Welcome, Bleachers, to the fifth and final edition of my weekly series entitled WWE's Pushed to Punished. For those unfamiliar, my articles recap and review the portions of past and present WWE Superstar's careers who had abruptly taken a turn for the worse. The past four editions can be reached here:
Edition One: Kenny Dykstra
Edition Two: William Regal
Edition Three: Muhammad Hassan
Edition Four: Shelton Benjamin
Although this edition has come at a later time than used to, I have nonetheless returned to present to you readers yet another worthy wrestler whose theme says it all in saying his time has indeed been wasted, and that particular Superstar is none other than Elijah Burke, currently known as D'Angelo Dinero in TNA Wrestling.
Dating back to his early WWE days, Elijah Burke has always been a tremendous athlete. Following a short tenure on the SmackDown brand, Burke was moved to ECW in early 2009 following the release of his partner Sylvester Terkay.
Upon his arrival to Tuesday Nights, he immediately made an impact as a part of leading his New Breed stable, with its intentions to rebel against the ECW Originals. The group consisting of himself, Kevin Thorn, Matt Striker, and Marcus Cor Von would eventually lose to the veterans atWrestleMania 23.
After weeks of feuding with CM Punk, the two would meet at Judgement Day, where Punk would emerge victorious. The New Breed would meet the same fate the following month at ECW: One Night Stand losing in a Tables Match, effectively ending the stable.
However, the wasting of Burke's ability did not stop there. In coming months, he would continue to rot on the ECWbrand, losing countless matches to Chris Benoit, CM Punk, and Batista.
Elijah Burke would also compete in the 2008 Royal Rumble Match along with a 24-Man Battle Royal at WrestleMania 24, being eliminated early on in both. Following a loss to then-United States Champion Matt Hardy in May, Burke would remain inactive from television, before being released without a return that November.
His release would be left unnoticed, but many followers of Elijah Experience would argue his potential and ability was certainly wasted in his two year tenure in WWE despite many excellent showings. His path to success would end here, as he pursued a career in TNA Wrestling.
Upon his arrival TNA, Burke would debut under the new name "D'Angelo Dinero" with his new gimmick of "The Pope." Interestingly enough, he would use this gimmick in his final WWE days in dark matches before being rejected by Vince McMahon.
His feud with Suicide would be highly praised, competing in Steel Asylums, a Falls Count Anywhere Match, and a final Street Fight between the two that would eventually lead to a face turn by Dinero. Aligning himself with Matt Morgan and Hernandez in a face form of the New Breed, defeating Team 3D, Rhino, and Jesse Neal at Final Resolution.
Following a brief rivalry with Desmond Wolfe, The Pope's stock along with his popularity began to rise in TNA Wrestling, eventually winning an eight-man tournament at Against All Oddsthat would earn him a TNA World Championship match at Lockdown. Although his chances were high on winning the title, he ended up losing the contest to reigning champion AJ Styles.
During the match, Dinero would suffer a shoulder injury that would sideline him for two months. This would lead to the eventual of The Pope.
Since his return, the Pope would engage in feuds with Kurt Angle and Mr. Anderson, both which he would be on the losing end of. He would engage himself in a lackluster alliance with Sting and Kevin Nash, defeating Samoa Joe and Jeff Jarrett in a handicap match at Bound For Glory XI.
His would be further pushed into the dog house following two consecutive losses to Abyss. Currently, Dinero is feuding with Samoa Joe in what seems to be a deadend rivalry for both men.
Much like previous topic of my articles, how has Pope fallen so far in only a year? His impressive mic skills, charisma, and wrestling ability have me asking myself this constantly, since he has proven to be a young, up-and-coming in both organizations.
The way is being treated now, as a poorly booked heel, lowers his chances of one day becoming world champion, and slowly taking the same path he did in WWE.
I, personally, enjoyed his face character, where he was at his highest in TNA. Hopefully following his feud with Joe, Dinero will be able to move back into the World Title scene or the X-Division at least.
As a fan of the Elijah Experience, I surely hope his potential is recognized soon by management, as a Superstar should not go unnoticed or underestimated. His theme used in WWE said it all: his time has indeed been wasted.
Thanks for reading, Bleachers! Feel free to leave comments below on your thoughts of Elijah Burke and what his future lies in profession wrestling. This will indeed be my last addition in thePushed to Punished series, but stay tuned for any special editions in the near future.