WWE has released the following statement regarding the Tout video that Tensai sent out earlier that included a racial comment directed towards Asian people. The statement reads:
“While in character, Lord Tensai (Matt Bloom) clearly took his storyline too far and he will be reprimanded for his inappropriate comments.”
Tensai made a racial remark in his first Tout video post. (The particular video has since been removed) Noting he was traveling with his personal chauffeur Sakamoto to Indianapolis—the site of tonight’s SmackDown taping—following Raw, he remarks it’s “very, very dangerous” to drive with a Japanese person. He then slaps Sakamoto as he’s driving and orders him “to open his eyes.”
PATIENCE FOR TENSAI
By Justin Henry
I’ve seen this somewhere before.
Former WWE heavyweight heel leaves the company, goes to Japan, refines his craft to better master his game, comes back to WWE years later with a new, awe-intending persona, is pushed hard as a monster villain that is seemingly impervious to pain, and winds up as a paid heavy for whomever is the evil authority figure du jour.
In one paragraph, that sums up the fate of the former Albert/A-Train, who resurfaced on this continent six weeks ago as Lord TENSAI. In this new guise, the real-life Matt Bloom plays off his dominance in New Japan Pro Wrestling over a six or seven year stretch, contending for the IWGP Championship, while reigning as a Tag Team Champion with Karl Anderson as Bad Intentions, and another occasion with fellow former WWE brute Tyson Tomko.
TENSAI, as he’s now known, is essentially A-Train after extended stay in the landing of the rising sun, where he honed his power and aggression into a finely tuned package, becoming the destructive monster that he always had the potential to be. With intimidating tattoos emblazoned on his skull, and updates to his wrestling repertoire, Matt Bloom is light years beyond the vanilla performer he was just eight years ago. To compliment his rebirth, TENSAI acts as lead henchman for WWE’s resident pencil-pushing baddie, John Laurinaitis. This alone will provide more face time for the goliath from Peabody, Mass.
But fans, sadly, have been less than receptive to his return. When they’re not chanting “AL-BERT” in taunting jibes, they’re groaning at his played-out tactics that are lifted from page 9 of “WRESTLING STEREOTYPING FOR DUMMIES: JAPANESE BAD GUYS EDITION”. None of what made TENSAI interesting as Giant Bernard in Japan is evident in his current act, as right now he’s merely “Albert imitating Great Muta, minus the mind-blowing agility.”
As I stated earlier, I’ve seen this somewhere before.
Think back to 2006. Who else was heavyweight heel that had left WWE, went to Japan to fine-tune his abilities, came back with a brand new persona that was shoved down fans’ throats, one that presented him as an ogrish villain impervious to pain, and became the main resource of defense for a corporate overlord?
One word: Umaga.
When Eddie Fatu was released from WWE in 2003, it was due to his involvement in a drunken barroom fracas. At the time, Fatu was known as “Jamal”, an uninteresting fat guy in retro sports gear who, along with equally hefty cousin Rosey, would roam the tag team ranks as Three Minute Warning. After Fatu’s firing, he, like Bloom, went to Japan. In this case, Fatu found new life in All Japan Pro Wrestling, winning the organization’s tag team championship with Taiyo Kea.
Two and a half years after Fatu was given his “endeavoring”, the younger brother of Tama and Rikishi was called back into the McMahon fold, and was awarded a gimmick that had been considered once for Samoa Joe, had WWE been able to sign him in 2005.
Now with a menacing full-facial tattoo, and old school Samoan Swat Team-inspired tights with no shoes of any kind, Fatu was reborn as “The Samoan Bulldozer” Umaga. At first, fans didn’t exactly take to the gimmick, except for reciting the quotes of his manager, Armando Alejandro Estrada, in unison with him. And yet, Umaga lived up to his moniker, bulldozing after midcarders like Eugene, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, and others. He even scored a win over Ric Flair at Backlash in 2006.
And yet, he couldn’t get anything other than annoyed groans from the crowd. In 2006, nobody believed an incoherent savage from the islands was realistic, especially in an era full of reality, where the likes of Edge, John Cena, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Vince McMahon, and Paul Heyman were cutting quality promos.
It was like 1987 showed up and threw an unwanted Umaga onto WWE’s doorstep.
But eventually, Umaga would begin to pay off. Late in 2006, after winning a feud over fellow monster Kane, the Pacific Islander entered a feud with WWE Champion John Cena. After a dull match at New Year’s Revolution in early 2007, the two would be paired up again three weeks later at the Royal Rumble in a Last Man Standing match for the title.
What happened that night was one of the greatest surprises I’ve witnessed in my twenty-three years as a fan of professional wrestling.
For the first time in Cena’s two years of headlining, he had the type of match that would come to suit his talents well: the David vs. Goliath showdown. For over twenty minutes, Cena and Umaga engaged in a blood-filled titanic struggle, which Cena ultimately won by choking the behemoth unconscious in the STF with the dismantled top rope.
After that showing, Umaga had developed a newfound respect from fans that had dismissed him as an antiquated relic of wrestling’s stereotype-heavy past, as well as a lousy performer with respects to memories of Three Minute Warning. In fact, nobody batted an eye when he crushed Jeff Hardy to win the first of two Intercontinental titles, or became Vince McMahon’s warrior in a highly-publicized grudge with Donald Trump and Bobby Lashley.
In time, with a chance to overcome judgment and prejudice, Edward Fatu proved many wrong, just as Matt Bloom can do with the same circumstances.
In a twenty minute match with Cena, Punk, or Orton, you’ll see Lord TENSAI at his best, unencumbered by time restrictions; having to rely on his skill more than generic monster gimmicks. As John Laurinaitis’ new deputy of pain administering, there seems to be faith in Lord TENSAI to have big ticket PPV matches down the line.
I mean, if he’s already beaten Cena and Punk on TV, you’d have to pay it off with such, right?
While he may be “boring” now, it is time, not pre-judging, that will ultimately determine Matt Bloom’s second run in WWE. He may succeed with more chances, or he may live down to the expectations of the many who have already determined his fate.
Time will tell. Until then, patience.
**Blue Bar Cage on Facebook**
Both The Undertaker and John Laurinaitis helped Matt Bloom (a/k/a Lord Tensai) get his job back with WWE.
Bloom reached out to WWE several times over the years looking for work but nothing came to fruition until creative brainstormed a henchman siding with Laurinaitis. The Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and Undertaker, who are friends with Bloom, urged that he be rehired.
The Cena-Hogan Conundrum
Wrestling, much like music and styles, always seem to loop in 20 year cycles. The 80′s pop music craze was a reflection of late 60′s disco music. The 90′s era of grunge music was a reflection of 70′s rock bands like Foghat and CCR. Wrestling is very similar. The pre-attitude era gimmicky monikers that pro wrestlers had was a direct reflection of early 80′s wrestling, where every territory seemed to have a typical typecast character. Think of the big bad bruiser type, ala Bruiser Brody and Nord the Barbarian. We also had the pretty playboy character ala Ric Flair, Buddy Rose, and Rick Martel. We are in one of those cycles again now and I think its very ironic considering the fan feedback considering the current product.
In the early 1990′s wrestling was at a crossroads. Both WWE and WCW were looking to gain the upper hand. WWE was trying to create new stars and WCW was trying to re-establish older stars and re-brand them so the fans would root for them once again. In 1994, Hulk Hogan debuted in WCW winning the World Title from Ric Flair. Now, that in itself may not mean much, but it signaled then end to one era and the beginning of a new one.
Up until that point and for the next year after, Hulk Hogan was the most dominant name in pro wrestling. He appeared in commercials, TV shows and movies. He was the face of pro wrestling. Everyone knew who he was and the fans grew tired of his routine. For 10 years everyone who watched a Hogan match knew the finish. Hogan Hulks up , punch, punch,punch, Big Boot, Leg Drop, pin fall and then pose down. Hogan was accused of burying anyone who approached his legacy. if you think about the moments of Hogan’s career, it’s the ones that surprised us that stand out. Hogan-Warrior at Wrestlemania 6 when Hogan passed the torch to Warrior. The brutal attacks on Hogan by guys like Earthquake and King Kong Bundy in which Hogan was made to appear “mortal”. Of course, the most famous moment of Hogans career was his heel turn at Bash of The Beach in 1996 in which Hogan joined the NWO. The crazy part of this heel turn was that in reality it made Hogan even more popular than before among the fans in the coveted 1-34 demographic that wrestling covets.
John Cena is at a similar point in his career. For ten years, he has been the flag bearer for the WWE. he has become the new Hulk Hogan, standing for morals and characters in a society seemingly devoid of it. The kids and the women love John Cena for his boyish good looks and endless amounts of charm. He stands up to bullies and monsters and fights them off with his “super human” strength and stands victorious over them all. Cena has done more appearances for the Make-A-Wish Foundation than any other celebrity in history. For all that he has done, Cena has become predictable in his matches. We all know the five moves of doom; shoulder block, shoulder block, spin out powerbomb, 5 knuckle shuffle, and then the Attitude Adjustment. Cena has been accused of burying other stars so that his legacy can stay strong. The only people Cena has ever been linked to putting over are guys considered friends of his. Guys like Sheamus, Daniel Bryan, Evan Bourne and Zack Ryder have gotten positive rubs from Cena where as other guys the company spent time building up almost vanished just as quickly due to Super Cena.
The other disturbing trend is the gimmicky packaging of wrestlers that is starting to make its return to professional wrestling. In recent weeks, we have seen the return of Matt Bloom, AKA A-Train, under the new moniker of Lord Tensai. We also have the debut of Damien Sandow with his creepy actor gimmick. These are reminiscent of when Rikishi debuted in WWE as The Sultan and the man who main evented the first Raw Damien Demento. In a time where people want to see more reality in their wrestling, once again we are getting treated as little kids who only watch cartoons and read comic books. The upside to all of this, if the cycle continues, will be the rebirth of a new Attitude Era. The financial times of America led to the rise of guys like Steve Austin and The Rock. These were men who were seen as anti-establishment characters and the WWE was able to build off of them and usher in a new era of wrestling. With a similar finanacial economic state in America today, we have already started to see that turn. Guys like CM Punk and Daniel Bryan have really taken off over the last few month and with super talented prospects like Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins waiting in the wings, we could be on the verge of a new rebirth in wrestling today. The question is, where does John Cena fit into this. Does he stay the course and continue to be the money making mule of the WWE or does he flip the world on its ear and do something so shocking that even 15 years later, we will still be talking about it.
On a side note, I just want to thank Wrestlechat.net for the opportunity to write for such an amazing site. These guys do a tremendous job with bringing you all the wrestling news you can digest. Hopefully, I will do just as great a job with my verbal diatribes and regurgitations of my wrestling stew.
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Matt Bloom returned to WWE tonight on RAW as Lord Tensai and defeated Alex Riley. FCW star Sakamoto accompanied him to the ring.
WWE acknowledged that Tensai was a former WWE star who went to Japan and made it big.
The finalized script for tonight’s WWE RAW Supershow features the return of Alberto Del Rio. As noted, WWE has big plans for Del Rio’s return and that’s why he was kept of WrestleMania.
Matt Bloom is also backstage for tonight’s show. He may be returning as Lord Tensai.
Several FCW talents are at RAW tonight also.
As noted before, Terry Taylor was recently spotted at WWE developmental and is expected to be involved in the new Stamford developmental project. Brian Wittenstein, who worked under Taylor and Bob Ryder at TNA, is also apparently working with WWE now.
As we’ve been reporting in recent weeks, former WWE superstar Matt Bloom (Albert, Giant Bernard) will be returning to the company as Lord Tensai.
Bloom posted the following message on Twitter today – indicating that his run with New Japan Pro Wrestling has come to an end:
“Want to wish all my @NJPW1972 family a successful NJPW Cup. Wish I could be there but something came up.”
He also wished good luck to his former tag team partner, Karl Anderson:
“@Machinegunka get it done!”
Bloom is expected to return to WWE television in the coming weeks and is rumored to be feuding with either John Cena or Randy Orton.