On some level, I get why not everyone is a Brad Maddox fan. He's a goofy character who's not funny in the way most good WWE humor is funny or the way most bad WWE humor tries to be funny. He's not what we expect from a bumbling WWE authority figure.
Honestly, though: That's a good thing. Isn't that what everyone wants? For WWE talent to be less cookie cutter?
For better or for worse, there's nobody else like Brad Maddox in WWE.
While I've enjoyed Maddox's goofy character for a while now, I couldn't put my finger on just what I was enjoying until a friend pointed out to me on Twitter that Maddox was starting to remind him of Eddie Gilbert.
For the uninitiated, "Hot Stuff" Eddie Gilbert was a second generation wrestler who grew up in Jerry Lawler's Memphis, Tennessee-based territory. His two heroes were Lawler and his father, Tommy Gilbert.
While he knew he wanted to be a wrestler, he had a unique creative flair and his real dream was to be a booker. As a young teenager, he'd write out long-term storylines for the Memphis talent and give them to Jerry Jarrett, Lawler's booker and co-promoter, who was amazed by how this kid was better than a lot of people booking for other offices across America.
For the first five years of his career, it was clear that Gilbert was talented, but he was stifled by the role of the white meat babyface. When he turned heel in 1984, he made the most of it. Even when he wasn't booking a promotion, he clearly had a huge influence on his own storylines, with many angles unlike anything that anyone else was doing. For example, he was framing opponents for disqualifications over a decade before Eddie Guerrero did.
Which brings us back to Brad Maddox.
When I think of some of my favorite Eddie Gilbert moments, I realize that Maddox would totally fit into modern recycled versions.
For example, how awesome would Brad Maddox sabotaging a trivia contest be? What about Brad taunting Jerry Lawler with a "This is Your Life" segment? Or getting someone to turn heel by offering them a date with a Diva?
Which isn't to say Brad Maddox is a complete performer yet. He's absolutely not. He's not much of an in-ring wrestler and he's not the threat that someone like Gilbert was, throwing fireballs at everyone and running Jerry Lawler over with a car.
In the long run, if he doesn't become well-rounded, that's a very bad thing.
For now, though? I think it's OK.
As much as I'd like for the concept to die, WWE loves having heels in charge of Raw. If they're going to stick with it, I'd at least want someone who's entertaining and different from his predecessors in the role.
Brad Maddox running around cutting promos, doing commentary, etc about his imaginary authority was some of the best comedy WWE has done in a long time. Now that he has actual authority, it's even better; he can wreak havoc with completely inane decisions—whether it's little things (like throwing to a nonexistent commercial break on commentary), or putting some amazingly ridiculous ideas into action.
On top of all that, we get this goof interacting more and more with Vince McMahon every week. You know Vince is going to yell at him every week and it will be glorious. Vince on TV every week is great. Vince yelling at a clueless, aloof lackey is even better.
There are certain things about WWE that aren't going to change: Heel General Managers, a McMahon presence, etc. Might as well make the most of it, and since an established performer like William Regal has no shot of getting the GM job again, I welcome Brad Maddox's goofiness with open arms.
David Bixenspan has been Bleacher Report's WWE Team Leader and a contracted columnist since 2011. You can check out his wrestling podcasts at LLTPod.com.