It usually takes WWE superstars a while before they can step up to challenge for championships, but not Bo Dallas.
The second-generation superstar made his main-roster debut at the Royal Rumble just a little more than a week ago, and he instantly made a huge splash by eliminating Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett from the 30-Man Rumble match.
At the time, some weren’t sure if Dallas’ Royal Rumble appearance was a one-time thing or a way to bring him up to the main roster for good and give him his first feud.
Now, it’s become clear—Dallas is targeting Barrett and the Intercontinental Championship.
It’s been a refreshing sight to see a superstar debut in a unique way that doesn’t include simply having him squash lower card and midcard workers. That’s the way that so many superstars have returned or debuted recently, including Damien Sandow, Ryback and Antonio Cesaro.
Luckily for Dallas, however, he’s—much like The Shield, but on a smaller scale—being instantly thrust into an angle that has gotten a lot of people talking.
Dallas doesn’t have the bodybuilder physique or the prototypical pro wrestler look that a guy like Ryback has, so the WWE won’t be able to push him like a dominant superstar right away. That’s why he’s being pushed as the “ultimate underdog” instead.
When Dallas entered the Royal Rumble, the vast majority of pro wrestling fans had little to no clue who he was. Sure, there are the hardcore fans who’ve followed him on NXT, but the average fan had never seen him before.
He was going to have to make some sort of major impact upon his debut to get noticed in a match that featured 29 other people, and he did just that by eliminating one of WWE’s top up-and-coming heels in Barrett.
That was a great decision on the creative team’s part because it gave Dallas something to do right away, and perhaps more importantly, has given the fans a reason to cheer for him.
Far too often, a superstar debuts or returns without a substantial storyline, which gives us very little incentive to either cheer for or boo him. But that didn’t with happen with Dallas.
By immediately thrusting him into a feud with a hated heel like Barrett, we were given a legitimate reason to like him. He eliminated the cocky heel when hardly anyone expected him to do much of note in the match, and after Barrett eliminated him in cheap fashion, we felt bad that he got screwed over.
Now, we have another reason to feel for Dallas: He has a clear-cut goal carved out for himself, which is to rise up above the odds and defeat Barrett to win the Intercontinental Championships.
That’s the problem with many stars these days. They have no real goals, no conflicts and no motivation—but Dallas does.
He’s been disrespected by Barrett, and now, he’s hell-bent on proving to Barrett that the two are in the same league and that he shouldn’t be taken lightly.
This conflict is only made better by the fact that Barrett just so happens to hold the Intercontinental Championship—which might not be true for much longer.
Barrett is widely viewed as someone who’s above the Intercontinental Championship level, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see him drop the midcard title to Dallas in the near future so that he can move up the card.
It was back in April 2007 that Santino Marella won the Intercontinental title the very night that he debuted, and we could very well see a similar story play out with Dallas.
When Santino debuted, everyone was wondering, “Who the hell is this guy,” and we were genuinely shocked when he was able to upset Umaga to win the Intercontinental title.
It looks like Dallas might find himself doing the same thing soon.
Very few fans know who Dallas is, and as a result, he’s not viewed as much of a factor in the big scheme of things—but he could be.
When Santino won the IC title, it created a buzz. It got people talking about someone who was completely unknown before that moment.
If and when Dallas does the same, he’ll create a nice buzz for himself, too.
Dallas will instantly become a recognizable name in pro wrestling, and he’ll start his career off on the right foot when so many others don’t.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!