Back in 1998, my interest in professional wrestling had kind of dwindled. I was still watching it and I was still intrigued in the saga of Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Vince McMahon and WCW vs. the nWo, but other than that, I found no balance between top stories/personalities to mid-card stories/personalities (which I feel are just as important — if not more important than– as the main-eventers) to keep the sense of variety going. Aside from the relatable boss vs. employee and company vs. invaders story, some swagger, trash-talking, finger-pointing and head-waggin was needed. In other words, I DEFINITELY took notice of D’Lo Brown, and I credit him for getting me back into wrestling.
Why D’Lo Brown? Well, I loved HOW he constantly had that growl on his face when talking — or yelling — trash to his opponents, extended his arms out to his sides and pointed out to the audience and wagged his head side-to-side screaming “YOU BETTA RECOGNIZE,” and, well, come on, if his entrance theme music wasn’t SO FREAKING AWESOME. I used to use his theme when I created my character in WWF WrestleMania 2000/No Mercy/Smackdown series video games, and, in fact, I liked his theme song FAR MORE than that familiar shattering glass one (in other words, YOU BETTA RECOGNIZE, Austin).
D’Lo brought an aura of smooth yet aggressive, in-your-face swagger and brash personality in his solo career that I didn’t notice in his days with the Nation of Domination, and only slightly emerged in his tag career with Mark Henry. It felt different from the typical tough guy personas I saw in wrestling at the time because it wasn’t just aggression, it wasn’t just rigid arrogance. D’Lo showcase a smooth, tough, and confident persona that just seemed to flow through in his matches like water; it just came off as more natural than most any other wrestler I was watching. Plus, he’s the wrestler that CONVINCED me of the importance of the European Championship (all while claiming to be from a random European city before every match) and I felt he also continued the legacy of the Intercontinental Championship as being the “work-horse title,” as well as having me personally feel that the Intercontinental Championship was EQUALLY (if not more important) than the WWE Championship. Can’t hurt if you’re holding BOTH the European and Intercontinental Championships at the same time, like Kurt Angle, Rob Van Dam and Jeff Jarrett did.
So HERE’S TO YOU, D’LO!