NXT Spotlight: Duke Hudson's New Poker Gimmick & Duke's Poker Room | Smark Out Moment

NXT Spotlight: Duke Hudson's New Poker Gimmick & Duke's Poker Room

Posted by Outside Interference Tuesday, October 26, 2021

One of the colorful new characters to NXT 2.0 is that of Duke Hudson, although if you've been watching WWE television the past few years, he may already be familiar to you.

Hudson previously wrestled under the name Elliot Sexton, his real name Brendan Vink (alongside Shane Thorne on Monday Night Raw at the start of the pandemic in particular) and also went under the name Tony Modra for a brief stint before settling on this new Duke Hudson moniker.

Even still, he's been presented lately as a different character as of late.

Appearing just before the 2021 NXT Breakout Tournament, Hudson was reintroduced as a generic Superstar before the switch over to NXT 2.0 breathed new life into him—as it did with many others—by establishing an actual character to get invested in.

Now, Hudson is a card shark and a professional poker player—the type of person who would revel in online casinos like https://spcasinos.com/ where he could, as he says, take a sucker's cash because his room is always open. To be fair, this poker background was hinted at when he lost to Carmelo Hayes in the tournament in a post-match promo video where he described how he was dealt a bad hand and all sorts of other betting terminology.

As shown in his newer vignettes, which are dubbed Duke's Poker Room, Hudson easily reads his opponents and mocks them for how bad they are, taking their money like it's nothing. "Whether it's in the ring or at the poker table, you might as well start calling me 'The House' because the house always wins."

Some fans love the nickname at least while others aren't fond on the character at all. It isn't exactly something that translates 1 to 1 with professional wrestling. Most of the discussion revolving around gambling with pro wrestling is about betting odds for championships to change hands, not poker. People haven't been playing cards backstage since the days of APA.

Is this more of a general character trait that exists just to give you something to talk about for Hudson so he doesn't come off as "another wrestler in black trunks and nothing more"? Or is this actually going somewhere? Is there potential for stories to be told about this gimmick?

One thing that could happen is that he could cross paths with Cameron Grimes, whose character is still relishing in all the money he's made from stocks.

In recent months, Grimes feuded and became aligned with The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase. Their antagonism toward each other turned into fondness where Grimes stood up for the Hall of Famer and fought with LA Knight over the Million Dollar Championship, eventually relinquishing it back to "that damn Ted DiBiase."

Since then, Grimes hasn't had a proper feud. Currently, he's looking for love with some help from Grayson Waller, but that's yet to manifest in a tangible storyline beyond just a handful of quick backstage skits.

Perhaps Hudson should play the part of a spoiler and sucker Grimes out of all his money after luring him into a poker game. Without his cash, Grimes has less to offer and will suffer in the dating pool much more than if he were to stay rich. Plus, since Hudson is a heel and Grimes is a beloved babyface, this would give Hudson significant heat for being the jerk who does this. Any bit of momentum like that gives Hudson a massive boost in his career, standing out among all the fresh faces in NXT 2.0 who are vying for the same screen time.

It would be nice to see some gimmicky names for Hudson's moves that deal with poker, too. "Ace in the hole" as a surprise turn-around. Going "all in" is when he does something risky that can pay off well, but might cost him the match. A "big blind" could be when he rakes someone's eyes. He can "bluff" his opponents with fake-out maneuvers. "Burn card" and "cashing out" and whatnot.

"Dead Man's Hand" sounds like a pretty sweet finisher, doesn't it? "Full House" could work for that, too, since he's The House. "Dealer's Choice" could be how they set up stipulations for his matches. "Three/four/five of a kind" could be when he continues to strike his opponent with the same punch multiple times in a row. "Flop" is self-explanatory. Maybe he draws the "high card" with an uppercut.

With anything in wrestling, it can go silly to the point of being too dumb, or it can be just cheesy enough to hit the target. That's a gamble in its own way. Sometimes, The Undertaker works while The Gobbledy-Gooker doesn't.

Duke Hudson being a card shark isn't the best gimmick WWE's ever produced, but it does lend itself to giving him more to work with than if he were just another guy trying to win a match. You can't bet on him being the next NXT champion, but the cards are more in his favor now than when he was just Brendan Vink.


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