Craig Wilson, Brian Damage, John Carbery and Earl Marx
The WWE roster is filled with “superstars” at every level. There are the main roster guys who regularly appear on Raw and SmackDown, those who are used as glorified jobbers and those who are barely used at all. In this series of pieces, we will take an individual wrestler barely used and decide if they are worth keeping or should they be let go. Today we decide if we Book or Cook Darren Young.
Craig: We finally get round to giving the other half of the former Prime Time Players our Book or Cook treatment.
One thing that you can say in the WWE’s favour in regards to Darren Young, they have tried several times for it to work out with him as a singles wrestler, with his relationship with Bob Backlund merely being the latest.
But you can also say that Darren Young just is not getting over with the WWE fans. The fans liked, if not loved in some sections, the Prime Time Players but have not been able to make any sort of a meaningful connection with Young sine they went their separate ways.
Is there a hope for Darren Young? Should the PTP reform or is the end nigh for Darren, and perhaps, Titus O’Neil?
Brian: I think the end is finally near for Darren Young. As you stated before, it isn’t like the WWE didn’t try to get him over in different ways…but the fact is Young just isn’t connecting with fans at all. At this point, I don’t even see a Prime Time Players reunion as beneficial to either Young or Titus O’Neil.
The only thing critical of the WWE I can be at this point…is they might have done a bit more with Young’s character once he came out of the closet. He might have been an inspirational character as an openly gay wrestler but the company never touched that idea for various reasons.
John: I didn’t really have any time for Young until he became a part of the Prime Time Players, both he and Titus showed charisma and some ability in that team and if you ask me they should still be together mixing it up with a lot of the newer teams on either Raw or Smackdown.
As a performer Young has sadly always been a fairly bland big man, he’s not a bad wrestler nor is he a great wrestler. He isn’t cursed with a complete lack of charisma but he’ll never really light the world on fire with a wink or a nod either. I personally think WWE did the right thing with Young by not making his sexual orientation a part of his on-screen character. McMahon and Co. hardly have the greatest track record when it comes to representing social, sexual or ethnic minorities and really the best way to present Young was as just another wrestler with the same hopes and dreams as anybody else on the roster.
Young is a competent performer and someone who’s probably fairly comfortable on TV at this point, I think WWE dropped the ball on both he and Titus as a tag team and genuinely think as the PTP they’d have something to offer either brand if given a chance.
Craig: John has a point, I don’t think the WWE would have treated it all that well had they played on the fact that he had come out. I certainly see the argument behind the reforming of the Prime Time Players as well, it has been the only time that both have been entertaining, but it’s been done several times. Can the WWE really go to that well again? I’m unconvinced it can. Maybe it’s nearly time up for him.
Can anyone make a convincing argument for booking Darren Young?
Brian: Personally, I do not see anything of significance he can do at this point. Another PTP reunion? Been there and done that. He isn’t going to be challenging for the Universal or US title anytime soon. Even his former finishing maneuver the fireman’s carry into a backbreaker was taken over by the much more talented Cedric Alexander.
Earl: Alright.Do we move to go forward with Young or let it go? I’m actually going argue for ONE…MORE…Mat…Gimmick. Ha. I agree that Young seems competent in the ring and I personally think he’s better than Titus in the ring (who often comes off a little aloof to me). I think the pairing of Young and Backlund screamed HEEL to me. Backlund is old but CRAZY and often gained a not so favorable reputation with the 90s or so fans for being nuts.
When Young debuted, a darker Young with a rabid coach could be quite entertaining and effective. Again – the booking would determine if it’d work. I’d also say they had a chance to ramp it up with the “don’t touch my coach” thing he had going. This could have been the springboard for something new, but then the brand split happened and then nothing. I think he’s worth one more shot. If it doesn’t work after that, I’m willing to cut the rope. I’ve already done so with Jack Swagger. Remember him? That one guy who jumped to SD and did nothing since?
A reasonably definitive decision on Darren Young today. Yet another attempt to create some interest in him as a character has singularly failed to make much of an impact whatsoever. There’s also agreement that another revival of the Prime Time Players would merely be going to the well once too often so it’s a cook from us.
Got a different opinion on the future of Darren Young? Believe he’s worthy of booking? Leave your comments below.
You can read all previous ‘Book or Cook?’ pieces here.