Wednesday 8 April 2015

The Takeover is Over

AJ Lee wasn't the only person released by WWE on Friday 3 April. Joseph 'CJ Parker' Robinson officially got his walking papers too.

CJP apparently left on good terms. He was rated highly by trainers and his peers (Kevin Owens singled him out as an underrated guy in an interview on WWE's website shortly after his debut) and rquested his release, as opposed to finding himself fired. He's got his eye on a job with New Japan. Which is understandable but possibly a little lofty at this point.

That Parker wanted out is understandable. He'd been in the WWE system for four years and in that time had only managed to progress to the role of NXT's most notable jobber. I enjoyed his work there. I thought the modern day hippy shtick was uninspired at first but it came to life when the negative crowd reaction was embraced and he was turned into a preachy eco warrior. It was a rare example of WWE writers thinking on their feet and altering their plans to fit with audience reactions.

Phenomenal dress sense.
I also liked the way Parker had become the guy who debuting fellas defeated. His appearances started to signal to the crowd that they were going to get to see someone new or watch something noteworthy happen. For someone who lost pretty much all of his matches that was a good position to have. And there was potential for a long term story in which CJ acknowledged his losing streak and went on a quest to end it. That could have turned him into a bigger name within NXT had it been timed right.

But being the guy who loses to everyone who's going to get a big push can't have been fulfilling and while the heel hippy gimmick was enjoyable it clearly wasn't going to get him to the NXT championship, let alone a meaningful position on the main roster. He was best off doing what he did: politely asking for his release. He can use the notoriety he's gained on NXT to get work elsewhere.

The New Japan job he's said to want is, as already noted, probably out of reach at this point. It's not impossible though. Japanese wrestling promotions have an esoteric taste in which westerners they select for prominent roles (look no further than Karl Anderson). He could be just what they're after to spice up their junior scene. It doesn't seem particularly likely.

As far as Japan goes a stint in NOAH seems like Parker's best hope. The company's currently going through a restructuring with Jado implementing the New Japan booking style and attempting to elevate the entire roster with the invasion of Suzukigun. Parker could be brought in as a fresh face for the flagging junior division, which seems far less lively than New Japan's. It would be a low key role but it would be something. And it could lead him to New Japan thanks to the working relationship the promotions share.

A spot in ROH doesn't seem too farfetched right now. Tommaso Ciampa recently revealed he was leaving the company because he felt overlooked, much like CJP had in NXT. The loss of a mid-card guy like Ciampa and the rumours of WWE gunning for some of the company's leading names could make ROH keen to sign a reliable fresh face with decent name value. He couldn't be introduced in a featured spot after losing for so long in WWE, but he could be rehabilitated for something meaningful over time.

He'll definitely receive offers from the usual suspects: TNA and the World Wrestling Network. I'd like to see him in the WWN because I have a soft spot for Sapolsky's approach to booking, although I suspect they're going to start getting wary about using too many former WWE guys soon. I really don't want to see Parker lower himself to TNA. Until that company's back on its feet (which I'm convinced isn't possible with the current creative line-up) it's best of avoided.

I'll miss CJP on NXT. He was always entertaining. But if his departure from WWE leads to him getting a better role elsewhere then I'll be pleased. Plus it opens up a spot for someone new in NXT, even if it is only that of a featured jobber.

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