The Premium The Premium The Premium

Ranking The WWE’s 2016 Roster

Wrestling
Ranking The WWE’s 2016 Roster

via wwe.com

If you were to look at WWE’s roster, you’d find a collection of very diverse individuals. Technicians, brawlers, submission specialists, Canadians, Europeans, wrestlers who can cut promos, wrestlers who cannot, The Undertaker, and so much more. It’s an interesting roster filled with many impressive wrestlers.

But who exactly is the best of the best?

Despite WWE’s attempt at presenting him as such, Roman Reigns isn’t ‘The Guy.’ While he might be featured prominently on the shows and holds the WWEWHC, he’s still lacking in many attributes that define a true WWE Superstar. Maybe it’s Seth Rollins. He never really lost the WWE title, as he was forced to vacate it under adverse circumstances. The company was also doing well with him as their top guy, as he was delivering on every front as the champion. Or maybe it’s The Authority, especially Stephanie McMahon. She’s given more screen time than arguably anyone else, always gets her two cents in on every issue, and always has the last laugh. She’s never put into a situation where she’s made to look bad, and all the other WWE superstars are afraid of her or are made to look as such in confrontations with her.

Or maybe it’s someone else…

This article will look at WWE’s biggest stars and rank them based on different criteria. These include their skills as wrestlers, promo abilities, looks, and match history. Their positioning on the card and support from WWE management (or lack thereof) will also play a part. Finally, I’ll be including some negatives about them (real or imagined…you can decide which is which) in the hopes of creating a balanced impression of each wrestler. And with that, let’s get to it, starting with the bottom of the barrel.

44. The Shining Stars (Primo & Epico)

image via: youtube.com

via youtube.com

Sometimes WWE’s logic is hard to understand. They spent months hyping the return of Primo & Epico after they had floundered as wrestling bullfighters (sorry if that brings up any uncomfortable memories), only to have them wrestle a single match and then disappear from live WWE programming.

It’s incredibly hard for someone to reach for the brass rings when their arms are tied to their sides. These two guys are supposed to be heels that we’re meant to boo, but they haven’t given us a real reason to dislike them. If anything, they come off as proud of their heritage, and yet we’re supposed to dislike Puerto Rico for being a nice place.

There would’ve actually been a chance for them to get over if they were actually given more time to actually wrestle. Instead, the Shining Stars are anything but, and do more to represent the bipolar nature of WWE’s creative team than anyone else on the roster.

Rating: *1/2

43. Naomi

image via: nerdchairshot.wordpress.com

via wordpress.com

Last year around this time, Naomi had a brief moment where it looked like she was destined for a greater role in WWE. She turned heel, become more of a vicious fighter, and changed her entrance music (but didn’t bother changing her joke of a finisher). Then, instead of giving her an opportunity to develop as a character, she was thrown together as part of team BAD, which was nothing more than a platform to expose Sasha Banks to the main WWE audience.

As a result, Banks and the other NXT women have completely overshadowed Naomi and others. The former Funkadactyl has since achieved very little, and has spent more time wrestling insignificant matches on Superstars.

It’s a shame really; she had something going for her for one brief moment, and as soon as more women were added to the mix, WWE’s creative team seemingly forgot how to book several people at the same time, leading Naomi to be stuck in purgatory alongside so many other women in WWE.

Rating: *3/4 

42. Dana Brooke

image via: youtube.com

via youtube.com

If there’s one person whose call-up from NXT continues to puzzle fans, it’s Dana’s. With such a loaded roster of skilled and versatile wrestlers both male and female, she’s one who could’ve used more time in NXT to hone her craft and improve on her mic skills. This is especially true since RAW is a more entertainment and drama-oriented show where promos are weighted more heavily, and Brooke hasn’t really shown much promise in that department.

Her being cast as Charlotte’s protégé has promise, but right now she’s more like the annoying sidekick to Charlotte’s supervillain, especially since Charlotte towers over Brooke, making it impossible for Dana to look as intimidating as the women’s champion. Though it’s still early to say how her WWE career will go from here, WWE fans are fickle and will often judge someone based on first impressions.

So far, Dana’s RAW career has left a lot to be desired, so she has to do a lot of impressive stuff in a short amount of time to really make her mark.

Rating: **

41. Tyler Breeze & Fandango (a.k.a. Breezango)

image via: youtube.com

via youtube.com

WWE’s writing team might be at its laziest point ever. After all, how else can you explain a team name that’s basically a portmanteau of two wrestlers’ names?

Unoriginal name aside, both of these guys once dreamed of possibilities of being successful midcarders in WWE. Sadly those dreams all went down the toilet when they felt the apathy of Vinnie Mac. Vince gave up on Breeze shortly after his RAW debut, turning him into a jobber without even a fraction of the character development he had in NXT.

Fandango, meanwhile, had a brief moment of glory in 2013 as fans jokingly hummed his theme while dancing. WWE never got behind him on that, and killed off his sudden outburst of popularity by giving him a new look and entrance theme, forever tarnishing him in the fans’ eyes.

Today, both of these guys are on the rocket ship to midcard purgatory, with seemingly no chance of getting off anywhere earlier. WWE’s creative team is in dire need of reform, especially if they’re incapable of taking two wrestlers with established fanbases and making something fruitful out of them.

Rating: **

40. Sin Cara (Hunico Version)

image via: youtube.com

via youtube.com

To some people, the name Sin Cara represents one of Triple H’s most lasting failures as head of Talent Relations. To others, his name is synonymous with botching. To others still, he’s WWE’s desperate attempt to fill the void left by Rey Mysterio. Whatever he might mean to you, Sin Cara is a gimmick that needs the right person to portray it properly, and it looks like Hunico’s that guy.

He plays the character well, as he fits WWE’s style far better than his predecessor. He manages to balance strength and agility better than the original, even if he’s slower and bulkier. Those don’t take away from the fact that, when necessary, Cara can do well in the ring.

That said, the gimmick might very well be cursed, as even the Hunico version of the character botches on high-profile occasions. Maybe he just needs a better mask with wider eye slits. But at least this version doesn’t wrestle under weird light or require matches to be recorded twice.

Rating: **1/4

39. Darren Young

image via: youtube.com

via youtube.com

WWE are trying to mock Donald Trump by ‘making Darren Young great again’, in an obvious spoof of the presidential hopeful’s campaign slogan. But unlike Trump, who has some clearly-identified (albeit impractical) plans, Young’s current gimmick appears to be ‘argue-with-crazy-old-man-Bob-Backlund-all-day-long’ in the hopes that someone laughs at this attempt at humor.

One can only hope that this gimmick has some big payoff. When Darren was wrestling regularly, he showed that he had solid wrestling abilities and could work well. Given how much TV time his gimmick is given, one can only hope that these vignettes of his lead to some matches with long-term implications, and aren’t simply Vince McMahon taking shots at Donald Trump’s campaign.

Rating: **1/4

38. The Social Outcasts (Heath Slater, Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel)

image via: youtube.com

via youtube.com

Every wrestling promotion needs the token career jobbers, and Heath Slater and company fit that bill perfectly. Though Slater himself has long been WWE’s go-to guy for humiliating jobs and one-sided squash matches, the addition of Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas has extended Slater’s career in WWE, as people can only see him lose in singles matches for so long.

As ‘the Social Outcasts’ this trio’s job is threefold: to lose in spectacular fashion, to cut some of the most bizarre and otherwise stupid promos, and to enjoy every minute of those two things. They seem to succeed in two of those three things, as their continued losing doesn’t seem to do anyone any favours. After all, what kind of victory is it when you beat someone who always loses? That’s like saying you’re a skilled skier because you went down the bunny hill.

Nonetheless, Slater & Co. have found an important role to play & will thus find continued work…at least until next year’s spring cleaning.

Rating: **1/4

37. Zack Ryder

image via: youtube.com

via youtube.com

In the span of 48 hours, Zack Ryder was Intercontinental Champion for one day, had one brief moment of glory, lost the title to the Miz the night afterwards, and spiraled back into the land of insignificance from whence he came. That isn’t just a sad moment, but it’s also an accurate metaphor for his entire WWE career.

After splitting from the heel ‘Familia’ stable, Ryder did a whole lot of nothing before catching lightning in a bottle with his internet show. But WWE apparently doesn’t like it when wrestlers get over without management having a part of that success, so after Ryder was given a ‘push’, he was demoted so forcibly that even the blindest or most naïve wrestling fan could see the spite written on the wall.

Sadly, Ryder’s recent IC title win meant nothing, as he was portrayed as a fluke winner at an otherwise poorly-received event. No one knows how long Ryder will still be in WWE, as his stock has already plummeted so far…

Rating: **1/2

36. Titus O’Neil

image via: wrestlingnews.co

via wrestlingnews.com

Looking at how both of them have fared after the split, it’s hard to determine whether it was Darren or Titus that suffered more. Both men have experienced prolonged periods of absence from WWE programming, but unlike Darren, Titus actually wrestles and gets prominent screen time.

Maybe it’s his physique that resonates with WWE’s management (read: Vince), or maybe it’s that he’s a visible charity person with a heart of gold (remember that time he invited homeless people to have lunch with him?). Either way, Titus is a good person for WWE to have around, because he makes for good publicity.

As a wrestler, there’s nothing really bad about Titus. Though you shouldn’t expect him to put on a technical clinic like others on this list, he can put on a solid midcard match when called upon to do so, and still manages to be a convincing underdog against some opponents. Given his impressive physique, that’s a pretty good skill to have, to be able to get the audience behind you even if you’re bigger than your opponent.

Rating: **1/2

35. Goldust & R-Truth (The Golden Truth)

image via: youtube.com

via youtube.com

Is there anyone out there not named Vincent Kennedy McMahon that actually enjoys the kitschy comedy skits these two wrestlers are involved in? Anyone? (crickets).

The general consensus on these two is that they’re on TV doing what they’re doing right now for the sole purpose of entertaining Vince McMahon. These two are supposed to be the representation of Vince McMahon’s sense of humor, which explains why they’re rarely, if ever, funny. Goldust lost his identity as a character after the Attitude Era ended & he couldn’t do anything truly boundary-pushing, and R-Truth is a poor man’s Booker T who seems to think he’s a skilled musician.

While they can’t be expected to put on clinics in technical wrestling or set the world on fire with their promos, one has to give both of them credit for, a) being in good shape for two men well into their forties, and b) being dedicated and loyal enough to take a crap gimmick and try to make it work.

In that sense, they’re both like Kane…minus the history of being badasses, of course.

Rating: **1/2

34. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey)

image via: youtube.com

via youtube.com

Apparently being even remotely related to Roman Reigns is enough for the audience to turn on you, as seen with the Usos.

Before their familial ties were played up, the Usos were a relatively well-liked team that put on good matches and did a lot of entertaining things (their dreadful Maori Hak’a-inspired entrance & Michael Cole screaming ‘Uso Crazy’ on a weekly basis notwithstanding). But ever since they started hanging out with their ‘cousin’ they’ve been booed more than they’ve been cheered, which has caused WWE to pull the plug on that connection altogether.

That aside, the Usos are in dire need of some quick change. They’re very repetitive in their match structure and don’t have much of a gimmick outside of ‘being Samoans’. In terms of popularity and significance to the roster, they’ve fallen significantly. After all, if you’re on the WrestleMania pre-show and not on the main show, that speaks volume of how the company sees your star power.

Rating: **3/4

33. The Vaudevillains (Aiden English & Simon Gotch)

image via: dailyddt.com

via dailyddt.com

It’s kind of hard to speculate what the Vaudevillains are supposed to be. Are they wrestling hipsters doing the ‘throwback’ gimmick ironically, or are they genuinely longing for the 1890s? Either way, they’re having a hard time connecting with the audience.

While they demonstrated solid tag team capabilities in NXT, that was a much smaller venue that was, more often than not, filled with hardcore fans that suspend their disbelief more easily. But Monday Night RAW is where casual viewers come in, and unless the Vaudevillains can add some truly eye-catching elements to their gimmick to keep those more jaded fans interested, they’ll fade away into irrelevance.

Rating: **3/4

32. The Dudleys (Bubba Ray & D-Von)

image via: wrestlingnews.co

via wrestlingnews.com

When the Dudleys returned to WWE last October, they were met with pure adulation from the crowd. After all, they’re known around the world as one of, if not the most decorated and successful tag teams ever. They were fun and entertaining for about two months…before they fell victim to the same booking that befalls everyone not named John Cena or Roman Reigns.

The Dudleys have since flip-flopped on their creative direction and are now as generic a team as it gets. There’s no longer any progress in their story-lines and the matches they take part in don’t have any consequences. As a result, they’re stuck in purgatory without a direction, which is a fate that has befallen so many wrestlers before them.

Rating: ***

31. Baron Corbin

image via: sportzmode.com

via sportzmode.com

Corbin is further proof that Vince’s attitude towards pushing bigger athletes hasn’t changed in decades. No matter how skilled a younger guy might be, Vince will always look at the heavyweights and the monstrous wrestlers first. Hence, Corbin’s unexpected promotion to the main roster.

Corbin isn’t inherently bad, per se; but fan surprise at his promotion was justified. He wasn’t the technical masterpiece that’s become expected of NXT wrestlers, and felt more like a character-based entertainer as opposed to a grappler. But what Corbin lacks in technical acumen he makes up for in appearance and presence, which are two things that could help him out a lot on the main roster.

If only he were given a more fruitful feud to invest in…

Rating: ***

30. Natalya

image via: lastwordonsports.com

via lastwordonsports.com

Is there anyone else in WWE’s women’s division that has gotten shafted more often than Natalya? She debuted in the late 2000s, when the ‘Divas’ era of image over skills was in full swing, so her technical skills weren’t as important as her looks. Now that WWE’s supposedly taking the women’s division in a new direction that’s meant to be more wrestling-oriented, Natalya keeps coming up short in the victory department, despite being one of the most important technicians on the roster.

One would think that loyalty and a willingness to work whatever story-line would lead to some kind of payoff. Instead, she has been relegated to secondary feuds up until her recent feud with Charlotte. Hell, she wasn’t even part of the poorly-named Divas Revolution, despite being the most technically-skilled woman on the roster before three of the Four Horsewomen showed up.

But I suppose that’s backstage politics for you: no matter how good you may be, there will always be something holding you back. In Natalya’s case, it might simply be her name.

Rating: ***

29. Paige

image via; wrestlezone.com

via wrestlezone.com

Poor Paige. She was once considered the biggest things in WWE’s Divas Division with her unique look and more wrestling-oriented style. Sadly, she became a victim of WWE’s booking style, and within less than a year, she went from the top of the division to a forgotten face. The likes of Sasha Banks, Charlotte and Becky Lynch have all but replaced her as most prominent women on the roster, while Paige herself has become something of an afterthought.

This is despite the fact that she’s a former Divas Champion and is a proven workhorse in the women’s division. She should have a more prominent role on the shows, but is instead relegated to non-wrestling roles. That’s like asking Gordon Ramsay to be a motivational speaker: you’re putting the wrong person in the wrong like of work while ignoring their natural abilities.

Rating: ***1/4

28. Apollo Crews

image via: youtube.com

via youtube.com

Apollo Crews is like Tazz: he looks menacing from a distance, but once you see him shoulder to shoulder with others, you can’t help but laugh at how tiny he really is. That’s a serious flaw in Vince’s WWE, because size matters a lot to him, which will make him think that Crews won’t be a believable threat in the ring.

Crews needs a more compelling story-line right now for the WWE Universe to actually care about him. Right now, the only thing he has going for him is ‘King of the Strong Smile’, which fans aren’t interested in. He needs more depth, more screen time, and most importantly, the opportunity to show what kinds of crazy power/agility combo moves he can do.

Rating: ***1/4

27. Neville

image via: youtube.com

via youtube.com

Last year around this time, Neville was still a rookie on RAW that spent most of his days defeating random wrestlers with his always-stunning Red Arrow finisher. Unfortunately, WWE didn’t give him any kind of character development other than giving him a cape and making him into a pseudo-comic booker character.

But comic books are about more than just visuals; they require compelling stories to complement their images, which is more than what can be said about Neville’s career. Though he has the potential to be an enormous star with the right booking and freedom, WWE has forgotten that he exists, leading to an uncertain future for him at this time.

Rating: ***1/2

26. Rusev (WWE United States Champion) & Lana

image via: wrestlinginc.com

via wrestlinginc.com

Rusev has all the potential in the world to be a monster heel again. He was white hot in 2014, and was crippled in 2015 after being demolished by John Cena and then shoehorned into a dreadful romance story-line. Once that started, his stock began to plummet, and none of his previous intimidation or athleticism could save him.

But presumably in a moment of desperation, Lana announced that she and Rusev were engaged, forcing WWE to end that terrible story-line (and in the process ruining many fans’ unrealistic dreams of marrying her themselves). Though Rusev’s 2015 was by all accounts abysmal in terms of momentum, he looks to be on the right track now with another US title reign and multiple wins under his belt.

He may yet still get back the heat that made him a truly hated monster…only time will tell.

Rating: ***1/2

25. Dolph Ziggler

image via: whatwrestling.com

via whatwrestling.com

There was a time when Dolph Ziggler was the internet darling of WWE; a beloved wrestler who could sell any offense and who truly deserved a main event spot. Those days are a long gone now. Ziggler’s dream spot has been taken by a newer crew of recent NXT call-ups and more technically-sound wrestlers. Zayn, Cesaro, Owens, Rollins; all of them are better than Ziggler in almost every respect, and thus get more screen time.

Worse, he gets ‘boring’ and ‘Ziggler sucks’ chants from the audience. That speaks volumes to how much he has fallen out of fans’ graces. While many still enjoy watching him take bumps like a champion and making his opponent look like a million dollars, his injury history, outspoken nature and creative troubles have forever doomed him to a future in the mid-card. Even if he continues to put on great matches, he may never reach the top of the mountain, especially with guys like Rollins, Cesaro, Owens and Zayn above him now.

Rating: ***1/2

24. Kalisto

image via: bleacherreport.com

via bleacherreport.com

Kalisto has all the potential in the world to become WWE’s next cruiserweight megastar. He has an awesome look compounded by a high-flying move-set and wide demographic appeal. Even if he’s supposed to be a 2010s version of kid-friendly Rey Mysterio, all kinds of fans can enjoy watching his matches.

Unfortunately, WWE aren’t giving Kalisto free rein to do more in the ring. He fits WWE’s bill of a wrestler who always does the exact same actions in the ring, but leaves a lot to be desired in big matches. It was obvious when he was first promoted to the main roster that WWE wanted him to become the new Rey, but it’s obvious that they’re not giving him more opportunities to show off the same kinds of Lucha Libre awesomeness that made Rey famous in the first place.

That’s really all that Kalisto needs: the freedom to show what a luchador can do without restrictions. Should that happen, mask sales would skyrocket almost instantly.

Rating: ***1/2

23. Becky Lynch

image via: youtube.com

via youtube.com

Last year around this time, Becky Lynch was introduced to the main roster alongside Sasha Banks and Charlotte. But while Banks made a name for herself as one of, if not the best women’s wrestler in the company, and while Charlotte became the top heel in the division, Lynch has floundered in the mid-card, somewhat forgotten by the WWE brass.

For some inexplicable reason, Becky isn’t given as much time on the main roster as others, nor is she given a regular storyline to keep fans interested in her. This is a shame, as she’s a very skilled wrestler who can put on impressive matches if given the opportunity.

Rating: ***1/2

22. Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows

image via: dailyddt.com

via dailyddt.com

For the better part of the past three years, the Bullet Club has been the most talked about faction in the wrestling world. Karl Anderson was one of the founding members of the group, and served as leader after Devitt. Gallows, meanwhile, became Anderson’s primary partner after Giant Bernard left NJPW, and the two of them became one of the biggest and most influential teams in recent NJPW history.

They have since taken that reputation and popularity with them to WWE, where they have run roughshod since their debut only a few months ago. They have everything as a team: chemistry, charisma, a killer finisher, and an internationally-recognized reputation as great tag team wrestlers.

Though their upward momentum might be slowing down at the moment (ostensibly due to high profile losses and being defeated by Roman Reigns singlehandedly), it’s obvious that they will reach the top of WWE’s tag team division sooner rather than later.

Rating: ***1/2

21. Sheamus

image via: youtube.com

via youtube.com

It might be hard to believe (especially given his terrible booking over the past two years or so), but Sheamus is a former 4-time World Champion in WWE.

Maybe that’s due to the incredibly boring run he’s had since returning after WrestleMania 31. WWE got rid of his unintentionally-funny ‘too many limes’ theme song and replaced it with a generic-sounding Celtic theme. He also changed his look in such a drastic way that nobody found him intimidating (he was supposed to be scary), and instead found himself hounded unendingly by ‘you look stupid’ chants.

Or maybe it was the fact that he simply hasn’t done anything interesting since returning. He had a painfully boring feud with Randy Orton last summer, and was booked like a complete fool as Mr. MITB, as WWE Champion during Roman Reigns’ push and as part of the League of Nations.

There is still a chance for Sheamus to be booked properly again, but to do that, WWE would have to reevaluate how they book characters long term completely. Because they can’t seem to keep fans interested in Sheamus for long…unless they play his old theme again just for kicks.

Rating: ***3/4

20. Chris Jericho

image via: youtube.com

via youtube.com

As of this writing, Jericho has been wrestling for 24 years. In that period he has wrestled all over the world and has acquired a list of championships and accomplishments that most wrestlers can’t even comprehend. He is truly one of the last remaining greats from a bygone era of pro wrestling.

In recent years, Jericho has become something of a part-time legend. He has the reputation of a multi-time former World Champion, and the athleticism of someone much younger. He has also managed to age quite well, which allows him to wrestle in high-risk matches. This is why he’s so versatile and in high-demand in WWE: you can put him in any situation and he’ll thrive in it.

Just don’t ask him to come up with new catchphrases…he seems to enjoy his older material.

Rating: ***3/4

19. Stephanie McMahon

image via: thesportster.com

via thesportster.com

When you’re given as much screen time and creative power as Stephanie McMahon, it’s easy for fans to consider you more important than many wrestlers. That becomes especially true when most of your screen time is spent berating even the most physically-imposing wrestler and emasculating everyone who talks back to you.

That is the creative brick wall that Stephanie represents. While she’s a masterful heel that people can easily join the hate bandwagon for, her booking is nonsensical because it never leads to the proper conclusion. No one, not even the other women of WWE, ever get physical with her, and none of the men even get the last word with her. That makes her seem like the biggest star on the roster, which is a critical problem when she doesn’t even wrestle…on the wrestling show.

Rating: ***3/4

18. Shane McMahon

image via: f4wonline.com

via f4wonline.com

Seeing Shane come back after 6 years was a joyous thing…at first. We thought he’d actually bring some legitimate change, but sadly has become yet another replaceable authority figure who doesn’t really do anything other than announce matches already booked by the real decision-makers.

Unfortunately, while it might be nice to hear Shane talk about bringing real change to WWE, he’s not actually doing any of that. He’s just a babyface version of Stephanie McMahon who only throws veiled internet references without really addressing them in the boardroom.

That said, he does get extra points for not only wrestling despite inexperience (something his sister rarely does), but he also does the craziest things possible because, well, because he’s Shane McMahon. And we cannot take that away from him, ever.

Rating: ***3/4

17. Alberto Del Rio

image via: digital spy.com

via digitalspy.com

Alberto del Rio is a former mixed martial artist. He once had a devastating and believable finisher in the Cross Armbreaker, a move that’s feared worldwide (especially in Japan). So why does this former World Champion use an overly-complicated and unrealistic finisher in the foot stomp instead of a time-tested submission finisher? Seriously, if someone had a legitimate answer to that question, I’d like to hear it.

Watching Del Rio’s opponents hold themselves up so that he can hit them is stupidity in action. All they have to do is let go of the ropes and his finisher is blocked. It’s common sense, but WWE insists on having him put together this ridiculous sequence, which only amplifies the ‘wrestling is stupid’ mentality from outside observers.

All WWE would have to do is have Alberto use his submission finisher again, and they’ve have a far more reputable wrestler on their roster than the directionless character who appears on our screen right now.

Rating: ***3/4

16. The Miz (WWE Intercontinental Champion) & Maryse

image via: youtube.com

via youtube.com

The Miz is WWE’s perfect arrogant heel. He walks and talks with this arrogant aura about him that makes people dislike him very easily. Maybe this heel persona of his stems from how he was treated by others when he was a rookie. No matter what he did to improve, he was hated by his peers and bullied mercilessly. It seems that after all this time, Miz has just accepted that he will never be liked by many of his fellow wrestlers and has resolved to be as annoying as possible all the time.

Of course, being that kind of obnoxious jerk does have some benefits. He’s featured regularly on WWE programming, even if he doesn’t lose, and is the perfect ‘bully’ character that everyone wants to see get punished. He can also be relied on to put on entertaining matches, as seen by his involvement in a classic IC title Fatal-4-Way two months ago. Lastly, he’s married to Maryse. That must certainly make up for all the misery he went through during his rookie years.

Rating: ***3/4

15. Randy Orton

image via: huffingtonpost.com

via huffingtonpost.com

In theory, Randy Orton should always be a big deal in WWE. He has won the world championship multiple times, has main-evented WrestleMania multiple times, and has become a staple of hysterical internet videos with his ‘RKO outta nowhere’ videos. So why is he met with apathy from the WWE Universe?

Maybe it’s due to the company not booking him properly during his most recent run. He was put up against Sheamus in one of the most boring feuds of 2015, and then got injured while taking out the trash (an occurrence that some have suggested is a metaphor for WWE itself). The result is growing apathy for the once-popular wrestler. While WWE did all they could to promote Cena’s eventual return, they have done nothing to keep fans even remotely interested in Orton.

This might be a bad sign, especially since Orton is getting older and the creative team has a hard time booking former world champions properly. Just ask Sheamus, Del Rio & Jack Swagger.

Rating: ****

14. Charlotte

image via: wwe.com

via wwe.com

Charlotte is the kind of heel women’s wrestler that WWE has been in dire need of for a long time. She’s arrogant, entitled, and condescending…qualities that she backs up with her in-ring capabilities. There’s a very good reason WWE are pushing her as the top woman in the division- she has found herself in the perfect role.

That said, Charlotte isn’t perfect, even if she sees herself in such a light. I for one will never understand why Charlotte must do knife-edge chops like her father, even when she doesn’t execute them anywhere nearly as well as Ric. Worse, she doesn’t stack up in terms of pure technical ability when compared to either Banks or Bayley, both of whom are more than capable of putting on classic matches by themselves.

Nevertheless, Charlotte is a major improvement from where the division stood last year, and is thankfully nowhere to be seen on Total Divas.

Rating: ****

13. Enzo Amore & Big Cass

image via: youtube.com

via youtube.com

It took some time, but like many people, I’ve come to enjoy watching Enzo & Big Cass perform. The best thing about them is that they actually complement each other nicely. Enzo is like a loudmouthed Energizer Bunny on crack with a sharp tongue and sharper wit. Cass is naturally huge and unlike many big men, he can cut a good promo. Together, they make a solid tag team that’s capable of entertaining audiences both big and small.

That said, they have yet to show the main WWE audience what they can do. Enzo was sidelined with a surprise concussion a few months ago and has done more talking than wrestling. Cass, meanwhile, was given an opportunity to show what he can do as a singles wrestler, and if rumors are to be believed, some of the powers-that-be like him more as a singles guy.

If that’s true, then Enzo better hope that he can back up his words with solid action. Otherwise he’ll end up as another directionless midcarder…and you can’t fix that.

Rating: ****

12. Roman Reigns

image via: en.wikipedia.org

via wikipedia.org

You know a guy might not be cut out for the top spot on the roster when he breaks character and lashes out at the fans when the cameras are off. It’s even worse when the WWE production machine tries in vain to make him look like a god to no avail, and worse still when even the WWE commentators give up attempting to ignore the venomous reactions towards Roman Reigns.

Although he has improved as a wrestler and isn’t cutting overly-childish promos anymore, Reigns now finds himself as the Lex Luger of today’s WWE. Fans don’t want him in the top spot, but Vince is pushing him anyway. No matter what he does (even participating in charity events), fans boo him out of the arena on regular occasion. That’s a bad sign of things to come, especially if he ends up a long-term babyface champion without turning heel like he really should.

Until WWE stops presenting him as ‘the next John Cena’, his status in WWE won’t improve.

Rating: ****1/4

11. The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Eric Rowan, Luke Harper & Braun Strowman)

image via: youtube.com

via youtube.com

The fate that has befallen the Wyatt Family is one of history’s biggest tragedies…well, ok, maybe wrestling history’s biggest tragedies.

A prime example of ‘one member falls, the whole team is forgotten’, Wyatt got injured around WrestleMania and his entire family has been absent since. There’s nary a mention of any of them, not even the once-promising pet project of Vince’s that was Braun Strowman.

This is a shame because the Wyatts are awesome, both individually and collectively. They stand out with their unique looks and mesmerizing gimmick, they make excellent heels or antiheroes, and they’re genuinely captivating. Bray Wyatt in particular is a masterful promo and exudes an aura of magnetism, while Luke Harper is one of the best workers in the company right now, especially since he’s one of the few big men that can dive through the ropes like Daniel Bryan.

I for one hope these guys return to WWE programming soon. They’re the perfect fit for the ‘New Era’ (sorry), and deserve a main event spot wherever they end up.

Rating: ****1/4

10. Brock Lesnar

image via: foxsports.com

via: foxsports.com

Brock Lesnar is the cross-cultural badass that both John Cena and Roman Reigns wish they could be. Thanks to his amateur background, monstrous physique, and international recognition, Lesnar can go anywhere and be a tremendous draw. His matches have made him a critical figure in WWE’s biggest shows, especially WrestleMania.

Unfortunately, by making him into a special attraction in a similar vein as the Undertaker, WWE have dug themselves into a creative hole. Everyone wants to see Lesnar destroy someone with his unrestrained brutality, but with WWE’s roster of legends nearing empty, and Lesnar’s rivalry with the Undertaker now officially done, Lesnar’s only hope is to be fed WWE’s current roster. That creates a problem, because no one gets over in fighting Lesnar. He rarely loses, if ever, and even when he does, he looks better than his opponent because, well, because he’s Lesnar.

As a result, while Lesnar’s a huge draw, he’s not being used properly. Someone could become an enormous star by defeating him, but WWE would prefer to send people to Suplex City instead. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…unless you’re Dean Ambrose at WrestleMania 32, in which case you get demolished without looking strong in your own right.

Rating: ****1/4

9. The New Day (Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston & Big E) – WWE Tag Team Champions

image via: wwe.com

via wwe.com

Who would’ve thought that, in the span of one year, this trio would’ve gone from a highly-criticized pseudo-Black-gospel gimmick to the single-most entertaining trio in all of WWE?

The New Day’s success is a shining example of the benefits of giving wrestlers the freedom to craft their own promos and develop their characters in a more natural way. They make up their own ideas and push what makes sense at any given moment. The result has been one of the most memorable trios in recent WWE history, one that has earned every victory and positive recognition in WWE and beyond.

While many people bemoan for WWE for never really changing, the one thing that really shouldn’t change whatsoever is The New Day. They’re too much of a gold mine right now.

Rating: ****1/2

8. John Cena

image via: youtube.com

via youtube.com

The Champ. The man that runs the place. Big Match John. Call him whatever you want, but Cena is WWE’s go-to guy for big matches and bigger draws. For over a decade he’s been the company’s most important asset, and his most recent match at MITB 2016 proves that not even serious injuries can weaken his resolve to be the best WWE superstar he can be.

At this point in his career, Cena’s on the verge of becoming an elder statesman for the company. He’s almost 40, and while his physique and work ethic are to be commended, he’s quickly approaching a stage in his career where the spotlight isn’t shining on him directly. With WWE investing in the future and Cena representing its recent past, seeing Cena in the world title picture anytime soon might not be so likely. Which is better in the long-run, as Cena needs to help others more and win titles less.

Rating: ****1/2

7. Dean Ambrose (WWE World Heavyweight Champion)

image via: dailyddt.com

via dailyddt.com

WWE are inconsistent with how they’re presenting Ambrose. On one hand, he’s supposed to be this unpredictable ‘Lunatic Fringe’ who has this crazy look in his eye à la Mick Foley. On the other hand, he has a lot of predictable moves in his arsenal and rarely does anything unexpected like Rollins or Cesaro would.

That said, Ambrose is ridiculously popular and elicits an enormous reaction from the audience, mainly due to a natural charisma that allows him to connect with the audience very easily. He’s also still quite young and in the prime of his career, so one can still expect great things from him in the foreseeable future.

Rating: ****1/2

6. Sasha Banks

image via: youtube.com

via youtube.com

Sasha Banks is the best thing going in the WWE Women’s Division. Is she physically attractive? Yes. Can she wrestle and put on fantastic matches? Undoubtedly. Is she a good role model for young women? Certainly. Does she have a great gimmick, charisma and a strong presence on the microphone? Absolutely. There is literally nothing wrong with Banks as a performer, which makes it only more bizarre that she has been oddly absent from WWE programming in recent months.

If rumors are to be believed, she’s being kept off TV intentionally to set up a monster feud between her and Charlotte, if that’s true, then that rivalry is a license to print money. If given the right opportunity and proper booking, Banks can become a female John Cena in terms of importance and popularity…only without the polarizing fan response that accompanies the latter.

Rating: ****3/4

5. A.J. Styles

image via: youtube.com

via youtube.com

What’s there to say about Styles that hasn’t been already said? The man’s ‘phenomenal’ nickname is the most appropriate one imaginable, as it captures his abilities perfectly. He’s the one of only three men to get a 5-star match in TNA, has been praised for his skills for over a decade, and has main-evented wrestling events around the world. His short stint in NJPW proved that he could main-event a major promotion filled with other big fish just as easily as he could carry a lesser promotion on his shoulders.

As one of WWE’s biggest acquisitions in recent history, Styles has the potential to put on numerous ‘dream matches’ with WWE’s growing roster of world-traveled stars. As long as WWE treats him like the true star that he is, and doesn’t make him lose every major show he appears on, the sky’s the limit for the Phenomenal One.

Rating: ****3/4

4. Kevin Owens

image via: wwe.com

via wwe.com

What is there to dislike about Kevin Owens? In many ways he’s the most unconventional person in WWE right now. He clearly lacks Vince’s ‘chiseled muscleman physique’, yet he’s one of the most athletic people on the roster. He’s obviously a brawler, yet he can perform power, submission and aerial maneuvers as well. But most importantly, he’s a masterful speaker, and can come up with the most hilarious anecdotes in his promos…and English isn’t even his first language.

Expect to see Owens thrive in WWE going forward. Rumor has it that Vince has become one of Owens’ biggest fans recently, which is why Owens has a lot of screen (and commentary) time. Will he become WWEWHC anytime soon? It’s possible, as the guy clearly has all that it takes to be a despicable bully. He very well might be one of the company’s biggest assets right now, especially since WWE’s lacking confident, self-absorbed heels not named Stephanie McMahon.

Rating: *****

3. Sami Zayn

image via: youtube.com

via youtube.com

Sami Zayn is perfect at everything. What he lacks in stature he makes up for in charisma, technique, relatability and likeability. He has a certain gravitas about him that makes people naturally want to be around him and cheer for him, making him the ideal babyface wrestler. He has been incredibly successful in his career over the years, and has proven that he belongs in a WWE ring.

He’s so good, in fact, that he has the potential to become the next Daniel Bryan in terms of proper underdog booking. After all, if he can have a 5-star classic with Nakamura in their first WWE encounter without any build-up, what do you think he can do when he’s given free rein to wrestle against his opponents on a bigger stage?

Only time will tell where Zayn will end up, but for now, things are looking up for the great Canadian wrestler.

Rating: *****

2. Cesaro

image via: wwe.com

via wwe.com

Watch any WWE program and you’ll notice that Cesaro receives arguably the loudest ovation from the audience. It isn’t hard to see why: he’s astonishingly athletic, capable of combining strength and agility in a way that few wrestlers in the world are capable of replicating. That, coupled with his continued underutilization by WWE, has led to one of the most consistently-popular wrestlers in all of WWE.

He’s so good, in fact, that many WWE legends have praised him, including both Steve Austin and Ric Flair. Both of them see the superstar in Cesaro, and the fans have shown their support for the guy on multiple occasions. It’s reached a point where, should Cesaro actually win the WWEWHC, the entire Universe might implode from the sheer awesomeness such a moment could create.

Because Cesaro is just that good, and he deserves to be recognized as such.

Rating: *****

1. Seth Rollins

image via: youtube.com

via youtube.com

Although he has only returned very recently, Seth Rollins is arguably the best wrestler on the WWE roster. Possessing an incredible versatility and tremendous experience, Rollins is capable of filling any position within the company and can work any alignment. Ever since his main roster call-up in 2012, Rollins has been a welcome fixture of WWE programming, and has delivered on many occasions. While he might not be WWE’s poster boy right now, one shouldn’t be surprised if Rollins captures the WWEWHC sooner rather than later.

His skills and assets make him more than qualified to carry the belt around his waist…and the company on his shoulders.

Rating: *****

  • Ad Free Browsing
  • Over 10,000 Videos!
  • All in 1 Access
  • Join For Free!
GO PREMIUM WITH THERICHEST
Go Premium!

Videos