Monday, June 9, 2014

A Crowe Left of the Murder: The Former Sami Callihan for The Shield, Please

Believe in the Death Machine?
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Dean Ambrose and The Shield are now at a glaring numbers game disadvantage right now, and many names have been brought up to replace Seth Rollins in their war against Evolution. Sami Zayn has been toiling on NXT television, having the best spotlight matches of anyone and showing the kind of boyish charm and babyface fire that gets crowds of all sizes behind wrestlers. But is he the kind of wrestler who should dress up in SWAT gear and adopt excessive force as a way of life? Colin Cassady is a name bandied about, but he's not a whole lot of anything without Enzo Amore and he also would be redundant in the face Roman Reigns. Solutions on the roster already might feel retready except for one in Big Dave Batista. He won't be back until he's done doing press for Guardians of the Galaxy. One wrestler in NXT feels right, however, and he's the wrestler least likely to be added to the fray. To know who that ideal replacement is would mean to look back in pre-WWE history.

Five years ago, a stable formed in Combat Zone Wrestling called the Switchblade Conspiracy. Joe Gacy, Sami Callihan, and Jon Moxley terrorized the indies in a way that turned heads and got people to notice. Among those who did turn their heads were WWE scouts, as both Callihan and Moxley were eventually signed to the company. Moxley became Ambrose, who stands at a crossroads after having his brother leave The Shield for unknown reasons (ones that Rollins may reveal tonight on RAW). Callihan traded in his Death Machine in 2013 for the name Solomon Crowe. He was rumored to have had a hacker gimmick, but he's yet to debut on WWE television despite being at the Performance Center for nearly a year now. As for Gacy, well, he used to be in the Switchblade Conspiracy.

The rumored hacker gimmick seemed to get scuttled as quickly as it was ideated for Crowe, which leaves him in the precarious position of Creative having nothing for him. However, he as a replacement for Rollins in The Shield makes infinite sense if one really knows what Crowe brings to the table. For one, he has one of the most unique looks in WWE right now. He's a cannonball in build, low to the ground, eccentric in the face and hairdo, and he looks natural in black. He was also one of the most unique workers in the indies, a brawler with a frenetic pace and wildly exaggerated movements.

The Shield on the surface may seem like the last place to accentuate such a special presence, but all three original members were able to break out and distinguish themselves as individuals in addition to building a new kind of brotherhood within the company. The members of The Shield were not interchangeable, they presented themselves as cogs in a machine that needed them to perform different roles. Ambrose acted as the Wild Card, Reigns the Muscle, and Rollins as both the Brains and the Resilient Front Line Shield.

The fact that Crowe already flirted with the idea of being a computer genius able to control electronics better than anyone else makes him an ideal replacement for Rollins as the Brains of the group. He not only would be able to fill the void left by Rollins, but he'd be an improvement, and evolution if you will. In that way, his addition to the group would complete the narrative of the entire feud. Plus, since REALITY ERA and such, Ambrose would then have an easy in for him into the group by referencing past history and alliance. Plus, Ambrose seems like the kind of guy who "knows a guy," and Crowe gives off the aura of being that sketchy, unknown actor that would associate with the likes of a batshit crazy sparkplug like Ambrose.

The biggest knock on Crowe, of course, would be his lack of experience on a NXT television. No one goes right from the Performance Center to the main roster, not even someone who came into the company as ready as Sami Callihan. If Bryan Danielson had to go to developmental to become Daniel Bryan, then everyone probably has to, right? Crowe has been in the wringer for nearly a year, but nothing is a better acclimator to a new job than on-the-job training. NXT is that training, and no one seems to pass go and collect $200 without it. If Crowe bypassed that level for WWE, he would be the first, and I am not comfortable enough with saying that he will.

But curiously enough, WWE has a situation where it could try sending someone right from school to the bigs. The situation is perfect for Crowe to make the leap. He fits The Shield better than anyone else who isn't promoting a movie right now. He's not the only answer for this angle, and he's certainly not the most likely one to show up tonight to even the score. However, I would be hard-pressed to name any wrestler who would provide as much of a fit for the group than Solomon Crowe in the long term if this angle isn't some sort of sleeper plot by Rollins to take Evolution down from within.

And even then, Rollins and Reigns could use a little help from Ambrose's weirdo buddy with an iPad and a working knowledge of how to fuck with WWE's technological infrastructure, couldn't they?