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WRESTLING COLUMNS

MasterLock-ed In The Locker Room:
The Fall Of Chris Masters' Career
November 8, 2006 by Timothy Popko


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When I first saw Chris Masters making his RAW debut, I thought WWE had a new big star coming. This was a new wrestler with a new upstart that seemed so cocky, so powerful, and so confident, I was sure he would be as big-or bigger-than Randy Orton. He had the spunk and the persona that reminded me of Randy so well. I could imagine him cheating his way to victory and impressing people with his body. The fans were into this new character too, at least some were. Immediately, I could see a lot of the ladies were impressed and plenty of people wanted to see a wrestler with his power do what he came to do; overpower his opponents, much like Scott Steiner or Hulk Hogan would to people in the ring. But a lot of things got in his way.

It didn't look too good from the beginning. His unbreakable "Masterlock" meant that he would never be able to defeat someone like the Undertaker or Triple H without cheating. No seasoned wrestler would want to lose face to him and lose fair and square to a swinging full-nelson. And to be honest, his Masterlock challenges were a little too overblown. He was not incredible on the mic and even when his language was drawing heat, he was not close to as cocky as Randy Orton. No one could say his moves were very convincing either. Most of the time, he would have to spend time just warming up and getting ready for a powerful hit or two. He just wasn't fast paced and unpredictable like Orton could be. He was slower and more boring to watch, reminding me of so many old-school Heavyweight champions.

And what about his image" He entered like a bodybuilder and showed off way too much. The entire image of a narcissist wrestler fascinated with his own body is a little too much to bear. Professional wrestling has had quite a few failed wrestlers do this: Mark Jindrak, Lex Luger, Rob Conway, Sylvan, and many more. I'm definite that if Randy Orton didn't have such good skills with the mic, his full-body pose would just seem out-of-place like Masters'.

When it came to booking, I could see Masters had borderline potential for the big championships all along. He was in main events and had shots at the WWE title and the Intercontinental Championships. But he just slumped a little, and became a little more of a jobber with time.

Then Masters had to face Carlito, probably the only feud he had on RAW. It was unusual that Masters's losses were always matched with Carlito's uphill climb. After he lost to Carlito at Backlash, it looked like he was just a plain loser. He didn't have the acrobatic talent that Carlito did, and he definitely didn't have the mic skills. That loss really marked impending trouble for the Masterpiece.

Finally, I remember reading in June of '06 that he failed a drug test and would have to be suspended. This was going to be bad for his image, which had developed pretty rapidly already. Now, he was going to lose it all.

And he did. While he was gone, I noticed Carlito was approaching Trish Stratus, and soon began dating her. It seemed very out of place and I just could tell the entire angle looked funny. They would not make much of a couple. In fact, when I thought about it, it seemed almost as if the storyline was meant for Masters to take, but when he started losing, Carlito took over. The match was obvious; Trish and Masters are both Polish, and the resemblance and the modeling looks seemed to be a match. Around this time, Carlito was going for his IC title too, which I remember Masters was looking to get. This really confirmed my suspicions that the storyline was transposed into Carlito's career.

When Masters re-debuted, he really was doomed. He came back about two months later looking weird. He lost about 50 lbs and was growing a goatie. To make things worse, he was booked in the crappiest matches and his character was losing its luster. I had no idea what the hell happened to him and why he looked so funny. There was no more pushing for him and he was not going to get any mic time. In fact, watching wrestlers rip on his voice and intelligence was becoming ridiculous-he was done in my mind. I lost my interest in his potential career and I realized that he was sliding downhill for a good time.

I'm still disappointed by his sudden jobber status. I know how competitive the IC title is, but I still think he has the potential to take either the IC or the WWE championship. It's a shame that I can't see him climb the ranks of RAW, as he would become the youngest champion ever in wrestling history.

by Timothy Popko ..


John Nelson wrote:
Sir, you bring up some good points but your first stumbling block is your title, to have a fall in your career, you have to be someone big in the firstplace. Chris Masters grew on me a little bit when he debuted, but within two weeks, I didn't care anymore. To me I saw he was over pushed, his mic skills mediocre at best, moveset is sloppy, stomped on too many jobbers (whee, can anyone do that, thought so) and a freak'in swinging full nelson is his finisher, people can say what they will about a chokeslam being an overdone finisher, but a cool overdone finisher beats a crappy one anyday. We all know that Vince likes big guys and thats why many of them have jobs. A similar performer like the Big Show (who is under scrutiny by many other fans, but I dig him) may not have a shining moveset that we see everynight either and is another clubbering heavyweight, but Show's charisma is ten fold higher then Masters and his mic skills blow Masters away.

What else is in his career. Ummm no belts at all. Not even a tag championship with Carlito which could have worked had the writers decide to put some writing into the story and not have Masters be ingratiatingly stupid to believe Carlito's heelish attitude everynight and Carlito definetely carried Masters in their match at Backlash (which was admitadly not too bad), but thats about all I can think of to add. So again, in regard to your title it's hard to fall when you weren't at the top to begin with and as far as his "leaner meaner" Chris Masters bit, if he threw in a couple of submission holds into the moveset since returning or maybe got in a hardcore match or two where he could destroy his opponent without breaking a sweat I could believe a lean mean attiude but the sad fact is until then he is still Chris Masters
Andrew Irvin wrote:
Timothy (author), this was a really strange article and it is perhaps unfair of me to respond when I don't really know the answers to your questions. However I don't think I assume too much when I suggest that if Chris Masters failed a drugs test at a time when his body was so huge, then he was probably taking steroids. Presumably in order to be reinstated he had to stop taking the steroids which would inevitably lead to huge weight loss (in muscle). This is why he now "looks funny" as you put it (I loved that Jerry Lawler observed a "new attitude" in Chris Masters from the addition of his south park-style evil goatie!).

Secondly, Chris Masters, as you mentioned, was given title shots (I seem to remember he was 1 of 6 guys in an elimination chamber) and so this was "his chance" as it were. However, as Al Snow spoke of in one of those ROH shoot interviews, the only thing that matters in the career of a professional wrestler is whether they can get a reaction from the crowd.

Clearly they need some help from the organisation in order to acheive this (such as a title shot). It is then hardly surprising that since Chris Masters did not gain increased popularity after his title shot(s), he is now on the midcard, rather than battling for any title.

P.S. I'm not sure that I agree with your assesment of the "IC division" being very competitve, it only took Jeff Hardy about a week to win the belt! Still it's better than the WWE title picture, where John Cena seems to have been given some kind of immunity with the ongoing DX vs. Orton and Edge feud. Then again, maybe K-Fed will wrestle the belt off him in the new year!
Richard Miller wrote:
Good article! Before the ultimate fallout between Chris Masters and Carlito, I thought that Chris Masters would turn face, since it was Carlito doing all of the screwing over (remember the last elimination chamber") And I actually thought that he would fare better as a face.

Chris Masters lost all of that weight, but it looks like he's gaining it back. I know that he may be a jobber now, but now his career in the WWE has been stigmatized. He still has his potential - one that could be realized if he makes the switch to TNA (maybe a new gimmick) and starts over.
dennis wyatt wrote:
Good article, I think Masters' push loss is justified,Why do I say this" Simply this,I am a fan of wrestling and only a fan ,but even I know from magazines and enternet over the decades that,If you are one of the lucky ones to make it to the big time,DON'T screw it up,I've known this for years,we've heard all the stories,Buff Bagwell for instance ,I thought his character was perfect for WWE,What did he do" he went againt the grain and got sent packing,as did most recently,Juvintud Guerra,The other thing one other thing that will get you booted is to use drugs that you're not supposed too,,Masters got the call up to WWE,I loved his character and thought he was going to be a big name,but he decided to go against the grain and use roids (Alegadley,I don't know )But if you will recall,back a few years ,people went histerical when Ultimate Warrior made his big return to WWF to rescue Hogan,after leaving for months with no explaination,The first thing I noticed was the fact that he looked to have lost 50 or more lbs.After mysteriously leaving,Looking at Masters'transformation I see a strange resembleance,So bottom line is He knew going into WWE that he was doing wrong ,so his fall from grace is warrented,but being A masters fan ,I hope he'll dust off and get back to main eventing (SEE R.V.D )thank you Dennis Wyatt
Scott Stone wrote:
Chris Masters' career is going exactly as it should go. After all, he's the second coming of Billy Jack Haynes, sans the body hair. Billy Jack was basically the same wrestler: limited moveset, little to no mic skills, full nelson finisher, and never more than a B-list singles wrestler. In Masters' defense, he's still very young, but for now his best bet to be a star in wrestling is to find himself a partner and form a tag-team. I could see him joining up with one of the guys from the Spirit Squad when they finally dissolve (probably at Survivor Series)--the combination of a powerful guy like Masters and a high-flyer type usually works quite well in tag teams. Since the Spirit Squad and Masters always seem to play the "Vince McMahon brown-noser" angle anyway, it might actually be a good idea.
David Baldwinson wrote:
I think your a little to into Chris Masters. To put masters career into a few small words, his downfall is because of poor mic skills, boring matches, and the big disaster, his failed drug test. In ur article, u strongly compare him to Orton, which isn't very accurate. Ortan may have a good physique, but he's no body-builder, he doesn't have power moves like masters, and his cockiness is more than just poising, he's cocky in everything he does. Lastly, saying that the carlito/trish thing, was supposed to be him and trish, and basing it solely on the fact they look good and are both polish is rediculous. If u look at who trish hooks up with in the wwe, non have good physiques and are generally unique, (jeff hardy, jericho, christian, buh ba dudley). all things aside, i hope masters does get himself out of jobber status and start winning some matches
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