When R-Truth turned heel in early 2011, it appeared as though he might finally reach his potential as a top-tier superstar in WWE. A wellness policy violation derailed his push, however, and he hasn't been the same since returning has a face. If handled correctly, though, the WWE could get Truth back on track in 2013.
Since Truth is 40 years of age, the WWE will have to strike quickly if it ever wants him to become more than a mid-card comedy act.
He challenged John Cena for the WWE Championship at Capitol Punishment last year and teamed with The Miz against Cena and The Rock at Survivor Series as well, so he has some main-event experience, albeit a small amount.
There is no telling how far the Awesome Truth team could have went last year, but Truth's personal failings caused it to end prematurely. Rather than returning as the psychotic heel character that he had perfected, Truth was a fan-friendly face who was essentially a toned-down version of the gimmick that he had created.
While it led to some entertaining moments, Truth was leaps and bounds better as a heel. The Lil' Jimmy concept was better when the fans hated him and his nonsensical promos always made for must-see TV. Throughout 2012, however, Truth's character has been childish and he has been largely insignificant.
Aside from a Tag Team Championship reign alongside Kofi Kingston, Truth hasn't done much.
For the first time in a year, he may finally be taking part in something worthwhile. Truth is set to challenge Antonio Cesaro for the United States Championship at Survivor Series, and although the odds of him winning the title are slim, it could possibly lead to something much bigger down the line.
I'm encouraged by the fact that Truth seems to be abandoning the Lil' Jimmy gimmick. It worked well for him when he was a heel and it was entertaining for a brief period of time when he turned face too, but things eventually got out of hand. When he started allowing Lil' Jimmy to affect what he did in matches, it was obvious that the gimmick had run its course.
Truth hasn't addressed Lil' Jimmy recently and during his match with Tensai on Raw this week, he was all business. That doesn't necessarily mean that I want Truth to become an emotionless, characterless superstar, but he needs to go through some type of transitional period.
Interestingly enough, the person against whom he turned face could be the one who holds the key to a break-out 2013 for Truth. I am, of course, referring to The Miz. Before Truth served his month-long suspension last year, Miz attacked him in order to write him off television. This led to Truth returning to get revenge and ultimately becoming a fan favorite.
Now that Miz appears to be on the verge of turning face, it could be a great vehicle to make Truth heel again. Perhaps the two of them could reconcile and join forces in a tag team match with Truth ultimately attacking Miz and walking out on him. Truth could then explain that he has been waiting to exact revenge on Miz for a year and decided to make the most of the opportunity presented to him.
This would firmly solidify Miz as a face, but it would also give Truth instant heat. Miz and Truth could have a quick feud with Miz coming out on top, but the result isn't important as far as Truth is concerned. He simply needs a character change in the worst way, and I can think of no better way to execute it.
I'm not normally in favor of going back in time so to speak when it comes to wrestling, but Truth's character could use a time machine. He has nobody to blame but himself for the fact that his heel push stalled, but if the WWE strikes the last year of his career from the records and goes back to what was working for him previously, he has a chance to become relevant again.