The blame on the lack of success Tensai's had in his WWE 2012 run should be placed fully on WWE's shoulders.
In the spirit of the end of the year, all the reflection and best/worst of conversations wrestling fans will have, Tensai will be, and has been, named as one of the big busts of 2012.
Considering the promo videos, the intense series of debut matches he won―I can agree. Don't blame Bloom for the bust; this is all WWE.
At first, there was trial and error with the character.
The green mist he used in his first matches. The accessories such as the helmet and jacket he wore for his entrance. The “Lord” in his name. A manager/worshiper who came to the ring with him named Sakamoto. All of these would disappear over time.
Trial and error is natural. All characters do it either on their own or through direction of backstage officials. The hope is to make it as least distracting and noticeable as possible when you trial things that don't work.
The real problem rests on WWE's issues with commitment and decision-making.
When Tensai debuted, I firmly believe his first feud was set to be with WWE Champion CM Punk.
The night Tensai debuted was April 2, 2012. He debuted beating Alex Riley. The next segment and match was CM Punk's match. Every week in the month of April, Tensai's segment would be in front or right after CM Punk's. Same method WWE took when Chris Jericho's cryptic return promos in the month of December were always right up against or during CM Punk's segments.
In early April on an episode of Raw, John Laurinaitis had told CM Punk a disaster would be coming.
The storm was Tensai, which translates to natural disaster.
Chris Jericho and CM Punk would battle in Chicago later that month at Extreme Rules. I think the original plan was for Tensai on that night, or the next night on Raw, to fully begin his feud with CM Punk. It never happened.
Then, as Brock Lesnar was written off for some time after his loss to John Cena at Extreme Rules, we saw television and live show interaction between Cena and Tensai. No fluent feud, but repeated interaction usually facilitated by John Laurinaitis.
The feud never really happened. No conflict was steadily built, and no payoff match.
Then Tensai began to beat on his manager, Sakamoto. The same script was repeated for weeks during the summer. Tensai would push around Sakamoto after the matches. No real payoff or movement ever made.
Since then, its a guessing game of if, when and how you see Tensai featured on WWE programming or at a live event.
The matches are physical, he's safe, he's easy to work with―fault isn't on the performer here.
Tensai working with CM Punk or John Cena might have worked. Certainly for the veteran, coming back to WWE working with one of the top two faces would have been a premier spot. I can't say whether it would have gotten over with the crowd at that time. We'll never know.
What I do know is WWE should have, either when he first debuted or come the summertime, put Tensai in a program with one of the kid-friendly faces.
Kofi Kingston. Zack Ryder. Rey Mysterio. Sin Cara. Brodus Clay. All would have been solid options, in my opinion, to have Tensai working with in a regular feud which got him featured on pay-per-views.
Pay-per-view―nothing prominent and barely anything at all. He was a Money in the Bank match at the pay-per-view in July.
One planned appearance. Unacceptable.
Kid-friendly babyfaces were needed for Tensai. The reality is, the younger demographic's reaction is the most important. It goes the furthest in terms of reaction and noise during the match. It goes the furthest with getting the attention of the brass backstage.
Tensai has a cartoon look and feel to him. He looks like something out of a comic book. Big imposing look, tattoos all over. The Japanese fighter conflict and culture making up his image. A super hero needs to slay him.
The best thing that's been done with Tensai was the departure of Sakamoto. He was terrible as a manager. I don't know if it was his own lack of managerial skill or the instructions he was given of what to or not to do by WWE management. Either way, he was bad.
It made sense for Tensai to have Sakamoto. It made sense for him to have this worshiper. It fit the character. Just as Mr. Fuji fit the Yokozuna character. Thing is, Mr. Fuji was relevant. He would toss salt in the eyes of Bret Hart costing him a win against Yokozuna. He would choke Yokozuna's opponents when the ref turned his back. He added heat to the heel character. He had relevance after the entrance.
The most relevance Sakamoto ever had was being told to keep his eyes open by Tensai while the two were in the car driving in the controversial Tout video that surfaced briefly before being taken down in the summer.
I've heard it said many times by fans that Tensai should be re-packaged and returned to Albert or A-Train. Fans say that will get a better reaction than Tensai. Sure, it would get a better reaction for the first two or three times.
WWE put years of build in to Albert, so the older crowd will give a reaction. WWE hasn't put any time in to Tensai, so what do you expect?
Albert/A-Train would get a reaction for a few shows, but WWE would have to commit to a story for him weekly in order to sustain the reaction. If they're going to do that, why not just commit to a story with Tensai?
When WWE was aiming for an older demographic and had a different feel of their content, Albert made sense. Big guy with hair and piercings all over. He fit the times and the culture.
WWE aims now to more kids. They have more comic book, lovable fan favorites like I named earlier. Give them a comic book bad guy to hate.
The year of 2012 will mark as a bust for the Tensai character. The year of 2013 can be a whole new start and chance. WWE produces seven hours of content each week between Monday's show, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday morning. Surely they could use a fresh story with a fresh heel.
Then there is NXT. Every NXT taping, WWE seems to be sending one or a few main roster talents to appear and work matches or brief stories with NXT talents. Tensai is a veteran heel who can help teach and lead a younger talent. Makes too much sense.
I want to see the character used on one of the two main shows, but at the very least, let him help the talents while being in front of an audience doing what he loves. He left what appeared to be a great spot for his character Giant Bernard in Japan. Get the most out of him.
Commit to a story and use out of the character.
Right now, the only real relevance the name Tensai has―disaster is what WWE's decision-making has been with him.
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