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The Power of the Pin: The Rises and Falls of Lars Sullivan

Lars Sullivan made his return to SmackDown this past Friday night
Lars Sullivan made his return to SmackDown this past Friday night
Ryan K Boman
Modified 12 Oct 2020, 20:43 IST

In almost any realm of sport and athletics, there are always a handful of performers who are referred to as being ‘cut from the mold’. Those special individuals who look like they were literally built from a blueprint of greatness and are clearly destined for success.

Be it a first-round draft pick or a lifelong gym warrior; these chosen ones have the strength, speed, and explosiveness that the average human being can only dream about. From their foundation up, they have been built - brick by brick - to be a fortress of fortune and fame.

When Lars Sullivan first burst on to the WWE scene a few years ago, he looked like one of those fantastic few. At 6’3” and 335 pounds, he had the massive size and power that Vince McMahon has always cherished, along with the general ugliness of a traditional pro wrestling heel. 

At that time, Lars Sullivan was still in his late 20s, which meant he likely had two decades of dominance ahead of him. He'd been signed with WWE for several years and had been given plenty of opportunity to marinate and mature in the company’s developmental program. With all his raw, physical tools and the WWE publicity machine firmly behind him, fans began to envision ‘The Freak’ as an eventual main event performer.

But, unfortunately, life sometimes gets in the way of art. And truth turns out to be stranger than fiction. 

Not long after the debut of the character Lars Sullivan, the story of his real-life alter ego, Dylan Miley, began to emerge. And the details were not only shady, but stunning as well.

As has been documented by Sportskeeda and various other news outlets, Lars Sullivan immediately found himself embroiled in controversy when multiple posts he had shared one a website were revealed to be overtly racist, sexist, and homophobic. He attacked people with mental disabilities and the less advantaged. His language was particularly harsh, and certainly not in line with what WWE expects of its Superstars.

Then later, a video surfaced of a young Lars Sullivan performing in adult videos. Suddenly, the mistakes of his youth were beginning to emerge, leaving both him and WWE with egg on their collective faces.


Even still, the powerhouse performer tried to do all the right things and issue all the appropriate apologies. For WWE’s part, they slapped Larsh Sullivan with a $100,000 fine and ordered him to undergo sensitivity training.

And just when it appeared that all that calamity might be pushed to the side, some major injuries put the promising prospect on the shelf for well over a year. It seemed that (once again) Lars Sullivan’s career had been derailed before it even left the station.

That was, until Friday night on SmackDown, when Lars Sullivan returned after a 16-month absence, to crush several of his fellow WWE Superstars in a terrifying and triumphant comeback. He looked bigger and badder than ever, displaying the electricity that the company has been banking on for several years now.

Finally, The Lars Sullivan Project was going to pay off. Right?

Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for the excitement of his return to be tempered by even more allegations of inappropriate behavior. Over the past couple of days, messages that Lars Sullivan allegedly sent to a Yoga instructor have been revealed, further questioning his judgment and ability to handle himself outside of the ring.

Because of all the controversy surrounding him, it appears that Lars Sullivan may just be one of those very talented individuals who cannot psychologically handle success. Like many so-called blue-chippers, Lars Sullivan looks good on draft day, but he will never be any better than that first impression.


This happens in all realms of athletics. For years, NFL teams have drafted college stars who end up out of the league within three years. Or, you have the example in baseball of a phenom pitcher who suddenly loses control of his fastball.

In other words, sometimes what we wish for just doesn’t happen. And, that’s usually because the individual in question doesn’t have either the mental or physical temerity to hold up under the bright lights and pressure.

Lars Sullivan appears to be one of those guys. The ‘stop-and-start’ beginning to his career is not a good sign. Neither is the fact that he has been cloaked in controversy from day one. While he may have the look and the physical talent, he also appears to have a lot of problems that start from the neck and go up. 

There will come a time when WWE will come to a decision that their once-prized prospect is going to turn out to be a big-time bust and that his ability doesn't outweigh all baggage that come along with him.

Someday, the promotion will merely have to cut bait, and let this big fish swim away. And when that happens? It won’t be their fault; it will be his.

And while unfortunate? As of now... it appears to be inevitable.

Published 12 Oct 2020, 20:43 IST
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