What does it take to be a professional wrestler in WWE? Many wrestlers have come and gone while others never even got an opportunity. What made Steve Austin, The Rock, John Cena or Daniel Bryan so special? There are many answers, but the first answer that comes to mind would be their unwavering connection to the fans.
Fans often hear that they are the ones who decide the fate of a wrestler. Whether they get pushed to the moon or find themselves future endeavored is often up to the reaction of the fans. At least one would think. Despite negative reactions to John Cena or Roman Reigns, they continue to be pushed while other stars like Dolph Ziggler, Zack Ryder and Rusev are barely scratching the surface. Fans had to practically beg to get Daniel Bryan in the main event at WrestleMania, so not always is it about fan support. If fan support doesn’t always garner a push, what else does?
Well, look no farther than the man running the place, Vince McMahon. Fan reaction or no, if Vince likes a wrestler, he or she is golden. Vince has a soft spot for the extra-large bodybuilder. If a wrestler has that, welcome aboard and get ready for a monster push. This couldn’t be any more unfair to the superstars that have wrestled for years and get super reactions, only to get passed over by a Vince McMahon favorite. This article will explore those who are getting a mega push that don’t deserve it, and those who should be pushed to the moon but aren’t. Here’s a list of 10 overrated WWE superstars and 10 who are underrated.
20 Overrated - Roman Reigns
WWE will have you believe that Roman Reigns is “The Guy.” Roman has the look, and I’ll give him credit, he’s pretty solid in the ring. However, Roman Reigns’ mic skills are subpar at least. He’s very generic, and Vince McMahon’s scripts aren’t helping. Reigns is forgetting his lines, or he’s given absolute garbage to work with. Still, the best talkers are able to overcome those obstacles, and clearly Roman isn’t a good talker. Let’s be fair though, Goldberg wasn’t a good talker either, and he had a pretty good career.
Roman’s big issue is his inability to connect with the fans. If the fans aren’t behind you, you’re dead in the water. WWE wants fans to think that Reigns is the most over superstar in the company, main-eventing WrestleMania three times in a row and getting victories over The Undertaker, Triple H and recently, John Cena. However, Reigns isn’t over and unbelievably underserving of his spot in the company, and the fans know it.
Cesaro has been an underrated singles star since he’s started in WWE. Cesaro is one of the best wrestlers on the roster, and his superhuman strength is uncanny. As Michael Cole has said, Cesaro is "pound for pound" one of the strongest guys on the roster and gave John Cena some of the greatest matches of his career. Cesaro has been praised by John Cena, Ric Flair, and Mick Foley. The only one who doesn’t seem to like Cesaro is Vince McMahon.
Cesaro appeared to be finally getting a push, winning the U.S. Title and dropping Brodus Clay and The Great Khali with massive “Neutralizers.” Then, his title reign inexplicably came to an end. Unless you’re Roman Reigns, poor mic skills can hurt a superstar’s rise, and Cesaro’s mic skills are pretty poor. However, Cesaro doesn’t need the mic. Cesaro’s look, strength and wrestling skills should be more than enough for a legitimate push. WWE needs big stars, and Cesaro could be one if only Vince would book him appropriately.
18 Overrated - John Cena
John Cena has been the face that runs the place for over a decade. At that time of Cena’s ascension, no one questioned his top spot in the company. What followed Cena’s rise was his dominance and the sheer length of it while in top. Cena steamrolled over every rising star during his entire time on Raw. Veteran superstars that were ready to take the ball and run with it were mercilessly curb stomped down the card. It’s one thing for Cena to overcome the odds against the bad guys, but Cena buried them leaving nowhere for rising stars to go.
Cena isn't overrated because he was the top guy. He's overrated because of what he has done as the top guy. It would appear Cena is moving on to Hollywood, and he's left the company with a roster of broken superstars in his wake. That doesn't leave the company with much of a future all thanks to a decade long, excessive Cena push.
17 Underrated - Kevin Owens
Yep, Kevin Owens. The former Universal Champion and United States Champion is totally underrated. Why is he underrated? Kevin Owens, with partial credit to Chris Jericho, carried Raw. Raw was every bit "The Kevin Owens Show." Owens took the U.S. Title to Smackdown and now, with AJ Styles, is the best part of SmackDown. Owens had carried both brands, yet, he’s nowhere near in contention for the WWE Championship. Owens is the best thing going in WWE, but he’s stuck in the mid-card taking a backseat to Goldberg and Brock Lesnar earlier this year on Raw and now Jinder Mahal on SmackDown. K.O. is “The Guy” and should be the WWE Champion immediately. It’s a crime that Owens has to play second fiddle to Vince’s favorites and that’s why he’s underrated.
16 Overrated - Jinder Mahal
There’s no problem with Jinder Mahal necessarily. Jinder has a great look and his in-ring abilities and mic skills are okay. He’s playing a clichéd evil foreigner character that has run its course a thousand times over, but the role always generates good heat. Nonetheless, Jinder has three major problems: he’s a manufactured product of WWE officials, instead of fans, he’s been a jobber most of his career, and he’s been instantly pushed to the top.
Pushing Vince’s favorites has been a major issue in the company for a while now, and it’s alienating the fans. To make matters worse, the superstar officials are shoving down our throats is one that has acquired very few singles wins before winning the most coveted title in the company. To top it all off, Jinder became #1 contender through a random battle royal. Even if fans accepted Jinder’s push, pushing Jinder all the way to an instant WWE Championship, after jobbing for years, destroys the credibility of the WWE Title. Jinder really needed to work up through the mid-card rather than the instant push, hence the overrated label.
15 Underrated - The Miz
The Miz may not be everyone’s favorite in WWE, but let’s give him some credit, he’s been a solid heel and a solid mid-card champion. He’s one of the best on the mic today, and his ring skills are pretty solid So why isn’t he flourishing in the upper card?
The Miz has carried Smackdown’s mid-card, and he’s doing the same on Raw. He’s a former WWE Champion, a seven time Intercontinental Champion and won the United States Champion twice. Let’s treat him like it. Should The Miz be flattening Brock Lesnar? No, but The Miz should definitely be a contender for those major titles. WWE is struggling to build new main event level stars, and he’s one of the guys that’s going to be carrying the company long after Brock Lesnar.
14 Overrated - Jason Jordan
Jason Jordan is one hell of an athlete, but he’s a bit of a charisma vacuum. His mic skills and character need some tweaking, but his athleticism seems to be gradually catching on with fans. If you’re wondering how Jordan can be overrated when he hasn’t won a singles title yet, just look no farther than his Raw debut.
He’s just starting his singles career, but he’s already been laden with immense pressure. As Kurt Angle’s long lost “son,” there’s huge expectations placed on Jordan. Jordan’s faced the company’s best in John Cena and Roman Reigns, and it’s looking like an Intercontinental title run is on the horizon. Again, nothing against Jordan, but there are way more superstars deserving of a mid-card title than Jordan. The crowd is clearly not 100% behind Jordan, for now, so rushing him to a mid-card title without the support is too much, too soon.
13 Underrated - Bray Wyatt
What happened to Bray Wyatt? Wyatt got the honor of facing The Undertaker at WrestleMania and battled the company’s best throughout his career. He’s great on the mic. He’s got great ring skills. His character is super creepy. He’s super over with the crowd and his eerie entrance is the best in WWE today. Bray Wyatt is a former WWE Champion who somehow pulled an upset Championship win only to pointlessly lose a short time later to Randy Orton.
So, why in the world can’t “The Eater of Worlds” break the glass ceiling and be treated like a major star? Wyatt’s shift to Raw hasn’t helped him either as the Universal Title seems reserved for Lesnar and Reigns while the mid-card is occupied by The Miz. Makes one wonder why he went to Raw in the first place.
12 Overrated - Braun Strowman
Despite the love Braun Strowman is getting right now, you’re going to hear it right here, right now. “The Mountain Among Men” is overrated. The guy is super over, no doubt, and he’s actually pretty good in the ring, despite his size, but he’s not ready to be a world champion (yet). Strowman has been a destructive force on Raw and is the hottest thing on Raw right now, but he has some issues that disqualify him from the title.
His mic skills are pretty poor. Roaring can only take you so far in WWE, and while he may be over now, what will happen years down the road? Strowman is over mainly because of his feud with the reviled Roman Reigns and his great booking (destroying the ring with a superplex and tipping over an ambulance). The problem is Strowman can’t face Reigns all the time, and his reaction against other stars isn’t as strong. Unless Strowman gets a bit more of a personality, he’s just another over pushed “hoss.”
11 Underrated - Emma
Finally, we get to the women of WWE. When Emma started in WWE, she was given a goofy dancing gimmick and treated mostly as a joke character. When Emma went to NXT, the Aussie turned heel and became a legitimate threat in the Women’s Division. Emma had a bit of a chip on her shoulder, not being considered part of the “Four Horsewomen” that carried the Women’s Division of NXT, despite being just as big of a part of it. Sasha Banks, Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Bayley all moved up to RAW, as part of the Women’s Revolution, but for some reason, Emma never received the same treatment as “The Four Horsewomen.” Now Emma is barely promoted and often on the losing end of matches. #GiveEmmaAChance.
10 Overrated - Nia Jax
With her power, impressive look and treasured family lineage, Nia Jax has all the tools to dominate the WWE’s Women’s Division. Vince McMahon is obviously high on Nia by making her seem indestructible. There’s just one problem. She’s kind of boring. Her mic skills are kind of bland, and she hasn’t exactly impressed in the ring. While no one would be surprised if she destroyed her opponents, that hasn’t always been the case, losing to Sasha Banks and Bayley before. There’s really no mystique to Nia anymore, and yet, a push is definitely forthcoming. A long, boring title run is in the future, when it should be a timely, more deserving run for a pending Asuka or someone more over with the crowd. If Nia Jax is awarded a title run, her character is going to need to spark some interest. Right now, it’s just not there.
9 Underrated - Luke Harper
The former member of the Wyatt Family, Luke Harper is one of the company’s most agile big men. He’s great in the ring, he can talk and he’s got a deranged character that has gotten over. He’s put on some great matches on SmackDown against Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt and AJ Styles and seems ready for a mid-card title at the very least. There is a bright future ahead for Harper, but despite his hard work and connection with the fans, he has nothing to show for it other than a meaningless 27 day Intercontinental Title run. In an era where the roster is split in two, Harper needs to be a bigger part of whichever brand he is on. Right now, he’s treated as an afterthought.
8 Overrated - Baron Corbin
Baron Corbin was fortunate enough to come into the WWE being a tall 6’8” powerhouse and originating from the WWE Performance Center. His height and spending zero time in the Independent Circuit gave Corbin two pluses Vince McMahon looks for in a superstar. Corbin was almost instantly pushed hard. Corbin won the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, Money in the Bank Ladder Match and was involved in several title matches. Not a bad resume for someone who has only been on the main roster for less than two years.
There’s nothing against Corbin, he’s decent for a big guy. He’s not overrated because of his immediate push since his debut, it’s not like he’s won the WWE Title, but it’s who he has leap frogged to get to where he is. How is it that Dolph Ziggler, Luke Harper and Zack Ryder still can’t sniff a title shot but Corbin gets the big push? “The Lone Wolf” is good, but there are others that should be in his place.
7 Underrated - Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
Here’s a two-fer, and it involves the greatest tag team in the world. You wouldn’t know they were the greatest tag team in the world if you only went by their tenure in WWE. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson have made a name for themselves outside of the WWE, both being extremely entertaining and dominant, but in WWE, they’re treated like a bunch of "nerds." They were the punching bags for New Day during their historic reign, and now “The Club” has to take a back seat to the feud between Cesaro and Sheamus and Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. At the very least, Gallows and Anderson need a change of scenery from either a brand shift or a company shift altogether.
6 Overrated - Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar is almost done with his contract to WWE and overall, his final run in WWE has been largely profitable. The fans have seen some dream matches during Lesnar’s return, going up against CM Punk, Triple H, The Undertaker, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, a returning Bill Goldberg and Samoa Joe to name a few. As much fun as his run has been, it’s time to let “The Beast” leave for UFC.
Despite Brock Lesnar’s ability to draw fans, his presence is overall detrimental to WWE. He’s been booked like an unstoppable force, making a victory over him seemingly impossible. Would The Miz or Cesaro or Finn Balor defeating Lesnar seem even remotely possible? Lesnar’s return, while largely entertaining, has slammed the door shut for a lot of deserving superstars from realistically grabbing that brass ring.
5 Underrated - Dolph Ziggler
What is going on with Dolph Ziggler? This guy was ready to be a main eventer years ago. Sure, he’s won a World Title but where did that take him? Now, he’s given a terrible gimmick impersonation gimmick which may signal the end of Ziggler’s WWE career. Ziggler should have been pushed to the main event in the WWE, but his pushes have always been cut short. At a time when WWE is desperate for star power, Ziggler could have helped fill that void, but he was buried instead. Now his time may have already passed with the emergence of AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura and Bobby Roode. Ziggler isn’t nearly as over as he was years ago, and his two World Heavyweight Championships feel like complete flukes.
4 Overrated - Apollo Crews
There aren’t too many superstars that are as physically gifted as Apollo Crews. This young man has a lot of talent in the ring, and WWE has recognized it. Unfortunately, in-ring skills aren’t everything. Crews comes out to crickets when his music hits, and it’s a little embarrassing seeing him pump up the dead crowd. Yet, Crews has been instantly given WWE and Intercontinental Title matches and promoted like he’s the next Brock Lesnar. Crews has joined “Titus Worldwide” in an effort to bring out some sort of personality, but it’s just not working. Crews could greatly benefit from more time in NXT to find a character because his time on the main roster has been a dud despite the mega push.
3 Underrated - Rusev
At first glance, Rusev looks just like the kind of “big sweaty man” Vince McMahon wants. Rusev had the overdone foreigner/anti-American gimmick, but he seems to be breaking from that tired role. For a big man, Rusev has surprisingly nimble ring skills and fans are taking notice. Despite a devastating loss to John Cena and apparently no creative direction, Rusev has made the most of his recent time in WWE. He doesn’t take himself too seriously and is starting to come around on his own even without Lana. “Handsome Rusev“ is doing what Roman Reigns has never done, and that’s evolve. Rusev is taking his character to the next level, and it’s time for “The Bulgarian Brute” to return to his dominant form before his ridiculous loss to Cena.
2 Overrated - Finn Balor
Bring on the hate mail, Finn Balor is overrated. On Finn Balor’s first night on the main roster, he defeated Roman Reigns to earn a shot at the brand new Universal Title. He would then defeat Seth Rollins to become the first ever Universal Champion. Right off the bat, he defeats to of the company’s biggest stars cleanly. If you’re not a fan of instant pushes than this should be an outrage, but Balor gets a free pass for some reason. While many were marking out, Finn Balor didn’t deserve to win the Universal Title so quickly. “The Demon” may be super over and is an excellent wrestler, but his mic skills are very mediocre. For now, he hasn’t done enough to warrant a Universal Title win under his trunks and shouldn’t be sniffing another title until he gets his mic skills in order.
1 Underrated - Heath Slater
Heath Slater is one of the last members of the Nexus faction which is kind of a scary thought. To Slater’s credit, he is very entertaining despite being a complete jobber. He’s been buried by just about every wrestler in the company and has to be considered on the chopping block during every “Spring Cleaning” period. Yet, “The One Man Band” has made to most of his time in WWE and remains highly amusing. He’s been given absolutely nothing by the Creative Team, and yet he turns garbage to gold at every opportunity. It’s time to reward him. It’s time to give Heath Slater a push, even a modest one. An Intercontinental Title shot for Slater couldn’t possibly be any worse than an unwanted push for Jason Jordan.