Since the character first appeared on the January 9th edition of RAW it has been an incredible success, with audiences clearly getting behind Clay in his various squash match victories. Fans online have been very positive about the character too. Everyone seemed generally buoyed by WWE’s attempt to do something fresh. So why pull him?
The rumour is that WWE management are dissatisfied with Clay’s wrestling ability. This is puzzling on a couple of levels. First and foremost, WWE tolerates John Cena’s abysmal wrestling week after week and has done since before he was the merchandise shifter he is now. That’s one example of a guy being permitted a slot on TV without being an especially refined wrestler. There are many others: Ezekiel Jackson, the Great Khali and Mark Henry are but a few of them.
Secondly, for what he’s been required to do so far Clay’s skills are more than adequate. He’s wrestling short squash matches. He doesn’t need to be the world’s greatest worker for that. He needs charisma and the ability to look dominant. He has both. That’s how he’ll get over with this gimmick, not wrestling lengthy, competitive matches.
‘The Funkasaurus’ is good enough to keep winning squashes for a month or two more before graduating to a more meaningful feud with a mid-card heel like Cody Rhodes who could bump around and make him look good while also being credible enough to not go down immediately to the What The Funk “See Wha” Splash.
Put this guy back on TV and let him get over!
It’s likely WWE doesn’t understand why people like the gimmick so much. Perhaps that’s part of the reason Clay’s had his push decommissioned. It wouldn’t be the first time the company’s cut off its nose to spite its face. That doesn’t make it right though. WWE should be pleased that a new babyface act is getting over with every demographic of its audience and do everything it can to keep the trend going for as long as possible.
When the character debuted I praised WWE for trying something different and having a clear plan to get a new star over. I still believe Clay and the Funkasaurus character are a good fit for WWE television and that the man's ring skills and charisma (particularly the latter) will help him achieve success if he's given the opportunity. The start-stop approach to new characters needs to stop. Nothing good can come from it.