I know what you’re thinking. “Andy’s getting lazy with his Indy Spotlight gimmick. Jay Lethal as Macho Man? THAT WAS HIS WHOLE GIMMICK IN TNA!?” To that, I say “calm down, mark.” Stick with me.
Yes, Lethal’s TNA run as #MachoMan 2KWhatever was pretty awesome. He sounded just like him, he hit his moves, and he brought back old school memories for countless wrestling fans. It was also the only time So Cal Val and Sonjay Dutt were ever involved in anything watchable in the Impact Zone. (Note: That’s no fault of Mr. Dutt. He’s fantastic. He was just never given anything worthwhile to do in TNA, minus this feud.)
But Black Machismo is far more than an Imposter gimmick on your modded EWR game. The guy is legitimately “Big Time,” in a way that rarely translates from the indies to TV. When Lethal got on the mic with guys like Ric Flair in TNA, he felt like he belonged there. He wasn’t some indy dweeb disrespecting a veteran. He was a TNA star interacting with other stars. It’s an important quality that makes him so valuable now to Ring of Honor.
Lethal, like the Macho Man, is just about perfect in the ring. He makes everything look so easy and seamless. He puts on picture-perfect matches whether he’s opening a Ring of Honor iPPV, winning titles, or just having fun in the midcard, Lethal makes it look GOOD.
And, if nothing else, Lethal is funny. The Macho Man may have been funny by accident, thanks to his incoherent rants and not-quite-fitting metaphors. Lethal is funny…on purpose. His impressions are spot-on. His jokes and delivery are hilarious.
The Macho Man was a top star in the business—a quality promo, who put on quality matches at the top of quality shows. Lethal probably won’t make it to the top of the business. He’s not going to win the WWE title at Wrestlemania. At this point in his career, he probably won’t end up in WWE at all. But that shouldn’t stop you from seeking out and enjoying one of the best workers on the indies, who just happened to make himself a star, thanks to a perfect Randy Savage impression.