When it was announced that an eight-man tournament would be held at Royal Rumble fan fest for a coveted spot in the Rumble match, it seemed like a unique and interesting idea. The manner in which the WWE handled Bo Dallas afterwards validated that, and he is now on the fast track to success.
The aforementioned tournament featured eight NXT superstars, so it presented a huge opportunity for someone to break through. The WWE clearly felt that Dallas was most prepared to make the leap to the main roster, so he was given the rub and ultimately entered the Rumble at No. 16.
It was certainly a gutsy call on the WWE's part to put Dallas in the Royal Rumble, as the vast majority of fans had never heard of him. His spot could have been used on an established roster member or even a surprise entrant, but the WWE committed to building a youngster through the Rumble match and ultimately succeeded.
Dallas received very little reaction from the crowd when he entered, but that was to be expected. The general fan population probably doesn't watch NXT, so Dallas was just a random guy to them. By the end of the night, however, most fans cared about Dallas, as he turned in a great effort. Dallas lasted more than 21 minutes and even managed to eliminate reigning Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett.
His elimination of Barrett reminded me a lot of what Maven did to The Undertaker in 2002. It was obviously different, as Taker was far more established than Barrett, but the young upstart taking out the veteran was the same in both cases. Just like Taker went back into the ring, eliminated Maven and proceeded to destroy him, Barrett pulled Dallas over the top rope from the floor and clocked him with a Bull Hammer Elbow.
Maven's elimination of Taker was shocking, but it was made to look like a fluke more than anything. Dallas didn't sneak up on Barrett. He eliminated him fair and square, and he was made to look like Barrett's equal rather than a lucky rookie.
That alone probably would have been enough of a start for Dallas, but his momentum carried over to Raw the following night. Barrett was allowed to pick his opponent, so he chose Dallas in order to teach him a lesson. Although Barrett controlled much of the match, Dallas came back and ultimately scored a pinfall victory in a non-title match against the IC Champion.
Even as a big fan of Barrett, it was refreshing to see the WWE utilize new talent so effectively. The most recent NXT debuts have featured The Shield attacking random Superstars and Big E Langston serving as Dolph Ziggler's bodyguard. They're good in their respective roles, but Dallas debuted in a different and almost old-school way.
Although their situations aren't totally alike, perhaps Dallas will rise to prominence much like the 1-2-3 Kid did in 1993. Kid shockingly beat Razor Ramon on an episode of Raw, and he became an instant favorite with the fans. He had been working as a jobber prior to that, unlike Dallas, but winning against an established star as an underdog can go a long way.
The WWE has booked Dallas to perfection thus far, but it's important to continue doing so. His Rumble performance and win over Barrett will be for naught if the WWE decides to job him out. The best course of action would be to give him some wins over mid-card talent before facing Barrett for the Intercontinental Championship.
I wouldn't necessarily have Dallas win the title, since it would seem like too much too soon, but I wouldn't be completely opposed to it. Simply going shot for shot with Barrett and coming close in a losing effort would be a positive for Dallas, and it would continue to garner him more fan support.
It is abundantly clear that the WWE is high on Dallas and has big plans for him, so I'm confident that he'll be utilized correctly. He has the pedigree you look for in a Superstar, as he is the son of IRS and the nephew of Barry Windham, plus he has a unique look. The WWE wants to capitalize on that, and it should lead to big things for Dallas in the future.