WWE Pushed to Punished, Edition 22: The Disappointing Demise of Brodus Clay
Last week, I returned my WWE Pushed to Punished series to Bleacher Report, highlighting the rise and fall of R-Truth. Here, I will be tackling the treacherous topic of Brodus Clay and attempt to analyze what could have possibly led to his dreadful downfall in recent years.
Two years ago from this past Friday, Brodus Clay made his WWE debut, along with five other rookies, as a part of NXT's fourth season. He was billed as being the former bodyguard of Snoop Dogg, so his intimidating presence came as no surprise.
Although his premiere Pro was Ted DiBiase (and Maryse), Clay would later switch him for Alberto Del Rio, who was experiencing much more success at the time. Regardless of who his mentor was, Clay manhandled the entire competition and won almost every match and challenge he competed in.
Despite his domination, Clay was unsuccessful in winning NXT Season 4, coming up short to Johnny Curtis. Some may call it sour grapes, but there's no denying that Clay's subsequent promo that night was absolute gold.
He took shots at Curtis, management and the entire WWE Universe as a whole. He proclaimed that he'd "take our heroes away" and much more, promising that he would indeed seek vengeance. It's safe to say that was some of the best heat anyone has ever received while cutting a promo on NXT.
Clay continued to appear on both Raw and SmackDown in the weeks that followed his loss, in the role of Alberto Del Rio's personal bodyguard. In this short period of time, Clay had the opportunity to lock up with some of the company's biggest stars, Christian and then-World Heavyweight champion Edge.
During Del Rio's World Championship match against Edge at WrestleMania 27, Clay was at ringside to counter Christian. Although the Mexican Aristocrat wasn't able to walk out with the golden prize, Clay can still say he played a part in one of the marquee matches at the show of shows.
At Extreme Rules, Clay was busted open after Del Rio was sent spiraling off the top of a ladder to the ringside area. Clay needed staples to close his scalp wound and was removed from the match due to the minor injury.
In his absence, Clay played a role in a WWE Studios film entitled No One Lives. It wasn't until early August 2011 that he finally resurfaced, squashing enhancement talent each week on WWE Superstars.
Although his squash matches were rather brief, they were also quite impressive. For a monstrous man, Clay surely showed quite a bit of agility during his matches and a tremendous amount of potential.
No more was Brodus Clay serving as anyone's insurance policy; rather, he became a monster on a mission.
Starting on the November 7th edition of Raw, vignettes began to air hyping Clay's eventual return to the flagship show. The various video packages were both threatening and frightening, relaying the message that Clay was on a path of destruction.
Then-interim Raw general manager John Laurinaitis continued to promote Clay's re-debut, but delayed it each week for no apparent reason. Being the Brodus Clay fan that I was, I was becoming more and more frustrated with each no-show that occurred.
On the second edition of Raw in 2012, Clay finally made his return, but not in a way that anyone would have ever expected. Justin Roberts billed Clay as being from Planet Funk before Cameron and Naomi came out dancing to welcome the newly named Funkasaurus.
Quite honestly, I thought it was a joke when I first heard the music, as ribbing wrestlers is a common thing these days. But no, Clay was indeed a dancing dinosaur that was no longer the barbaric beast that the vignettes had implied.
Everyone in attendance and watching worldwide was in a state of shock as he exclaimed, "You didn't see that coming!" No, Brodus, we didn't.
While I was initially disappointed with Clay's repackaging, I came to love it the next day after watching it on replay. The crowd warmed up to it after seeing his dance routine a second time, so at least he was getting over with the crowd.
Besides, WWE already had Kane playing the unstoppable monster role at the time, so having Brodus Clay doing the same wouldn't have done either of them any justice. I had believed the WWE were throwing money out the window with this new joke of a gimmick, but it had the potential to be something fun for the time being.
He went on to squash Curt Hawkins in a matter of minutes in his first official match back on Raw, something that would become the norm going forward. He made his pay-per-view debut at the Royal Rumble, where he quickly defeated Drew McIntyre.
From Tyler Reks to JTG to Jinder Mahal, Clay squashed them all in meaningless matches for months to come.
At WrestleMania 28, Clay received his own five minutes of fame on the show by being able to perform his dance routine on the grandest stage of them all. He formed an alliance with Santino Marella the next night on Raw, but that was short-lived.
By May, Clay's role on Raw was becoming extremely stale, so I was glad to see him enter a program with Big Show later in the month, who had just turned heel at Over the Limit. While Clay scored a count-out victory over David Otunga in the No Way Out pre-show, it was his appearance later in the night during the main event that was truly significant, as he cost Show his match against John Cena.
A few weeks later, WWE abruptly ended their ongoing feud by having Show destroy Clay on an episode of Raw, putting an end to Clay's undefeated singles streak in the process. Clay was briefly banned from Raw during this time but was allowed to return after John Laurinaitis was removed from power.
Although he didn't make an appearance at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, he initiated a rivalry with Damien Sandow at the end of July. The feud lasted a mere month before concluding on the August 20th edition of Raw, when Sandow soundly defeated Clay.
Shortly thereafter, Clay's on-air time was greatly reduced, as he hardly ever appeared on either Raw or SmackDown. When he did, it was usually to job to someone else or to partake in a quick squash match that would do nothing to benefit anyone involved.
He competed in a traditional five-on-five elimination tag team match at Survivor Series a number of weeks ago, but was taken out early on at the hands of Tensai. Fortunately, Clay looked to have lost some weight since we last saw him, but that went unnoticed by the commentators.
With his No One Lives film on the verge of being released, one would think that a Brodus Clay heel turn is on the horizon, but I'm not getting my hopes up just yet. It's been reported that Mr. McMahon is apparently a fan of the Funkasaurus, so it may not be going away anytime soon.
As much as I enjoy the Funkasaurus, I think his villainous persona would help refresh his stagnant character and give him the push he needs to become a valuable asset to the company.
Here's hoping that a heel turn occurs sooner rather than later, as I can't stand to see Brodus Clay continuously compete on WWE Superstars each week when he could easily be wreaking havoc on Raw.
Thanks for reading, Bleachers, and be sure to drop a comment below with your thoughts on Brodus Clay and his descent over the last year. Also, include any other potential topics you'd like to see me analyze on upcoming editions of WWE Pushed to Punished.
Read every archived edition of Pushed to Punished here.
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