I was surprised how many respondents firmly believed that Young was holding O’Neil back. Sure, O’Neil has a body like an Adonis (the Greek god, not Adrian). But I just don’t see him as a main eventer, despite his looks and athleticism.
O’Neil is undeniably entertaining in small doses. I look forward to his sporadic appearances in the commentary booth. Not since the days of Dusty Rhodes have I heard such hilarious nonsense during a match (Dishrag!). At first I attributed part of the Prime Time Players’ popularity to abrasive manager Abraham Washington. However, even after Washington was wished well in his future endeavors, the tag team has put together fun promos. I fondly remember O’Neil’s short-lived alternate persona, Rufus “Pancake” Patterson. In the ring, O’Neil demonstrates tremendous power, and he connects well with crowds (even if this is partly attributable to his uncanny ability to emulate a barking dog).
But O’Neil seems to lack a certain instinct for how to put these considerable tools together. Listen to that commentary again. It was funny, sure, but it did nothing to highlight the fine match going on at the time, and really did little to advance the Prime Time Players as a potential rival for either team. And when he was booked to try to replicate his success in the Smackdown! commentary booth, he failed. He couldn’t banter with Josh Matthews (who tends to be more firmly focused on the in-ring action), and he couldn’t adjust his quips to adequately target a heel JBL. Pancake? Again, that’s a hilarious persona, but it does nothing to elevate the team.
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