Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Three Personalities of Parks

"The Three Personalities of Parks"
By Big Dawg
Follow me on Twitter @BigDawg801

Love him or hate him, Chris Parks has been a loyal and vital part of TNA’s history. His contributions are overlooked quite often, but nobody can deny that the man has made great physical sacrifices to help the company grow and gain the respect of hardcore wrestling fans. Barbed wire ripping his flesh, thumb tacks turning him into a human pin cushion, fire bubbles up his skin, shards of glass sticking out of his arms; these are a few of his favorite things…….or are they Abyss’ favorite things? Is there a distinct difference between what Abyss prefers as opposed to what Chris or Joseph Park prefers? That’s the thing is this man knows how to flip the switch, and when he does he becomes a whole different character completely. He BECOMES Abyss or Joseph Park even though it defies logic and seems to piss off a few smarks. Regardless, it is effective and has become very entertaining in 2012 and beyond.

So which character does Chris prefer? The answer is who really knows? He is so convincing as either Joseph Park or Abyss that it’s entirely possible that a casual viewer would not even realize that they are the same person……or are they even the same person? Maybe Chris Parks actually has a mild, yet management mental or behavior disorder that he just plays up to the 9th degree? This Multiple/Spilt Personality Disorder storyline is unique and intriguing because Chris Parks MAKES it work. There are very few people on planet Earth that would be willing to take this storyline on or make it comes across well to the audience. Even simply dropping the letter “S” off the end of Park makes some people go crazy and call bullshit on this storyline. Hell, he pulled this off mostly in front of a studio audience that has seen him for 8 years plus in person hundreds of times. Even in the IZ it worked, but can you see how much more over it is in front of bigger crowds? (like everything else outside of the IZ)

The man turns lemons into lemonade in other ways also. When RVD literally kicked a few of Abyss’ teeth out during a match on Impact in 2011, nobody could have predicted that he could parlay that horrible accident into creating a different character (one missing teeth, with a mask, and long hair and then another one with a full set of chompers, shorter hair and glasses). And that is a microcosm of how Chris Parks goes about his business; he is a true, dedicated professional. The man has a Master’s Degree in case you didn’t know that. He isn’t just a big, dumb ogre like some people characterize him as. Even as intelligent as Chris Parks is, his personality Abyss craves blood and violence to the same level. No matter how much pain is felt and blood spilt, he continues on and simply collects more scars. His arms are giant jigsaw puzzles of battle wounds from various weapons shredding his flesh, but in a sick and twisted way he wears them as a badge of honor.

After years of ravishing his body and establishing Abyss as one of the best big men in the business, TNA Creative and Chris decided to take things a totally different direction and debut Joseph Park, esquire (another personality of Chris’). I must admit that the last time I heard someone refer to themselves with the “esquire” title was in Bill & Ted movies so automatically that made me giggle when he introduced himself that way. Most people thought that this Joseph Park character would be around for a couple months at most and then Abyss would come back. However, Chris has made Joseph so entertaining, funny and enjoyable that he may be a recurring character for the duration of his career.

It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Chris, Joseph and Abyss will all 3 be showcased as separate wrestlers before it’s all said and done. This revolving door of 3 characters is in the same genre as the 3 Faces of Foley, and it’s possible that Mick Foley’s influence had something to do with Parks creating a completely different persona despite that fact that most fans realize they are one and the same person. Foley did a great job pulling this off with Mankind, Cactus Jack and Dude Love; making each separate character distinctly different and entertaining in their own way. Mick Foley is one of Chris’ wrestling idols, so naturally having a similar gauntlet of interchangeable characters may be the path that this storyline in TNA follows. I mean Abyssamania obviously did not fit for Chris and was foolish, so putting a unique spin on a multiple personalities storyline is a more natural and psychological fit for him.

There are many questions that have been left unanswered at this point with Joseph, Abyss and Chris. Some people have issues with TNA not tying in the Judas Mesias and James Mitchell storyline with his current storyline. However, consider that they will most likely make an appearance or 2 at some point in the near or distant future. Abyss, Chris and Joseph are not going anywhere else outside of TNA. They are here to stay, so rushing EVERYTHING back and injecting it into the current storyline would be very rushed and foolish writing.

True, we haven’t seen Chris Parks compete as himself, but Joseph has mentioned him several times, you know his brother Chris (holds his hand slightly above his head)….Abyss. I picture the real Chris Parks as somewhat of a goofball stoner when he is not adorning his trademark mask or representing clients at Park, Park and Park, which makes me like him even more. The actual Chris Parks is a mystery but I assume is kind of a humorous guy (which is probably why the subtle humor with Joseph comes so easily to him). Watch some of his Spin Cycle stuff; who knew the man under the Abyss mask was so damn funny? He does a stellar job of remaining “kayfabe” (as he would say), but maybe we see that 3rd side of him come out eventually and explain how real Abyss and Joseph are to him? If you really think about how great this could turnout, it may give you smark chills.

One thing is for sure, this man deserves the fans respect. The Monsters Ball matches and hardcore matches are always bloody and entertaining (even as recently as the Genesis match with Bully Ray). Abyss has done some really good work, however TNA almost ruined his persona with some of the weirder things they have tried to do to his character. When I first really started getting into TNA back in 2006, Abyss was portrayed as an UNSTOPPABLE CRAZY MONSTER that was like a real life boogeyman-type. He had a part to play in drawing me into watching wrestling consistently again after growing tired of the monopoly that is WWE. I thought that he had the look and persona to be a monster. Over time, the character of Abyss grew stale and something drastic needed to happen to give Chris Parks a successful reboot. Hence, Joseph Park (the furthest thing from Abyss) showed up at IMPACT randomly looking for his brother last March and has remained in TNA ever since.

To be believable in portraying a character that “knows little about pro-wrestling” and “has never competed in the ring”, you have to be a very good actor. To intentionally act na├»ve in regard to actually how to wrestle when you have been a previous TNA Grand Slam Champion takes great skill and execution. The OVW vignettes were part of the progression of Joseph that needed to be shown and he made it look legit. The few times he has seen his own blood and gone ape-shit, people realize that Abyss coming back is inevitable. However, Abyss doesn’t absolutely need to be permanent and his return doesn’t necessarily need to be imminent. Wouldn’t you prefer to see Joseph come back for certain periods of time? Wouldn’t you want Chris to explain both personalities and be his true self sometimes like Mick Foley eventually did also?

There are some cool things that will happen for this man’s career that will allow him to keep himself fresh and exciting; it just can’t be Abyss full-time for the next 5 years straight. The man is too talented and too vital to TNA to let him ever walk away prematurely. He is a future TNA Hall of Famer, and I hope he can garner a similar kind of respect and legacy from TNA and its fans just like AJ Styles, Bobby Roode and Austin Aries. As he embarks in a whole new direction career-wise, just sit back and enjoy the ride. I suggest looking into his eyes. The man is crazy. Crazy for TNA to succeed and flourish. Crazy to think TNA could get to the point it is at now; to be able to take IMPACT on the road permanently. Everyone knows Chris Parks is crazy, and he is. He is just crazy like a fox……..or a badger……..or a monster.