Whatever is going on with Brodus Clay and Sweet T feels like it's a last-chance situation. I said "Sweet T" once, which is what he's referred to now in his funky gimmick. From now on in this writing, he will be known as "Tensai."
Clay and Tensai are two really good talents, which is why this whole thing angers me. The Tons of Funk team has broken up, and main-roster newbie Xavier Woods seems to be developing a feud with Clay.
One of two things is going to happen: Either Clay and Tensai remain broken up with Clay moving on as a heel, or they will remain a team but as heels instead. I like the thought of them as a heel tag team. Two big, imposing-looking guys would fit perfectly in the rapidly growing tag division.
Either option equals make it or break it. It's another change for the audience.
Tensai came back to WWE after years of success in Japan. His Lord Tensai gimmick in WWE mirrored his career—about a guy who had become a star and successful fighter in Japanese culture. The character didn't work well in WWE. Tensai to me is the XFL to Vince McMahon—I still think it could have worked. But that's a whole other conversation.
Nonetheless, Tensai floated into irrelevance until being paired with Clay.
Clay was shown as heel monster during NXT and, for a brief period, with Alberto Del Rio as his bodyguard. He then made a new debut with the Funkasaurus gimmick.
I understand how WWE's family-friendly initiative is a money-maker and positive public relations. The merchandise, the partnerships, the charity work and the continued increasing value of their television properties are some, not all, of the examples of how their PG rating is good business.
However, turning a guy like Clay into their resident Barney the Dinosaur still sits badly with me. The guy looks tougher than anyone and was a former bodyguard for Snoop Dogg. I feel like there has been a wasted opportunity for quite some time having him billed from Planet Funk and not the streets.
With Clay finally a heel and with the veteran Tensai opposite him in a feud, it allows both men to be in the positions they should have been in this whole time.
The situation of Tensai using his status and smarts in the industry to help put over a younger star in the making. In some ways, Tensai has been helping Clay as the veteran teaming with young talent this whole time. Despite that, I still look at much of their time on WWE television as misused compared to what could have been.
The Tensai character first came in 2012, and glimpses of possible feuds with CM Punk and John Cena were there. However, neither panned out and the biggest feuds he had was the battle of dropping “Lord” out of his name and getting rid of his manager.
The trouble is it might be too little, too late. Both had opportunities to be taken seriously, and both were dwindled down to circus acts. Can you regain interest? What happens after Clay beats Tensai? By the way, if Clay doesn't beat Tensai in the end, huge mistake.
Tensai can't remain Sweet T because we all know he was only funky once enlisted by Clay and crew. I doubt WWE is going to go back to the Japanese gimmick again.
I think the best course of action is for Clay to engage in a brief feud with Tensai over the next few weeks. Don't wait for a pay-per-view because it doesn't warrant such. Let it be settled on Raw by early January.
Clay looks dominant as the big, bad man with a new attitude and Royal Rumble approaching, where his size is of course a winning factor. It's what he should have been all along and will potentially let him work with Xavier Woods in a singles feud if the cards fall right.
Tensai should disappear until Royal Rumble and reappear as a babyface in leather pants and a tight, dark shirt as Albert.
The fans who know the reference will love it (more than Tensai or Sweet T), and the fans who don't will look at it as something new, and it will probably be more appealing than what they've been given.
What's old is new again.