Every wrestler on each of the three brands pushes towards a WWE Championship throughout their career, even though it is well-known that WWE Championship wins are pre-determined. There are a number of WWE stars who have come through the ranks in the wrestling business over the past few years and haven’t been able to lift a single Championship in the time they have been on WWE TV.
There are a number of underrated stars on the main roster at the moment who deserved to win Championships in 2017 but were unable to lift a title of any kind. This also works for the NXT roster, since there have been a number of notable names slowly building momentum but unable to capitalize on this by lifting gold and making history. 2018 could be a fantastic year for many stars in both developmental and on the main roster, since it is thought that it could be the year that many finally lift titles. The United Kingdom Division is set to have their own show starting next year, which means that the WWE Universe could see a number of first-time Champions over on that roster as well.
The following list looks at just 15 WWE stars who are currently contracted to the company who could win their first ever Championship in 2018. Many of these superstars perhaps deserved to win the title in 2017, but with more time comes more experience, and it could have been a good decision by WWE’s creative team to have waited.
15. Jack Gallagher
Jack Gallagher has been one of the most underrated Cruiserweight superstars over the past few years, despite the fact that he had a fantastic feud with Neville over the Cruiserweight Championship but he was never able to dethrone him as the King of The Cruiserweights.
Gallagher has since turned heel and isn’t a main part of the division that overlaps on Monday Night Raw, but he is also a British star, which means that he could be made part of the United Kingdom Division once it is made a network series in the new year. Gallagher was a stand out star on the main roster at the beginning of the year but he has never had something to prove that he is worthy of the level he was pushed to, so a Championship win in either the UK Division or the Cruiserweight Division could be in his future in 2018.
14. Hideo Itami
Hideo Itami came over to WWE in one of the company’s biggest signings a few years ago but it seems that injuries have plagued his career over the past few years and could be one of the main reasons why Itami hasn’t won a Championship yet. It’s quite obvious that Itami would have been NXT Champion a few years ago if he wasn’t put out on the sidelines for more than a year with a shoulder injury.
Itami has recently made the move over to 205 Live and it seems that this could be the move that the former NJPW star could have been waiting for. Itami will definitely be one of the biggest stars on the division going forward and could definitely be the one to step up to Enzo Amore in the coming months. Hopefully, Itami manages to push past his injury woes in the near future to become the face of the brand.
13. Tye Dillinger
Tye Dillinger proved that he was one of the stars for the future throughout his time in NXT but it seems that he has been unable to capitalize on this since he was promoted to the main roster. Dillinger made a huge impact when he debuted at The Royal Rumble back in January, but he hasn’t been part of anything earth-shattering ever since.
The closest Dillinger has come to a Championship was when he was part of the triple threat match between himself, AJ Styles, and Baron Corbin back at Hell in a Cell, where Corbin walked out with the United States Championship, which was his first Championship in WWE. Dillinger’s first full year on the main roster will be 2018 and it seems highly likely that Dillinger will become a Champion in that year if the creative team decide to push him in the right direction on the SmackDown brand.
12. Kassius Ohno
Kassius Ohno became a huge name on the Independent Circuit as Chris Hero and was once the name that CM Punk wanted to add to The Shield before it was Roman Reigns who was given the nod by Triple H and Vince McMahon.
Ohno has since had two stints in NXT and even though he is seemingly only being used as a jobber or an enhancement talent over the past few months, he has proved that he definitely still could be a legitimate contender for the NXT Championship in 2018. Ohno’s recent match with Johnny Gargano proved that Ohno could easily step up to the main event level after Gargano is given his shot at the Championship in the new year. Ohno has been the focus of a lot of negative attention in recent months so a Championship win would definitely balance the scales for one of NXT’s most popular stars.
11. Kairi Sane
Kairi Sane won the Mae Young Classic back in the Summer and has since become a popular star on the NXT brand. Because of her win, she was added to the NXT Women’s Championship match back at War Games but sadly fell short as Ember Moon was the one who was able to win the Championship and become the first Champion since Asuka decided to relinquish her title earlier this year.
Sane has only been part of a handful of matches on WWE TV and isn’t in a position where she could win a Championship right now since she is considered so new. A few months down the line Sane could be a contender to become the Women’s Champion if Ember was looking to move up to the main roster to join many of the other women who have made the switch over the past few weeks. Kairi could be the woman to take over the reins because she would be considered to be the one controlling the division at that point.
10. Big Cass
Big Cass is a star who’s come from NXT and been mildly successful on the main roster alongside his former teammate Enzo Amore. Cass was a popular star in NXT and he managed to carry that through, but it seems that since he turned on his long-time friend a few months ago, he has found it hard to connect with the WWE Universe.
Enzo and Cass could easily have been Tag Team Champions in NXT but they were promoted too soon. Enzo has since become Cruiserweight Champion but Cass’ untimely injury has meant that he has been able to go down the same route. Instead, Cass got a lot of heat as a heel superstar and was unable to completely convince many fans that he was a legitimate main event star as a singles competitor. That being said, Cass could have spent his time away from the ring wisely and could return to the company as a different star who could be a contender for one of the mid-card Championships.
9. Nikki Cross
Nikki Cross has one of the best characters of any female wrestler on any WWE brand right now. She is able to stay in character both inside and outside of the ring and given the fact that she is a former Independent star as well, it means that she has the experience to back up her current position.
Nikki was part of the fatal four-way match at NXT Takeover: War Games, which saw her come up short but she could be put in the position once again but this time the result could be different. Nikki is part of Sanity as well, which means that it is likely that her group could help her to become Champion as well. It’s a bit of a shock that the group hasn’t used the numbers game to help Nikki over the past few months, but it seems that NXT could have been waiting for Nikki to get some momentum behind her first.
Fandango started his career in NXT a number of years ago before he was brought up to the main roster with a new dancing gimmick that actually took over the WWE Universe for a number of months. This led to a debut WrestleMania win over Chris Jericho, but it seems that like all good things, Fandango’s reign came to an end and he is now struggling to remain relevant on SmackDown Live.
Fandango has been joined by Tyler Breeze over the past few months and the two have been part of some of the funniest segments in wrestling throughout 2017 and the company even decided to give them a slight push earlier this year, but it sadly didn’t lead to a first Championship to the former dancing star. Fandango has been around the company now for almost five years and still hasn’t won a Championship. Hopefully, 2018 is the year for him moving forward.
Elias started out his career as The Drifter in NXT and it didn’t seem as though his character was going to take off. His debut on Monday Night Raw had the same kind of feel but it seems that he has managed to turn this completely around over the past few months where he could be considered to be a contender for a mid-card title in the coming months.
Elias has already lost his last name since he was promoted but he has become so popular now that he is being forced to tell the WWE Universe more than once not to sing along at the beginning of his usual song. There is no doubting the fact that Elias has improved in the ring over the past few months so it isn’t much of a stretch to think that the former NXT star could become a Champion in the new year.
6. Tyler Breeze
Tyler Breeze was one of the longest-tenured stars on NXT’s roster a few years ago and it was it was said to have been because WWE’s creative team couldn’t think of any reason to bring him up to the main roster and didn’t want his debut to be one that didn’t make an impact.
Breeze was brought up as part of a feud with Dolph Ziggler but it seems that as soon as this storyline came to an end, WWE had no idea what to do with him. Breeze is talented and he has proved that over the past few months while he has been stuck with Fandango trying to make the best out of his bad position. WWE usually awards stars that have been able to find a way to make their character or position on the card work, so hopefully Breeze and Fandango could be set to win Tag Team gold in the new year.
5. Cedric Alexander
Cedric Alexander is the only one of the main core of 205 Live competitors who hasn’t been able to win the Cruiserweight Championship over the past 18 months. Rich Swann, Enzo Amore, Brian Kendrick and TJ Perkins are all former Champions. Cedric is just as talented as these men; he just hasn’t been given a chance to prove it.
Alexander is usually the one who steals the show in his matches on Monday Night Raw and it seems that all he’s missing is a bit of characterization. Cedric is an easy fix and could easily be a man who the 205 Live Division can depend on next year if they needed a new face. Even WWE should be feeling sorry for Alexander at this point since they are aware of the effort that he puts in on a regular basis and as yet he has nothing to show for it.
4. Nia Jax
Nia Jax is one of only a few women over the past few years who have been promoted to the main roster without winning the NXT Women’s Championship. Nia came up to the Raw brand as part of the WWE draft in the summer of 2016 and even though she has continued to state that she’s the most dominant female wrestler in WWE, she doesn’t have the gold to prove it.
Nia has come close on a number of occasions, but it seems with the likes of Absolution and Asuka currently busy fighting a battle between them, Nia could be the one to step up to Alexa Bliss and finally reign as Champion if only for a few short months. Jax has proved a lot of doubters wrong over the past few years so WWE has to have a plan in place moving forward that will see her finally lift a WWE title.
Carmella was only ever seen as a manager for Enzo and Cass when she was down in NXT but after the two were promoted to the main roster without her, she was finally able to show that she also had some skills in the ring. She was then promoted to the SmackDown brand as part of the WWE draft back in 2016 without ever lifting gold in NXT.
Carmella has since become the first ever Miss Money in the Bank and since the case has to be cashed in before the Money in the Bank pay-per-view next year, Carmella obviously will either lift a Championship or completely fail to make history in the first ever female cash-in. It’s likely that Carmella will be successful after the year that she’s had with James Ellsworth, which means her first Championship could be on the horizon as long as she maintains the level that she’s currently on.
2. Aleister Black
Aleister Black has definitely turned a few heads ever since he made his NXT debut earlier this year and completely stole the show at NXT Takeover: War Games a few weeks ago, which is why many of the WWE Universe now think that he could be set to become one of the biggest stars on the NXT roster in the near future, especially off the back of that fantastic feud with Velveteen Dream.
Black could easily step up to challenge the NXT Champion in the next few months or he can continue to make a statement on the mid-card until he feels like he’s ready for that kind of responsibility. Black is perhaps the most chilled wrestler that WWE has right now, but he is also one that has the potential to be a huge star. WWE knows that they need to get his next storyline right, and a title push never hurt anyone.
1. Braun Strowman
Braun Strowman was once used as a Rosebud for Adam Rose when he was seen as one of the biggest stars on the NXT brand, but it seems that times have definitely changed since then. Now Braun has been able to break away from the Wyatt Family gimmick and prove that he has what it takes to be a main eventer in the future.
Strowman had a fantastic feud with Roman Reigns earlier in the year and has been the main focal point of Raw in 2017, so it’s hard to see Braun not finally given a chance to challenge for one of the titles on the Raw brand. The Universal Champion would be the ideal title for someone who calls himself The Monster Among Men, but if the creative team decides that they want to give him a mid-card title first then the WWE Universe would definitely approve of this decision.
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