Former WWE writer Kevin Eck has been spilling all sorts of backstage beans lately. He was the guy who revealed that Justin Bieber almost main-evented SummerSlam 2014, and now he’s dishing dirt on Jason Albert’s ill-fated run as Lord Tensai. Yeah, not quite as juicy as “Justin Bieber was going to beat Bray Wyatt,” but Tensai was one of WWE’s most regrettable brain farts. A peek at how he was created should be educational.
Lord Tensai wasn’t the only gimmick under consideration for Albert when he returned to WWE in 2012.
“When Matt Bloom [Albert’s real name] returned to WWE a few years ago, the intention was to make him a main-event-level monster heel, and the creative team was assigned to come up with a character for him. Among the pitches for Bloom were for him to be a masked mauler, an ex-prisoner in an orange jumpsuit and an American samurai. “
Eck had his own notions about how Albert should be packaged, and he had an interesting idea for a manager.
“I was of the belief that the best option was to give him a cool-looking mask with black ring attire that showed the tattoos on his upper body but covered his ample midsection. The more we hide his identity, I thought, the less chance the crowd will be chanting ‘Albert’ at him. I also thought he needed a mouthpiece, and my suggestion was to hire James Mitchell as his manager. The samurai character was my least favorite. Of course, that’s the one we went with. And instead of a manager, he was given a follower who never spoke English named Sakamoto.”
With his fantastic gimmick in place, the plan was to have Tensai main-event SummerSlam 2012 with Cena, which John was apparently excited for.
“Cena was all for doing a program with him, telling us that he welcomed the opportunity to get in the ring with ‘a big man who can work’, but I told some of my colleagues that I didn’t believe there was any chance that proposed SummerSlam match would take place.”
And it didn’t take place. In fact, Tensai didn’t even make the SummerSlam card. Just a few months later, he began his transformation into the Hip Hop Hippo. Could any gimmick have got Albert over in WWE in 2012? Personally, I think “it’s Albert, but he’s been to Japan and is now tough” without all the green mist, robes and other lily-gilding might have worked, but I suppose we’ll never know.
via The Eck Factor