Recently, WWE superstar Darren Young, who has been out with an ACL injury since April this year, released a hype video about his upcoming return.
In the video Young débuts a new look, new T-shirt, new arms sign and a new overall character. Gone are the pink tights. Gone is the hair comb stuck in the hair. Gone are the goofy hairstyle and the fun dance moves. This is a completely renovated, much darker version of Darren Young.
It seems like the injury has changed Darren Young. He has grown up. The No Days Off gimmick has now transformed into a representation of his struggle through rehab and getting ready to come back. Young is now a “freedom fighter”. He portrays himself as a brave, stand-up guy, who has been through a lot and is ready to face anyone. No exaggeration, no over the top promos. Just plain and simple – believable.
Upon his return Darren Young needs a good feud to elevate his character. He talked about a rubber match against Titus O’Neil. However, I think that Young wouldn’t benefit from that feud. Titus has moved on. He’s back to being a comedy character. The aggressive former tag team partner, who turned on Young, is gone and there’s nothing for the Freedom Fighter in reviving this feud.
Other options that D Young mentioned were facing Rusev, Cena or Orton. As promising as D Young’s new character looks, throwing him under the Cena double-decker bus would be just stupid. Young has no chance of going over Cena as a fresh heel (not that anyone really has much chance of doing that). Also, in my opinion, the Freedom Fighter gimmick is meant to be face.
Orton’s character just doesn’t feel right as an opposition to D Young’s new persona. Not that the Viper couldn’t pull it off, far from that, but it doesn’t seem like a natural pairing to me.
Rusev is a better option. Character-wise that would be a good feud. Rusev is a monster heel who crushes everything and anything. He thinks he is better than everybody(in the entire country, at least). Darren Young is someone who has been hated and who has defeated his own fear of rejection and bullying. He’s the Freedom Fighter. Those two facing each other would make for some nice storytelling. The only issue I see is that Rusev has been pushed too hard and too far to be fed to Darren Young. Rusev vs. Young probably won’t be Young’s debut feud but if his character catches on, it could come logically down the road.
I quite like the idea of pairing up Darren Young with Bo Dallas or Bray Wyatt. It might seem that this comes out of the blue but I have my reasons. Let’s look at those two feuds separately.
Bo Dallas vs. Darren Young
Darren Young is someone, who’s been walked over quite a lot. He’s now fighting for himself, for who he is. He’s unapologetic. Bo’s self-righteousness and the way he takes jabs at anyone, who’s somehow found himself down, are bound to clash with D Young’s Freedom Fighter gimmick.
A question mark in this storyline is the new development that Bo’s character going through. The way he’s metamorphosing, having felt what it is to lose, might change his gimmick drastically.
Bray Wyatt vs. Darren Young
Bray Wyatt is false prophet. He accuses everyone he faces of lying to the world. Bray Wyatt goes after people he perceives as false heros and promises to change them, to make them reveal their true self. However, due to strange booking mostly, Bray is yet to achieve any of that, which makes him a false prophet, full of empty promises.
No one ever calls out Bray Wyatt though. He’s always the hunter. What if he became the hunted? What if Darren Young was the one to stand up to him? Who could challenge the One Who Has the Whole World in His Hands, if not a man who has quit caring about what the world has to say? The Freedom Fighter is someone who believes in his ideals and his main focus is to prove that you can be yourself and succeed, as long as you keep fighting. Who is Bray Wyatt to tell him that those ideals are wrong and the whole world is a dark place devoid of good?
If Darren Young can pull of a feud of that calibre, he’ll be elevated to the top at the speed of light.
Whatever happens, Darren Young’s upcoming new run in the WWE should be much better than his previous attempts. His injury was real, his issues were real, his new persona feels real. I think in a day in age, when people have access to so much information, placing your character on the thin border between real and keyfabe is the best thing you can possibly do.
Who do you think Darren Young should face when he comes back if he wants to get the most out of his return? Share your thoughts in the comment section, on FB or Twitter!