When Mick Foley unveiled the 24/7 title on RAW a few weeks ago, wrestling fans around the world emitted a collective groan. It was audible. Seismographs picked it up. Nobody wanted a dumbed-down TV-PG version of the old Hardcore title. A championship that must be defended at any time meant lots of pre-taped spots, which are never great for the crowd in the arena. It was also an obvious attempt to increase WWE’s social media numbers. Foley tried like hell to get the idea over, but the immediate reaction from the WWE Universe was clear and undeniable: Please. Not this.
How is it then, that within a month, the chase for the 24/7 title has become one of the best things on the main roster product right now? The answer is simple. R-Truth.
Over the years, Ronnie Killings has created one of the funniest, most unpredictable characters ever to step into the ring. Delightfully daft and with a mouthful of spoonerisms, R-Truth can always be depended on to be a bright spot on the darkest of cards. As the five-time (as of this writing) 24/7 champion, R-Truth is doing what he has always done. He takes a rotten idea and, through sheer charisma, makes it great.
When Truth would wander onto wrong shows, or think he was somewhere he wasn’t, it was always a scream. He spent weeks talking to an invisible character named Little Jimmy. R-Truth has never come across as unlikable. The guy just doesn’t have all his ducks in a row.
Fans have endured so many characters whose entire comedy gimmick was their lousy moveset. That might be an easy trap for R-Truth to fall into if it weren’t for the fact that he can actually wrestle. Get him in the ring, and the guy can go. The man is 47 years old. One would think the business would have broken him by now. Instead, he seems to keep getting better. Shane McMahon is only two years older than R-Truth, and he can barely last two minutes in the ring without running out of steam. Having Truth be both funny and able to carry a match makes him one of the best performers in the company.
Carmella seems to be the perfect foil for R-Truth. She’s decent in the ring, although her character has always been more than a little obnoxious. Carmella can still be counted on to show up next to Naomi and get a couple of high spots in. But as Truth’s manager and protector, she has found her sweet spot. Helping Truth escape from Jinder Mahal on a golf course or herding him into a broken elevator to escape hordes of low-carders who want that 24/7 title, Carmella is the best companion for R-Truth. They might be the most over partnership since Chuck and Billy.
The 24/7 title is still a stupid idea. The only reason the spots work is because that belt has stayed mostly around the waist of R-Truth. His vacuousness gives the title a strange air of gravitas. We want R-Truth to win. He needs to be the champion of something. In his own wacky way, R-Truth is one of the most relatable performers in WWE. If the 24/7 title is the best Truth can get, then we’re behind him. It keeps him on television and on the audience’s radar.
Besides the Firefly Fun House, R-Truth’s ongoing defense of what he calls “the 48/7 European television title” is the best thing WWE’s main roster has to offer right now. It sure beats another Brock Lesnar match.