Justin Gabriel: Face Turn Opportunity Wasted or a Stroke of Genius?
Hey Bleachers, what's up?
I know it's been a little while since I wrote my last article and this was due to both assignments being due in and also having to work over the holidays! But no worries, as I'm back with an article about someone who has really impressed me over the last few months.
And that man is Justin Gabriel, the first-ever South African born wrestler to wrestle for World Wrestling Entertainment.
Now as you all probably know by now, Gabriel, (who is a former FCW Heavyweight Champion) was first introduced in the WWE through the reality show NXT, where he was mentored by Matt Hardy and finished a respectable third place in the season finale on Jun. 1, 2010.
Gabriel, however, made a big splash (no pun intended... okay it was) when he was part of the stable of NXT rookies that invaded the following Monday Night Raw's main event and attacked both everyone and everything in sight. Of course, as everyone knows, this group of rookies (sans Daniel Bryan) were named The Nexus, and were led by NXT Season 1 winner Wade Barrett.
Again, as everyone knows, The Nexus very regularly invaded matches and attacked people, mainly targeting John Cena, and all of these attacked were finished with the same exclamation point: Justin Gabriel's 450 splash. Like I said, this move was performed many times at the end of these attacks until John Cena in his fired state decided to take things into his own hands and pretty much brought an end to Barrett's version of The Nexus.
Which character better suits Justin Gabriel?
Then a few weeks ago, the Barrett-less Nexus again beat down John Cena, allowing CM Punk to finish off the attack and surprise everyone by showing that he was the new leader of the Nexus. After officially dethroning Barrett as leader, Punk said that the remaining members of the group had to go through an initiation to prove they were committed to the cause.
However, when Gabriel and Heath Slater (Wendy's girl to some people) refused to partake in this initiation, they left the Nexus, which seemed to signal a potential singles run or tag team run for these guys.
Those signals were totally wrong, however, as the following night on SmackDown!, Gabriel and Slater along with Ezekiel Jackson assisted Wade Barrett with the beatdown of The Big Show, again emphasised with a 450 splash delivered by Gabriel.
Enough of the history and now on to the opinion and point making now.
I personally think that having Justin Gabriel joining Wade Barrett's new faction on SmackDown! is a bad idea for his career, as firstly, he doesn't convince me as a heel, and secondly I feel he will be overshadowed by Barrett again. I mean don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of Gabriel and have followed his progress since his arrival in WWE, but this just doesn't strike me as being a good move.
Like I alluded to before, Gabriel has never convinced me as being a true heel, mainly because he has never really displayed a true mean streak like other heels. This is evident when he stands on the top rope to deliver the 450 splash, as he always rests there for a good few seconds before delivering it, which always makes me feel like deep down he doesn't want to deliver the move.
Which brand should Justin Gabriel compete on?
As well as his lack of conviction as a heel, I have always felt that his wrestling ability has always been overshadowed by the other members of the group, mainly Wade Barrett. I mean he hasn't really had too many one-on-one matches, and he has mainly been used as part of tag team matches or just as part of the beatdowns, which is a problem because he could really become one of the top high-flyers in the company.
Having said that, I do understand that his mic skills are not exactly the best, and that his build does not fit that of Vince McMahon's ideal size, and also the lack of a cruiserweight division does not work in his favour. However, I feel that having him involved as part of another Barrett-led faction is not beneficial to his career, and I have come up with what I feel should have happened after he left The Nexus.
Firstly, I would have turned him face, which would suit him a lot better than being a heel and turned him into a high flying singles competitor on the midcard on either brand. Then I would have him work on his mic skills whilst spending a couple of years on the midcard with a couple of title reigns.
Then after that time, I would consider moving him up to the main event, which might be a long shot considering how McMahon feels about the smaller guys, however, I would point to the examples of guys like Rey Mysterio (5'6", 175lbs), Jeff Hardy (6'1", 215lbs, same as Gabriel), CM Punk (6'1" 222lbs) and at a push The Miz (6'1", 231lbs).
Does Justin Gabriel have the potential to be a main eventer?
All I can say at this present moment in time is that it will be interesting to see how the SmackDown! Nexus angle will culminate and also what the future lies for Gabriel.
So all that is left to ask is do you readers think it's a good move for Gabriel to join this faction or, like me, would you rather have seen him have a go on his own?
Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts, as I'd be interested to see what other people want to see happen with Justin Gabriel.
Thanks for reading!
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