One could quite easily make the argument that as of right now, size has never mattered less in the pro wrestling world. With that being said, Lio Rush’s size (or lack thereof) still stands out a mile. Even on 205 Live, Rush is clearly the smallest talent featured but considering that, his presentation hasn't been exactly…traditional. Rather than playing scrappy underdog, Rush has instead been the Cruiserweight ranks’ finest villain, with a smug arrogance allowing him to project far bigger than his diminutive frame stands.
That’s really the beauty of performance though: each individual brings their own skill-set to the table, strengths, weaknesses and everything in-between. Whilst the smallest of the small, Rush’s personality is quite clearly the largest and brightest on 205 Live. There’s a fearlessness to him in that sense, an almost naive confidence that’s allowed him to look at home throughout, cutting live promos with a consistent charisma that in just a few months, has catapulted his career. Speaking of such, thriving on 205 Live was one thing, but Rush’s most recent challenge was a whole other test altogether.
Debuting on Monday Night RAW just three weeks ago, Lio Rush has made an immediate impact on WWE’s flagship show. In a move that would’ve sounded like absurd fantasy booking wackiness only six months ago, Rush was paired with Bobby Lashley, thus far playing his enthusiastic hype man and mouthpiece. Whether he’s been going back and forth with Elias, acrobatically avoiding Kevin Owens or just generally talking with the poise of a veteran, Rush has already made the absolute most of his brand new role.
This pairing is an example of that prior truth though and moreover, the range of talent currently on TV. Rush may not have Lashley’s name value or superhero size, but he has a confidence so outstanding that it can benefit the both of them, and considering his lack of experience, that’s an immense compliment to his natural ability. At the start of his 205 Live run, Rush wasn't exactly smooth or slick but his commitment has always been there, delivering lines without a lick of hesitation or doubt.
Rush has already improved dramatically since then too, as his aforementioned confidence combines with a growing track record to create an increasingly polished performer. Even before signing with WWE, Lio’s in-ring ability was undeniable but its current lack of importance is indicative of the main roster product in general. Character-centric and personality-heavy, Monday Night RAW hasn't historically been the easiest transition for independent wrestling prospects to make. Cool moves are great but silence is deafening and wrestling to silence is…well, death.
There’s a science to connecting with WWE crowds but sadly, its formula is far from full-proof to say the least. Even established talents struggle for fan investment at times but common sense would suggest that the general main roster crowd needs a hook of some kind, whether it be via promo, personality or even look. Well, with a combination of all of those things, Lio Rush has given the audience a reason to care within just 3 weeks, injecting some much-needed energy into Bobby Lashley’s presentation along the way.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s still very early days for Rush and though his impact has been palpable, he’s still only a few segments into his Monday Night RAW run. However, the fact that he’s already captured people’s attention is certainly impressive in its own right. As has been highlighted time and time again, individual presence and personality don’t always translate to the glossy main roster presentation but if nothing else, Rush has already proven that to be far from the case with him.
Whether it be as a cocky loudmouth villain or down the line, as an endearing daredevil that fights from underneath, it’s not particularly bold to predict major main roster success for Lio Rush. In-ring, the ROH alumnus is surrounded by brilliance but in no time, he’s entered a pretty elite group as far as character and charisma. Rush may be short in stature, but he already feels large in status. With sheer confidence and charisma, Lio Rush projects far higher and wider than his frame would ever allow you to predict and if his current projection continues, the “piece of gold” moniker doesn't seem to be all that hyperbolic after all.
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