Why The Velveteen Dream is poised to take over and redefine wrestling and the life around it
When Patrick Clark was eliminated from WWE's Tough Enough competition in 2015, the show's judges felt that he lacked humility; that he was arrogant and loved to harp on that.
Fast forward three years and the man behind the character The Velveteen Dream continues to show match-in and match-out that he wasn't telling a single lie.
The Velveteen Dream is arguably one of the best in-ring performers in not just NXT or WWE, but the world. It's not just about what he can do that stands out, his character combined with his in-ring ability redefines what we as fans watch inside the ring and believe outside of it.
When The Velveteen Dream debuted in NXT in May 2017, something about him was just....different. Gone was Patrick Clark (Velveteen himself stated he has no recollection of who that is) and in his place is a character so enthralling, so charismatic, so electric that you can't help but watch everything that he does. His character mirrors that of Prince, yet takes elements from Goldust and ramps it up to 10.
Since The Velveteen Dream experience first graced our screens a little over a year ago, he's gone on to have a great run of matches. I mean hell, I don't think the man has had a match less than 4.5 stars yet, he's THAT good in the ring. His Purple Rainmaker diving elbow is enchanting, and for a man as young as 22 (he turns 23 in August) he has the crowd control, the ring psychology, and the ring savvy of a wrestler twice his age. Just look at his matches at NXT's major events, NXT Takeover. He personalizes each one down to the gear he wears in the ring, from having Aleister Black's face spray painted on his tights at Takeover: Houston to ones that resemble the one's his opponent - Ricochet - wore as Prince Puma in Lucha Underground for their match at Takeover: Chicago. Velveteen Dream is a student of the craft; he has all the tools necessary in ring to take this company to the next level over the next 10-15 years. His character is what will catapult him to super-stardom.
When Goldust first hit the airwaves back in 1995, fans were confused and maybe even uncomfortable with his sexually suggestive mannerisms and drag queen style. Goldust was ahead of its time, but The Velveteen Dream character comes along at the perfect moment. Now neither WWE nor Patrick Clark have commented on the sexual orientation of the Velveteen Dream. However, his androgynous character can bring the company into a bright new era while also being a role model for young men who look up to him.
In a time where the company is trying to change with the times, it is important for them to be inclusive. The crowd is ready. Society is ready. And with Finn Balor's Wrestlemania entrance and the arrival of Sonya Deville, WWE's first openly-gay superstar, it seems as if they are ready as well. The Velveteen Dream is the perfect package and a perfect storm. For a company like WWE to promote a character like Velveteen gives men, black men specifically, the comfort level and the courage to be who they are.
The Velveteen Dream is going to be around for a long time. He will be a world champion, a fan favorite and a focal point of WWE programming. He has IT. It's been said before that all great characters are just an extension of the person behind the character. Whether or not that applies to Velveteen is to be determined, but the man is doing a hell of a job with his gimmick. Once he hits the main roster, The Velveteen Dream should be given the keys to the spaceship and drive it straight to the moon. He will redefine what we know today. He will make others step their game up. Hell John Cena, the GOAT HIMSELF, has already given Dream the co-sign. At this point, it's only a matter of time before we see The Velveteen Dream as THE top face in WWE.