Patrick Clark Jr, also known as The Velveteen Dream, has been captivating audiences ever since his NXT debut om May 24th 2017. His flamboyance, arrogance, confidence and athleticism have seen him rise to near the very top of the NXT mountain.
Undoubtedly one of the most charismatic superstars to ever compete within WWE, it's worth remembering that things weren't always so easy for PCJ. Starting out in Maryland Championship Wrestling, he made his debut in October 2014 after only 4 months of professional training. Clark went on to wrestle full time for MCW, winning the MCW Tag Team Championship with Lio Rush in October 2015. He would go on to wrestle for a couple of small promotions before landing his big break.
Clark was selected as a contestant for the sixth season of the WWE reality television program WWE Tough Enough, which began airing in June 2015. Despite being tapped as one of the favorites to win the entore competition, he was eliminated in the fifth episode due to a perceived lack of humility, placing ninth overall in the series. Despite this setback, somebody in the upper echelon of WWE clearly saw the potential there.
On October 17, 2015, it was reported that Clark had signed a developmental contractwith WWE. He made his in-ring debut for the company at a NXT live event in Lakeland, Florida on February 5th 2016, losing to Riddick Moss. He made his TV debut on the July 20th episode of NXT, losing to Austin Aries. On the October 19 episode of NXT, Clark confronted and challenged NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura but was attacked and beaten down by Nakamura. Clark returned and had his first televised victory on the March 1, 2017 episode of NXT, defeating Sean Maluta.
After spending time away from television, he was totally repackaged as a bizarte mixture between Prince and Goldust, known as The Velveteen Dream. The Velveteen Dream gimmick started off as a heel, with his first major feud coming against Aleister Black. A phenomenal rivalry ensued, with the core mechanic being that Dream wanted Black to simply say his name. Black refused, leading to Dream stalking and harassing the Dutch Destroyer every week until they finally met at NXT Takeover War Games. Black may have picked up the win but the real winner here was Dream, as in the aftermath of their battle, Black would take a microphone to hand and finally give Deeam the recognition he so badly craved.
The Dream would continue to go from strength to strength throughout 2018, embroiled in fantastic feuds with both Johnny Gargano and Kassius Ohno. He would go on to compete in the 6 way ladder match which would crown the inaugural NXT North American Champion. The match, which also included Ricochet, Lars Sullivan, EC3, Killian Dain, and Adam Cole was one of 2018's highlights, including a star turn from The Dream himself. More incredible feuds followed, with Dream falling short against Ricochet in Chicago before defeating EC3 in Brooklyn.
Next up, Dream would go on to defeat Tyler Bate in the final of the When Worlds Collide tournament, granting him an opportunity for the title of his choosing. Dream surprisingly chose to challenge NXT North American Champion Johnny Gargano and ultimately went on to capture his first piece of singles gold. A barnstorming 231 day title reign would see him successfully defend against Buddy Murphy, Tyler Breeze, Pete Dunne, Matt Riddle and Roderick Strong. Dream to this day is the longest serving NA Champion and it's hard to see anybody else having such a dominant or entertaining run.
Fast forward to current day and we find Dream embroiled in another bitter and personal rivalry with Roderick Strong, this time with no championship involved. Dream has not long returned from 4 months out with a back injury, and the effects are clear to see. The rivalry has been somewhat underwhelming in the ring so far, with the majority of its highlights taking place over social media or in Dreams ring gear. The question on a lot of peoples lips is... what's next for The Dream when this is all said and done?
He has become one of the biggest attractions in professional wrestling, and has quickly morphed from someone with a developmental contract to one of the top names in NXT in only 3 years. But has he outgrown the Black and Gold? With a roster that's swimming in top tier talents, and current storylines suggesting he isn't exactly in NXT Championship contention, is it time for The Dream to take the next step up?
Moving to the main roster of WWE makes the most sense, especially with a show like Smackdown desperately needing something new and exciting, but Triple H will certainly be reluctant to let his star pupil go after seeing so many of his guys and girls wasted following their call up to the 'big leagues'. Dream already has a who's who of admirers, with backing from WWE legends John Cena, The Rock, Shawn Michaels, and even Hulk Hogan all publicly stating that he is the future of the business and can carry the dub dub forward.
Vince McMahon will surely be desperate to get his hands on Dream, even if it's purely from a commercial standpoint. Imagine the merch sales? Take one look at The New Days line of merch - the bright colours, the bold imagery, the neon effects - remind you of anybody? Kids in the crowd love wearing the toy glasses inspired by Becky Lynch and The Miz, so how about a line of Dreams infamous specs? It's a no brainer. The Dream would be a dream come true for Vinces bank balance.
So if this were to come to fruition, what would be the best way to book Dream on the main roster? For me, I would have him finish his business in NXT, before appearing on Smackdown the week after Wrestlemania 36. The most obvious route that has already been done a million times would be to have Dream interrupting Elias, but with Smackdowns recent booking of their resident bard the face v face dynamic may not quite hit home.
My personal choice would be to have Dream interrupt a promo from The Miz. The A Lister is one of the best talkers in the game and has been known to stoke the flames and incite passion in one promo better than most could spread out over 10. The promos for this feud alone would make it must-see. My thinking behind The Miz also lends to how he is performing currently. He finds himself at a point in his career when his in ring work isn't the best anymore, but is good enough still to put over a talent like Dream and show off his athleticism against a slower more methodical opponent.
'The Experience' vs 'The A Lister'has money written all over it. On one hand you've got The Miz angry at someone, younger, flashier and arguably more Holywood than him, coming in to take the ageing stars spot away from. On the other hand you have The Dream who has a point to prove, wanting all the eyes of the world looking at him, drinking in the experience as he looks to inject some much needed sex appeal and 'je ne said quoi' into a main roster full of vanilla 'stars'.
Moving on from this I would have Dreams first main roster title opportunity, and victory, be for the Intercontinetal title. The prestigious title has been held by some of WWE's most outlandish and memorable characters, lending itself perfectly to The Dream. Rivalries against the likes of John Morrison, Daniel Bryan, Cesaro and Roman Reigns would all be sure fire MOTY contenders.
In WWE, there is truly no way of knowing what is next. We've seen so many bizarre booking decisions over the years that have led to the colpant losing talent before we got to see what they could truly offer. Velveteen Dream is a once in a lifetime talent, oozing the kind of charisma we haven't seen for a very long time. With the right handling, he could be an absolute mega star for many years to come.
We just have to hope he doesn't become the latest victim of poor management all for the sake of putting over a bigger, and older, name. Hello Goldberg.