Picture this, if you will. It’s WWE’s “Monday Night Raw at Little Caesars Arena. Triple H is in the middle of the ring, and he’s out there just talking smack to the crowd and every wrestler backstage. He’s talking about how great he is. He’s saying, “I’m the game, the cerebral assassin and the king of kings.” You know, all that stuff that he says.
Then suddenly the lights go out. Metallica’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls” begins to blare over the loudspeaker. The lights flash every time Lars Ulrich hits the drums and smoke begins to billow from the stage as the crowd’s excitement is reaching a fever pitch. Then comes the part of the song where the guitar starts making the snarling-beast noise like a monster looking for its prey. As the vocals come in, the lights come on, and there he is! The kneecap eater himself, Dan Campbell.
Campbell walks with a purpose to the ring as the entire crowd begins to chant in unison “kneecaps, kneecaps.” He’s created a massive following—a cult, if you will. Kind of like Goldberg’s entrance.
Triple H is baffled by Campbell’s presence as he scans the crowd trying to figure out what the hell is going on. Fear covers his face, and the commentators can see it.
“Triple H can’t believe what he’s seeing!” Jim Ross screams. “Dan Campbell is here and he’s looking like he’s looking for a slobber knocker like he’s fresh out of a bar fight in Muskogee!”
Campbell gets in the ring and stares a hole in Triple H’s soul before grabbing the microphone out of his hand. He raises the mic to his mouth to speak, and the crowd gets in such a frenzy that it’s almost overwhelming. Campbell has to wait a moment for the crowd to die down so he can get his message across.
The crowd subsides and with a voice so deep and full of bass that it shakes the very foundation of the building, Dan Campbell says this:
Dan Campbell just cut a damn wrestling promo. pic.twitter.com/6EKzOvF1SP— Pride of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) August 7, 2021
I’ve been a pro wrestling fan my entire life. I’ve seen a lot of wrestlers cut amazing promos. I saw Stone Cold say “Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass” for the first time. I’ve heard Dusty Rhodes talk about “hard times,” CM Punk drop an incredible pipe bomb or Ric Flair talking about anything. I know what it means for a man or a woman to be great on mic. Dan Campbell is really great on the mic.
Campbell had a successful 10-year NFL playing career, and now he’s had a successful coaching career that’s landed him the top position in his field. But he may have missed his calling as a pro wrestler, because the guy can simply captivate a crowd.
Maybe that’s why it’s been so easy for Detroit Lions fans to fall in love with the guy. He knows what to say and how to say it. He’s a relatable guy and has all the key components of a great wrestling character. He’s fighting for you in the audience. He’s here to do what’s right and he comes from a similar background as the audience. He’s just a blue collar guy out to right the wrongs of silver spoon-fed heels like Matt Patricia.
How does this help a football team win games? Well, who knows if it does? But Lions fans are not the only ones who are listening to what the guy has to say. If it’s getting Lions and NFL fans hyped, you have to imagine it’s getting guys on the team hyped too. It’s both fun and inspirational. Together, those two things can be effective.
Time will tell if this experiment is going to pay dividends on the field. Until then, this is a lot of fun to watch. The guy is just so charismatic that you almost can’t even be mad after a loss because you know the dude is going to cut a promo on you that’s got you believing you can run through that wall. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for football more than ever.