and Cena.
The following night on Raw, Miz surprisingly ambushed Truth, which would put the former Hardcore Champion the shelf for a short while. This was attack was done to explain Truth's actual absence from television due his violation of the WWE Wellness Policy.
This would also the beginning of the end for R-Truth's once-strong push.
He returned on the final Raw of 2011, attacking Miz at ringside and turning face in the process. It was reported that Vince McMahon saw a lot of potential in Truth as a face, particularly with the merchandise sales he'd earn from his Lil' Jimmy shirts. Wrong again, Vince.
Sure, the Lil' Jimmy shirts were a hot seller for a brief bit, but maybe more people would've opted to buy them had Truth been pushed more. His feud with Miz continued going into 2012, but it abruptly ended on the January 23 edition of Raw, where Truth defeated his former friend.
Truth entered third in the 2012 Royal Rumble match, but was eliminated rather quickly by Miz. He also participated in the WWE Championship match at Elimination Chamber, but was taken out first by defending champ CM Punk (similar to 2010).
Shortly thereafter, Truth would form a tandem with Kofi Kingston, whom he teamed with at WrestleMania 28 in a multi-man matchup in an unsuccessful effort. However, they eventually captured the WWE Tag Team titles from Primo and Epico the night following Extreme Rules.
Sure, Truth was in possession of gold once again, but did anyone really care? He and Kingston were better off in singles competition, but were instead thrown together in a random pairing in order to fill out the dying tag team division.
They'd successfully defend the straps against numerous teams during their time with the titles, but eventually lost them to Kane and Daniel Bryan at Night of Champions. They failed to regain the titles on the subsequent edition of Raw and parted ways shortly thereafter.
Since their pairing disbanded, Truth has set his sights back on the United States Championship. He was unsuccessful in recapturing the title at Survivor Series, where he lost to Antonio Cesaro in an uninspiring contest.
It's truly sad to think that Truth went from headlining Survivor Series in 2011 against two of the biggest names in WWE history to losing to Cesaro in a match contested for a midcard championship. Truth as fallen far since then, and part of that is due to his untimely suspension last November.
If he didn't get himself suspended, maybe he would've remained a heel and could've possibly won the WWE Championship, but now we'll never know. He's a solid worker in the ring and can be entertaining at times, but his Lil' Jimmy shtick has run its course.
Being the veteran that he is, I don't expect Truth to be pushed as aggressively as he once was anytime soon, but anything is possible. I'd love to see him revert back to his heel persona at some point in time in order to refresh his stale character, but only time will tell.
Thanks for reading, Bleachers, and be sure to drop a comment below with your thoughts on R-Truth and his dissension over the last year. Also, included any other potential topics you'd like to see me analyze on upcoming editions of WWE Pushed to Punished.
Visit my website at Next Era Wrestling, like me on Facebook and listen to my SAVE US GSM radio show every Wednesday night at 10/9c for more of my thoughts and writings, along with WWE/TNA news, reviews, recaps and more.
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