Let’s provide you with some idea of how high the WWE’s been on Karrion Kross.
After signing with the company on February 4, 2020, he was quickly given the vignette treatment, reserved for those who have an obvious investment from on high in their upcoming debut or forthcoming return. For Kross, it was basically to introduce him to the WWE / NXT audience as an all-around malicious mf’er.
He, along with his real-life girlfriend and on-screen manager Scarlett Bordeaux, debuted on NXT on May 6 of last year, and on August 22, Kross defeated Keith Lee for the NXT Championship at TakeOver XXX. Unfortunately, he had to relinquish the title days later because of a shoulder injury, which kept him off programming until his Dec. 9 return. He quickly won back the title, defeating Finn Balor on April 8 at TakeOver: Stand & Deliver during WrestleMania weekend.
So, at the point at which he became only the fourth multiple-time NXT Champion (there have been 18 different champions in the title’s nine-year history), Kross had been on NXT for 11 months, active for about seven or eight, and already a two-time belt holder. No, that’s not a knock, but rather to showcase the internal hopes and investment the company has had in Kross during his run.
Kross began appearing on mainline WWE programming last month, on July 19, while still the NXT Champion. He debuted on Raw and promptly lost to … Jeff Hardy? Regardless, he had already been making main roster inroads, including revisiting his feud with the aforementioned Lee in back-to-back weeks. This past Sunday during SummerSlam weekend, Kross lost his NXT Title to Samoa Joe in the main event of TakeOver 36. As a result, he appeared on Raw last night, which probably will be for good… and his, ahem, new look served as an indication.
With respect, because how could we blame him, given the company’s track record and recent reports about, he looked like a cheap Demolition knockoff. Like dude from Zardoz. Like Lord Humunguus from Mad Max. Like The Executioner (R.I.P. Terry Gordy). (Ed. note: No one made the obvious comparison to Lando Calrissian’s skiff guard outfit? C’mon Twitter — Rich O.) You get the idea. To make matters worse, he squashed Ricochet, a former crowd favorite who has had a botched main roster run, as have plenty of other NXT alums.
According to pro wrestling reporter Andrew Zarian, the reason behind Kross’ bizarre costume is marketability.
Yeah, because having him randomly and suddenly begin appearing without Scarlett, whom the crowd chants for in her absence, and then providing this costume is very marketable. Ultimately, we’ll see, but the trajectory of WWE creativity provides for more pessimism now than most others in recent memory, which is saying something, and it’s largely stemming from the buzz growing out of AEW by comparison. If this isn’t a battle yet, it’s getting close, and the WWE can’t afford to release a bunch of stars, and then have the ones they keep look laughable.