WWE has long been criticized for not pushing talents that would otherwise seem to be primed for the main event. When a talent gets over with the crowd organically, it seems to be the kiss of death for their World Championship aspirations. In this article, we examine several talents who the fans have anointed as being worthy of World Championship opportunity and we seek your input about other stars that you feel would be perfect additions to the list.
To start things off, you needn’t look any further than the “Monster Among Men” Braun Strowman. Virtually no one has garnered more organic attention than Braauuuunnnn. He is a physical presence and appears to be in a league of his own. He has toppled every challenger, with the exception of Brock Lesnar, and has been one of the few bright spots in WWE’s programming over the last year.
Unfortunately, he has been limited by both WWE’s inability to move him ahead of Roman Reigns and their fear that he should be reserved as a special attraction. With the incredible build and pop that he receives at every show, it would seem like the Universal Championship reign would be a foregone conclusion. Unfortunately, die hard fans of “These Hands” will have to wait and hope that eventually a plan is put in place that sees Braun with the title around his waist.
When you move past Braun, there are so many talents that are deserving and there are some who have been given an opportunity but due to a bad set of circumstances her and there just never received the full push they deserve. There is no bigger case for this than Dolph Ziggler. If you check the record books, technically he is a two time world champion but we all know that the first reign was a joke and the second cut short due to concussion concerns.
Ziggler can have an amazing match with just about anyone. He can throw down with the best of them but still garner fan affection when he sells better than most other talents. Despite having a clean bill of health for years and being placed into a high profile situation against the authority in the not too distant past, Dolph has never been given a true opportunity to be “the man”. This is one the fans have been clamoring for and that WWE needs to deliver on before his character becomes a glorified jobber.
Feed Me More
How do you take a guy who goes on a Goldberg type undefeated streak and never give him the push? Make no mistake about it, after debuting as Ryback, fans were all in on the Feed Me More Movement. Nobody cared that his matches made the Ultimate Warrior look like a 60 minute man. People liked what they saw and were excited to see how far he could go. His push came to a screeching halt due to a few poorly planned creative decisions. Having him lose to CM Punk certainly didn’t help. Being beaten down by the Shield was probably not the best way to get the fans to stick with him. A clean loss to Mark Henry at WrestleMania was a huge mistake. In the end, forming Rybaxel was the nail in the coffin.
Ryback had the support of the entire wrestling world. He lost it and has become a punch line through no fault of his own. Instead, his amazing effort to continue to get better in the ring and his devotion to honoring his contract and not become an attitude problem in the locker room caused his star power to dissipate quickly. What a miss!
Who Who Who Who Who
There are always those talents that get so close and yet are so very far away. That has been the case for two men who have been paired together for an extended period of time. Both Kofi Kingston and Big E are deserving of so much more. I am not trying to devalue Xavier Woods’ contributions in any way but Kofi was on the cusp of being a major player after being U.S. and Intercontinental Champion along with his fantastic feud with Randy Orton.
Big E was introduced as the muscle for the aforementioned Dolph Ziggler and was one of John Cena’s boys in the locker room. At some point it just never materialized. Rumors are running rampant that this year’s Money in the Bank may be the time for Big E to take the Big Step. If history shows us anything though, there is a good chance that WWE changes course right before the show and gives the push to someone else. In any event, both of these New Day members would be great representatives of the company.
Another star who seems to consistently deliver high quality matches and who is a bonafide star in every respect is Finn Balor. For a guy who came to the main roster with a Demon character that was both unique and exciting who then won the Universal Championship only to have to relinquish it a night later and never get a legitimate opportunity since, Finn Balor seems to be trying to hang in and plead his case every so often on Twitter. Now with his somewhat alternative lifestyle character change, it seems all the more difficult to see WWE giving him one of the biggest prizes in the sport. When he hasn’t been given a secondary championship run and Vince McMahon has seemed to shift his vision for Balor to that of an upper midcard talent, WWE may not be willing or able to build Balor back to Universal Championship quality any time soon.
The Machine Gun
Karl Anderson has been stuck in tag team purgatory for so long that it may come as a surprise that he is on this list. When you watch him in the ring, he is poetry in motion. He delivers in virtually every aspect of the business. He is a great talker. His ability to sell is on par with many of the top stars in the company. His technical work has improved so much that he needs a bigger platform to showcase his ability. As a huge fan of the Club, I am not
Nexus on the List
When you debut on Raw in a new faction and literally destroy the place and instantly take over the main event, you would think it would be a matter of time before you would be given an opportunity to be world champion. Considering Wade Barrett was placed into a program with John Cena culminating in a match where John Cena was his lacky and guest referee in his world championship opportunity against Randy Orton at Survivor Series, it seemed like a Barret run at the top would be natural. Instead, Barrett lost the match, got buried behind CM Punk in Nexus, got transitioned to the Corr which was a colossal flop, ended up with a long term injury, returned as a guy delivering Bad News, joined a band of misfit foreign powers, only to lose interest and request his release. What an insane turn of events for a talent that should have been a megastar for the next decade.
Whole Frickin Show - Nope
You work as an enhancement talent for WCW, make your way through the indies, battle through the Bingo Hall, debut during the WWE’s Invasion angle, get pushed to the stars as an upper midcard talent, help VInce McMahon to create one of the most incredible Pay Per Views of all time, and finally get your world title shot only to smoke too much reefer, get stopped by a cop, have your brand new title run cut short, and become a veteran who gives new talents a rub when you make a return. That is the abbreviated story of Rob Van Dam. He is one of the most innovative stars ever but once WWE felt they got burned (pun intended) there was just never another shot for R-V-D.
Fans love a throwback talent who looks and plays the part so well. I am not talking about the cheap knock off Vaudevillian tag team that was corny. I am referring to a man who has been tough and rugged from day one and who, prior to coming to WWE, had already established a resume that should have catapulted him into the stratosphere from the get go. Instead, Claudio Castagnoli a/k/a Cesaro has been a midcard singles star, a talented tag team wrestler, and a bonafide missed opportunity in WWE for years. Fans would consider giving up their first born to give Cesaro the World or Universal Title. He has such a natural crowd following but he is approaching a critical point in his career where he may get typecast as a tag team guy “4 Life” if he doesn’t get a break soon. The Bar is a great team and debatably the best in WWE right now but the team is also holding back one of the most talented pure wrestling talents in all of WWE.
A List Talent - B List Storylines
This list would not be complete without one of the biggest travesties in the wrestling world. When the Universal Champion is missing 360 days of the year and the remaining roster stars find new and inventive ways to get hurt, the show must go on and you have to have someone in a position of strength who can carry the brand and put the responsibility of drawing houses and having quality matches to lean on. Despite anything negative that uber critics of wrestling booking may say, no one has meant more to the Raw brand than The Miz over the last year and now he is rumored to possibly get a Money in the Bank win with a shot to reclaim the WWE Championship in his future. Whether WWE will follow through with these plans or if they go in another direction entirely, the Miz has been overlooked for so long that an extended title reign is the only way to try to make ammense for their terrible booking of the character and their lack of acknowledging one of their top stars.
For a veritable pantheon of reasons, WWE has chosen to push other stars instead of these and many other well deserving wrestlers. They have tried and failed to make Roman Reigns the face of the company. They have blundered the arrival of Samoa Joe and allowed him to be a setup man for those they want to establish as the main event stars (Roman, Seth, etc). There are so many missed opportunities in WWE that it becomes frustrating at times when someone you know has all the tools and talent doesn’t get their run and instead we have other stars crammed down our throats. In the end, all we can do is pray that the decision makers in WWE start to see what we have been seeing for years. There are so many more main eventers than WWE realizes and they are missing out big time!