COMMENTARY – What in the blue hell (in my best Rock voice) happened to Aron Rex?
After watching Impact Wrestling Thursday night, I am not sure what to say. The former Damien Sandow left WWE after he was continually portrayed in comical gimmicks, never fully given the chance to show his in-ring talent. Now, it appears the same situation is rearing its ugly head again.
Rex now portrays a Liberace-like character with his Elton John wannabe sidekick, Rockstar Spud. While the masses might find it quite comical, I am at a loss for words. Another opportunity to take a solid competitor and dummy him down to some degree.
Aron Stevens (his real name) is money in a promo and a real talent in the ring. When he came to TNA, he spoke from the heart, how wrestling mattered and how he came to Orlando to make a difference in the business, not be pushed aside like he had been in the past. Just like many of the athletes who had left WWE or been fired from the promotion moved over to the smaller brand to avoid.
This looks like déjà vu all over again.
Professional wrestling is a business where a performer is only as good as his character and his (or her) acceptance by the fans. Sandow the Intellectual Savior of the masses and tag team partner of Cody Rhodes, was a solid gimmick. His portrayal of former greats Randy Savage and even Vince McMahon was nothing more than a cheap shot at high school buffoonery. If WWE had allowed Stevens to develop – which he toiled for over a decade in Stamford, he could have been a solid champion.
The same could be said for TNA. Had he been booked as the savior of the company and continued on his path of change with the likes of EC3 and Drew Galloway, who knows where the current Aron Rex would be.
When I look at Stevens, I see a man who is Randy Savage-esque in the ring, a lot like Lanny Paffo and Nick Bockwinkle on the microphone and has ring presence like many other upper mid-card stars. He doesn’t have the charisma of a Jimmy Garvin or the flamboyance of Michael Hayes – but WWE and TNA have tried to create a superstar without the super gimmick.
It spells failure from the first elbow drop.
Does this mean at some point Stevens will get tired of the creative direction and leave? Where would he go? How does he recover? It appears he is in for the long haul with TNA, which is good for the struggling promotion. But like other performers, change of direction only hurts him. The straight-shooting Aron Rex character was perfect for TNA’s changing facade, and it should have been good enough to make an impact for more than a few months.
As long as professional wrestling continues to treat Stevens as a cartoon character and not as a bonafide star, the real genius of Stevens will never shine through.