Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Character Reboots: Jimmy Jacobs (and El Torito)

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Jacobs has done all there is to do on the indies; could WWE comedy extend his career?
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein

I was watching AAW's The Chaos Theory from 2013 the other day, and a Jimmy Jacobs match came up. Watching him for the last couple of years, basically as soon as he left Dragon Gate USA and came into Ring of Honor, made me wonder how a guy as solid as he was both on the stick and in the ring never got a shot in WWE. I posed the question on Twitter, and I got a bunch of answers about how Jacobs is tiny, even too much for WWE. Small indie rings and smaller competitors relative to him in those companies always made Jacobs look bigger than he was, but when you make Daniel Bryan look like John Cena and CM Punk like Roman Reigns in stature, WWE is not going to take a look at you, fair or unfair.

A few days later, I was catching up on non-RAW and Smackdown WWE programming, and Los Matadores were prominently featured. As much as I thought Primo and Epico Colon didn't get enough air time and could probably have been great as is in the current tag environment. Even Ryback and Curtis Axel, who are the bottom of the bottom in terms of "guys who win" in current tags have performed well when given extended time. But they put on the masks and the uniforms, and they got exponentially more boring. I can't comprehend how two dudes who have been able to be interesting with no gimmick can't elevate one. Say what you will about how latently racist the characters or how corny they are, but kitsch has been able to work in WWE in the past.

However, El Torito? I can't get enough of that tiny bull. His inclusion in the Royal Rumble match was one of the highlights of what was a fine Rumble match outside of the ending. The level of personal interest I have in El Torito dwarfs what I have for Los Matadores. Of course, judging the efficacy of an act by personal preference is incredibly dishonest. Sure, Los Matadores don't get TV time, but I'm not entirely sure that they've flopped as a group because I don't know what kind of impact they have on kids. They could end up being a smash hit on a rebooted Saturday Morning Slam. But then again, screw other people. SCREW YOU.

The interesting point of interest for me is that El Torito is getting a big shot to shine as a short dude. Of course, his appeal is that he is a mini-estrella and can have the kind of novelty comic relief that is both entertaining to children and to giant wrestling nerds like myself who love wrestlers dress up with serious gimmicks in promotions like Chikara. If Jacobs is too short to be a regular competitor in WWE, then could he be the right size to team with El Torito?

Obviously, the Zombie Princess character might be a misfit with Torito's fun-sized anthropomorphism, but what if WWE were to put him in an animal costume and pair him with Torito? Say, maybe, a bear? Sure, the foot-plus size difference between Torito and Jacobs might be a bit jarring, but then again, when a bear walks on its hind legs, it's one of the tallest animals around. Give him the bear costume and bill him as El Osito, and boom, you have a novelty tag team, a spot for comic relief on a card that may or may not ever get Santino Marella back from injury.

Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you El Pequeño Mercado de Valores - the Little Stock Market. The bull and the bear.

Obviously, a stock market character set might not be the kid-friendliest gimmick. Then again, putting furry animal avatars in IRS-style suits doesn't necessarily need context for children theoretically to enjoy. The idea is that the absurdity of having animals in business casual would be titillating for the young and absurdly kitschy for the old. Even if the team didn't have those trappings, a name is only really a name. They could still just be feral beasts with a clever name. The point isn't so much to adhere to gimmick stringency as much as it would be to provide weirdly enthralling visuals with two guys behind the masks who can wrestle and wrestle well.

Obviously, the other criticism is "Well, why would Jacobs want to be comedy fodder?" and well, I don't know what Jacobs wants out of his career. I don't know him. I can reasonably assume that he's done nearly everything one can do on the indies and wrestled nearly everyone. He presumably won't get into WWE the way he is unless William Regal masters hypnosis. If given the choice between continuing a legends tour on the indies for three figures a pop tops or getting a steady salary wearing a mask in WWE doing comic relief, I know I would pick the latter. Then again, I've never taken a bump in my life, and I don't know a thing about what motivates any pro wrestler, let alone one with the career of Jacobs.

However, this idea could be awesome if played out on WWE TV. Comic relief takes talent, and Jacobs has the chops to pull it off. Do I think this could ever happen? Only if WWE reads my dream journal. But then again, anything to get a guy who's paid his dues to get a payday, enhance a promising gimmick, and free two other guys from anchors seems like a win for me.