Superstar Spotlight: Abyss
I feel like I have been neglecting TNA/Impact Wrestling lately; there hasn't been an Impact wrestler featured in a while, so now's the time. Chris Parks has been one of the best entertainers in wrestling lately, and I say Chris Parks because he is playing dual roles. His time as both Joseph Park has been very fun to watch, but that should not go as a discredit to the Abyss character. Abyss was one of my favorite wrestlers for a while, but then the writers did something that always ruins 'monster' characters. They humanized him. It always ruins them; once you give a monster some emotions it makes them vulnerable. I didn't expect to see Abyss remain unstoppable forever, it rarely happens now, but giving him a family and a girlfriend didn't do him any favors.
WWE did the same thing to Kane; it started with him "learning" to talk, dating Tori, and it went on from there. Kane had the benefit of coming in for a ready made feud with the Undertaker, but Abyss debuted as a bodyguard. He didn't have any motive besides beating people up, whereas Kane's character was born because of the story with his family. James Mitchell was an important part of Abyss' character development, but revealing he was his father and all that went with it just muddied the waters. Abyss went through a really rough period where he switched allegiances and acted differently, and some can say he still never recovered. There are a few instances that are always mentioned, such as the 'Last Rites' Match with Sting, or the 'Ring of Power' storyline with Hulk Hogan, but I can honestly say the Joseph Park character was a long overdue fresh breath of air.
Joseph Park debuted in a backstage segment searching for his 'brother' Abyss, who had been missing for a few weeks. I can honestly say I did a double take when I first saw him, I couldn't believe how well-played the role was. Chris looked like a lawyer would, he cleaned himself up nicely and he developed a character will all of the right traits and nuances. When he was looking for his brother, he would say, "You know my brother, Chris... Abyss?" and put his hand up to show how tall his brother was. When Bully Ray called him to the ring, he showed no signs of fighting ability, and was in fact rather clumsy at times. A match between the two was no doubt going to happen at some point, and the payoff at Slammiversary was both expected, but well executed.
Joseph is still present on Impact, and it can be assumed that he is on the road to eventually discovering he is playing a dual personality. (At least that's the hope, TNA has been doing well lately, and I hope they don't screw the pooch with this one.) Joseph has been questioned by other wrestlers backstage about performing a perfect Black Hole Slam a few weeks back, and they have hinted that he knows more than he lets on. He says he doesn't know about it, and he honestly does look confused about the allegations. Abyss will come back at some point, I think that much is a given, but they need to figure out what to do with both brothers before they pull the trigger. I don't think Joseph will be a permanent fixture, in fact I would go as far as saying he will be slowly faded away after Bound For Glory. I hope that's not the case, and I would rather him appear sporadically, but we'll just have to see.
Abyss needs to come back as resolve things with his brother, and/or Bully Ray, but depending on reports that may or may not be possible. Bully Ray was the perfect foil for Joseph, and it was well booked, but Abyss needs to come back and kick his ass, the blow off could have been a Monster's Ball match. After that, what does Abyss do? I could see Bobby Roode being an opponent for him, but he has his hands tied with Austin Aries, and possibly James Storm. As much as Roode could be a good foil for Abyss, I really hope they continue the feud between the former Beer Money partners. It was a good feud because it was personal and it involved the title, and there's really alot more they can do with it.
I mentioned at the beginning of this article that Abyss was ruined because they humanized him, and I still stand by that, but Joseph Park has been excellent. Abyss was becoming less and less a monster, and more of a parody of his former self. 'Doomsday' was just a distant memory, and it was replaced by 'Janice' and other ridiculousness. Abyss needed something to bring his evil side back, and there's no better way to do it than give him a split personality, and a polar opposite like Joseph. Identity crisises and internal conflicts are always a bit fun; think Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, or Bruce Wayne and Batman. Joseph was just what Abyss needed, and I look forward to seeing how they continue this angle.