R-Truth continues to shine whenever he’s given time on WWE television and looking back, he deserves praise for what has been a great career.
There’s something to be said about longevity in entertainment and professional sports. Stars such as Vince Carter or Morgan Freeman are praised for their years of service in the craft that they’ve honed. In the world of WWE or professional wrestling as a whole, that same praise is sometimes hard to find.
With 22 years under his belt, Ron Killings – better known as R-Truth – is one that deserves to be lauded for his work. His recent run is one of the best portions of weekly WWE content, but in looking at the totality of his career, time for praising R-Truth is long overdue as he’s the embodiment of longevity in the WWE.
The Gift That Keeps On Giving
Take this in for a moment. R-Truth turned 47-years old this year and started performing in professional wrestling back in 1997. Since that time, he’s appeared in two of the most important companies in the North American wrestling scene: World Wrestling Entertainment and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.
Every step of the way he’s had championship gold around his waist. In fact, he’s the first African American to hold the NWA Heavyweight Championship; one of the most historic belts in the industry.
R-Truth is the utility player that any team needs to secure a championship. In recent years, the WWE has been able to insert him in nearly any situation and get enough of a comedic response to get the act over. Take his recent work as the 24/7 Champion for example.
Regardless of how WWE Creative botched the introduction of the belt, R-Truth and Carmella have found a way to make it one of the more entertaining segments on the show at a time when main roster WWE content is widely considered subpar at best. But to truly appreciate the gift that is R-Truth, one must look at the totality of his career to understand why many consider him amongst the best African American wrestlers of all time.
From K-Kwik to Champion
If you look at how Killings, then known as K-Kwik, was introduced to the WWE Universe back in 2000 and how he’s been used at various points in his career; it’s hard to argue that Killings has remained a part of major, main event storylines. Killings was originally introduced as a tag team partner with Road Dogg, which indirectly included him in multiple storylines with one of the most important factions in WWE history, D-Generation X.
His initial run with the WWE was a very brief stint, lasting only three years, but getting jettisoned led to opportunities that not only Killings needed, but the professional wrestling industry.
When historians look back on Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, there may not be a lot of positive within the narrative. The promotion that gave us the likes of AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, Bobby Roode and many others, featured a lot of asinine booking and decisions that helped run that company into the ground at a time when the wrestling community wanted an option, they could believe in.
While there were a lot of questionable decisions made within that company, one that often falls by the wayside but is historic was the decision to put the NWA Heavyweight Title on Killings, making him the first African American to hold that title.
His two reigns totaled 119 days but cast a light on the fact that Killings is a talented entertainer, which is a major part to becoming a successful pro wrestler. His reigns were two years apart showing that he could fall down the card but rise back up to the occasion when his name was called.
Killings’ time in TNA let everyone know that he had the “IT” factor that could be trusted to be a respected champion, blowing through the previous ceiling that was placed on him. From 2002 to 2007, Killings was frequently at the top a major promotion, but it would be his return to the WWE in 2008 that helped him become the character that he’s grown into today; which many would call the best run of his career.
The WWE Role Player
When Killings returned to WWE in 2008 it seemed like he was destined for a path of obscurity. He was not placed in any prominent feuds and was on the losing end for any of those moments that seemed like the outcome would bump him up the card. WWE Creative even attempted to ignore his previous run with the company as K-Kwik, which eventually changed as they acknowledged his Hardcore Championship reigns months after his return.
Somehow, Killings still found a way to stay over with the crowd and rise through the card. For example, he was involved in various feuds around the Intercontinental and United States title and eventually reached the high point of facing off against John Cena for the WWE Championship at Capitol Punishment in 2011. His character would go back and forth through face and heel changes. But the high point would come when his character started an aloof like personality in which he always seemed to be mistaken about what was going on in the WWE. Everyone remembers the moment in 2016 when he ran into the Royal Rumble with a ladder, mistakenly thinking this was a Money in the Bank match.
While some of this shtick seemed like another stereotypical gimmick being placed on an African American wrestling, Killings still made the most of any time he was given on screen. He’s remained capable of garnering a reaction from fans. So much so, that this most recent iteration of Killings that has been paired with Carmella and centered around the 24/7 Championship may be considered the best yet.
His creativity and master of his character shines through in each segment. Even though this is a comedy segment that isn’t taken seriously, Killings parlayed that moment into a main event slot beside Roman Reigns against Drew McIntyre and Elias; showing just how relevant he is to this show.
Appreciating Ron Killings
It would be interesting to hear how Killings’s colleagues would speak of him. He’s been with the company for nearly 13 years, including the current one that spans a decade. When looking at how frequently the WWE roster changes, that deserves praise. The WWE Championship has eluded him throughout this run, but he’s found a way to make a mark within the company. His NWA Heavyweight Championship may hold more value than holding the WWE Championship when his career is said and done.
Killings has done a lot within the world of professional wrestling and while his current character is purely comedy straight out of a children’s cartoon, he continues to be one of the most entertaining parts of WWE content each week.
As so many wrestlers look to exit the WWE because of issues with creative and lack of direction, Killings has continued to make the best out of what’s provided to him. The appreciation that he deserves may never come, but he deserves to be considered among the best African American wrestlers to ever step into the ring and entertain the masses.