Superstar Spotlight: A Visit To Planet Funk
By now, almost everyone knows that Brodus Clay (finally) returned not as a bad ass destroyer, but as a fun loving and dancing soul brotha. He danced down to the ring with two women (fly girls, anyone?) and worked his routine into his match against Curt Hawkins. I’ll be the first to admit when Justin Roberts finished speaking I had a ‘WTF’ moment, but the longer it went on the more I enjoyed it.
The man from Planet Funk took what he was given and embraced it, but some people are saying he won’t be a champion any time soon. My thoughts are that he doesn’t need to be rushed, and Mark Henry and Kane are already unstoppable monsters. Brodus now has a spot as a fan favorite and a crowd pleaser, and let’s face it: dancing/funky gimmicks, while sometimes corny, can be successful. I think one week is a little soon to make judgments, but here are a few guys for the ‘Funkasaurus’ to pay attention to (and ignore).
The Godfather: OK, so he didn’t dance much, but he was a talented big man with a funky gimmick and theme song. He also had valets, but I would more or less pay attention to the good natured behavior of the character.
Flash Funk: I think 2 Cold Scorpio was a better gimmick, but Flash Funk joined the WWF in the early 90’s when we got people like The Sultan and Freddie Joe Floyd. He made it work for a while, and also danced to the ring but eventually got lost in the shuffle and released. I think that was more management’s fault than his, but I liked Funk’s flashy (ba-dum-ching) ring attire and moveset.
Rick Rude: This guy oozed charisma, and loved to gyrate his hips and make mention of all the ‘out of shape sweathogs’ in the crowd. Brodus can take notes and be as self absorbed or cocky as he wants, and it works if he ever turns and goes heel too.
Ernest ‘The Cat’ Miller: Nobody showed soul and flair more than ‘The Cat’ and he, like Brodus, always wanted somebody to call his momma. He knew karate, danced in ruby slippers and once had a dance off with The Godfather of Soul himself, James Brown. It didn’t matter if Miller was dancing to the ring with his manager LaMont, or fighting to be WCW’s commissioner; he was entertaining and knew how to move.
Akeem: Here is the perfect case of a guy who went from a big monster to a good natured, fun loving dancer. One Man Gang got repackaged as Akeem, The African Dream and had Slick as a manager, but got criticized because of the racial emphasis. I know some people might think this should be in the don’t column, but Brodus should embrace his character like Akeem did and enjoy it.
Rockabilly: Billy Gunn left the Smoking Gunns and joined up with the Honky Tonk Man as a rhythm and blues loving clone. It sucked and it was short-lived, and I thank Road Dogg Jesse James for calling Billy out and recruiting him to drop the gimmick and become the New Age Outlaws.
The Booty Man: The man had holes cut in his trunks to show off his butt, and had Kimberly Page managing him as the Booty Babe. Dear God, why did Ed Leslie have so many terrible gimmicks? Better yet, how did his BFF Hulk Hogan not see that they sucked too?
‘Sexual Chocolate’ Mark Henry: Don’t get me wrong, I like Henry now, and always hoped he would be pushed as a monster, but it didn’t happen until this year. I am specifically talking about the Sexual Chocolate gimmick that saw Mae Young give birth to a hand, and we all remember when Chyna set him up with ‘Sammy’. It’s not a good sign when a gimmick is a complete joke and still gets worse.
Norman Smiley: Another guy who was a good wrestler, but mostly got over because of The Big Wiggle. It was good that people liked him, but you don’t want to only be known for that.
‘The Fat Chick Thrilla’ Mike Awesome: I must admit, I thought it was funny but it went nowhere, just like ‘That 70’s Guy’ Mike Awesome.
‘Das Wunderkind’ Alex Wright: Although he was quite talented, Alex Wright was one of the worst dancers ever.
Disqo: This was Disco Inferno’s attempt to be hip, and it sucked. Stay far away, Brodus.