Tensai: Why He Is Finished in WWE

Ryan DilbertWWE Lead WriterDecember 11, 2012

photo from wwe.com
photo from wwe.com

Tensai appears to be approaching the end of his WWE career faster than a running senton.

What momentum Tensai had during his most recent WWE run has all but sputtered out. Any day now we can expect to read an announcement on wwe.com about the company releasing him.

That development won't shock anyone.

Crowd reaction has been abysmal for the man formerly known as A-Train. Newer, younger stars like the members of The Shield are headed upward in the company and that shift forces some folks to move down or out of the picture completely.

Tensai's career suffers from all the tell-tale signs of a career headed toward future-endeavor territory.

Tensai has appeared in increasingly fewer matches. These days, when he is in a match on WWE television, he's asked to lose and lose quickly.

In recent months, he's compiled losses to Ryback, Tyson Kidd and R-Truth.

Getting manhandled by Ryback is standard procedure for just about everybody, but how often does R-Truth dominate someone on the roster like he did Tensai?

Occupying WWE's lowest rung doesn't sit well with many stars. Judging by Tensai's apparent sandbagging against Ryback, frustration is already setting in.

The question is not whether WWE will cut ties with Tensai, it's a question of who will initiate the split.

Unfortunately for Tensai, this was a relationship that had very little chance for success from the get-go.


Doomed From the Start

Tensai's Japanese-inspired gimmick is an anachronism, an awkward, out-of-style idea that shouldn't have been approved in the first place.

Matt "Albert" Bloom wrestled for WWE for five years. Slapping some radically different persona on him was asking for failure.

Ryback was only Skip Sheffield briefly and most WWE fans hadn't watched him perform under that name. WWE fans looked at Tensai's fake facial tattoos and could only see A-Train.

This is not the era for over-the-top gimmicks. Men like Kane and Undertaker can hold fast to theirs because they're grandfathered in based on fan loyalty.

The newest wrestlers have nicknames and exaggerated personality traits. For the most part, the days of cartoony characters are gone. Don't tell Brodus Clay that, though.

Had WWE brought back Prince Albert aka A-Train back and incorporated some element of his persona where his time in Japan shaped and inspired him, fans would have been a lot more receptive.

Sure, Michael Cole did that somewhat with the story he told at the announce table, but he referred to him as "a former superstar" as if he didn't know Tensai's old name.

To disregard his past is to insult our intelligence.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air might have gotten away with Will Smith suddenly getting a new aunt, but it won't work with wrestling fans.

Had WWE pulled the Hakushi-like gimmick from Tensai earlier, perhaps they could have salvaged something out of the situation.

Now too many fans see Tensai as a joke.

WWE must have seen Bloom's work in Japan as Giant Bernard and envisioned him carrying over that success in the U.S. Unfortunately some products aren't of the crossover variety.


Japan Was Always the Better Fit

In Japan, Bloom's size is a novelty and an asset. Giant men aren't as plentiful in that nation as they are in WWE's homebase.

Bloom doesn't stand out in a company rich with massiveness.

With men like Mark Henry, Brodus Clay, Big Show, Kane and The Great Khali on its roster, WWE isn't in dire need of mammoth-sized individuals. Conversely, Bloom's size helped make him a star in Japan.

Had he had a more successful initial WWE run, had the fans beloved him, it would have made more sense to bring back Bloom as Tensai or whoever.

The fact is, he wasn't that good the first time.

Were WWE to bring back Kurt Angle, there'd be legitimate interest. The ceiling for bringing back a decent midcard guy without much of a following is always going to be low.

Tensai didn't translate, didn't entice.

There is little WWE can do to change that.

Stan Hansen was more appreciated in Japan that he was in the U.S. Nattō, a stinky, slimy dish made out of fermented soybeans, is popular in Japan, not so much stateside.

Bloom belongs in the same category.  

If he had nowhere to go, if he couldn't return to being Giant Bernard, then maybe he'd be more willing to hang around as a WWE bottom feeder.

As it stands, he knows there is a more agreeable market for his services out there. WWE has seen that he's bringing out nothing but indifference from fans.

Eventually those two factors will add up to WWE being minus one large tattooed man.