Analyzing David Otunga's WWE Career Thus Far
David Otunga has spent the majority of his WWE career so far overshadowed by bigger names, a musclebound man standing in the background.
He has been a bit player present for a handful of memorable moments. He has been tag team champion two times, John Laurinaitis' legal advisor and a question mark.
Can his smooth-talking compensate for his clunky in-ring performances? Can his eye-catching build help him climb to a higher position on the WWE food chain?
Before those questions were asked, most WWE fans first saw Otunga on June 7, 2010 on Raw amidst a ring torn apart and a fallen John Cena.
Among the Nexus
Otunga his Nexus allies charged through WWE's gates and the group made an instant name for itself. Following NXT's first season, the competitors refused to let their careers end after their elimination, instead ganging up to take on WWE as a newly formed pack.
With a group that size, it's hard for anyone to get noticed, Otunga included.
Michael Tarver stood out because of his bandana. Justin Gabriel's 450 splash helped him stand out. Wade Barrett was the leader and the face of the group and so was one of the more visible members.
Otunga, like Darren Young and Skip Sheffield, blended into the bigger picture.
The Nexus invasion angle was one of the more compelling storylines in recent memory. Otunga can always put on his resume that he was a member of the original group and the only man to stay a member through its entire lifespan.
It wasn't until Cena was forced to join the group that the narrative focused on Otunga individually, at least somewhat. Cena and Otunga captured the tag team titles at Bragging Rights 2010.
The story, though, was far more about Cena than Otunga. Otunga started the match against Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre, but he was made to look like a human punching bag, taking a one-sided beating until Cena could save him.
You can't blame Otunga for how this story was written or how much an established megastar like Cena outshined him.
WWE chose the more interesting plot here.
It's something Otunga has had to get used to. Playing second fiddle has been the theme of Otunga's early career.
New Nexus, Same Role
Even when the Nexus began to split apart with Otunga as the de facto leader of the mutiny against Wade Barrett, he found himself stepping back to make room for a bigger name.
Instead of becoming the leader of New Nexus, Otunga watched CM Punk take that role. Had it been Otunga instead of Punk, perhaps Otunga's career would look a lot different now; perhaps he would have blossomed before our eyes.
WWE can't be blamed for going with Punk over the unproven Otunga.
Punk's inclusion made the angle far more interesting. As solid as Otunga is with the mic, Punk had him beat my miles at that point.
New Nexus was used as a vehicle to push Punk. The other members were just there for the ride.
Even when Michael McGillicutty and Otunga pulled off the upset against Kane and Big Show for the tag titles, the story was more about Punk.
It was Punk's interference, and his swift boot to be exact, that led to the title change.
Otunga again, was just a prop.
I Went to Harvard Law School
The next stage of his career allowed him a larger share of the limelight.
As John Laurinaitis' legal advisor, Otunga showed off what he does best: annoy people with his smugness.
Donning a bow tie and argyle sweater, and clutching a reusable coffee mug, he teamed with Laurinaitis against chief operating officer, Triple H. Wrestlers planned to sue WWE and Triple H. Otunga offered his services.
Not only did the role mostly keep him out of the ring, but it also showcased his Hollywood slickness. Otunga may improve with work and experience, but for now his matches are marked by awkwardness. A role that leads him to talk more and wrestle less is ideal.
When the Laurinaitis story faded out, Otunga kept up with the lawyer bit.
He led a movement to have the Brogue Kick banned from WWE as Alberto Del Rio's lackey.
The lawyer character has major potential. Otunga does sleazy quite well.
Just as WWE (and AWA before them) tapped into Americans' negative feelings against Russians by presenting Jim Barrell as Boris Zhukov, Otunga feeds on many people's natural distaste for attorneys.
Otunga has not had any classic matches yet and he may never have any. He's been a crony who played a part in stories WWE will remember a long time from now. Forcing him into the wrong role won't be good for him or the company.
He may eventually tire of being the secondary character and hunger for a lead role. He can, however, have a long career staying right where he is.
Chess can't be played with all kings. Otunga has thus far been a pawn.
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