The largest problem currently plaguing the WWE is the fact that there are a lack of fresh matches and story lines, especially on Monday Night Raw. How many times have we seen Randy Orton and Sheamus square off over the course of the past five years? Add John Cena into this mix with both wrestlers as well, and it is a formula that has been way overused. This lack of fresh content could be the reason why the viewership of Raw has been at an all-time low since they went to the three hour format in 2012.
The NXT and WWE rosters have plenty of talented individuals that are not only great in the ring, but are pretty good on the microphone as well. If a particular individual isn’t great on the microphone, then you can pair them up with a manager much like Lana with Rusev early on in his career, or Paul Heyman with Brock Lesnar. It is all just a matter of coming up with someone interesting to incorporate to these superstars.
While one can definitely understand that the major Pay Per Views should have established talent in the upper part of the card, there are other Pay Per Views such as the upcoming Hell In A Cell show that you could insert someone into a major story line to see if it clicks with the WWE Universe.
Is one of your favorite WWE Superstars going to be in this list? Check out these 10 wrestlers from the WWE And NXT who are too good to not be featured in a major story.
10. Zack Ryder
Zack Ryder had his moment in the sun when he was involved in a program with John Cena, Eve Torres, and Kane back in 2012. He was even in the main event during a November showing of RAW of that same year when he teamed with Cena to take on The Miz and R-Truth.
This wave of popularity was due to the fact that his YouTube Show “Z! True Long Island Story” took off and would have over a million viewers every week. Ryder would call himself the WWE Internet World Champion and even had his own custom belt to go along with it.
Unfortunately, almost three years after that push, Ryder has had trouble even making it on television, let alone having any sort of push to amount to anything. Basically all of 2015 has seen Ryder become enhancement talent, though the WWE Universe is still firmly behind him.
Currently, Ryder is featured in NXT in the tag team The Hype Bros. with Mojo Rawley, which has had moderate success, but no big push for those titles just yet.
9. The Miz
The Miz was the runner up on the 2004 season of Tough Enough, but the WWE saw enough out of him to warrant a developmental deal. The sentiment among the current roster was that a participant on MTV’s The Real World can’t make it in the WWE. In 2010, Miz would go on to prove the doubters wrong.
In November 2010, The Miz would cash in the Money In The Bank contract and become the WWE Champion. Even more shocking, he’d successfully defend his title at WrestleMania against John Cena the following year. While getting a couple of more shots at world titles, The Miz has yet to have a second reign.
Thereafter, The Miz would go on to be in various tag teams that were successful, but in recent memory, he has been stuck in the mid-card tier of wrestlers. While his run with Sandow was entertaining, Miz was never pushed into any sort of serious title contention. The break-up of the feud should have been a big deal, but was poorly executed.
Inside the ring, Miz has a lot of unique moves specific to him that makes him stand out. His persona and performance should be grounds for another main event push five years after his first one.
For the WWE Universe, this entry might be the most frustrating. There has been no wrestler over the past two years to have such a huge push only to have the brakes slammed on it like Cesaro has had. While Cesaro was a hated mid-card wrestler in his first two years of the company, he has become a huge fan favorite ever since.
The turn to fan favorite started when there was dissension within The Real Americans when Cesaro teamed with Jack Swagger and Zeb Coulter. That was when the ever popular Cesaro Swing was invented, which sparked the crowd every time it was attempted and/or pulled off.
After being lost in mid-card hell, Cesaro found gold with his tag team, which included Tyson Kidd. The team was so well liked, they were able to capture the tag titles in February 2015 (only two months after teaming together).
This is very simple: the crowd wants him pushed to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship contention, the creative department should listen.
7. Curtis Axel
The artist formally known as Michael McGillicutty was repackaged from that very wordy name to Curtis Axel in May of 2013. He was built to be the supposed next big thing since he was the latest Paul Heyman “guy.” Though Axel had instant success with wins over Triple H and Chris Jericho, the success faded in a hurry.
To further try to push Axel, they added Ryback to the Paul Heyman group briefly, but it fizzled out fast. The underrated tag team of “Rybaxel” achieved moderate success, but never really had a whiff at the tag team titles. A few months later, Ryback was injured, leaving Axel to fend for himself once more.
After a brief run in NXT, Axel had finally shown some flashes of charisma and brilliance with his never being eliminated from the Royal Rumble gimmick. Later, he was then paired with Damien Sandow to form the Mega Powers 2.0 tag team; which was mainly used for comedy relief. When Hulk Hogan’s racist comments from several years ago came to light, the gimmick was dropped.
Axel has always had the talent, but lacked charisma. Early in 2015, that charisma started to come through, but he isn’t being used properly. Whether it be in a tag team to further strengthen that division or back into the secondary title picture, Axel is too good to waste.
6. Blue Pants
One of the most unique stories in pro wrestling over the past decade has to be the rise of Blue Pants whose real name is Leva Bates. She was basically an independent wrestler brought into NXT as enhancement talent to see what she had to offer. What she’s turned out to be in NXT has been quite astonishing.
Her debut match in NXT was in November 2014 where she faced Carmella. Enzo and Cass (who are associated with Carmella) introduced her as Blue Pants due to her attire, and it just took off from there. The WWE Universe was fully behind the charismatic Bates as they would loudly chant for Blue Pants when she was in the ring.
She has since made a handful of appearances garnering popularity from the NXT Universe every time she wrestles. Her most notable performance to date was when she was announced as the valet for The Vaudevillians to even up the odds against Blake, Murphy, and Alexa Bliss at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn.
The crowd is clearly behind her, now it’s time for the WWE to do the same and sign her to a full time deal and develop a persona for her.
5. Solomon Crowe
Solomon Crowe was one of those crown jewels that Triple H brought in from the indy scene in 2013. He wrestled in many of the same promotions as current WWE Superstar Dean Ambrose did such as Heartland Wrestling Association and Combat Zone Wrestling. After over a year of just participating in dark matches and live events, Crowe finally had vignettes air early in 2015.
Crowe was portrayed as a hacker who can manipulate the arena to his advantage. There would be interruptions of matches where if you slowed down the video and viewed it frame by frame, you could very briefly see Crowe. The announcers would acknowledge the interruptions, but those in the arena wouldn’t notice.
Unfortunately after his debut, the gimmick was pretty much dropped outside of his entrance, and Crowe had been placed on the backburner for most of 2015. Nowadays he is just being used to help someone with a win here and there.
Crowe is a great wrestler in the mold of Taz from the ECW and WWE days. Unfortunately being a smaller guy in the WWE is an uphill battle from the beginning. They should bring back the hacker techniques for Crowe and use them in creative ways to garner heat from the NXT Universe.
4. Damien Sandow
It is hard to fathom that Damien Sandow was the Money In The Bank briefcase winner just a little over two years ago, but it’s true. The pairing with Cody Rhodes as the Rhodes Scholars tag team was complete gold. The break-up of these two wrestlers was supposed to be monumental, instead it flamed out in a hurry.
After Sandow turned on Cody to win the briefcase, he fell down into the WWE abyss with a massive losing streak. He had a record of 1-12 before cashing in his contract against John Cena, where he became the first person ever to cash in Money In The Bank and lose.
At 33, Sandow is still young and definitely knows how to connect with the fans. There was a clear reason why he won Money In The Bank two years ago, and that should be enough for someone in the WWE’s creative department to give him another chance at a major push.
One would think that the only female graduate of Stu Hart’s dungeon would be ranked among the top women’s wrestlers of all-time. She was signed to the WWE in 2007 and has a WWE Diva’s Championship under her belt. Just one. Natalya is definitely one of the best wrestling Diva’s in the company, but is way under-utilized.
If you look at her career in a snapshot, she has been used more as a valet than a wrestler in her tenure in the WWE with The Hart Dynasty, Tyson Kidd, The Great Khali (yikes), and most recently Kidd & Cesaro. The only years where they utilized her as more of a wrestler were in 2010 and 2011.
She took some time off in 2015 to tend to her seriously injured husband Tyson Kidd, but made it known she was ready to get back to work when the Diva’s Revolution took off. When it was time for this revolution, Nattie was missing.
Now it appears that there is going to be a good feud beginning with Nattie and Paige centering around Paige’s disrespect of current Diva’s Champion, Charlotte. If there is going to be a true Diva’s Revolution, Natalya featured as a championship contender has to be a part of that story.
2. Bad News Barrett
Speaking of slamming the brakes on a push, Wade Barrett has been the recipient of this just about as much as Cesaro. The first ever winner of NXT (when it was a contest) was pushed big time with the arrival of The Nexus.
After The Nexus, Barrett led The Corre, which was a terrible stable. After toiling in two stables, the Barrett Barrage arrived. It was at this point where it seemed like Barrett would start to head towards the top of the card again, but then he was injured in a Battle Royal in 2012.
In late 2013, Barrett would return with a persona he had on the JBL & Cole Show known as Bad News Barrett. He would spew his rhetoric from an insanely high podium to the jeers of the crowd; however, the gimmick was so clever that the crowd started to enjoy it.
After dropping the Bad News gimmick, Barrett won the 2015 King Of The Ring. We’re still unsure which direction they’re going to go with Barrett, but now is the time to bring back the Bad News gimmick the crowd desperately wants. This is the avenue that can make Barrett a top of the card talent once more.
1. Dolph Ziggler
Nick Nemeth has come a long way from being a member of the Spirit Squad. It’s hard to imagine that the Dolph Ziggler persona has been in the WWE since 2008. It’s hard to argue that Ziggler is one of the greatest workers and sellers in the WWE.
Ziggler has held many titles since 2008, including two World Heavyweight Championships, a United States Championship, and four Intercontinental Championships. The title that has been missing from the mantle is the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Even though he’s held the old World Heavyweight Championship twice, the first reign was less than a day, while the second reign was just over two months. It seems like Creative would rather have him in love storylines (Ex: AJ, Lana, Summer Rae) than push him up to the top of the card again.
There is too much talent, and a huge backing by the WWE Universe to not give Ziggler a long run with the top title. He recently re-signed with the company and has been injury free for a while. Hopefully that is enough insurance for the WWE to have faith in him to be the top guy for a while.