Jan. 31, 2017
Top WWE wrestlers in need of a break in 2017
The list excludes the participants who aren’t signed with the company. So if you’re looking for Diamond Dallas Page, Tatanka, Shaquille O’Neal, and even Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett, and Damien Sandow for that matter, then you’re going to be disappointed.
Also, the list leaves out NXT people... because who seriously gives a flying fuck on Billie Kay? And finally, the list takes out part timers. So whether it’s The Rock drubbing Erick Rowan in quick fashion and even Brock Lesnar’s shock loss to Goldberg, they are not going to be on the list. Former champions like The Big Show, Kane, and Mark Henry are also excluded because it’s not like they have forgettable careers.
So who made the list?
Certainly not Chris Jericho!
But seriously... who did?
Honorable Mention: Neville
The man gravity forgot is also apparently the man WWE forgets to use for their pay per views. Okay, let’s abuse the disclaimer that Neville was out for an extended period of time recuperating a fractured ankle. But he has been active since July and WWE just let the months go by without the high flyer in action. Luckily, someone thought of Neville when the cruiserweight division was bombing on Raw. Aside from going the division, he is tasked to act as a monster heel. Wouldn’t it be better if he became the focus of the division right from the get go though?
Number 11: Jack Swagger
Oh man. Where to begin? Jack Swagger is seen as a has-been after winning the World Heavyweight Title nearly seven years ago. But unlike the aforementioned Show, Henry, and Kane, Swagger is only 34 years old. In some ways, the title win is more of a curse than a blessing. He got pushed too early and couldn’t hang with the responsibility of carrying the company. A few months ago, Swagger would quit Raw to join Smackdown but only to get the same treatment. Unless a major facelift gets underway, I don’t see people returning to the Swagger bandwagon.
Number 10: Golden Truth
Remember those comedy segments where Goldust and R-Truth swap pleasantries (or not) en route to forming their tag team? Well, the last time we saw these guys doing anything relevant, they were hunting for Pokemons and disrupting matches. With an average of nearly 46 years old, it’s safe to say they need to step back and watch the kids do their thing. But with that build up and with how Raw is booked, you’d think the company would squeeze whatever is left from these two.
Number 9: Sin Cara
Regardless of whether it’s Mistico... or Hunico... WWE needs to retire this character. As part of The Lucha Dragons, it felt as if he’s the anchor that held Kalisto’s momentum. As far as his Lucha heritage, the cruiserweight division already have Lince Dorado and Gran Metallik as well as Kalisto to act as masked superstars. Finally in case he gets an unmasking, I don’t know how he’ll get pushed. In some ways, you’d think the current Neville character would fit him because the masked luchadors are taking his spot. Even his WM32 match insertion shocked people.
Number 8: Titus O’Neil
If your gimmick is making yourself a globally-competitive brand, then Titus isn’t worth your time. Sure, one would look at that incident where he playfully grabbed Vince McMahon... but it’s not like he is doing anything to make things better. As a wrestler, his matches are forgettable and I thought he’s better off as part of The Primetime Players. His mic skills are far from tolerable either. I don’t care if he publicly kisses his kids on the lips for as long as he stays away from the upper midcard scene.
Number 7: The Shining Stars
Initially seen as Carlito Caribbean Cool in Stereo, the fans haven’t been as receiving to Primo and Epico as they were in a lot of their previous incarnations. Maybe they think this team has run its course? Or perhaps they are going to explode once their apple-eating leader returns to WWE programming. The Puerto Ricans were featured in Survivor Series as part of the Raw delegation but has yet to get rid of their jobber tag.
Number 6: The Ascension
Someone needs to help this tag team get pronto. A memory trip down to NXT could solve Viktor and Konnor’s woes. Sure, WWE Developmental is stacked with teams, but they owe it to this team to heal their wounds after giving them the career threatening Legion of Doom-like gimmick. The team has yet to benefit from the brand split and with the exception of pre-show gigs in no feud matches, The Ascension is anything but the running gag of the tag team division. Perhaps giving them light on their hands could do the trick?
Number 5: Breezango
Otherwise known as the company’s Fashion Police, the supermodel Tyler Breeze and the dancer Fandango are tolerable wrestlers deserving of screen time. However, they are pushed out of the spotlight – which doubly sucks because their gimmick requires them to be on the top of things. They fought just 47 seconds in their Survivor Series match and barely made an impact during the Wrestlemania 32 Battle Royal. Breeze is a tad better – as he became AJ Styles’ first Royal Rumble victim.
Number 4: Curtis Axel
I enjoyed Curtis Axel’s run as part of The Social Outcasts. Wrestling in baggy shorts, he was perfect as the guy Adam Rose constantly badgers especially whenever he says his catchphrase “the chains are off”. He also acted as the muscle of the group and he is the only Outcast to participate in the 2016 edition of the Royal Rumble. But after the departure of Rose, the breaking up of the stable, and then his feud with former stable mate Bo Dallas, Axel is anything but utilized on the PPVs... much less in the actual Raw program.
Number 3: Bo Dallas
Bray Wyatt’s baby bro had a bad gimmick. Inspirational... kind of messed up Nova’s WWE career as well as a lot of megalomaniac-themed characters. When you give Bo Dallas a baby face-gimmick heel persona, I would have given him the Justin Bieber feel. I mean... what man would love Bieber? Everything about his pre-Outcast gimmick is poor especially with his all-white attire. That’s why I liked how he joined The Social Outcasts. Gone are the trunks, he got a bit of character development, and even if he’s a comedic character, at least he’s given a considerable amount of time to rant. When they split, Dallas revved up his attitude by being crueler. But it felt wrong especially with Dallas posing with the Bo-lieve sign. Nowadays, Dallas drifts from roles with questionable success paths.
Number 2: Darren Young
The former Nexus member openly discussed his sexuality a few years ago and thankfully the company didn’t give him the Rico route. With that said, I wish he could give his character an extreme makeover. Prior to the brand split, Young had a memorable catchphrase as well as a legend in Bob Backlund at his side. Now I don’t know how cash-strapped Backlund is at the moment but why is the legend joining anger management class to supplement his ward that hasn’t had memorable TV time after winning a battle royal, feuding with The Miz, and reviving his feud with Titus O’Neil?
Number 1: Apollo Crews
I guess it’s good that Apollo Crews’ tights are veering away from the color green because as of this moment, it pretty much explains his main roster push. Unlike Rawley, Crews doesn’t really have character apart from his smiling diamond-in-the-rough gimmick. Saddled with that identity isn’t good. Bobby Lashley had the same gimmick but his win-loss record got protected. Right now he’s virtually a cross between Maven and a pre-Evolution version of Randy Orton. He also needs a new finisher... and perhaps a chance to change his name. Uhaa Nation is cool name!!!
Honorable mentions include The Vaudevillians (barely escaping because they at least had PPV-worthy feuds with The New Day as well as with Enzo and Cass) and Erick Rowan (barely escaping because he was part of four PPV events as well as that high profile feud with The New Day).
For most of the guys on the list, they need to seriously tinker or worse... evaluate if they are still capable to draw or at least help with what the company wants to get from their employees. Because here’s the thing – in case Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode, and Shinsuke Nakamura move up to the main brand, I doubt if these guys will receive wins against “the newbies”.