“Road Dogg” Brian James joined Corey Graves on the latest episode of the WWE After The Bell podcast where they talked about the WWE creative process. Road Dogg is no longer on the SmackDown creative team, but he is involved with NXT and talked about a NXT talent that he has helped with in the creative process.
“Well, I think Dexter Lumis. He’s right out of the gate, but right out of the gate interesting as a character, and people want to know more about him,” Road Dogg noted. “As a human being, he’s a great guy with a lot of really cool talents, and so we’ll be getting into those, but again, it wasn’t me. It was a team effort.
“He was one that I got really interested in, and I went way too far with [him]. I had a licking people in a rear chinlock. Lick people in the cheek. You see what works and what doesn’t work. It’s easy to reel it back in.
“The hard part is getting them out of their comfort zone and get them to go that far, and then you can kind of reel it back in and control it a little bit, but he was one that was definitely a team effort. But his character alone has already got people talking, and his character alone has already got us thinking like main events and stuff like that. This guy, he wasn’t even on TV three months ago, and now we’re talking about putting him in that picture.”
Road Dogg has briefly mentioned Velveteen Dream as another talent that is evolving his character. He then transitioned back to Dexter Lumis and the process that went behind his character’s backstory.
“Velveteen Dream continues to evolve, and we continue to try to do different things with his character. There’s gonna be a lot of things coming up a lot of shifts, a lot of people moving around from sides of the roster and stuff that we just want to try things with different characters, with different people and different characters some of the same people you’ve been seeing.
“But Dexter Loomis is the one that jumps right out to me because as a character a lot of guys come out there and they’re wrestlers and they wrestle, and they’re great wrestlers and that’s what they do. This guy could work and cut flips out of the ring and land on his feet all kind of crazy crap, but that’s not why he’s cool. He’s cool because there’s something about him this cool, and he ain’t doing much. He’s just staring at people, but it’s so interesting and cool.
“We spent like two hours talking about where he’s from. Where’s this guy from? We landed on Recluse, WY, which is a real place. Recluse, WY. That was so cool, but I wanted to say he was from Skinwalker Ranch. There’s a place in think Wyoming or Utah maybe called Skinwalker Ranch, and it’s like a hotbed for UFO sightings, paranormal activity and all these things. There’s a show on on Tuesday nights.”
Road Dogg talked more about working on characters at NXT. He talked about trying to get people invested into the talents and to advance characters on each episode of NXT.
“It’s cool to spend time coming up with that, every little aspect of the character,” Road Dogg said. “What’s his backstory? So we’re going to be diving into that stuff soon. As long as we could tell a little bit of a character’s traits and it doesn’t have to be every character every week because that’s impossible. Sometimes the characters are going to have a wrestling match. Sometimes you’re gonna win. Sometimes you’re gonna lose.
“That’s the nature of the beast, but if you can advance somebody’s characteristics, let the viewer know a little bit more about a character on every episode, then you’re doing the right thing. We’re trying to do that now.
“Before we left on this hiatus, I was going out a lot and doing sit-down interviews and just real talking with a lot of the different characters. The Dominik Dijakovic’s, who are great performers, but I don’t know anything about. Then you just piece it together, and you let people know a little bit about this person and a little bit about the character that he’s portraying. All of a sudden, you got people you can invest in.”
Graves agreed with Road Dogg saying that nowadays, wrestlers are more athletic than they ever have been, but the characters are the most important part of the product. Road Dogg said that NXT has the best matches in the world, but they need to focus on the people wrestling to get people more invested.
“That’s what we’ve been missing for a long time,” Road Dogg stated. “Those vignettes. Those infomercials on a character where you go like, oh my God, Shotzi Blackheart loves punk rock? I love punk rock.
“Let’s face it, I mean as a human species, athletically, we’re on a different level than we’ve ever been,” Graves noted. “I mean everybody that walks into the Performance Center or steps in the ring is already an amazing athlete and can do the moves, but it’s about what makes them tick. Why do I care that that guy wants to win the match?
“And at this point man, I feel like we have wrestled them to death,” Road Dogg added. “We have great wrestling matches. Don’t argue with that. Don’t disagree with that. We have the greatest wrestling matches in the world. Bar none. OK, now who’s wrestling? Who’s the guy punching the other guy? Who’s the woman kicking the other woman?
“Let me in on that because that’s look, oohs and aahs you get that that Japanese fan base like, oh and ah, so we got those. So now make me sit on the edge of my seat because the guy I’m emotionally invested in is getting his ass kicked, or the guy I’m emotionally invested in is kicking ass. So that’s the difference.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit WWE After The Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.