On last week’s episode of SmackDown this happened:
My first thought was that Johnny Curtis had returned to TV to embark on a no-nonsense feud with milk, or perhaps even dairy products in general. Then he jobbed out to a tray (not a glass or a bowl, but a tray) of milk, and I realised WWE had far grander plans in mind for the liquid. Curtis will have to make do with a mid-card spot by the looks of things. Perhaps the milk will go on to form a team with Sheamus: skin tones make them natural allies.
Joking aside, this was clearly intended as a way of reintroducing Johnny Curtis to WWE programming. What was less clear was whether he would be a face or a heel. Last time we saw Curtis he was the babyface winner of NXT season four (defeating Broadus Clay in the finals) on March 1st. As he said in the video, that win was supposed to entitle him to a tag team title match alongside R-Truth. But, as ever in WWE, plans are changed with frightening regularity. You can never be sure of anything, especially announcements stated as categorical fact and repeated multiple times.
R-Truth is embroiled in a feud with WWE champion John Cena. He won’t be demoted back down the card just so he can help to elevate a newcomer, nor should he be. But, at the same time, Curtis won NXT and hasn’t done anything since. While the runner-up appeared at WrestleMania and Extreme Rules and has wrestled multiple times on television Curtis has been overlooked and left with nothing to do.
Curtis’s rapid dismissal from TV presents WWE with several options on how to reintroduce him. He is distinctly non-chipper in the video above which makes me think a heel run is likely. It’s very easy to imagine him blaming the writing team, or “management”, for not using him despite him being chosen by fans as someone they wanted to see more of. Such sentiments, presented in the right way with enough arrogance, could easily turn Curtis into a whining heel that feels he’s loved far more than he actually is.
Another, far less likely, alternative would be to have Curtis attempt to find himself a new tag team partner to use his tag team title shot with. With WWE’s disinterest in the tag ranks I don’t think this is likely, nor do I think it would be in Curtis’s best interests if it went ahead, but it would offer viewers a storyline that is easy to follow and hasn’t been done by the company for years.
Of course the act of pouring milk over himself, while odd, seems to indicate that Curtis sees all the WWE superstars as crybabies. While his allusion to the phrase “crying over spilt milk” was painfully clear, his point was less so: it could have done with one final line to emphasise whatever point was supposed to be made. The fake crying only confused matters.
Ultimately, I think the point will be that he was forgotten by “management”. At this very early stage (based on less than fifty seconds of footage) things look promising. New characters are what WWE is in desperate need of, any attempt to create a new star is better than no attempt at all. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this results in a decent push for a man who has the look and skills to make a valuable contribution to the SmackDown roster.