Thursday 5 November 2015


Something that passes for character development in WWE these days is a guy formerly known for being a massive pro-America racist and xenophobe ceasing to be a massive pro-America racist and xenophobe. We have to accept that we were given no reason for the change and just be pleased that it happened. Because, y'know, a company that chases a PG rating not featuring racism-based angles is probably a good thing.

I'm talking, by the way, not about Michael 'PS' Hayes but Zeb Colter. Of course I am.

What even is this?
The change is obviously welcome but it did come as something of a surprise. Prior to Hell in a Cell Zeb had last been seen getting his leg broken by Rusev in December 2014 (something which was apparently necessary to set up another match between Ru Ru and Jack Swagger (Swagger lost)). Hell in a Cell revealed that he and Alberto Del Rio, once sworn enemies because they're from different countries and cultures and those are things that can't simply be overlooked, had buried the hatchet and Zeb had agreed to become ADR's manager. Because why not, I guess?

It's an odd move that makes no sense on any level. Storyline-wise it's ridiculous that the two men would pair up. Colter's entire character before this contradicts the pairing, making it seem possible (though admittedly not likely) that WWE intend to regale us with a tale of Del Rio seducing, nay brainwashing, sweet, innocent Zeb into becoming a more accepting person as well as his manager. Which is fine and all but it raises questions of morality and free will that I doubt WWE would handle satisfyingly.

From a talent perspective it's confusing. Although he's a laugh I don't think anyone was crying out for a Zeb return. ADR is a perfectly capable promo and doesn't need a mouthpiece. He's worked well with a second before but a mobility scooter-bound mad sexagenarian is very different from a smarmy personal announcer who can make you either want to see him get a smack or feel incredibly sympathetic for him.

But the biggest question is this: was this really, honestly, the best WWE's vast creative department could come up with for the returning Del Rio? He's an international multilingual second generation star who can turn out good matches, works nicely as a conceited heel, and was being courted by numerous other promotions. Defeating Cena for the suddenly quite meaningful United States championship is good and all, there's nothing wrong there. But the Colter alliance and promos about a title reign representing "MexAmerica" are confusing. Short of Del Rio introducing Homicide, Hernandez and Salinas for an obscure invasion angle or going full Lance Storm and renaming the belt there's nowhere interesting for the gimmick to go. So far the best it's done is give us an amusing backstage scene where Jack Swagger basically said "C'mon, Zeb, I know you're still a racist really!" It's just not clear what the gimmick is meant to be or how we're supposed to react to it.

I bet Del Rio's happy to be back regardless of the nonsense he's been lumbered with though. No more dealing with indy promoters who refuse to put up with his prima donna attitude!

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