Superstar Spotlight: Lord Tensai
Matt Bloom came back from Japan billed as “Lord Tensai” and the rumors starting flying about who his opponent would be. I heard several names come up, including CM Punk and John Cena, and they have met in the ring but no real program has come from it. Tensai helped John Laurinaitis attack Cena's shoulder a few weeks ago, but I still have to ask, what exactly are they doing with him? He has had squash matches just like Ryback and Brodus Clay, but he was recently relegated to Superstars in a match against Tyson Kidd. I don't think there's anything really wrong with that show or NXT, in fact I think they are consistently better than some episodes of RAW or Smackdown. The issue is that Tensai came out and attacked John Cena and nothing really progressed from there, they just kept it between John Laurinaitis and Cena. This week's RAW was the go home show for Over The Limit, and it would have been a perfect opportunity for Johnny to keep trying to hurt Cena further. He could have said Cena will have a tune up match with the guy who attacked him, and they could have had a result much like the (smart) ending to the Tensai/Punk match a few weeks ago.
Lord Tensai didn't come back to WWE for a lower card role, because from what we (non-Japanese wrestling fans) have been told, Bloom was really over with the fans. He's not getting the intended reaction right now, but I also think it's way too early to pull the plug on making him a monster. Tensai has a bit of advantage over some guys like Ryback and Brodus, because people remember him from the 'Attitude Era' when he was known as Prince Albert and A-Train. I think I would have tried to bring him back with some of this backstory, and I would have said alot more than Michael Cole saying, "He is a former WWE Superstar who went to Japan." I can say that about a few people like MVP, Chuck Palumbo and Matt Morgan; Brock Lesnar even went over there and worked for New Japan for awhile.
The "star" of this week's episode of RAW, Justin LaBar, commented on this in his recent Bleacher Report column where he said Tensai will undergo a character change. I do agree he needs a bit of a tweak, but I think they should continue with his character and have him continue to be a silent ass kicker. Tensai deserves more of a backstory about why he "abandoned" the United States to go to Japan, and maybe talk about why he adopted the new culture. I don't know how well Sakamoto speaks English, but go the old school route and have him be the new Mr. Fuji. He can say a few words for Tensai about his opponent, then have Tensai reinforce the statement with a short comment. It doesn't need to be much but it could help him connect a bit more with the fans.
In my opinion, Tensai runs into a bit of a problem because he is new to TV at the same time that the previously mentioned Brodus Clay and Ryback have redebuted. All three have previous on screen experience on WWE TV, but they are having the having the same type of matches and getting very different reactions. Brodus is starting to have longer matches, but he is over, and Tensai isn't really getting a reaction at all. It is hard to tell if Ryback is getting a good reaction, because all I hear is 'Goldberg' chants when he's around and I don't see that as a good thing. WWE should always concentrate on making their stars unique, and I feel like Tensai has the most upside out of those three, and I haven't seen a 'mysterious/foreign powerhouse' like him since Umaga was around.
Umaga had a great gimmick and manager, and he didn't need to say much because he just kicked people's asses. Aside from John Cena beating him (I still disagree with that), Umaga ran through people and he would have been a good champion for a bit. Tensai could be the same way in that he says little, and he could take some punishment but he would end up overpowering the opponent in the end. He could be like another silent champion in Yokozuna, but with a better moveset and much more mobile. I can compare Lord Tensai with all of the people I want, but the point is that he is a guy that can make it work and WWE should give him a fair chance to show why he was so popular in Japan. His character is much different than his first run in the company, but he can be the that guy who the fans want to lose, only they know it won't be easy.
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