In the last few months, Bo Dallas has become one of the most intriguing facets of WWE broadcasting. After receiving an expected lukewarm reception in his early matches, Dallas has steadily gotten over with the crowds. Though fans are yet to see the full range of his ability that was on show during his NXT run, the strength of his character has persistently drawn a reaction from the live audiences. He is announced as “inspirational” as he makes his slow approach to the ring, his thumbs pointing to the sky, as he portrays the man that audiences should adore and applaud for being the hero that they need. These are his “Bolievers”, and their numbers are growing week by week.
I too am a Boliever. Not because I long to see his victory laps around the ring, nor due to following his mantras and inspirational aura to the hilt. Bo Dallas is annoying, preachy and has a face that one cannot help want to see on the receiving end of a fist or boot. But that is exactly the point. It is comparable to the goody two-shoes proclamations of one Kurt Angle in the first few years of his legendary career, with an added arrogance and flair of a young(er) Chris Jericho. This sort of heat is good, and means that his transition from the lower midcard to more meaningful feuds and programs will be likely to stick more firmly than the respective call-ups of Adam Rose and Rusev.
Not only does he have the character to go far in the WWE, but his wrestling pedigree is also to an incredible standard at such a young age, though only fans that have witnessed his development at FCW and NXT are likely to be aware at this point. At 24, his catalogue of matches against the likes of Sami Zayn, Leo Kruger and Adrian Neville have demonstrated that he is no slouch between the ropes. This is unsurprising considering that he has wrestling in his blood. A third-generation superstar, he is the grandson of Hall-of-Famer Blackjack Mulligan, the son of Mike Rotunda (better known as IRS), the nephew of Barry and Kendall Windham, and the younger brother of another current WWE roster member, the bizarre Bray Wyatt. With this impeccable compendium of performers in your family tree, it is unsurprising that he has taken to wrestling like Triple H to a sledgehammer.
Of course, a number of prerequisites have to be met before Dallas can become the champion that he could potentially reach the lofty ambitions that I have set him. For instance, matches the kind of his recent Raw bout against El Torito have to remain few and far between. Dallas does have a natural charisma and humour has been a powerful tool of his arsenal of getting over, and certainly this should remain. However, too many gimmick matches against midgets in bull outfits and he may never escape the drudgery of the bottom of the card and ascend to the top like his brother has. However, if Wyatt can overcome the fiasco of Summerslam 2013, Dallas can recover from this. Furthermore, he has to find himself in a meaningful feud by this year’s summer spectacular, if not sooner. An undefeated streak certainly works for a character that sees himself as a hero for the masses, again bearing similarities to Kurt Angle. But it can only carry you so far. Dallas is not a character like Goldberg, Ryback or Rusev, and can survive losing his streak in due time and steadily climbing up the ladder.
This storyline can go a number of ways. For instance, following his interruption of Daniel Bryan’s return at Money in the Bank, Dallas may have a future rivalry that can develop from that incident when Bryan comes back to in-ring action. A feud with one of the most over superstars in the company would do wonders for Dallas, even if he ends up on the losing side. Another path the creative team can take is to give Dallas the victory in the upcoming Battleground battle royal for the Intercontinental Championship. The unfortunate injury to Wade Barrett could be a huge opportunity for Dallas, with few other competitors in the match looking as ideal a fit as the inspirational one. Though some would argue it is too soon for Dallas, this could be a great way to give him a boost up the card, provide him longer matches against established superstars, and allow him to maintain his winning streak until dropping the belt after a few months. This would free him up for future feuds, and give whoever defeats him a shot in the arm for ending his streak, especially if it’s an up-and-coming superstar (Sami Zayn, anyone?)
However, I feel the most viable option for Dallas is a feud with a recent returnee, who as previously stated once shared a number of similarities with the young Boliever. That man is Chris Jericho. Though Jericho has only recently returned and is currently having his focus shared between Bray Wyatt and the Miz, he will eventually conclude with these disputes by around about Summerslam. Then, if he’s still around, who better for the Ayatollah of Rock’n’Rolla to contest with then Dallas? Jericho could certainly use his distinctive and cutting humour to deride the innocent Dallas, causing him to come out of his shell a little and show the anger and viciousness he displayed in his final year on NXT. A feud with somebody as highly revered and beloved by casual and “smart” fans alike as Jericho would do wonders for Dallas’ connection to the crowd and allow him to demonstrate his full potential both in the ring and on the microphone.
Of course, having only been on the main roster for less than two months, all this talk is mere speculation about whether Dallas can reach championship level status in the WWE. However, early signs are promising. He would not have been the longest reigning NXT World Champion in history if the company didn’t believe he could carry the same weight on the grandest stage. Some naysayers may bemoan the strength of his gimmick for being goofy and unthreatening, but it will get him over in a big way. And if treated correctly and he remains on a steady rise, he will become an important component of the WWE structure for years to come, and hopefully a champion.
And you can Bolieve that.