By Darren Gutteridge (edited by Zack Zimmerman)
From Brooksville, Florida
6ft 1in / 234lbs
In ring debut: 2008
NXT Debut: June 2012
Finisher: Double-Underhook DDT
The other son of “IRS” Mike Rotunda, Bo Dallas, holds the distinction of being the first wrestler to appear on the rebranded NXT TV; facing off against Rick Victor in the opening match of the first episode. Dallas was pushed from the get-go as one of NXT's leading babyfaces alongside Seth Rollins and Big E Langston.
Dallas won an NXT-exclusive tournament at the Royal Rumble Axxess event in January of 2013, which earned him a spot in the Royal Rumble. Dallas eliminated then-Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett, which sparked a brief run on the main roster that petered out as quickly as it began. The feud concluded back on NXT some months later when Barrett defeated Dallas.
After a brief feud with real-life brother Bray Wyatt, Dallas started to draw the ire of the Full Sail crowd (likely due to his rather bland character and unspectacular work). During the initial backlash, Dallas replaced the injured Oliver Grey as one-half of the NXT Tag Team Champions alongside Adrian Neville. The impromptu team lost in their first title defense against Harper and Rowan of the Wyatt family however, and Dallas' overt disinterest led to the true beginning of his subtle heel turn.
Dallas became a clever parody of disingenuous celebrities and corporate spokespeople. He played blissfully ignorant toward any criticism of his actions, and replied with positive mantras such as "Bo-lieve!" During the turn, he earned an NXT title shot and defeated champion Big E Langston in June of 2013 by ramming his head into an exposed turnbuckle. Thus began his record 280-day reign as champion, wherein Dallas became disgustingly sappy and even more air-headed. He endured a lengthy feud with Sami Zayn before eventually dropping the title to current champion Adrian Neville at NXT Arrival in February of this year.
- Adaptability: Make no mistake about it – Bo Dallas was doomed shortly after his main roster run came to an end. He wasn't connecting and the fans didn't react with silence, but with nuclear “go away” heat. In the most surprising turn of events in NXT history, Dallas thrived; channeling some delusional heels of old. He is now the most over heel in NXT and it's not even close.
- Comedy stylings: There is no doubt that of the two, Dallas' brother Bray Wyatt has come out with the lion's share of the mic skills in the gene pool. However, Dallas has emerged as an unlikely comedic heel over the past year. He has mined the “Bo” pun for all it's worth and his constant obliviousness to all he has done wrong has become a regular highlight of the show.
- In-ring work: Dallas has turned his character around, but his in-ring game can still still verge on dull. He has been shown to be capable in the ring with the right guy, but he has yet to excel when he's in there with average and below-average guys.
Who would have thought that the key to Bo Dallas' turn around lay in channeling Justin Bieber? The clearly not heartfelt pleasantries, the fake smile, and the “Belieber”/”Bo-liever” line all smack of everyone’s favourite cultural punching bag, and whoever came up with the idea deserves a raise. It was the perfect vehicle to translate Bo's go away heat to genuine heel hate, and has proved to be highly entertaining. Just as much as Emma isn't my style of comedy (read: awkward), I find Dallas all kinds of hilarious. Yes, he's yet to do anything in the ring that make me believe he can survive long-term, but I'm excited to see where his zany antics lead on the main roster. ~Darren Gutteridge
The transformation Bo had undergone in NXT is rather remarkable. A year ago, I wouldn't have been surprised to see Bo on the chopping block. This year, I'm not surprised that he's getting the call up. I'm still not ultra-confident that the character will find great success because his turn occurred so naturally in NXT, but I'm hopeful that they can recreate it enough to make the character click. Only time will tell if he's able to make Bo-lievers out of the WWE audience. ~Zack Zimmerman