Analyzing Heath Slater's WWE Career Thus Far

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterFebruary 28, 2013

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Heath Slater has spent much of his WWE career lying flat on his back, a position he looks to be making the most of.

Slater came in as part of the Nexus invasion. After the group disbanded, he eventually became this generation's Brooklyn Brawler. He has been on WWE TV far more than a guy like Yoshi Tatsu, but wins are not often part of his routine.

He is the gazelle to WWE's lions.

Who knows if he'll ever ascend beyond prey status, but for now he's thriving in that role, a place he can remain for as long as his ego can stand it.


In the Nexus Shuffle

Slater made a dramatic entry into WWE, along with his Nexus brethren. As is to be expected with a group that size, some members drew fans' attention and some were simply ignored.

Justin Gabriel's 450 splash helped him stand out. Wade Barrett's charisma and leadership role made him the most noticeable Nexus member.

Aside from Slater's carrot-orange hair, there wasn't much to distinguish him from his fellow invaders.

Stronger, bigger and more athletic men overshadowed him, especially at first. It wasn't until he and Gabriel teamed up that Slater got some individual recognition.

Still, the three tag team championships those two won were more about the Nexus angle as a whole than about Slater's skills.

This was especially true when Slater and Gabriel won their first tag titles. They weren't won after a great match in which Slater performed fantastically. He was simply a pawn in a larger conspiracy.

The Nexus storyline was so compelling, particularly at first, that just about anyone could have played its lesser roles.

Slater simply wasn't given much of a chance to shine alone. The momentum of the group as a whole overshadowed him and others as well.

It wasn't until he ventured on his own, forming his one-man band, that he earned a bit of a name for himself.


Jobber to the Legends

When Heath Slater was chosen to become the resident doormat for Raw's returning legends, leading up to Raw 1000, it may have seemed like a punishment, but it was an opportunity to gain notoriety.

Anyone could have been chosen to play this part, but WWE chose Slater.

He was the man who came out each week to take a beating from a name from the past. He was the man getting TV time, even if it meant getting clobbered.

Slater lost to Lita, Road Warrior Animal, Diamond Dallas Page, Sycho Sid, Rikishi, Vader and others. Some wrestlers may have been irked by being asked to look so bad, so often.

Judging by the smile on his face before his match with Vader, Slater saw the positive of his position and relished being asked to be WWE's version of the Charlotte Bobcats.

Maybe Slater saw it as a way to work short hours for his paycheck.

A jobber takes a handful of bumps and is done for the night. He left the arena with far fewer bruises than men asked to work 10-to-15-minute matches every night. You can bet John Cena's doctor bills are higher than Slater's.

Slater sold every one of those returning legend's moves well.

He made everything seem extra impactful by overreacting, by flopping like a fish on a boat. It must have been that skill along with his talent at being irritating that earned him that spot and eventually convinced WWE to expand his band.



In September 2012, WWE paired Slater with Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre, forming a trio of poseur rockers.

3MB has done a lot more losing than singing.

The group failed against the tag champs, Team Hell No, and lost to Sheamus, despite having him outnumbered. Even so, it represents a move up for Slater, who goes from a loser to a leader of losers.

3MB is at its best when each member is allowed to be silly. Its backstage segments aren't highbrow humor by any means, but are generally fun. WWE needs to balance out its darker elements with jesters like these guys.

The group's push has been a halfhearted one, though.

It is an inconsistent part of the show. If WWE truly wants it to be a gang of goofy bottom feeders, it needs to get beaten even more.

Slater has shown on his own that he can flourish in a lower-rung role.

If he doesn't get restless getting pinned all the time, he can make a long career out of taking his lumps. Not everybody who works in a corporate office can be the C.E.O. Somebody has to wash the windows.

Slater has been wiping away at WWE's glass, perhaps getting flustered about his lack of upward movement or appreciating the moment.