ViRTUE's RAGE: Nakamura's Flamboyance
Submitted by Virtue on 04/23/2017 at 02:21 PM

April 23, 2017

Twitter: @EGW_FOW_Virtue

The Lost Art of Flamboyance

Flamboyance: Noun- The tendency to attract attention because of one's exuberance, confidence, and stylishness. The quality of being bright, colorful, and very noticeable.

When I think of flamboyant wrestling characters from my childhood, I could name many; however, the ones that always stick out the most as over-the-top were talents like Macho Man Randy Savage, the Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels, the Honkey Tonk Man, Goldust, and the Ultimate Warrior. As soon as characters like this came through the curtain, you were immediately drawn to them because of their gimmick and flamboyant stage presence. Today, it is so much different, and to be quite honest, most wrestlers nowadays are very ordinary and dull. That's right folks, there are so many seemingly ordinary wrestlers today that do not seem to put much effort into their character and presentation. These performers basically only care about one thing, and that is doing crazy spots in their matches. They are so worried about getting a rise out of the crowd by doing dangerous stunts, they come across more like fans living their dreams than they do as WWE Superstars.

As professional wrestlers, I do like the following talents of today, but I think many of their characters need some major work: Kevin Owens, Dean Ambrose, Sami Zayn, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, AJ Styles, and Samoa Joe. Perhaps a lot of the blame can be put on the WWE creative team and management. For example, they couldn't even successfully transform Emma into Emmalina and literally wasted everybody's time for weeks and weeks. What an insult that was to the television viewers. For the record, I am not questioning any of said talents' in-ring ability; however, their presentation can be so much better and be magnified tenfold, especially since WWE is more about the entertainment aspect of the business than it is about the wrestling aspect. I will admit, there still exists some attempt at being larger than life with wrestlers like Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman, and my subject matter for the rest of this column, Shinsuke Nakamura...

The King of Strong Style is exactly what I am referring to when I speak about flamboyance. Nakamura is one of the most believable (and stiffest) in-ring workers, yet he still has over-the-top flamboyant characteristics. I believe these kind of characteristics are definitely a lost art in the wrestling business today. Sure, there are talents like Chris Jericho who still know how to draw extra attention to themselves because of their wardrobe and mannerisms, but they are truly few and far between these days. The homoerotic wrestling character is something that has been in the business for many, many years. As strange as it sounds, these kinds of gimmicks can help get a talent over. For example, Brutus the Barber Beefcake, Ravishing Rick Rude, Goldust, and Shawn Michaels were able to parlay their careers to a higher level because of the way they looked and portrayed themselves. I wouldn't necessarily directly link flamboyance to homoerotic wrestling characters, but history proves that wrestlers who were over-the-top with at least one of these characteristics left a more lasting impression on the business.

Nakamura is a special case of flamboyance, especially in today's wrestling bubble. I think since wrestling is on television so much and can also be viewed on the Internet at any time, characters like Nakamura need to be protected and not overexposed. Remember, it needs to feel special every single time we as fans see these characters. Take Bobby Roode in NXT for example. We do not see Roode as frequently because NXT shows are only one hour each week, and the TakeOver events are not every month. This helps keep the Glorious gimmick fresh in my opinion. Roode has always been a great wrestler, but he never really had a defined character. At least until he made his way to NXT with the Glorious gimmick, which by my standards is very flamboyant. If you take that gimmick away from Roode, he would blend in with the rest of the roster. I recently heard a rumor that the Glorious gimmick was almost given to Nakamura. Truth be told, if it indeed was given to him, he definitely would not have needed it.

The violin entrance music, the lighting, and the wardrobe are all things that enhance Nakamura's flamboyant nature; however, his stage presence, hand gestures, and body gestures are what truly make him that way. He is able to take all that energy and channel it to the crowd. When he walks through the curtain, smart fans and casual fans alike know something special is happening, and they react accordingly. Many wrestlers today have charisma, even if it is something subtle like how they speak during a promo. However, not many wrestlers have the flamboyance to enhance that charisma. Perhaps Nakamura is a special subject because he comes from Japan where his character stood out like a sore thumb. The fact that he is quickly getting over with the American fans proves he is more than just another Japanese wrestler trying to make it in the West. WWE has something special with Nakamura. Hopefully, they continue to ease him in on the SmackDown brand and not overexpose him. I like a potential initial feud with a heel Dolph Ziggler. I think it could turn into something memorable if it stretches over a couple of PPVs.

Please stay tuned for next week's ViRTUE's RAGE, as I will delight you all with a brand new State of the Roman Empire!

Twitter: @EGW_FOW_Virtue

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