Throughout the history of the WWE, there have been thousands of wrestlers who have come into the company. Some of them with the ambition to make millions of dollars, others with the goal of being champions and the recognition as the best that comes with it. These different desires draw a multitude of different people to the company with varying levels of talent, skills, and looks.
Some guys look like professional athletes with impressive physiques whereas other wrestlers look more like average people and fans. There are wrestlers with enough creativity and spontaneity to make their characters and promos work and there are others who just don’t have those skills. There are also some wrestlers who learn everything they know about wrestling through family lineage and WWE developmental territories, while others spend half their career on the independent scene to make it into the biggest wrestling company in the world. Regardless of their differences, the WWE has signed all of them ranging in size, skill level, and looks, but it’s clear they have a type.
It’s been ever present since the 80s that the company has a particular look and skill level for a lot of their wrestlers, but that hasn’t stopped them from hiring other Superstars either. This list will document both types of performers with eight prototypical WWE guys and seven anti-company dudes, enjoy!
15. Prototypical WWE Guy – The Miz
The Miz’s initial claim to fame would come from his time on an MTV reality TV which would lead to him joining the WWE’s own reality TV show, Tough Enough. His physique can be best described as inbetween an athlete and a fan with a height of 6’1″ and weighing 231 pounds, which hasn’t changed much since his debut.
His introduction to the WWE universe was rough with the infamous Diva Search fail, but he would grow past that and work his way up the ladder. His in-ring work was average, but his mic skills would make him one of the company’s most reliable interviewees and social media users, doing whatever the WWE asked of him. It took him five years to eventually be deemed a big enough star to hold the WWE Championship and even main event WrestleMania. Since then, he has reinvented himself with a solid Hollywood actor wannabe persona and has brought life back to the Intercontinental Championship. He’s been a major player in the mid-card since the brand split and has proven his worth as a WWE employee.
14. Anti-WWE Guy – Cesaro
Cesaro has a muscular physique, an old-school look, and great in-ring skills that surpass a lot of wrestlers on the roster. By all accounts, he should be listed on the prototypical side of this list as he seems like the type of wrestler the WWE would mold into a big star. Unfortunately, the things standing in his way are the decision making of Vince McMahon and some of his own faults.
He has the look of an old-school guy at 6’5″ and 232 pounds, but none of his charisma or mic skills has been displayed to this day. Regardless of this, the fans have been in support of Cesaro and his abilities since the road to WrestleMania XXX began as all signs pointed to an eventual face turn.
Sadly, the company didn’t strike while the iron was hot, they booked him to irrelevancy and by the time he gained sufficient momentum again he got injured. He’s currently teaming with Sheamus following a series of matches that no one asked for and it’s unclear what the future holds for him. Only time will tell what becomes of The Swiss Superman.
13. Prototypical WWE Guy – Big E
Big E is another wrestler that most people would associate with the WWE based on his looks, background, and potential. His life prior to wrestling demonstrates his superior athleticism and strength, having dabbled in amateur wrestling, football, and powerlifting.
Eventually, he made his way to the WWE through Florida Championship Wrestling before it was re-branded into NXT. His looks made him out to be a monster at 5’11”, weighing 285 pounds, and an abnormally muscular physique. Aside from his look, his in-ring skills are highly regarded as a great powerhouse, but he does demonstrate other interesting moves from time to time like his spear between the ropes. His mic work was best demonstrated in NXT and now as a member of the New Day, which has helped to showcase more of his funnier and goofier qualities. Once New Day disbands, Big E will likely be the wrestler to keep your eye on as his resume might have some future World Titles on the list.
12. Anti-WWE Guy – A.J. Styles
It’s a well-known secret that the WWE didn’t view TNA Wrestling as competition and didn’t go out of their way to book talents who came from the company. This finally changed with the arrival of the great A.J. Styles.
While wrestlers like Randy Orton and John Cena spent the majority, if not all, of their wrestling careers in the WWE, Styles gained his experience from wrestling worldwide in various promotions before building a majority of his legacy in TNA. His time in TNA saw him win every major title the company had to offer before leaving in 2013. He would continue wrestling in various promotions, but started to pick up major steam during his stint in New Japan Pro Wrestling and his time with the Bullet Club.
The Bullet Club wouldn’t end as Styles, Karl Anderson, and Luke Gallows all signed with WWE earlier this year. Though technically a cruiserweight by the old-school definition, Styles has surpassed that division’s limitations with his superior in-ring skills that helped him become recognized as one of the best wrestlers in the world and helped him earn his current WWE Championship.
11. Prototypical WWE Guy – Sheamus
The fans opinion on Sheamus has been split for a while now. Some say he is overrated and only got to the top of the card because of his connections with Triple H, while others say he doesn’t get enough credit for his skill, but the fact remains that Sheamus is the type of guy the WWE is fond of.
Though mostly considered a WWE guy, Sheamus got the majority of his wrestling experience from the local independent scenes of Europe; particularly Britain and Ireland. He eventually came to the WWE and worked in their Florida developmental territory before it became NXT. His size makes him a cut above the rest on the current roster as a 267-pound powerhouse. His wrestling skills are considered good for a guy of his size with nothing more than the typical power moves and brawling.
Though he’s not as prominent as he used to be, he has the credentials of a top guy with multiple World Titles and mid-card title reigns. He’s not a hugely popular star, but he’s what WWE looks for.
10. Anti-WWE Guy – Kevin Owens
The fact that Kevin Owens is even in the company, let alone a main event champion, is a sign of how the WWE’s standards have changed. From his short stature to his overweight physique, Owens is far from what the WWE used to promote as a top star. Much like other wrestlers on this list, Owens is a veteran of the independent scene having wrestled in a variety of indie companies. Over the years, his physique never changed much, as he was clocking in at 6’0″ and 266 pounds, but his skills as a wrestler helped him to stand out both in and outside of it, being a natural on the microphone.
His in-ring moveset incorporates some brawling, power moves, and some aerial maneuvers that many people what not predict judging by his size. His mic skills are up there with the best of the company, including guys like Chris Jericho and John Cena. He’s one of the most entertaining characters on television and may very well be a permanent fixture in the main event scene from this point forward.
9. Prototypical WWE Guys – American Alpha
It may be a bit too early to say, but there’s a good chance that a future World Champion is amongst this tag team. Both men have backgrounds similar to Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle as Jason Jordan was an NCAA Division 1 amateur wrestler and Chad Gable was an Olympic level wrestler.
Both men have the look of stars, with Jordan being 6’3″ and weighing 245 pounds and Gable being 5’8″ and weighing 202 pounds. Their backgrounds in amateur wrestling have made their professional wrestling ability that much better as the two athletes formed the beloved team of American Alpha just last year. They’ve had some great matches in NXT until their call-up following the brand extension announcement.
They have the ability, the look, and the fan support to make them standouts on the WWE roster. All they need is some great storylines, good promos, and the WWE could have two huge stars on their hands.
8. Anti-WWE Guy – Zack Ryder
Before the WWE embraced the internet and social media like they have today, Zack Ryder was not someone they wanted to succeed by any means. Ryder got his start wrestling in his home state of New York, teaming up with Curt Hawkins until they were signed by the WWE and became a member of La Familia. After that storyline ended and his team with Hawkins disbanded, it became clear that the company didn’t see any real value in him.
To prove officials wrong, he took a chance and made a name for himself with his YouTube Series Z! True Long Island Story and beat the WWE to the punch of fully embracing and maximizing their use of social media. He’s had a few moments here and there, but the company seems intent on not using him and what can only be speculated as resentment for getting over against the company’s wishes.
7. Prototypical WWE Guy – Randy Orton
Everything about Randy Orton screams ‘prototypical WWE Guy’. From his wrestling background to his lineage, Orton has WWE running through his veins. His predecessors were Bob Orton Sr. and “Cowboy” Bob Orton which made Randy a third-generation wrestler. His skills as a wrestler would only improve from his time with Ohio Valley Wrestling to the present.
Orton’s character would continue to improve as his gimmicks as the unstable heel and The Legend Killer were highly praised. Though not as built as John Cena and Batista, Orton still has the look that Vince McMahon likes at 6’5″ and weighing in at 250 pounds. His take on the cutter finisher has surpassed the popularity of DDP’s Diamond Cutter and has only furthered Orton’s popularity. His credentials as a wrestler vary from a multiple of title wins in the WWE to PWI and other non-WWE entities acknowledging his talent, even ranking him the number one wrestler in 2008.
There’s a reason that whenever JBL is on commentary during a Randy Orton match he says, “If you were to build a sports entertainer from the ground up, he’d look like Randy Orton.”
6. Anti-WWE Guy – Sami Zayn
The Underdog from the Underground, Sami Zayn, has been with the company since 2013 and he is far from what the company used to look for. His original gimmick as El Generico was something akin to Gregory Helms portraying The Hurricane during his run with the WWE; funny, but nothing higher than mid-card status. Aside from that, he seemed like a man who would be regulated to the Cruiserweight division back in the day since he’s 6’1″ and weighs 212 pounds.
His mic skills seem to be average at best, but he compensates by being a great wrestler. His time on the independent scene allowed him to cultivate his in-ring skills and helped make him one of the company’s best wrestlers. He proved his worth as a wrestler at the Battleground PPV where he and long-time rival Kevin Owens stole the show with a classic mid-card match. There’s potential for this guy to be something greater, but it won’t be reached as the happy-go-lucky wrestler who’s happy to be there. To advance, he’ll need more character depth than that and it all depends if the WWE chooses to give it to him.
5. Prototypical WWE Guy – Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns is a perfect example of the strength of the WWE machine to make a top star out of a guy without nearly as much experience as his peers. His background didn’t start on the independent scene, but rather on the gridiron where his experience with football ranged from collegiate to professional until his football career came to an end. His family history gave him a legacy and some legitimacy to fall back on as he is a member of the Anoa’i family; featuring wrestlers such as Afa and Sika of The Wild Samoans, Umaga, and The Rock.
His look also helped him greatly, as he’s 6’3″ and weighs 265 pounds with a muscular physique. His only experience as a professional wrestler came from his time in the WWE developmental territories to his time now on the main roster. His move-set is a mix between a powerhouse and a brawler, as he can hit a flurry of punches or roll up his opponents for a series of powerbombs.
He’s not a good guy, he’s not a bad guy. He’s the guy that WWE wants you to think of when discussing their stars.
4. Anti-WWE Guy – James Ellsworth
This might be the strangest entry considering he isn’t even signed to the WWE on a full-time basis, but he is technically a member of the roster and has earned his slot on this list as a result.
At 5’7″ and probably not weighing any more than 150 pounds, Ellsworth physique is closer to that of a fan than a professional athlete. Despite not looking like an athlete, Ellsworth had been wrestling for years on the indie scene prior to his infamous match against Braun Strowman. His in-ring work has been fine for the few times he’s been in the ring. However, the fact remains that the WWE would probably never do anything with him past comedy and enhancement talent. He’s good for an enhancement role, but not much else.
3. Prototypical WWE Guy – Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar is one of, if not, the best pure athlete in the company’s history. His NCAA wrestling background gives him legitimacy as a competitor and added to his in-ring acumen. His wrestling ability, his inhuman strength, and his muscular physique made him a huge asset to the company during the Ruthless Aggression Era as he was easily their biggest star.
When he left the company, he would only continue to build his legacy as a pure athlete by showing enough skill to join the NFL and UFC. Upon his return, his star power only managed to increase and he still looked like a monster; clocking in at 6’3″ and weighing 286 pounds. If he weren’t a part-timer with limited dates, the WWE would probably keep him in the main event because he’s what they want you to think about when you think of the WWE.
2. Anti-WWE Guy – T.J. Perkins
From his weight and height to his lack of charisma, T.J. Perkins is someone the company never showed any interest in before.
Clocking in at 5’10” and weighing 167 pounds, Perkins would probably never have been signed to the main roster if the WWE didn’t bring back the Cruiserweight Division; considering he looks like a high school student. Also, the fact that the guy was in TNA probably wouldn’t have helped matters back in the day. He developed his in-ring skills by wrestling all over the world in various promotions like New Japan Pro Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Guerilla, and Ring of Honor. His backstory about being homeless and struggling to make a buck is a common story among indie wrestlers which only adds to his perceived blandness. Also, his lack of mic skills and charisma make it abundantly clear that his only strength is his wrestling. Luckily, wrestling ability matters to the WWE now and we get to watch Perkins dazzle in a WWE ring.
1. Prototypical WWE Guy – John Cena
John Cena spent three years working as an independent wrestler at Ultimate Pro Wrestling until he was picked up by the WWE in 2001. Ironically, Cena’s gimmick before he became the Doctor of Thuganomics, was as The Prototype, which would last him until he joined the main roster.
At 6’1″ and 251 pounds, he looks like a star, but he has the wrestling ability to match. Initially, he was lambasted for being a little more formulaic than other wrestlers, but as the company focused more on the in-ring product, his skills as a wrestler would improve seeing him doing a variety of moves that a guy his size wouldn’t be expected to do. His resume shows his skill level with various awards and World Title wins. Cena is truly one of the best stars the WWE has produced in the last few years and it’s because of this that replacing him will be difficult task.
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