Bo Knows (And So Does WWE): Looking at the NXT Champion We're Made to Hate
It is difficult to understand why he, of all the superstars on the WWE roster, is being elevated to main event status when there are a plethora of capable superstars that can probably do better.
Fans are overlooking his ability and are frustrated that his chipper attitude implies overt obliviousness directed at the fans themselves. It's downright insulting.
John Cena really can't catch a break—and the same can be applied to NXT Champion Bo Dallas. In fact, Dallas is arguably the first intentionally molded John Cena character.
Dallas' genuine excitement of simply being in a WWE ring is, in fact, the basis of his persona that has captured more heat than most young superstars before him in the same way that Cena is ecstatic every Monday night for entertaining a WWE crowd.
Both get booed for being the ultimate good guy.
The difference between the WWE Champion and the newly crowned NXT Champion is that while one persona developed organically throughout the years by means of a stale and dominant character, the other was intentionally created to reverse the terribly executed first debut.
Few will remember Bo Dallas' first WWE stint where he was poised to compete against then-Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett. The storyline that would have featured a championship scramble was scrapped only weeks later with no real explanation.
So it was back to the drawing board for Bo Dallas' character, but the beauty of professional wrestling is that there can be multiple first impressions. Dallas headed back to NXT and captured the championship from Big E Langston, which came as a surprise to most considering Langston's dominant reign as champ.
The fanfare that surrounded his victory was both an homage to John Cena's overzealous winning nature and a perfection of it. WWE has been poking at the Internet fan more often than ever. Having an obliviously happy (and successful) Bo Dallas is WWE's way of scaring its fans of its biggest nightmare: another John Cena to carry the torch.
NXT commentators have said that among the people Dallas looks up to are Stone Cold Steve Austin, whose persona garnered the opposite reaction than expected from fans, and Tim Tebow, who is obviously one of the most polarizing public figures today. Mentioning Dallas in the same breath makes him polarizing by association.
WWE creative has made Dallas just like everyone else, with his heroes that he looks up to. But in professional wrestling, sticking with the everyman separates the character from the grandiose personas of wrestling's past. And that will have fans booing regardless of a positive attitude and a championship belt.
WWE knows fans hate this prototypical positive character, which is why they, Dallas and Cena are here to stay. They're so good, they're bad by the standards of the fans. And with so many fans cheering for a select heels, this is a great method to capture the intense dislike that WWE has been missing for some time.
The uneasy feeling is great for WWE's future, though. With such an unstable WWE landscape, fans will be wondering if they ever pull the trigger on making Bo Dallas one of its top-tier Superstars.
We'll just have to wait and see, and while we do that—Bo and WWE will be looking at us react to their moves.
Hector Diaz lives in Los Angeles. For obscure sports references and the occasional article, follow Hector on Twitter @iamhectordiaz.
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