Saturday 4 June 2011

Truth Hurts

Here’s some truth for you: I’ve never really been a fan of Ron ‘R-Truth’ Killings. He was a babyface for around a decade, not once standing out as someone who would rise to the top of the business. Up until a few weeks ago if you’d asked me if I thought he’d ever hold a world title in WWE I would have quickly answered no, and probably added that even a mid-card title was unlikely.

Part of the problem was his gimmick. Whether in WWE or TNA he was always the same smiling, high-fiving generic babyface with the clichéd rapper gimmick. It’s not the stuff that world champions are made of.

But I had never seen him as a heel. He has been a revelation in the role. Under his previous babyface persona the only time he got on a mic was to rap, which immediately made me switch off, but when tasked with giving a more traditional style promo (you know, one where he speaks about his goals and achievements and tries to illicit a reaction from the fans instead of shouting as loud as he can over his entrance music) he’s very effective. His verbal skills now stand out as the strongest part of his act.

The development of his character has been well handled. The reason for the change in attitude is clear and understandable: he got tired of dancing, rapping and generally humiliating himself for the enjoyment of the fans without getting anything to show for it. Pandering to the fans held him back, which made him resent them. Anyone can follow that logic and it makes Truth more believable as a performer.

Of course, the true highlight of his revamped character has been his use of bizarre phrases. “Little Jimmy” is the personification of all the kids in the audience that Truth had to cater to for years, the reason he feels he has never reached the top in the company. Then there are the more esoteric phrases such as “Used ta is a rooster from Brewster!” which means nothing but sounds amusing and gets Truth over as the mentally unhinged crackpot we’re meant to see him as.

There have also been promising signs that WWE has planned a storyline out for Truth. On the May 23rd RAW, while ranting at Cena, Truth blurted out that he wants his son back. Following that line he looked embarrassed and quickly went back to his verbal lambasting of Cena. The following week he victimised a father in the audience (well it was an actor, but we’re not supposed to know that) who was enjoying a night out with his sons. Coincidence? Or will it be revealed that Truth singled that man out because of his own issues with an estranged son?

I think the biggest sign that Truth is working out as a top heel is that he has successfully turned the crowd against him to the extent that they are willing to support John Cena. The WWE champion has received mixed reactions for years, and it’s rare for anyone to work a program with him with the heel/face dynamic working correctly. That Truth has managed this shows that the audience don’t like hearing what he has to say and are willing to support anyone over him.

R-Truth v John Cena for Capitol Punishment is expected to be announced on this Monday’s RAW. That match would be a big test for Truth, but it’s one I think he’d pass. He has shown amazing crowd working abilities in the past few weeks on RAW, and with the warm responses Cena has received lately I expect that fans at the pay-per-view will be solidly behind him. The match may not be a classic, but the crowd should be emotionally invested enough to make it memorable.

Will Truth win the title? I no longer think it’s impossible, but I don’t think Capitol Punishment will be his night. The match will likely end on a disqualification or feature some brawling after Cena wins to keep the feud alive for Money in the Bank on July 17th. At this point, I think Truth’s one of the brightest stars in the company and someone who deserves a tryout with the top title some time soon. And that, little Jimmy, is the truth.

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