The influx of talent on the WWE roster today is astronomical and as a result of the immense talent WWE currently has inked, many wrestlers get lost in the shuffle. As a result, there will be those that are placed in meaningless or lackluster storylines that do little or nothing to further propel their character to greater heights. Along with those wrestlers that are placed in mediocre storylines there are those that are inexplicably placed in high profile storylines. Moreover, there are those that are shoved down the fans throats despite the constant uproar from the same fans clearly vocalizing that they are not behind the wrestler in the high profile storyline.
The 2016 Draft Lottery has helped separate talent and give more wrestlers more opportunities. The introduction of the WWE Universal Title and Smackdown Tag Team Titles has helped establish the number one guy on both shows as well as the premier tag team on both shows. Here, we look at eight wrestlers who deserve better in 2017 and seven wrestlers who deserve nothing.
15. DESERVE BETTER: Sami Zayn
Many wrestling fans will tell you that the best match they saw in the 2016 calendar year was between Sami Zayn and Shinsuke Nakamura at NXT Takeover: Dallas. Many fans would also place Zayn’s match versus Kevin Owens at Payback at the top of their list. Yet, fans are currently witnessing Zayn try to escape the wrath of Braun Strowman week in and week out. Zayn isn’t being booked as an underdog; he is being booked as a weakling who doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell at defeating the towering big man, Strowman. Zayn is a crowd favorite who is one of the company’s best workers. Instead of this pointless feud with Strowman that is doing nothing to heighten the career of Zayn, he should be placed in a meaningful feud for a mid card belt.
14. DESERVE NOTHING: Sheamus
Unlike his tag team partner Cesaro, Sheamus isn’t beloved by the WWE Universe. Instead, Sheamus is met with much less of a beloved reaction and his 2016 is best remembered for fans shouting “you look stupid” at him. Sheamus is a talented in ring worker, but he has received a number of opportunities at the top of WWE’s card as he has been a three-time WWE Champion and 1x World Heavyweight Champion. He’s also had multiple opportunities as an upper mid carder as evidenced by his two United States Championships. Fans aren’t invested in Sheamus despite him being shoved down their throats for five plus years. Perhaps his pairing with Cesaro will make him a beloved babyface like the Swiss Superman but the early indication is that this is a farfetched observation.
13. DESERVE BETTER: Bo Dallas
Asides from Neville and Finn Balor, Bo Dallas was the longest reigning NXT Champion in the company’s history with a reign of 280 days. In NXT, Bo’s character thrived as his snarky persona made him so hatable. However, when Dallas was placed on the main roster his momentum stumbled very shortly. After racking up eighteen straight wins, Bo inexplicably lost to R-Truth of all people on Monday Night Raw. Since then, Bo has been a part of the jobber stable the Social Outcasts and has taken to a more aggressive approach with his “Bolieve in Bo” character that comes out with a picket sign with the words “Bolieve in Bo”. To conclude 2016, Bo joined forces with Darren Young to take on the Shining Stars (which may signal a face turn) before he along with the other competitors were decimated by Braun Strowman. If Bo and Young are for the long term, Bo may be well on his way to deserving better in 2017.
12. DESERVE NOTHING: Big Show
The Big Show has made it no secret that 2017 will be his last as he plans to hang up his ring boots. Big Show hasn’t indicated when in 2017 exactly he will retire, but there’s a good shot that he will want to call it a career on the grandest stage of them all at WrestleMania 33. If this indeed is Big Show’s plan, his grand finale won’t be against a wrestler; it will be against a former dominant NBA big man that you may have heard of by the name of Shaquille O’Neal. If Big Show plans on his grand finale being against O’Neal this will be extremely disappointing. Show should use his stature to “do the job” against a up and coming talent that could greatly benefit from a victory in his last match as opposed to an outsider like O’Neal.
11. DESERVE BETTER: Naomi
The women’s division has been on fire since Sasha Banks, Charlotte and Becky Lynch debuted on Monday Night Raw in July of 2015. Since then, the final member of the Four Horsewomen, Bayley has also debuted. Alexa Bliss has made quite the splash as well as she’s the current Smackdown Women’s Champion. While the forenamed names are WWE’s most showcased female talent, there is other female talent on the roster that is overlooked. One of those is former Funkadactyl, Naomi. Naomi has been with the company since 2012 and is one of the most athletic female performers the company has on its roster. Yet, she’s almost never, if ever, been considered a threat to rule the division. Naomi deserves a shot to show what she can do with a run with the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
10. DESERVE NOTHING: Paige
When Paige was signed by WWE she made an immediate impact. The twenty-four year old Norwich, Norfolk, England native began in NXT and to this day holds the longest reign as NXT Women’s Champion with 308 days. She also debuted on WWE’s main roster in April 2014 on the night after of WrestleMania and dethroned AJ Lee for the WWE Divas Championship. While Paige’s WWE career initially started off as promising, her 2016 has been full of turmoil. On August 17th, Paige was suspended for a wellness policy violation for thirty days. On October 10th, Paige was suspended for sixty days for her second wellness policy violation. She’s also engaged to former WWE Champion Alberto Del Rio who isn’t on the best of terms with WWE. Paige clearly isn’t focused on the WWE and the WWE shouldn’t invest themselves in her either.
9. DESERVE BETTER: Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt is arguably the company’s best heel; despite this, he has never won a singles championship in WWE in the three plus years he has been on the main roster. The culmination of Wyatt’s feuds against high profile superstars has seen him come up short more often than not. The likes of John Cena, Roman Reigns and the Undertaker are the most notable main event talents that Wyatt has fallen to. Wyatt’s best asset is his conviction on the mic as he delivers some of the best promos in the company. Wyatt is currently on Smackdown and could easily be thrust in to the WWE World Championship picture. AJ Styles may technically be a heel, but with the reaction he receives you’d never know it. Wyatt could and should be the number one heel on the blue brand.
8. DESERVE NOTHING: James Ellsworth
The James Ellsworth experiment has clearly run its course. When Ellsworth started regularly appearing on Smackdown in September of 2016 he was viewed at as an endearing jobber that was one of the most awkward looking wrestlers to ever appear in the WWE. Yet, it was Ellsworth’s look that helped him gain his footing in the WWE. When aligned with Dean Ambrose, Ellsworth became a thorn in AJ Styles side which served as all of Ellsworth’s appeal. However, once turning on Ambrose at TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs in order to help Styles retain the WWE World Championship, Ellsworth has been hard to stomach. He now sees himself in a baffling storyline with Carmella which most would bet does nothing to further propel either “The Princess of Staten Island” or Smackdown’s Survivor Series mascot.
7. DESERVE BETTER: Curtis Axel
When Curtis Axel debuted on the main roster (as the Axel character, not the Michael McGillicutty character) he immediately looked like he was destined for greatness. Axel’s debut had him defeat Triple H of all people. Even more stunningly was the fact that Axel won by knockout. Less than a month later, Axel had become Intercontinental Champion. He would hold the title for 155 days before dropping it to Big E. It’s been all downhill for Axel ever since. Axel’s been a member of the jobber faction the Social Outcasts and was placed in a comedic role ripping off Hulkamania and dubbing it Axelmania. Axel’s a solid in ring wrestler who can thrive in a mid card role for the company as he did when he first debuted with the Axel character.
6. DESERVE NOTHING: Eva Marie
Eva Marie hasn’t appeared on WWE programming since August of 2016 and unless you strictly tune in for her beauty, this is a trend you would like to continue forever and ever. When Eva Marie was drafted by the Smackdown brand in July of 2016, she’d resort to a number of tactics, such as a wardrobe malfunction and being stuck in traffic in order to get out of competing in a matchup. Eva Marie was suspended in August of 2016 as a result of a wellness policy violation. With the rush of female talent on Smackdown such as Alexa Bliss, Becky Lynch Carmella and veteran talent such as Naomi, Natalya and Nikki Bella there is simply no room for one as lackluster as Eva Marie on the roster.
5. DESERVE BETTER: Neville
The thirty year old Neville may be well on his way to receiving better as his heel turn in December of 2016 at Roadblock: End of the Run has added more moxie to his character. Neville is no longer focused on being a crowd pleaser; rather more, Neville is determined to be the WWE Cruiserweight Champion. At 5’8” and 194 pounds the Cruiserweight Division caters to Neville’s strengths as he can work with more individuals that are of his size. Neville’s been on the main roster since March of 2015 and has always impressed during his matches, but he’s never solidified himself as a contender for any title at any point. In the Cruiserweight Division, “The Man that Gravity Forgot” can serve as its number one heel.
4. DESERVE NOTHING: R-Truth
At forty-four years old R-Truth is getting up there in the age department. He’s seen himself in multiple comedic gimmicks in the past few years including his current alliance with Goldust as a part of the Golden Truth gimmick. Prior to aligning with Goldust, R-Truth was involved in a outrageous feud in which he was trying to defeat Wade Barrett for his crown, when Barrett was King Barrett. To make matters worse R-Truth referred to himself as King What’s Up. A couple years before that R-Truth attempted to be Dolph Ziggler’s stunt double like Damien Sandow was the Miz’s stunt double. R-Truth can not be taken seriously considering the roles he has been involved in the past few years. His credibility as a contender is about as low as anyone in the company.
3. DESERVE BETTER: The Vaudevillains
WWE’s tag team division has a number of credible face teams such as Enzo and Cass, the New Day and American Alpha. However, where they are lacking is in the heel department for twosomes. With the Wyatt Family dropping the Smackdown Titles its unclear as to how long Randy Orton will remain with the group. The Club’s momentum has been significantly derailed since AJ Styles was drafted to Smackdown. The Ascension has been at the bottom of the card for close to two years. The Vaudevillains have only been on the main roster for eight months and they seem to be the most realistic option of current heel tag teams that can become a contender. Aiden English and Simon Gotch had a solid run as both heels and faces in NXT; the two deserve a chance as a viable tag threat on the main roster.
2. DESERVE NOTHING: Alicia Fox
Alicia Fox has been employed by the WWE since 2008 which makes her one of the longest tenured female talents in the company. Despite Fox’s longevity with the company, she hasn’t held a title since 2010. Fox was last WWE Divas Champion back in 2010 when she held the belt for just under two months. Now, she sees herself as one of the least threatening female talents employed by the company. She now sees herself involved in an angle as the girlfriend of Cruiserweight talent Cedric Alexander with fellow Cruiserweight talent Noam Dar coveting her as well. Fox looks like she’s been knocked down a few pegs to managerial status and with the likes of Sasha Banks, Bayley, Charlotte and Nia Jax on Raw, she’s probably better suited being a manager.
1. DESERVE BETTER: Cesaro
Along with Sheamus, Cesaro is currently one half of the WWE Raw Tag Team Champions. Cesaro and Sheamus are fresh off knocking off the New Day and ending their historic 483 day reign at Roadblock: End of the Line. While Cesaro currently has gold around his weight, he is still underutilized. Cesaro garners large pops night in and night out as crowds are awed by his in ring prowess. Cesaro may be the WWE’s strongest talent and his agility is nothing to scoff at either. Fans seem to be genuinely happy for Cesaro, but his tag partner Sheamus is one crowds seem to not be too fond of. Cesaro deserves a legitimate shot at being a main event player as the crowd is firmly behind him and he has amongst the best, if not the best in ring skills in the company.