Induction: Karrion Kross on Raw — “Do you like wrestling shows about gladiators?”

14 Submitted by on Thu, 11 August 2022, 20:00

WWE, 2021

When you think of Vince McMahon’s biggest unforced errors in his later years, Karrion Kross’s initial run would have to be near the top of the list (Right after “sleeping with his own employees”).

When the former Killer Kross signed with NXT in 2020, Triple H gave him a quick name change and strapped a rocket to him…

…having him beat NXT veteran Tommaso Ciampa in his debut TakeOver match. In fact, Kross not only beat Ciampa, he choked him out in six minutes.

Kross would choke out all his opponents with his Kross jacket finisher…

…a move that looks as uncomfortable for the opponent as it looks comfortable for Kross. Look at this guy resting his hand on his face like that! This man is chillin’. 

At the very next TakeOver, Karrion Kross beat Keith Lee for the NXT Title.

And while an injury suffered in that very match forced the new champion out of action for four months…

… Kross was slotted right back to the top of the card following his return. Who else could claim that honor? Certainly not Finn Balor, whom, incidentally, Kross would beat to regain the NXT title he never lost. 

Besides his undefeated streak and general dominance, Kross had two BIG things going for him:

His manager and his entrance. 

“Fall and pray”, spoke-sang Scarlett. “The end is here.” The NXT crew had invested so much in Kross, they came up with a whole new theme song instead of recycling the Doors knock-off they used to play at Armageddon. The message was clear: Karrion Kross was not just a big deal, but an apocalyptic force.

And unlike a lot of the guys getting pushed on NXT, Karrion Kross was no small man, measuring 6’4” tall.

That’s four inches taller than Adam Cole!

If any NXT guy could succeed on the main roster under Vince McMahon, it was Kross. To drive this point home, Triple H even had him beat four smaller workrate guys in one match.

While still holding the NXT title, Kross started working dark matches and choked out Shelton Benjamin on Hulu’s Main Event. 

But Kross’s debut on the big stage of Raw came with almost no advance notice, save for a tweet an hour and a half into the broadcast. Whatever Vince needed the NXT champion for, it must have been important!

Like, say, a pinfall loss in under two minutes.

It would have been easy to debut Kross as the dominant force with the undefeated streak, the hot valet, and the scary, cinematic entrance — maybe too easy. Thus, WWE took away all those things for his 100-second debut.

Of course, every wrestler’s loss is another wrestler’s gain. In this case, the undefeated NXT champion would be giving the rub to Jeff Hardy. Now there’s a reliable talent with a long career ahead of him!

The Charismatic Enigma, who had spent the last two months putting over the likes of Jinder Mahal, scored the baffling victory with his feet on the ropes. That way, Mr. Doomsday Clock would have an excuse: he’d been outsmarted with the oldest trick in the book.

Fall and Pray? More like Fallen Prey, am I right?

The match was actually cut for time just after Kross went to the ring. Instead of ending out of nowhere in the early going, it was supposed to be a competitive 10 minute match (not that that would have made things better).

After the match, the Harbinger of Sorrow looked like he was about to cry. When asked for comment, he said that Jeff Hardy had just made “the biggest mistake of his life”. Oh boy, not by a long shot!

Kross was originally scheduled to lose to Jeff Hardy a second time the following week. In fact, the NXT chump was supposed to keep losing until Scarlett showed up and unleashed the “gladiator in him”. Hopefully, those Raw viewers watching the NXT champion wrestle for the first time wouldn’t simply jump to the conclusion that he and NXT just sucked.

When Jeff Hardy tested positive for COVID, however, plans changed. Karrion Kross bounced back, defeating fellow former NXT Champion Keith Lee, who had also shown up on randomly on Raw to lose the previous week. The victory at least gave Kross a little momentum heading in to his inevitable rematch with Jeff Hardy.

Lee then beat Kross right back the next week. 

Kross bounced back once more the following week, beating Jeff Hardy in eight minutes, then again in under a minute the week after that. But by then, the damage was done. 

Predictably, lame duck Kross dropped his NXT title at the next TakeOver. And also predictably, fans chanted “We want Scarlett” during his entrance. 

Now on Raw full-time, what Kross needed now was that extra element that would finally bring out “the gladiator in him”.

And that was, naturally, a gladiator helmet.

Everyone loves gladiator helmets, from Faarooq Asad… 

…to Ric “Spartacus” Flair (no image available).

And let’s not forget the studded leather suspenders! Now that’s a Big Damn Scary Man.

Many said this new get-up made Kross look like a gimp, but I don’t know. His legs looked like they worked fine to me. If anything, he looked like Yarp Yarp from Kenny Vs. Spenny.

It didn’t matter how many times Kross beat Ricochet…

(Three, for the record)

…with this Russell Crowe bondage outfit, WWE had managed to make Kross look stupid in a totally different way from his debut. 

And Scarlett? She was sidelined with a pectoral injury of sorts.

Two and a half months after debuting him on Raw, WWE pulled Kross from TV and live events for yet another re-tool. At that point, Karrion Kross likely fell and prayed that Vince McMahon had never heard of TikTok. The re-tool never came, though, as WWE fired both Kross and Scarlett weeks later. On top of that, they soon fired every Superstar who’d ever beaten Kross, meaning that even his losses benefitted no one.

Fortunately for the couple, Triple H is running the main show now. Just last week, Kross made his surprise return to WWE (with Scarlett this time) and appears to be headed for the top of the SmackDown card.

Kross’s return to the company is a vindication of every WWE fan, social media partner, or Booker T who’s ever told the naysayers to “Let it play out”. All it took was one year, a major sex scandal, and Vince McMahon’s retirement.

Written by

Art has been writing inductions for WrestleCrap since 2012. He also writes reviews of old Monday Night Raws, posted here every other Sunday. You can find his old reviews at the "How Much Does This Guy Weigh?" blog. Follow him on Twitter @Art0Donnell. Email at: art@wrestlecrap.com
14 Responses to "Induction: Karrion Kross on Raw — “Do you like wrestling shows about gladiators?”"
  1. RagingDemons says:

    I think Kross came off as a Lord Humongous from “The Road Warrior” cosplayer myself. Reportedly from Kross himself was that during the time Scarlett was away from TV, she was also finishing her education as well because she was going to college.

  2. Paul R. from Spook Central: The Ghostbusters Companion says:

    If Scarlett getting her education is true, good for her. – Paul

  3. CP says:

    So THAT’S what happened to the original Demolition masks!

  4. Rich Phillips says:

    I might be going crazy here, but in a few of these pictures of Kross, he facially looks a hell of a lot like Ray Traylor

  5. Brownie_the_3rd says:

    It always did surprise me how poorly he did since he seems to fit Vince’s mold quite well.
    Like I could understand why a guy like Keith Lee had a failed run, he very much does not fit into Vince’s idea of what a pro wrestler should look like, but Kross was a big buff dude with a good looking blonde valet. Vince usually eats that shit up but for some reason he did all this to him.

    • Guest says:

      Keith Lee didn’t fit the mold of what a pro wrestler looks like?

      And Yokozuna and Mabel did? The former becoming a 2X WWF Champion.

      All Keith had was that Survivor Series match that essentially teased the potential of a Reigns-Lee feud once he came up to the main roster.

    • Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead says:

      The only reason this was done was so Vince could mess with Triple H. Everything he did to sabotage NXT honestly makes sense when you understand that was the motivation.

      Nor was fucking with NXT the only way Vince fucked with Triple H. It’s also the reason why he came out of retirement to wrestle Pat McAfee, even doing so mere hours after Hunter left his boots in the ring.

      No wonder there’s rumors he ratted him out on the settlements. Not that he was the only one with motive, nor even the only one with motive and means.

  6. Piper's Armpit says:

    For me, it was a bit Shao Kahn. But the booking was.the ‘Toasty!’ guy once you had entered the cheat code and he turned into a yellow cartoon goof.

  7. Thomas Moffatt says:

    I have my doubts about the McMahon sex scandal – I always felt his dirty, lecherous old man routine was a cover…

  8. Michael Hunt says:

    He won more than I remember him winning, but that’s still not a whole lot

  9. CF says:

    One idly wonders: How many wrestlers’ careers will be improved by Vince’s “retirement”?

  10. Statistician says:

    STATISTICALLY…

    This is the seventh induction from 2021, and it’s only August 2022. Can 2021 make it to double figure inductions in a single year, a feat that’s (as far as I can tell) unprecedented in WrestleCrap history? Only time will tell.
    It’s not clear where Kross was going to go with the gladiator gimmick. Hopefully, he would have avoided the fate of the exotico Maximo Sexy, whose gimmick started as that of a Roman warrior before being asked to be as camp as possible. Mexico, eh?
    Another wrestling Gladiator was (Brutus) Magnus, the name TNA gave Nick Aldis after they found out he’d been on the UK version of the Gladiators show. He’s never been inducted for anything he did (unless you count him as part of the Heel Dixie Carter induction), but that’s really because he’s neither bad nor good. He’s average, painfully so.

    Tune in next week or else you’ll be repackaged to lose every upside you have and wear a gimp suit

  11. Don Fraud Klan Scam says:

    I called it from the start. I said Vince and the higher ups probably thought his wife was too hot for him. I said he would get Marc Mero’d. Same thing happened with Miro. Waitaminute. Mero? Miro? Weird.

    Anyway Kross came out of NXT like no one else ever had and was given arguably the worst gimmick/”push” and thats saying a lot. Scarlett was nowhere to be found. It was sabotage from the start. The gladiator thing was to quicken the failure. Was it really all about Triple H? IDK maybe Scarlett didnt play ball in the back.

    All jokes aside, Kross looks like he’d fit in at any state pen across this great country. Surely between that and having Scarlett at ringside they could make that work.

leave a comment