The WWE Universe tends to have a short attention span and they are not famous for their patience. For some it takes only a matter of weeks before an idea, a new arrival or a surprise development stops being interesting. Because the WWE Universe has a tendency to turn on the things they don’t like, the particular push or promotion of a WWE Superstar can often be short-lived.
Take, for example, a wrestler like Hulk Hogan. He was a hit with the kids and their families and his character launched the WWE (then WWF) into the national powerhouse it is today. But, over time that act grew stale. Fans didn’t want the red and yellow Hogan and despite resistance to change Hogan saw the writing on the wall and became “Hollywood Hulk Hogan”. He reinvented his career and added at least another decade onto its length.
The Hogan phenomenon is happening today with a number of the current WWE roster. Perhaps never as popular as Hogan was in his heyday, these WWE Superstars were at one time a huge hit among the fans and the WWE Universe demanded to see more. But, just as things changed with Hogan, these same Superstars have started to lose the audience. Now, many in the WWE Universe are fed up and want something new.
Who are these 15 WWE talents? Will they be able to turn things around like Hogan did? Or, is this the beginning of the end of their careers?
15. Dolph Ziggler
One of the best in-ring performers in years, Ziggler was a reminder of the days of wrestlers like Shawn Michaels. He could take bumps like no one else and make whoever he was in the ring with look like a star. When Ziggler got the push he deserved and won the WWE Heavyweight Title, the fans went ballistic with excitement. Today, fans are just asking him to leave.
For those that watch the current WWE product, they may be getting their wish. This past Tuesday on SmackDown Live, Ziggler won the U.S. Title and effectively vacated it by walking away from the ring. He’s been using the “I’m going to quit” idea for a couple years now and fans just aren’t behind him like they used to be. It’s 50/50 at this point whether Ziggler sticks around.
14. Enzo Amore
As one half of a tag team with Big Cass, fans went absolutely insane for Enzo Amore when he was a part of NXT and first arrived in WWE. The audience knew every line of this entrance to the ring and this was before he ever once showed up on the main roster. But Enzo’s schtick of running down wrestlers and not being able to back it up got old quickly.
Both with the fans and in the WWE locker room behind the scenes, Amore’s charisma is still evident but his act is tired, unappreciated and ineffective. No longer a part of the tag team with Big Cass, Enzo is having trouble standing on his own. He’s now a part of the 205 Live Cruiserweight Division and the WWE could take him or leave him.
13. Bray Wyatt
When Bray Wyatt and the Wyatt Family arrived on the scene they were a major breath of fresh air. There really wasn’t anything like him on the roster and their popularity soared through both NXT and eventually the WWE, allowing them to become one of the most over factions in the company at the time. But a series of continued losses, too much incoherent blabbing about nothing and a lack of faith by the WWE and Wyatt became hard to handle.
Every once in a while Wyatt spits out something brilliant and the WWE Universe cries tears of hope that things will get back on track. But, just as soon as fans believe things are changing, Wyatt either goes off the rails again with a story like Sister Abigail or another incoherent rant and he loses the fanbase. Now fans are hoping his feud with Matt Hardy brings him new life but it’s not looking promising.
12. The New Day
The New Day is an interesting case because they started out being hated by almost everyone. A group formed to try something new with three WWE talents who weren’t getting over, the WWE audience didn’t accept the trio at first. Then, something clicked and The New Day became an iconic combination of goofiness, laughter and in-ring talent. They started getting cheered and eventually became a hit, selling more merchandise than almost any other WWE Superstars.
Now, New Day are still popular and they’re putting on great matches but something feels off. The group tries almost too hard to be funny and many in the audience have started to find the act repetitive. New Day has been relegated to the comedy portion of many shows and pay-per-views and they aren’t as big a hit as they once were.
11. Bobby Roode
The year Bobby Roode spent in NXT was simply glorious. It can be argued that no other wrestler made the impact and took over a brand the way Roode did and his personality, his in-ring talent and his entrance made him the most popular heel in all of NXT.
Rightfully so, WWE promoted him to the main roster, but they made a huge mistake. Not capitalizing on the fact that the WWE Universe loved to cheer him as a heel, they turned him into a babyface and almost immediately lost the crowd. Roode is still popular but his following pales in comparison to what it once was. It’s not too late for Roode. If the WWE can turn him heel again, they can make him one of the blue brand’s most over bad guys.
10. Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar is still a hugely popular figure in the WWE, and just putting him on a pay-per-view makes that show a must-watch event. But the WWE is beginning to lose the audience when it comes to Lesnar and how he’s perceived.
At one time it was fresh to see Lesnar show up every once and a while. He didn’t need to be a full-time WWE Superstar and the fact that he wasn’t always around made it cool when he did show up. Unfortunately, that act has aged and he’s now the Universal Champion which means the Raw brand doesn’t often have its title holder on the show. The fans are annoyed and as often as fans are excited he showed up, others are ticked that he did only to leave again.
9. Jason Jordan
As a part of the team American Alpha, Jason Jordan was one half of a tag team that were on the forefront of being one of the best to make the jump to the main roster. The team clearly had everyone in the WWE Universe behind them and their debut on SmackDown Live was met with huge approval. Then the WWE gave up on the team.
American Alpha was no longer receiving a solid push and WWE broke them up, making Jordan the long-lost son of Kurt Angle. The entire storyline has been a huge disappointment and Jordan is widely hated by the WWE audience now. That would be fine except he’s not supposed to be a heel.
At one time, Kane was a monster. Introduced as the Undertaker’s brother, he was a complete surprise and he ran over the entire WWE roster upon his arrival. WWE fans couldn’t get enough. He was unique and entertaining and he immediately became one of the most popular heels in the WWE.
After 20 years, however, things aren’t the same. He’s now back in the WWE and being pushed like it’s the year 2000 and it’s simply not believable. Kane spent years acting like a corporate stooge, had lost his mask, been the comedic pulse of the show and tried every other character change you can imagine. Asking fans to believe he can go back to the original destructive Kane is simply asking too much. Fans are tired of seeing him pushed over names like Finn Balor and Braun Strowman.
7. Finn Balor
The fact that Finn Balor is not a main event player in the WWE is not because the fans don’t like him, its because the WWE brass doesn’t seem to. Vince McMahon seems to have lost faith in Balor’s ability to draw and believes he’s not “over” with the WWE Universe. The use of the term has actually led Balor to go on a mini-campaign on social media trying to get “over” as a trending topic that could relaunch his popularity. He’s now got an “over” t-shirt you can purchase on WWEshop.com.
Balor still has a ton to give the WWE Universe but some of this is getting ridiculous. From the “over” posts to the fact that he’s being relegated to matches with Bo Dallas or Curtis Axel has actually cause the fans to discount Balor in a major way. The WWE is actually hurting him by not having faith in his ability.
6. Heath Slater
When Heath Slater went trailer park on the WWE Universe, there was something about the man who couldn’t afford to feed his nine kids that the WWE immediately fell in love with. The audience fed off his desire to earn employment after the brand split (he was left off of the draft) and his underdog status actually endeared him to fans, eventually taking him to the tag titles with Rhyno.
That changed rather quickly. Once he’d achieved his goals, the WWE Universe had nothing left to root for and they lost interest. Slater is now back to being a forgotten enhancement talent and was moved to Raw where he’s largely irrelevant. His character can go weeks at a time and not been seen on television and no one seems to notice.
5. Matt Hardy
We might catch some flack for putting Matt Hardy on this list because he’s reinventing himself in the WWE as we write this. His new “Woken” gimmick is a breath of fresh air for most fans but it’s not universally loved. There’s also major fear that the WWE will get too hands-on with his character and ruin things before they really get out of the gate.
One example is the first promo Hardy cut with Bray Wyatt when his “woken” persona debuted. It was a hit. The WWE said to themselves, ‘let’s do that again’ and offered an almost identical version of that promo the following week. Not to be outdone, they aired over 10 hours of a YouTube video of Hardy laughing on a loop. Within a matter of weeks, the WWE has already given fans a reason for concern.
TJ Perkins was the first real face of the new WWE Cruiserweight Division. He won the tournament that aired on the WWE Network and he was set to be the breakout star from that show and a representation of how cool the new show 205 Live could be. After the tournament ended, he was a huge flop.
Literally, no one cares about TJP at this point. He’s now a hybrid of a heel and a babyface on 205 Live but he’s definitely no longer the face of the brand. People didn’t buy into his character and no one seems to believe he has the makings of the kind of wrestler who can carry that show. TJP is a shadow of the idea the WWE thought he’d be when they chose to have him carry the launch of the division.
3. John Cena
Where do we begin with a guy like John Cena? We can’t discount his legacy or the stamp he’s left on the WWE, but he’s officially no longer a full-time talent and it appears the WWE audience is cool with that. Unlike The Rock or others who left the WWE for Hollywood and the WWE Universe missed them, most fans were ready to say goodbye to Cena for a while.
Many believed he was holding many of the other roster members down by being around and he was the most polarizing WWE talent the WWE employed. At one time, Cena may have been more popular than Hulk Hogan or Steve Austin and while his movie career looks to be taking off, his WWE popularity has faded immensely.
2. Triple H
The WWE audience should be grateful for all Triple H has done to change the business. At one time a hugely popular member of DX and then “The Game”, few WWE Superstars have left a mark on the company the way Triple H has. But, there are many that believe Triple H needs to step aside and keep himself out of the WWE wrestling picture.
It seems like whenever he returns he’s the focus of any show. Just recently, the main event of Survivor Series revolved around his behaviour, and he is always in the upper card at WrestleMania. These prime spots and opportunities should go to someone else. To these fans, he’s hogging the spotlight well past his expiration date.
1. Shane McMahon
McMahon isn’t really a “WWE Wrestler”. He is still considered a WWE Superstar and at one time was one of the most popular because he was willing to try insane stunts no one else would dare. On two occasions he’s jumped off the top of the Hell In A Cell structure and through a table. In the past, he’s launched himself of stages and in every instance, he’s earned respect from the crowd.
Unfortunately, he’s now the SmackDown Live commissioner and it takes away from his popularity as a performer. On the verge of potentially becoming a heel on Tuesdays, Shane-O-Mac is no longer Shane-O-Mac and that’s a shame because it takes away from his popularity and the desire for people to get behind him as the underdog in-ring amateur that will try anything.
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