NXT to WWE Briefs: Adam Rose
By Darren Gutteridge (Edited by Zack Zimmerman)
From Johannesburg, South Africa
(Now billed from the Musha Cay Islands in the Bahamas)
6ft 1in / 220lbs
In-ring debut: 1995
NXT Debut: June 2012 (As Leo Kruger) / February 2014 (As Adam Rose)
Finisher: Diving Elbow Drop, The Slice (Cricket bowl-style clothesline)
Adam Rose has worn many masks since his debut on the second episode of the rebooted NXT. The Russell Brand-esque Rose persona is in fact his third “make over”. He first showed up as South African prince Leo Kruger. The character didn't last long however, as Kruger quickly morphed into a poacher character. While his exploits as an animal hunter were initially embellished by William Regal on commentary, Kruger slowly moved away from this cartoonish persona, morphing into something more reminiscent of an alpha male mercenary.
Just as his character was inconsistent, so were his storylines. A brief alliance with Kassius Ohno went nowhere, as did a heel vs. heel rivalry with Cesaro. A title feud with Bo Dallas quickly came and went, and when he did finally land a significant feud opposite Sami Zayn, he wound up losing in less than spectacular fashion. But throughout all of this wishy-washy work, Kruger endeared himself to the Full Sail crowd. While his characterization was ill-defined, his in-ring work was consistently strong, and he appeared on the verge of a forced face turn before his third rebranding.
After months away from TV, Kruger reappeared as Adam Rose, a bohemian rockstar party boy with a devoted following who bring the party wherever they go. His eccentricities apply to all areas of the act – he comes to the ring with his fellow revelers who crowd surf him around the ring. He seems almost reluctant to fight his opponent until he is forced to and when the match is over, he quickly rushes back to the party who await him on the stage.
- Audience connection: It really speaks to the man's skills that, despite his constantly shifting character, he has always been over. Full Sail liked him so much as a heel that he nearly had to be turned face on the strength of the “Kru!” chants that met his every entrance. And now he is a babyface, the crowd have once again brought into the act, dancing and singing along with his infectious entrnace.
- In-ring: The reason Rose/Kruger has got over with the fans is his interestingly varied in-ring style. When he was the mercenary, he would mix up high impact moves like his Double A spinebuster and Slice clothesline with methodical mat work. He was also always on point with his mannerisms both inside the ropes and during his entrance. That attention to detail hasn't been lost in his transition to Adam Rose. He still revels in his entrance, and has introduced quirky moves to his repertoire to match his new quirky gimmick.
- Longevity: This is more of a “back of the mind” problem than anything concrete. The rebranding shares a lot of the hallmarks with Brodus Clay's switch from monster heel to Funkasaurus, and while that gimmick proved popular out of the gate, it quickly lost interest. The WWE is currently trying to salvage Clay, but one worries that they may have to do the same with Rose should something similar happen.
- Hold over moves: Another small problem. While the character has been a complete overhaul, Kruger and Rose still share some moves, namely the spinebuster and The Slice. Both are fine moves, but they are too closely linked to Kruger to sit well in Rose's arsenal at present.
I really dug the Kruger act. I thought it had tremendous upside once the silly “animal hunter” traits had been played down. A maniacal alpha male out to attack from the shadows? Sign me up. So it was with heavy heart that I watched him go, but so far (he has only appeared on NXT 3 times), I am also liking Adam Rose. As I've said before, I like comedy in wrestling, so the act has potential to be highly entertaining for me, but I must admit I did get a Funkasaurus vibe during his second appearance. We'll have to see how it plays out, ~Darren Gutteridge
When I did my NXT Power Rankings last year, I had Leo Kruger as my no.1 ranked guy. The ring work, the look, and the portrayal of the alpha-male hunter character had great promise in my opinion. Naturally, I was pretty crushed when I found out they had replaced the act with a bohemian party boy. The first time I saw Adam Rose however, my disappointment was blown away by enthusiasm for this new act; namely the entrance. However, after three follow-up appearances from Rose, the infatuation is gone and I'm concerned that the Rose character will be a flash in the pan. I think the potential is there for a brief face run followed by a heel turn that establishes him as a player, but I also see the possibility of the powers that be losing interest in the act after the initial enthusiasm of the entrance wears off. Time will tell. ~Zack Zimmerman
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