Recent NXT call-up Bo Dallas is several missing pieces away from being a factor with WWE.
After a burst of momentum to begin the year, Dallas' WWE run has stalled. What will it take to regain it?
Having him win the first-ever NXT Royal Rumble Tournament, toss out Wade Barrett and follow it up with an upset win over the Intercontinental champ were all great ideas. These decisions gave Dallas instant renown and set up him for success.
The trouble is that there isn't much for WWE to work with to continue Dallas' journey.
He's a distinctive finisher, character upgrade and true feud away from making an impact in WWE.
Dallas can't be taken seriously until he gets a more convincing finisher.
The side belly-to-belly suplex is fine as a signature move, but it's not nearly impactful enough to believably put guys down for a three-count.
He's also used the spear to finish off opponents.
As perfect a finisher as the spear is for some wrestlers, it's a poor fit for Dallas. He's too small to make the move look as powerful as someone like Goldberg did. Besides, it's currently overused, as Roman Reigns, Kaitlyn, Big Show and Christian all use it.
Whether he goes with a Shining Wizard or some flying move, Dallas must get a finisher that suits his size and skill set.
Evan Bourne's finisher helped him catch fans' attention. Justin Gabriel's 450 splash helped him stand out in Nexus.
Dallas needs something to wow audiences. Otherwise, he'll fade into the same limbo where Alex Riley and Curt Hawkins reside.
Plucky underdog is not a full-fledged character. Rey Mysterio had the San Diego connection, a Mexican heritage to play up and his touching mask-to-mask moment with fans. These are the kinds of elements that Dallas needs to add.
WWE fans know little about him and so have little reason to pull for him.
Whether it's drawn from real life or fiction, Dallas is need of a back story.
Why not play up his famous wrestling family more? Dallas is related to Barry Windham, Mike Rotundo and Blackjack Mulligan. We can't go a single Tamina Snuka match without mention of her famous father, but Dallas' lineage has gone unmentioned.
Otherwise, WWE needs to give him traits that distinguishes him from everyone else. Even a simple catchphrase would do wonders for him.
Whatever direction WWE decides to go with, a feud would be a great place to showcase Dallas' personality.
Baptism by Rivalry
It looked as if Wade Barrett would be the man to show what Dallas is made of, but their feud fizzled out early.
After trading backstage attacks, their rivalry didn't get any airtime. Barrett instead began to ramble on about his role in Dead Man Down. That leaves Dallas without a rival.
One can't show their mettle, can't be tested and can't be pushed without a nemesis.
A feud with someone like Antonio Cesaro or even Big E Langston not only keeps Dallas in the spotlight, but allows fans to get to know him.
Right now, he feels like a random guy on a crowded roster.
Should WWE look to attend to his deficiencies, the company could see him blossom into a popular star. It's just as possible that he flops, but there's no way to tell just what WWE has in him until the company invests the time to find out.
For now, Dallas sits solemnly in the obscuring shadow of inactivity.