Derrick Bateman is coming to Impact Wrestling.
The former WWE and NXT Superstar – real name, Michael Hutter – has been signed by TNA and repackaged as…well, an egomaniac with lots of bling in his name; that's really all we know so far. Except that he worked a dark match at last week's Impact taping, losing to Jay Bradley, and is expected to debut shortly after Bound for Glory.
Bateman is well known by NXT followers as one of the major names from the never-ending "season" of NXT: Redemption. His relationship with Maxine – who also left WWE earlier this year – is perhaps one of the most memorable angles of that show. This video won't be the best four minutes of entertainment you've ever seen, but it contains a pretty great recap of that relationship, as well as the fallout that lead to his hooking up with former WWE Diva's Champion Kaitlyn.
Back when NXT was actually, sort of, a reality-type show, Derrick Bateman was managed by a young Daniel Bryan, before he got ridiculously popular. And because art imitates life, Bryan was wrapped up in a romantic relationship with the Bella Twins – both of them; eat your heart out, John Cena. Here's some great footage of a Daniel Bryan/Derrick Bateman double date that features an esoteric "Badstreet USA" reference.
Bateman has charisma. He knows how to talk, and has decent comedic timing. But if you can't wrestle, at least enough to carry an average match, the odds are you're not going to go very far in this day and age. Finding footage of great Derrick Bateman matches wasn't easy, because a lot of NXT was crap like obstacle courses, silly challenges and, on occasion a very short wrestling match. Even in NXT: Redemption, most of the people Bateman would routinely face weren't a lot more experienced than him. But, I did manage to find a really solid (albeit short) clip of his match against NXT Pro, Daniel Bryan.
I think Bateman has a ton of potential. Will he succeed in TNA, given the current landscape and roster? I have no idea. There's certainly a spectrum of wrestlers he's never worked against, but any gimmick has risks, especially on a roster with a distinct lack of ridiculous gimmicks.
One of his long-term rivals in NXT was Johnny Curtis, who went on to become Fandango, a gimmick that got absurdly popular for a very short time, and fizzled out. At first glance, the small amount we've seen of Ethan looks similar. I have no problem with TNA trying to make their own Fandango character, but if they think it'll have more success, they're more than likely in for disappointment. Focus on Bateman as a wrestler, with a Grade A physique, and let the gimmick be an extension of himself, not the total package.
So what are your thoughts on Bateman/Hutter/Ethan? Let us know in the comments section below.