Wrestlers need character.
Not exactly a ground-breaking statement, I know, but one TNA has apparently forgotten.
So let's talk about Chris Melendez.
I don't get him.
I don't hate him, but I'm not interested either.
And I think I've finally worked out why.
He's got no character.
Think about it. What do we know about Melendez so far?
That he's a veteran and an amputee. That's it.
Two brief descriptions and a whole lot of nothing.
First, he's a veteran. So why not compare him with two other vets?
Ken Anderson is an asshole. He'll smack-talk you like there's no tomorrow and he's not above fighting dirty.
But ultimately, he's a good guy. If he's your friend, he'll protect you from creepy weirdoes trying to stalk you.
Plus he's hella funny.
Melendez is a veteran.
Gunner's wrestling nickname literally comes from his military past, but he's also Mr Intensity. The guy who'll hit his own head on the corner to get stoked.
And he's stubborn, too. He doesn't give up easily and he will keep on fighting to the bitter end, as James Storm discovered in their I Quit match.
But at the same time, he's generous and altruistic. He'll go out of his way to help somebody in trouble because it's the right thing to do.
Melendez is a veteran.
Do you see the difference?
Anderson and Gunner have three-dimensional characters. They have personalities. They seem like real people.
Chris Melendez currently feels like a cardboard cut-out. He looks good, but he's flat.
So much for being a veteran.
Let's tackle the thornier issue of Melendez being an amputee.
Right now, the fact that Melendez has a missing leg is possibly his most interesting trait.
And that is dangerous.
It's far too easy to render a disabled character nothing more than their disability.
For Melendez, being an amputee threatens to leave him a curiosity.
And they rarely have lasting appeal.
After all, Kenny King's already tried to steal his prosthesis.
Where do you go from there?
What do you do when the audience gets used to a one-legged man in a wrestling ring?
You need to forge a lasting connection with the audience or you'll end up a flash-in-the-pan when the novelty wears off.
And that's why being a veteran and being an amputee aren't enough to support Melendez as a wrestler.
So tell us more about him, TNA. We want to know him better.
What was his childhood like? Who's his favourite superhero? Does he like peanut butter (and if so, smooth or crunchy)?
What does he want to do in TNA?
Does he want to save people from bullies on like Eric Young?
Be the longest reigning Heavyweight Champion like Bobby Roode?
Get into the TNA Hall of Fame like Team 3D?
What are his ambitions? What are his hopes? What are his dreams?
In short, what is his motivation?
Because if I don't find out soon, my motivation certainly won't be to watch more of him.