For the uninitiated, NXT is basically WWE’s third brand for more hardcore fans. Every Wednesday, WWE’s “developmental talent” struts their stuff, and usually, that stuff is pretty great. For a while there, they were genuinely outwrestling the talent on SmackDown and RAW. But one fact remains: NXT, in comparison to WWE’s main roster, is a completely different animal. The style is more indie-like and accepting of odd gimmicks, the crowd are more hardcore and “smarky,” and so on and so forth. But still, NXT is a totally different beast. That is why, to be totally frank, not everything that works in NXT will work on the main roster (see here: Bayley, The Ascension). One of those superstars that will not work on the main roster is that of the Velveteen Dream.
Velveteen Dream Will Not Work on the Main Roster
Let’s Talk About This Gimmick
Alright, the elephant in the room here is the Dream’s gimmick. Sure, goofy gimmicks work all the time in WWE (see here: Goldust), but there comes a point where it’s just too much. While, yes, Goldust’s literal gimmick was that he had Tourette’s, it worked in the climate of the early 2000s. With the Dream, though, it’s an interesting situation.
Nowadays when he’s on NXT, Velveteen Dream comes out to a massive crowd reaction. According to some reports, he’s actually one of NXT‘s most over stars. In fact, there are videos out there of NXT fans singing Prince‘s Purple Rain to the Dream during matches. But as I’ve said before, the yellow brand is a completely different animal than the main roster.
Truthfully, there is a very, very dark side to the Dream’s gimmick: the (sometimes) not-so-subtle homosexual undertones. On syndicated, non-WWE Network television, that is not going to fly. On SmackDown or RAW, making fun of the LGBTQ+ community would be a really rough look for WWE. Maybe they could put over a Prince knockoff, yes. But homosexuality…as a gimmick? Probably not.
Patrick Clark, also known as the Velveteen Dream, is twenty-one years old. Now, this is great for WWE, right? Well, it’s really a double-edged sword. Although he has been in independent promotions before, Clark is still somewhat green. With time in CZW and MCW under his belt, Clark has had plenty of training already. But at only 21 years old, how truly seasoned can one be? It’s great that the Dream is starting to reach veteran status, but WWE is different from the indies. With the time he will inevitably put in on the yellow brand though, that issue could be fixed.
For no other reason than his sometimes insensitive gimmick, the Velveteen Dream could be held back from the main roster. In today’s world, that kind of persona is just not okay. Prince is fine; Prince is great! The fans seem to think so too. But a gimmick that subtly pokes fun at the LGBTQ+ community, is not great.
In addition to his gimmick, the Dream’s youth is both a positive and negative thing for the yellow brand. Although the WWE needs youth injected into its roster, Clark is almost too young. What’s more is that NXT needs new superstars. Thankfully, the Dream might be exactly who they’re looking for. Remove a few aspects of his gimmick, and get him some in-ring training, and voila, a superstar is born. But not yet. Give the Dream a year to train and remove aspects of his gimmick, and the WWE could have another home-grown star on their hands.