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Welcome once again to the NXT TRACKER, where I pick an NXT talent, assess their progression to this point and make bold, sure-to-look-hilarious-in-retrospect predictions about their future prospects. Today we’ll cover the ever-rising Velveteen Dream.
Velveteen Dream – using his real name Patrick Clark at the time – did a few jobs on NXT TV in 2016, a year after a stint on Tough Enough that introduced him to WWE audiences when he was just a 20-year-old kid. Though coming along in the ring, Clark lacked a hook as a character until he started finding his footing as a character that was openly a reference to Prince (early on, the announcers would sometimes quote Prince lyrics in context). In just a couple of years, Clark has worked himself up to near the top of NXT’s food chain, particularly as a result of his match with Aleister Black at Takeover: WarGames.
Signature Wins in NXT
Dream’s defining match in NXT is most definitely the loss to Black, which raised the stock of both workers significantly. Dream’s wins have come against guys significantly lower on the card – Raul Mendoza, HoHo Lun, Cezar Bononi and former partner on the indy scene, Lio Rush. Perhaps surprisingly, given the strength of character that Dream has shown thus far, that’s the entire list of his victories under the Velveteen Dream name. Dream doesn’t have a defining win yet, but with a great feud under his belt, I doubt we’ll have to wait very long.
On NXT this past Wednesday, William Regal announced that Dream was out of the hunt for no. 1 contendership because of an injury. While it’s hard to say whether this is a real or kayfabe injury, it’s worth noting that Dream hasn’t wrestled since Takeover. This may be a blessing in disguise (as long as it isn’t overly serious), as the Dream character works best as a heel right now, but was starting to draw some babyface reactions. Having the audience love a guy too much is definitely a good problem to have, but hopefully, Dream can reset with a heelish move upon his return, unless the brass have an itchy trigger finger and want to see how he’d come off in a feud against Andrade Almas.
It’s impressive how well Dream has come off, given that this is a character with all the potential in the world to become a silly novelty that can’t possibly be taken seriously. Clark has thrown himself completely into the character, which has of course helped. Wade Keller, Justin James, and I did a post-Takeover podcast for VIP members where we talk at length about how much we all enjoyed the old-school, kitschy feel of the entire feud with Aleister Black, which was fully realized thanks to the complete commitment to character by both workers. Follow-up to Dream’s first loss will be absolutely key; the injury gives the bookers a way to figure out how to reintroduce him to TV (and if it’s a kayfabe injury, I suspect it’s a stalling tactic as talks continue to swirl about how best to use Dream).
The Future and Predictions
If I had done Velveteen Dream’s bio a couple of months ago, I would have been positive, but given the Takeover match I think his stock has risen dramatically since then. He’s been a good part of the weekly show for months, but Dream is the kind of character that I think makes a seamless transition to the main roster and, perhaps after a year-long stay fighting for mid-card titles, Dream could be the kind of guy who visits the main event scene. It’s early in Clark’s career (and life), but I’m surer than I have been in a long time that I was seeing a great career in the making.
Get well soon, Velveteen Dream.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS COLUMN: NXT TRACKER – KASSIUS OHNO: Assessing and predicting the prospects of an NXT wrestler’s main roster future