A manly manifesto?
A turning point in one's career can be spurned by a variety of events: a change in salary, a promotion in one's job or, as in sports-entertainment, a tangible victory that lends itself to a sustained win streak. For Aiden English & Simon Gotch, however, it was a severe setback — The Vaudevillains’ failed attempt to capture the NXT Tag Team Championship on NXT’s biggest stage, TakeOver: R Evolution — that represented their turning point.
"As a team, Aiden and I have fought hard since our entry into the world of NXT with a gentlemanly style and rapier wit," Gotch eloquently described to WWE.com. "We proved our mettle in the tag team division, but still fell short of our goal. In the face of the facts, it has become clear: To thrive in war, we must become war itself."
Gotch's words seem to suggest a revamped mindset that both he and English have now adopted. During the WWE Network live special on Dec. 11, 2014, the old-school-inspired grapplers suffered a controversial loss to the NXT Tag Team Champions, The Lucha Dragons. As English views it, the outcome was anything but fair.
"I would call it an injustice,” he said. “The world saw how desperate The Lucha Dragons were by clearly pinning the wrong competitor, so I believe it says more about them than us."
Whether or not there is validity to English’s claims that Sin Cara & Kalisto’s tactics were employed out of desperation is a topic to be reserved for another day. Perhaps the real question is what exactly does the loss mean for Gotch & English? As seen on NXT, both Superstars requested a rematch from NXT General Manager William Regal. Yet in speaking with WWE.com, Gotch and English proudly indicated that the layer of safety that might have accompanied their presence in the past no longer exists.
"The NXT and WWE Universe may see our humble, entertaining roots,” English said, “but they do not know what we are truly capable of."
Gotch enforced his partner's point with the following words: "It is easy to dismiss us when we are jovial and gregarious. As the bodies of our fallen foes stack higher and higher, it will become difficult to ignore the truth of what we are."
From their unique appearance to their high-class hyperbole, Gotch & English have stood out from the pack since joining forces last June. After all, can you imagine Colin Cassady & Enzo Amore bragging about “callousing their fists” and “thickening their skin” for a fight? Or how about hearing The Ascension recite quotes from Niccolò Machiavelli? These are just some of the character traits that The Vaudevillains proudly wear as badges of honor. Is it up to the rest of the tag team division to decode the burgeoning storm that could be on the horizon of NXT? Are Simon Gotch & Aiden English purposely warning us of what's to come because their plan is free from error?
The aforementioned Machiavelli might give us the answers we are hungry to retrieve. Before concluding their interview, The Vaudevillains recited the following quote from the Florentian philosopher in eerie unison: "If an injury has to be done to a man, it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared."
Considering the men reciting those words, something tells us that the grain of salt can be omitted.