Happy Monday TJR Faithful! Hope everyone is having a good week. I know that for the most part wrestling has been so-so this past week. Aside from a pretty great opening segment on Raw last week, an Usos heel turn, and a well deserved AJ Styles WWE World Heavywight Championship victory at Backlash, nothing especially captivating transpired within the WWE Television Universe (WWETU for short). Unfortunately building on really exciting moments within their narrative isn’t WWE’s strongest suit.
One of the WWETU’s most reviled segments last week was Gallows and Anderson’s Old Day segment. For those that didn’t see the segment (you lucky bastards), Karl and Luke brought out three young men dressed as elderly versions of The New Day, they made bad jokes for far too long, New Day arrived and beat up the imposters and danced. Now on paper that segment could work. Bringing out imposters of your opponent to mock them has worked in the past. This however, decidedly didn’t work at all. But why?
In the micro sense, the segment didn’t work because the material was weak and it took up too much time. There weren’t and laughs to mine from it and at the end of the day it really served no purposes to the story that’s being told between these two teams. Were they trying to say that The New Day are old? Because Gallows and Anderson are the older team (The Average age for Gallows & Anderson is 34 while The New Day’s is 31). Or are they making fun of the fact that The New Day will age over time? Is that what passes as funny in WWE Creative meetings? (I guess we can’t expect much from a creative process that thinks Dean Ambrose putting a lot of sugar in coffee makes him a wild and crazy lunatic)
In a macro sense, a lot of what was wrong with that segment and what’s wrong with these two teams right now, is they are being miscast narratively. Gallows and Anderson have not been funny during this feud. Like at all. The problem isn’t that they can’t be funny either. They can be, but not in the way the WWE is attempting to portray them at the moment. They are the bald Outsiders. Hall and Nash had their funny moments, but they didn’t try this hard. They were just bullies who beat up dudes and made fun of people. It’s a simple problem to identify and fix for Gallows and Anderson. They were funny with AJ Styles as slightly corny, brutish, jackasses. As prop comics talking about testicles in the form of pickled eggs and playing dress up, they are not funny at all. More Outsiders, less Carrot Top.
The New Day conversely are trying their best to play off of the bad comedy, but it’s hard, especially given that their comedy is handcuffed by the fact that they are now babyfaces. You see, what contributed to the rise of The New Day after their initial babyface debut, was the fact that they were a troop of dastardly villains, pretending to be good guys. The comedy was born of that irony.
The New Day came to the ring clad in bright colours, clapping and dancing, spouting off about the Power Of Positivity, rainbows and unicorns. They acted as if they were heroic, cool and role models, when in reality they were a corny, villainous trio that used their inherently unfair numbers advantage, as well as incessant annoyance to mess with their upstanding opponents and win matches. They were as negative as any villains in the WWE and would constantly not-so-subtly sneak diss the city they were in, their opponents and the WWE Universe. They were funny because they were lame villains masquerading as confident and cool heroes. The humour fed directly off of the irony of their entire act.
Turning them babyface takes away the irony. They are now just good guys, who dance, clap and preach positivity. They love unicorns and rainbows and dress in bright colours. They are confidently lame, and embrace their quirky personalities and the WWE Universe. These are all endearing qualities, but without the duality of their actions and personalities actually being the exact opposite of their packaging, the humour is stifled. They are still trying to deliver the hilarity they did as heels, but a lot of it falls flat simply because of their babyface alignment.
It would be like re-characterizing the main characters in American Pie to where the four guys aren’t virgins anymore and are actually all cool and very capable of sleeping with any of the girls at their school. The entire plot of the film would need to be changed to facilitate this new dynamic. If they tried to do the same exact movie with these newly characterized characters, it isn’t funny. The humour derived from the fact that they were hapless virgins desperately trying to get laid before the prom. The WWE have changed the characterization of The New Day, but still have them using the same tactics and material. They are sabotaged in that sense.
So where does that leave us? We have a trio that have been stripped of the underlying source of their comedy and a duo that have been miscast as prop comics battling it out in a lame feud. First and foremost we need to get these acts away from one another. They bring out the worst in each other unfortunately (I wish the club had stayed intact on Smackdown. The Club vs. American Alpha would have been pretty solid I think).
I feel bad about saying this, because nothing they have done in this feud suggest that they should be given the belts to run with, but give Gallows and Anderson the straps and let them be a bruising, bullying tag team for a while, so that everyone forgets about this underwhelming feud with The New Day. From there I would start building toward a Wrestlemania feud between New Day (who will be heels again), and Enzo and Big Cass.
Have Enzo and Big Cass win the titles at Survivor Series, and slowly build up the resentment in The New Day that Enzo and Big Cass are the new hotness in the WWE. Eventually turn The New Day heel at Royal Rumble, where they defeat and steal back their WWE World Tag Team Championships. From there let these guys delight us with their mic work all the way to Wrestlemania, where Enzo and Cass will recapture the titles and The New Day will soon afterward separate. That timing just feels right.
There you have it, but as always I want to know what you guys think! Does the WWE fundamentally misunderstand what made The New Day’s comedy work? Does anybody actually dig the Gallows and Anderson prop comedy? Would you be stoked to see a heel New Day verbally spar with Enzo Amore and Big Cass?
Until next time folks, I’m Matty J. Douglas saying welcome back NFL! Even though the WWE hates what you do to their ratings on Mondays. Also, watch the new FX series Atlanta if you can. It’s pretty damn intriguing. Have a great weekend everybody!