Bo Dallas' biggest obstacle on the way to WWE success will be winning over fans, many of whom have made it clear that they don't like him.
Dallas has plenty of what one looks for in a superstar, such as speed, agility and wrestling acumen. The strange thing about pro wrestling, though, is that sometimes performers become popular in spite of their lack of talent and sometimes the talented just don't make a connection with the audience.
WWE clearly believes in the third-generation superstar even though the fans haven't come around yet.
In 2013, Dallas has already won a tournament for the right to enter the Royal Rumble, defeated Wade Barrett and won the NXT Championship, so it's apparently not the folks in charge of WWE that Dallas has to win over.
Some superstars are universally loved, like Chris Jericho and The Undertaker. Some create a mixed reaction like John Cena and Dolph Ziggler. Dallas belongs in a group of wrestlers who garner mostly negative reactions.
The criticism pointed at him is not about what he can and can't do in the ring. It's all unsettlingly personal.
There is a lot of talk on Twitter, wrestling forums and in general WWE conversations about wanting to hit Dallas in the face. Tweets like this one from fan Paul Campbell are quite common.
Bo Dallas is the wrestling equivalent of King Joffery. Face you just want to punch. #NXT— paul campbell (@paul_MUFC) June 13, 2013
That would be a great reaction if Dallas was a villain doing dastardly things on WWE TV that cultivated this desire in people, but he's supposed to be a face. He's not inspiring fans to cheer for or admire him. For seemingly no reason other than how he looks, he is angering the WWE fanbase.
Perhaps this resentment was born from Dallas getting that Royal Rumble spot and upset win instead of other NXT talent.
One fan summed what many are thinking with this tweet.
Maybe if his brother Bray Wyatt, Kassius Ohno or someone more popular than Dallas had received that opportunity, folks would be less upset with him.
With no specific criticism, fans like Kony Chimel are expressing their disapproval of Dallas.
Bo Dallas made me turn to drink for the first time in two weeks.— Kony Chimel (@KonyChimel) June 13, 2013
What attracts fans to particular superstars is hard to define. Dallas is more talented than Blue Meanie yet the founder of the Blue World Order made a connection with fans through his personality and energy. Dallas has failed to do so.
David Shoemaker (The Masked Man) from Grantland commented on Dallas' lack of charisma.
There should be a word for his amazing lack of appeal. Gagmetism? Fauxrisma? RT @TheRawLibrarian: I'm sorry, I don't get Bo Dallas' appeal.— David Shoemaker (@AKATheMaskedMan) May 30, 2013
With all this negativity surrounding him, Dallas' road to winning over WWE fans is going to be an arduous climb. It will take fantastic performance after fantastic performance, patience and perseverance to win over fans.
He'll have to play the part of an alchemist going forward, and find a way to transform the hatred aimed at him into positive buzz.