I’ll admit I liked the debut of Mike and Maria Kanellis at the Money in the Bank show in June. His shit eating grin, her smarmy ego, the long gazes and terrible theme music, torn straight from the theme of whatever The Bacheloresque reality show you want to name; pronouncing to the entire WWE universe that theirs was the “greatest, greatest, love I’ve ever known”. Their promo that night, which I thought was quite decent at getting heel heat, is still so far the highlight of their time in WWE since their debut.
As was reported here on The Dirty Sheets, the male half of the Kanellis couple was fast tracked to the main roster and avoided an NXT stay after he convinced WWE he was a main roster talent. Since then, he has been thought to be lazy and uninspired, not working on his physique before he debuted and not really having much drive. He has found himself mostly off of television for the better part of two months since his debut, besides a literal 3 week feud with Sami Zayn.
While they can’t be blamed for not featuring a lazy and complacent wrestler on the show, neither did WWE commit to the gimmick in the way it should have. I think it had a lot of legs, specifically with the far superior Smackdown team handling the writing for the gimmick. Wrestling has long featured heel gimmicks which are meant to make the fans feel inferior to the heel. The intellectual superior gimmick has made its way across decades from The Genius to Dean Douglas to Damien Sandow. Ted DiBiase had more money than you. CM Punk was straight edge when you smoked pot and drank beer at home watching him. Daniel Bryan had a short lived run as a vegan heel. Bret Hart told you all the ways Canada is better than the United States, now Kevin Owens does. Even arguably the best heel in the company over the last decade, The Miz, has made a ten year plus career of telling you to shut up, listen to him, and that he’s better than you, all the while being an aged reality star with a wife that’s far too out of his league.
The Power of Love gimmick was along these same lines. Everything about it should have worked. It was meant to make normal people feel uneasy. The man taking the woman’s last name. The fawning and public displays of affection. All things to make you feel uncomfortable watching it. It was an easy gimmick to get over. There’s nothing complicated to it. We are in love more than you are, so we are better than you are. If you are in a couple, you’re not as good as us and your feelings are inferior to ours. If you’re single, you’ll never know what this kind of love really feels like. It pisses you off in a way it does when those previously mentioned wrestlers dump on you for your smarts, national pride or beer consumption.
The gimmick could still work. There’s more than enough ways to get it over again if they want to. What they really need is more promo time to get the gimmick over in the correct way. A kiss cam segment where they focus on the audience and just before the couple kisses and cuts right back to them while they kiss. Stopping just before the lockup to go outside and make googly eyes at his wife while the opponent waits in the ring. It’s not truly hard to do. By this point though, due to his own actions, it seems what could have been a great visceral gimmick is not going to get over and it’ll be job duty for Mike Kanellis on the blue brand for the foreseeable future. With the additions of Bobby Rude and Shelton Benjamin, they’ve already added two more far superior wrestlers to Smackdown who need time and focus on a show that is already overflowing with talent. The Smackdown writing team will be able to resurrect it if anyone can, but for now, it seems like the Power of Love is on life support.