In the world of wrestling, a character's gimmick can make or break whether a certain wrestler becomes a star or fades into obscurity. Fans can absolutely love a character or gimmick one second, and then completely turn on it the next. As a result, there have been very few gimmicks over the years that have stuck and always been fan-favorites. Of course, you have your Stone Cold Steve Austins and your Undertakers, but those are exceptions.
We have seen time and time again a superstar who shows promise early on, but then their gimmick or character simply fizzles out after a while, leading fans to simply not care about what they do or how they do it. A simple gimmick or character change can sometimes be all it takes for a superstar to go from someone no one cares about, to someone who is the star of the show.
This article will look at 15 wrestlers who need to make a change right now, whether that be a complete gimmick change or a stint down in NXT. Now this article isn't saying these 15 superstars are bad, they are simply people we believe would benefit greatly from a change of pace in one way or another.
15 Change Gimmick - Zack Ryder
While Zack Ryder's gimmick was originally loved, and his support from the internet got him an Intercontinental Championship win at WrestleMania, he is due for a character change. Ryder has seemingly had the same character for a decade and outside of some fan support and a few moments, it hasn't done anything for him. He had something decent going with Mojo Rawley as the Hype Bros, but with Rawley turning heel and attacking Ryder, that friendship is over. Hopefully, we will finally see a change in Ryder's character. For example, it would have been great to see him be the one to turn heel on Rawley, no one would've seen that coming.
14 Change Gimmick - Jinder Mahal
Fresh off of holding the WWE Championship for what seemed like an eternity, Mahal still finds himself in and around the main event scene. For someone to be doing this after being nothing but a jobber for years is pretty impressive. However, the character Mahal is portraying is getting old very fast. He is the typical foreign heel who sneaks up on his opponents and that's all he has been for months. While we're not saying he should turn face or be demoted back down to being a jobber, we just need something "different" from Mahal. And now that he is no longer the champ, this is the perfect time to make it happen.
13 Send To NXT - Mickie James
Mickie James is one of the true legends in WWE's women's divisions. She has been around for what seems like forever and has paid her dues to the industry. However, with the Raw Women's Division full of new and exciting talent, James just simply isn't getting the attention that many feel she deserves. I think that if she got sent to NXT for a while, she could really help the women's division thrive there. She would be a face and a name for the division, and could really help the stars down there mature and prepare them for the main roster as well. While she might not be open to this idea, I really think it could help not only the division out, but also James herself.
12 Change Gimmick - Apollo Crews
Apollo Crews has the look and the skills of a future world champion. He is one of the strongest and most athletic wrestlers on the entire roster and looks like he was carved from stone. However, his lack of personality and mic skills have held him back from becoming a great addition to the main roster. While it was good for him to be paired with Titus O'Neil (more on him later), this shouldn't be going on as long as it has. Crews needs to eventually speak for himself and develop a personality. Personally, I would love to see Crews become a big bruising heel for a period of time, and see if that changes that fan reaction to him.
11 Change Gimmick - Kalisto
Kalisto is a very talented wrestler and is actually a decent talker ("good lucha things" notwithstanding), but the problem is, no one cares. There is nothing worse to a wrestler than silence. If you are getting booed, at least they hate you. However, Kalisto doesn't seem to be loved or hated, and is just there. His inclusion in the Cruiserweight Division and winning the title (before losing it back to Enzo Amore) is impressive and is on the right track, but we expect that once his push is done, he will go back to barely being heard of again. We hope to see him change up his gimmick just a little bit, as he seems exactly like his former tag team partner Sin Cara, and many of the Rey Mysterio-remakes that the WWE has tried to make popular once again.
10 Send To NXT - Dana Brooke
Dana Brooke has the potential to be a star in the Raw Women's Division but is now largely an afterthought. She is essentially a jobber in the Women's Division at the moment and while she is getting screen time, she is usually getting embarrassed or losing in spectacular fashion. She will be joining Titus Worldwide which is at least something, but we think a trip back to NXT to hone her skills and provide another veteran to the NXT Women's division could really help her and the division itself, mature. She has the look, the skills are developing, and at this point, she just needs more time.
9 Change Gimmick - The Ascension
Back during their stint in NXT, the Ascension were the longest reigning tag team champions and were a legitimate force to be reckoned with. However, once they made their move to the main roster, their careers were doomed almost immediately. They would hardly win matches and lost all the credibility they had brought up with them from NXT. Their look also didn't to them any favors as they are seemingly just another attempt from the WWE to create another LOD, which is already a played-out gimmick. We think it's best to either give the tag team a new look or direction, or split them up and see what each of them can do individually.
8 Change Gimmick - Baron Corbin
Baron Corbin has been quite successful in the WWE and is the current United States Champion on SmackDown. However, his gimmick is completely and utterly played out in the eyes of many fans. The "Lone Wolf" gimmick might work if you are a guy like Brock Lesnar or Braun Strowman, but Corbin simply doesn't have the build or size necessary for the gimmick. His lack of charisma and personality also hinders his ability to become a star and play this role convincingly. While a face run might not be in the woodwork, it's something I would like to see WWE try, to see if he is able to connect with the fans that way. Of course, a major change to his looks and attire would have to take place as well.
7 Send to NXT - Tamina
As you can tell, I think many women will benefit from going back down to NXT for a while, as WWE's women's divisions doesn't get a ton of airtime and this sees a lot of these wrestlers not being used enough or as well as I think they should be. Tamina is another example of that. She was a beast when she debuted and has the look to be an imposing force, but with so many other women now that play a similar role (e.g. Nia Jax), she is often forgotten about. She has the natural talent to succeed, as she is the daughter of Jimmy Snuka, but simply lacks the opportunity right now. I think going down to NXT will give her this opportunity. It could even be possible for the three women I have suggested all went down at the same time and formed a stable that dominated the NXT Women's Division for a while.
6 Change Gimmick - Bayley
Bayley went from being one of the hottest stars in the division, who had everyone loving her, to a played-out gimmick and a character that the WWE has no idea what to do with. Bayley is an amazing competitor and is someone who has been mistreated for months now. The sob story surrounding her has led to many people losing respect for her and simply feeling sorry for her. While we are not sure a full heel turn would be the best thing, I would like to see Bayley with a real mean streak for a while and once again show how dominating she can be. The booking of Bayley is the main culprit here, but a refreshed character could also do wonders for her going forward.
5 Change Gimmick - Nia Jax
There is no doubting Nia Jax is one of the most physically imposing and strongest female wrestlers in history. Add in her relation to The Rock, and you have all the makings of a future champion. However, she was rushed a bit much and her skills in the ring and on the mic simply aren't where they need to be. I would actually like to see her be a little more approachable and less crass, almost like a gentle giant who is a decent person until you make her (or her friends) angry. There are rumblings of a Nia Jax and Enzo Amore love angle, which we don't know how to feel about that. On one hand, it is something different, but it is also going to make Nia Jax look less like a beast, and more like Enzo's manager, which isn't good as she is better than that.
4 Send To NXT - Titus O'Neil
Somehow, Titus O'Neil has found a way to get over and find a way to stay relevant without having to do much actual wrestling. He is essentially playing the role of a sleazy sports agent and the head of Titus Worldwide. While the gimmick is doing okay on TV, I would personally love to see him go down to NXT. When in NXT, he could do the same gimmick and look to sign the next up-and-coming stars and inevitably, some would join him. It would bring a popular gimmick and big name to NXT and would give a mouthpiece to some stars who are great in the ring, but not quite ready yet when it comes to the mic skills. It would be great and then eventually, O'Neil could return to TV with his new team of up-and-comers.
3 Change Gimmick - Jason Jordan
Jason Jordan is an interesting one. During his time as part of American Alpha, he was loved by fans and was doing well. But as soon as he was announced as Kurt Angle's son, the fans were a bit disappointed. They have remained loyal to this angle, but Jordan hasn't done much for himself and people don't seem to care about him or the storyline fact that he is Angle's son. While they could still save this gimmick, we think that is unlikely and we think the WWE needs to end this gimmick in some way and have Jordan continue as a heel, as being a face simply isn't working. A good way to do this could be to have it be revealed that Jordan faked it all just so he could reap the benefits of being the GM's son, but we don't know how that would work either.
2 Change Gimmick - Bray Wyatt
Without a doubt, Bray Wyatt is the WWE Superstar who is in need of a gimmick change more than anyone else. His gimmick used to be great with the Wyatt family, but he has lost in so many feuds that it simply isn't believable anymore and has lost all credibility, which is sad seeing as he was the WWE Champion fairly recently. He is currently entering in a feud with "Woken" Matt Hardy, as it seems, which will inevitably end with Wyatt getting the worst of it, losing to a 43-year-old man, and then moving on to being strange and weird in a feud with someone else, spouting off the same things. The cult leader gimmick with scary and spooky powers didn't work a year ago and isn't working now. He needs to completely change who he is, as he is a talented wrestler and actually deserves to be booked well, but it won't happen with this gimmick anytime soon most likely, as the gimmick has run its course.
1 Send To NXT - Dolph Ziggler
This likely isn't the first time you've seen this suggestion, and it likely won't be the last. It seems like outside of his feud with The Miz late last year, Ziggler has been fairly lost in the WWE. He has lost appeal to the fans, and has overstayed his welcome a little bit. This is a shame because he is a former champ and has faced the who's who in the WWE over the last decade-plus. While a new gimmick could help, they have tried that before, and it hasn't helped. Instead, I think if Ziggler went down to NXT, it could be a good move. He would be the face of the promotion and would be a great main eventer there, whether he is a heel or a face. Then, after some time (and hopefully a new gimmick), he will come back to the main roster.