We’re just a few short days removed from the 2020 edition of the Royal Rumble. The mammoth event, which kicks off the build to one of the largest PPV events of the year in Wrestlemania, was truly one for the ages. Match results and storyline developments aside, one of the superstars that returned and was featured in the Royal Rumble Match was Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP).
Many a casual wrestling fan during the mid-2000s was introduced to the brash and arrogant Porter character. Touted as once the “largest signings in Smackdown History,” MVP would go on to achieve a great deal during his WWE tenure.
A two-time United States Champion and a one-time Tag Team Champion, it was his eventual falling out with tag partner Matt Hardy that ultimately became his signature rivalry.
Montel Vontavious Porter. Credit: WWE
Wrestling achievements aside, the one aspect of MVP’s career that stuck with me was his in-ring persona. Without a doubt in my mind, The Montel Vontavious Porter character is one of the most under-appreciated characters to ever exist in the sport.
Pro wrestling today is obsessed with what’s known in some circles as “The Reality Era.” Instead of occupation-based gimmicks and improbable match stipulations, fans today are being served a slice of realism in their core products. Wrestlers have more “normal” names. The number of stipulations has been pruned to a handful of more notable ones (Indeed, when was the last time you’ve seen a “Pink Slip on a Pole” match). Talent is encouraged to engage on social media and storylines can start or develop on social media as well. Contract talks regarding talent at one point were shrouded in mystery, but are now the main fixture of news sites.
In the Summer of 2006 when MVP started appearing on the Smackdown brand, he was quickly touted on-air as a blue-chip free agent. And after being introduced as a main fixture on the brand, MVP would have one of the most memorable entrances of the time period. He had a premium theme song performed by rapper Silkk The Shocker, he came out of an inflatable tunnel like he was on his way to Superbowl, and he wore gold chains that bore his name and his hometown area code. It was a sight to behold, and he instantly stuck out.
It was the start of shifting audience perception. Wrestling companies were no longer seen as a monolithic “product” to fans, but rather an amalgamation of the talent and production value that ultimately determines the worth of a brand.
Entrance theme music in wrestling promotions today is arguably more diverse than ever, serving to underscore the different talents of the roster. Contract terms are constantly announced on-air on such programs as WWE Backstage, a show that shares a lot of its DNA with other “Big 4” sports shows. The Montel Vontavious Porter Character was at the forefront of that, and his return at the 2020 Royal Rumble underscored that.
About The Author:
Flobo Boyce is a stand-up comedian, emcee, and a life-long wrestling and live entertainment fan who constantly cites Wrestlemania 26 and visiting the Tonight Show as his all-time favorite live entertainment experiences. Currently residing in Los Angeles, CA, he’s the host of the Knew Amsterdam Radio podcast.
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