Tensai: Why Reverting Back to Albert Isn't the Answer for Floundering WWE Star

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 20, 2012

Photo courtesy of WWE.com
Photo courtesy of WWE.com

Despite making his WWE debut to much fanfare the night after WrestleMania XXVIII, there is no question that Tensai has fallen flat. Because of that, there appears to be a push for him to become Albert once again, but that certainly wouldn't solve anything.

As easy as it is to blame the fans for Tensai failing to get over as a monster heel, the true fault should be placed at the feet of the WWE creative team. Even though fans knew that Tensai was actually Albert and weren't shy about chanting it during his matches, he has a good gimmick that could have eventually worked if handled correctly.

There is no question that Tensai was initially in for a major push as he defeated John Cena and CM Punk within weeks, but his momentum fizzled soon after. The fans continued to taunt him with "Albert" chants, and it's almost as if the WWE decided to give up on Tensai rather than addressing the chants and moving forward.

Truth be told, it would have been an extremely easy thing to fix. Since fans knew that Tensai wasn't really Japanese, he should have simply cut a promo addressing his past as Albert. He could have said that he denounced the Albert character and everything having to do with his American roots in favor of the superior Japanese way of life.

That would have gotten him tons of heat as fans love to hate a foreign heel. Perhaps the "Albert" chants would have persisted in an effort to get Tensai off his game, but that wouldn't have been a big deal either. Perhaps as the "Albert" chants intensified, Tensai would get even more vicious in his matches. Basically, the fans would have been fueling his fire by making fun of him.

None of that is likely to happen at this point, though, and it seems like the writers may actually be leaning toward turning Tensai back into Albert. It all started on Raw when Santino Marella and Tensai were set to present a Slammy together. Santino made a joke and said that Tensai stands for "Fat Albert" in Japanese.

This got an already-embarrassed Tensai even more upset, as he had been beaten by Kofi Kingston earlier in the night and had a giant ice pack on his head. The gag continued on SmackDown when Tensai and Santino faced off in a match. The crowd chanted "Albert," much to Santino's delight, and for the first time it seemed to bother Tensai, which is likely part of the storyline.

The WWE has essentially ditched everything that made Tensai unique already. His entrance garb, his worshiper and his penchant for speaking Japanese are all gone. The only things that separate Tensai from Albert at this point are the fake Japanese character tattoos on his face. Tensai has been stripped of all the things that make him interesting and Albert appears to be just around the corner.

I do agree that Tensai is in need of a change to salvage his WWE run, but going back to Albert isn't it. While Albert accomplished some moderate success in WWE previously, he was never actually anything more than a mid-carder. If Tensai enters the Royal Rumble as Albert, then I'm sure he'll get a good pop initially, but the honeymoon will be short-lived.

If that does indeed happen, then it's extremely easy to predict what will follow. After a warm reception during the Rumble match, Albert will wrestle a match the following night on Raw and the fans will probably chant "Tensai." That's just the way fans are sometimes, and changing Tensai to Albert won't curtail the reaction.

Since the Albert character existed during the Attitude Era, fans often like to romanticize it. The fact of the matter is that Albert wasn't really over at the time and it eventually led to him bolting for Japan. I highly doubt that he has gained much charisma over the years and I don't see how the gimmick is going to be any more exciting than it was nearly 14 years ago.

The WWE's best bet is to either resurrect the Tensai character it originally wanted to go with or to go completely off the board by giving him a new character. As bad as Tensai is being utilized at the moment, making him Albert would be nothing more than a temporary fix that would result in him being in the same spot eventually.

In fact, I would rather see the WWE do something radical than take the easy way out by digging the Albert gimmick back up. Perhaps the Albert chants can result in a split personality where Matt Bloom begins dressing half his body like Tensai and the other half as Albert. It would basically feature Bloom trying to decide what character he wants to portray.

He can go by the name T & A, which would be a nod to his former tag team with the late Test, but it would also stand for Tensai and Albert. Bloom would essentially have to deal with two different personas throughout the match and would act like a heel as Tensai, while having a face-like demeanor as Albert.

Depending on what name the crowd chants, T & A would react differently. He could even further the gimmick in backstage interviews where he speaks only in Japanese when addressed as Tensai, but speaks English as Albert. Perhaps it would result in in him having conversations with himself as well.

I realize that idea sounds far-fetched and I present in a tongue-in-cheek manner since I realize it won't ever happen, but the overarching point is that Albert won't be any more relevant than Tensai is.

Either stick with Tensai and make it work or go with a comedic gimmick where Bloom is trying to find his true identity because Albert isn't the answer.


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