Friday, June 01, 2012

"Joseph Park Is Not Abyss"

If you read “The Messenger’s” very brief bio on the staff page at TNAsylum, you will learn … well, not much. Apparently, I am a man of mystery and Talon and the others are wondering - what exactly is this message that I want all of you to heed?

I’ll remain partly in the shadows for the time being, but I do want to clear one thing up. The purpose of the “Heed the Messenger” column most often will be to ask and discuss what I consider the most provocative questions pertaining to TNA/Impact Wrestling.

And that brings me to that other man of mystery, Joseph Park. Who is Joseph Park? And to me, just as importantly, who is Joseph Park not?

From the day he first showed up in the Impact Zone, there has been a general assumption that the man looking for “my brother Chris, you know, Abyss?” is in fact Abyss himself. The Wikipedia page for Chris Parks, the man who portrays “Chris Park” and “Abyss” also lists “Joseph Park” as one of his alter-egos. And maybe it’s just that simple. But as time has gone by, I have been waiting for a different reveal – I have been hoping for a mind-blowing moment when both Joseph Park and Abyss will show up simultaneously on the TV screen. Maybe I will be disappointed.

But after the May 31 live edition of Impact, in which Joseph Park accepted a match with Bully Ray at Slammiversary June 10, I still have this nagging feeling that the story of Joseph Park is not as clean-cut as many of the fans are expecting.

Stepping into the world of “kayfabe” for a moment, there are four basic ways I think this storyline could play out:

1)  Joseph Park is Chris Park/Abyss but there has been some psychological disconnect caused by whatever Bully Ray did to Abyss behind the scenes, and the man Joseph Park is looking for is actually another personality inside himself.

2)  Joseph Park is Chris Park/Abyss and he is knowingly playing mind games with Bully Ray.

3)  Chris Park, who plays Abyss, also is playing Joseph Park, but the two are somehow meant to exist as separate characters. This could entail someone of a similar look and build donning the Abyss mask, like when Brian Lee portrayed the Underfaker in WWF.

4)  Chris Park and Joseph Park are entirely different people, which eventually will be revealed.

The part of me that insistently continued to believe in Santa Claus a lot longer than most of my school friends really wants it to be #4. If Joseph Park and Chris Park really are different people, there are so many stories that could be told, although admittedly they probably would mirror the many Undertaker/Kane stories told by WWE.

Now, having hopefully whetted your appetites for a truly shocking outcome to an angle, I must admit that I think the actual answer is #1. The reveal will begin at Slammiversary with Joseph Park discovering, much to his surprise, that he is more of a match for Bully Ray than he thought.

The reasons I think this are because of how consistently the character of Joseph Park has been portrayed – he has gimmicks, just like a wrestler. The over-the-top facial expressions, the fact that he always wears a suit and tie, even in steamy, late-spring Florida, and the way he always raises his hand to shoulder level when he says “you know, Abyss?” (which indicates both that Abyss is supposed to be a big guy, but also points out that Joseph Park is a big dude, too.)

All in all, I think this has been a remarkable performance by Chris Parks, helping to completely revitalize what was perhaps the most played-out character in TNA. But I will hold out hope that, in fact, Joseph Park is not Abyss.

“Heed the Messenger”