One can argue that the WWE is on the cusp of the biggest wrestling revolution since the Attitude Era with the rise of NXT and numerous signings of some of the greatest independent wrestlers all over the globe. Dozens of wrestlers are honing their craft in the Performance Center for a chance to get on a NXT house show, then NXT television, then a Takeover special, and finally that coveted promotion to the main roster.
This article takes a look at current WWE Superstars in both NXT and WWE that are 30 and under, but are under the gun in terms of making it in the future. With such a stacked roster and even more of the greatest independent talents coming in, these 10 performers need to start clicking or risk being let go.
The bright side of these wrestlers being 30 and under is the fact that there is still time for them to find their way and avoid being future endeavored. Though there is also a downside. Some of these wrestlers who are 30 and under have been in the WWE for some time now, so their clock could be ticking.
This article does not insinuate that these wrestlers are not talented, as they all are great assets within the company, but there comes a point where the company has to assess their roster.
10. Mojo Rawley – Age 29
Mojo Rawley has been with the WWE since August of 2012 as a high energy guy that is always hyped. He is real-life friends with Rob Gronkowski so it makes a lot of sense that this character is probably a magnified reflection of himself. In the early part of his career, the character was annoying and very one dimensional, but when he came back from an injury and was paired with Zack Ryder to form the Hype Bros., his character was more refined and tolerable.
It seems like Rawley is married to this type of character for now, and one has to wonder if the Hype Bros. have any staying power. They have a good dynamic for NXT, but it doesn’t seem like this type of team could translate on the big stage. That is a big problem for Rawley at this current state unless he can transform himself further.
9. Aiden English – Age 28
Much like Mojo Rawley in the previous entry, Aiden English is in the same boat. English has been with the company since early 2012, and is currently in a very entertaining tag team in the Vaudevillians. Just like the Hype Bros., the jury is out on if this tag team can thrive on the main roster, or if they would be treated like a joke under the watch of Vince.
English really didn’t find his footing in NXT until he joined Simon Gotch to form the Vaudevillians, but even then, it took over a year for this team to win the NXT Tag Team Championship, and they lost it less than three months later. This is another tag team that may thrive better in NXT than the main roster, but if they’re promoted and end up like The Ascension, English could be in trouble.
8. Cody Rhodes / Stardust – Age 30
As himself, Cody Rhodes has had a great deal success in the WWE at a young age. When he was with Damien Sandow as part of the Rhodes Scholars, both men were pegged as future world title contenders down the road. Unfortunately when the WWE broke up the team, the feud was less than spectacular, and both wrestlers ended up buried in the midcard.
Cody reinvented himself as Stardust in the middle of 2014. It was a take on his brother’s Goldust character, and Cody has played the part very well. The problem is that today, Stardust has grown very stale and been booked poorly to the point where the crowd doesn’t care for him. A change back to Cody will help, and he has had a lengthy career in the WWE, but changes are definitely needed.
7. Bull Dempsey – Age 28
For Bull Dempsey, every time it seems like he’s going to get a push in NXT, it disappears. He signed with the WWE in June of 2013 and is a great wrestler with an old school Kevin Sullivan-type look.
He had a decent feud with Baron Corbin that lasted a decent amount of time, but the payoff was a no disqualification match that had nothing in it that would have disqualified either guy, and shortly after, Bull was back to just being used here and there.
He would start having vignettes airing on NXT for a new Bull Fit gimmick that really seemed to have taken off with the NXT Universe, but the end of 2015 saw Bull becoming a jobber again with no feud. He’s definitely an asset to NXT, but his future could be in doubt if creative can’t come up with anything for him.
6. Alicia Fox – Age 29
It’s hard to believe that Alicia Fox is under 30 and has been in the WWE system since 2006, but it is true. She’s currently the third wheel in Team Bella, but has had more time in the ring with the injury to Nikki Bella lately. Even though she’s been with the company for almost 10 years now, she has only had one Diva’s Championship reign.
While the Diva’s revolution is in full swing, there is a possibility that Alicia Fox gets a push out of principle for being with the company for so long, but one has to wonder what her future is going to be down the road with so much talent in NXT that is poised to be on the main roster eventually. It could just come down to the fact that there is no more room in the Diva’s division for Foxy.
5. Hornswoggle – Age 29
Another guy that has been in the WWE for nearly 10 years is the short in stature comedy relief guy in Hornswoggle. He started off as a guy that never talked, just grunted, and was at the side of Finlay. Since then he has been involved with many different wrestlers and factions.
Lately he has become the JTG of the WWE with barely any appearances in 2015. In September it was announced that he was suspended for 30 days for violating the wellness policy. One can only imagine that when it is time to do the next round of future endeavored superstars, Hornswoggle has to be on that list just for the sole fact that he’s never used anymore.
4. Lana – Age 30
A year ago, it would be completely shocking to have put the extremely beautiful Lana on a list like this, but now you have to wonder. Before Rusev was derailed by John Cena, he was unstoppable, and fuel to his fire was the brash and evil Lana. Since then we’ve had ridiculous love triangle story lines, and Rusev has lost that badass persona that he had when he debuted.
The biggest worry for Lana’s future is the fact that she has not been on television much lately since Rusev returned from a minor injury. Some speculate that she could still be in the doghouse for causing the WWE to call an audible on the love triangle feud when she told TMZ that she and Rusev were engaged in real life.
3. Bo Dallas – Age 25
When it comes to the differences between NXT and the WWE, Bo Dallas stands out as having night and day success between the two brands. Dallas held the record for the longest NXT Championship reign at 280 days before Neville (who succeeded him as champion) had a 287-day reign. When it comes to Dallas’ time in the WWE, it has basically been a joke at best.
The bright side for Dallas is the fact that he’s only 25, and maybe he can bank on the fact that Vince steps down, which will relieve creative . Triple H clearly believed (or Bo-lieved) in him at NXT, and could get a push under his reign. The problem is Vince doesn’t look like he’s slowing down any time soon.
2. Cameron – Age 28
There are so many things that have gone against Cameron when it comes to her time in the WWE. She was on Tough Enough and left Steve Austin speechless with an answer of her favorite match of all-time. Then there is the picture associated with this entry when she was yelling at the referee to count Naomi out for the pin, but the problem was that Naomi was on her stomach.
Some give Cameron the benefit of the doubt that she was rushed to the main roster as a Funkadactyl with not having the benefit of proper training time in the Performance Center. She’s been barely used lately, and if she is not showing much improvement in the ring, she could be on the chopping block considering she’s been with the WWE since 2011.
1. Zack Ryder – Age 30
If there was a Slammy award for Most Frustrating WWE Superstar To Root For, Zack Ryder would have won or have been nominated for the past five years. He rose to fame with his YouTube show and massive following on social media. It even led to a high profile feud that involved John Cena and Kane and also a reign with the United States Championship.
After that fire was put out in 2012, Ryder has been trying to find a footing in the WWE, and has not been involved in anything meaningful for a very long time even though he’s still over with the WWE Universe. His saving grace could be his current tag team with Mojo Rawley in the Hype Bros, but if it fails to succeed after their run in NXT, Ryder will be back to what he’s been doing for the past few years.
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