Timing is everything, and ours was particularly poor when it comes to Taeler Hendrix.
When we spoke to her earlier this month ahead of Absolute Intense Wrestling’s Girls Night Out 6, we focussed on her upcoming Midwest debut for AIW, and only briefly touched on her work in her home promotion, Ohio Valley Wrestling, where she has been Women’s Champion since November 12 of last year, when she defeated longtime titleholder Lady JoJo (now Josette Bynum) for the belt. The reason for that is because her title defences on OVW TV and at the Saturday Night Specials had been sporadic, and at times, too short to let her showcase her abilities. In addition, the lack of a strong storyline and not enough of an opportunity for her to display her character beyond being a likeable, smiley redhead had meant that the connection with her and the audience was not as strong as it could potentially be.
However, at the time we spoke to her, she was in the very embryonic stages of a storyline which could see her change people’s perception of her character, and give the fans more of a reason to have an opinion on her. It involves a man, a relationship, and where the power lies in that particular union – and it all started on the St Patrick’s Day episode of OVW TV on March 17…
Like with Daniel Bryan and AJ‘s relationship in WWE, one party has more power over the other – in this case, the person with the bigger influence is Hendrix, who officially formed a romantic reunion with the 20-year old, five year pro Dylan Bostic after helping him defeat Randy Royal after distracting him and allowing her future beau to get the pin.
Things looked rosy for the fresh-faced Bostic and the pretty redhead, who looked to be the poster children for a Prom King and Queen photo, but things started to get pear-shaped when the balance started to tip towards Hendrix. This was underlined by a mild change in look for Taeler – her bright red hair was dyed a little darker, and instead of the colourful outfits which she was known for wearing, such as bight blues, pinks, yellows and greens, she was wearing black. A very subtle alteration, but it was a foreshadowing of what was to come, as Hendrix started leading the conversations, and Bostic was looking more and more like a pet, and less and less like a boyfriend, as evidenced in the clip below from the April 7 OVW episode.
A week later, things developed even further as Hendrix’s heel turn was cemented in a pair of segments – the first being a moment involving the Women’s Champion and the woman who she defeated for the title, Josette Bynum. The former Lady JoJo secured control of Ohio Valley Wrestling as a consequence of her charge Rob Terry defeating Trailer Park Trash on the Saturday Night Special three days previously. On the subsequent TV episode, Bynum started flexing her muscles by ordering the roster to make a choice – join her, or become an enemy of her regime. Though Bostic was resistant to it, Hendrix was forceful in making the decision for both of them, siding with her former rival’s administration. At this point, the heel turn wasn’t in place – she was starting to irritate fans by bullying Dylan around, but as you can tell in the clip below, there was still friction between her and the boss…
Following her hanging of her hat on Bynum’s side, Taeler would take to the ring in the same episode to square up to Royal, after he demanded a confrontation with Bostic over why he was allowing Hendrix to manipulate him and bully him about, leading to a double turn with Hendrix becoming a full-blown heel, Randy presumably turning babyface, and also facilitating a face turn for Epiphany, who was brought out to even up the odds for a short mixed tag team match.
The last month has put Taeler into an amazingly advantageous position. Before, her TV appearances were few and far between and were mostly exhibition affairs with little background, and consequently, little for fans to invest into. Since entering into this programme with Bostic, there is a thread for her to follow and get behind, as she is becoming one of the bigger hate figures on the OVW women’s roster.
Where the storyline goes from here will be interesting. I would hope that it progresses for a while, with friends of Bostic taking him to one side to try and make him see that is being manipulated, only for Taeler to try and separate him from his friends my monopolising his time so he only has her to rely on for support. At that point, I would also expect something to happen to make him see sense and break free from her clutches, leaving her alone, and possibly also causing her to drop the Women’s Championship to the big babyface in the process – resulting in her having no boyfriend and no title, which would be a fitting comeuppance for the woman who became drunk with power.
However, this cannot – and should not – happen overnight. If anything, this should run through the summer to let people latch onto it, tell friends and swell the interest. Done right, this story could be the making for a number of people, and boost Taeler’s profile as well. She has an opportunity to develop an awesome heel character, and I am confident that she will succeed.
– Lee Burton