The WWE is home to some of the most talented in-ring performers in the world, each employed to put on the best possible show for those that tune in to be entertained. On a weekly basis fans are given the opportunity to see some of their favorite superstars do what they do best. It is in those moments where we the fans see a part of what builds a true star in World Wrestling Entertainment. Whether it is through in-ring performance, promo cutting ability, or how one’s overall character is perceived amongst fandom, there are numerous ways to peak in popularity as a member of the WWE roster. Each year, much like in other phases in the company, there are those whose overall character ignites the fans into an exciting frenzy (as you can detect by listening in to their reaction to a given superstar’s theme music), and those that lull them to sleep, or gauge them into taking a bathroom break during the show.
During this past year in the WWE, there had been a fair share of those stars who have struggled to make any real mark with the way their character had been constructed. Whether it was because of the way in which they were booked, how their matches were received by the fans, or just their character being flat out weird, boring, lacking, etc. This list is based on current Superstars whose characters are in need of a reboot entering the new year. Here are 15 WWE Superstars Who NEED A New Gimmick In 2018.
15. Sasha Banks
I want to be clear with this one. Sasha Banks is one of the most popular figures in the WWE today, especially within the women’s division. She consistently puts on some of the best matches you’ll see and overall, she’s one of the most revered wrestlers among WWE fandom today. However, I think she is in need of a bit of a change.
Gimmick Change: Pull The Trigger On A Heel Turn
For what feels like a long time now she’s been one of the good guys, and I know this has been said a million times by other writers and wrestling fans but I think a heel turn is in order, not because she’s bad as a babyface, but because of how good – how great, rather, she is as a heel. It’s something that people have been clamoring for almost the entire year, especially when her good friend, Bayley, was Women’s Champion. The timing seemed perfect, and even now a heel turn could potentially see her star reach its peak once more.
14. Randy Orton
I’m going to make this simple. We need Randy Orton back; and I’m not talking about the good guy that faced Bray Wyatt in some awfully booked matches that made for one of the worst rivalries of the year. I’m talking about one of the most ruthless, seething, and aggressive superstars in WWE history making a comeback.
Gimmick Change: Go Back To Being Ruthless
Since joining the blue brand in the Summer of 2016, Orton hasn’t been as over with the crowd as most would remember. You could attribute that to his long tenure with the company, but I put it on the way he has been booked. Remember the beat down he put on Seth Rollins toward their match at WrestleMania 31? Or how about what he did to Daniel Bryan building up to their match at “Hell in A Cell” a few years back? We need that Randy Orton. A vicious man who will take out whoever he wants to, whether face or heel.
13. Nia Jax
For those of you who may have not been watching Monday Night Raw for the past couple weeks, Nia Jax and current WWE Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Amore appear to be romantically involved with one another on screen. While I am in no position to judge who someone should like to be in a romantic relationship with, I have to ask the writers, strictly for the sake of character development – Why? Understand whatever reason you give will not matter. Please stop – like now. Nia Jax has far too much potential to be a dominant force in the women’s division for years to come to at this point being reduced to having a schoolgirl crush on Enzo Amore. I get the comical relief behind it and that Nia herself was probably okay with it considering that she’s been doing it, (and selling it well might I add) but come on now.
Gimmick Change: Move To SmackDown & Actually Dominate
I’d put her on Smackdown Live and have her dominate, have her win a championship. You know – use the fact that she overpowers all her competition to her advantage and make it work. It’s just an idea, but regardless on how you feel about that just cut it with the Enzo stuff. Please.
12. Apollo Crews
Apollo Crews has to be one of the most talented prospects in the entire WWE. He has the body build of a powerhouse heavyweight with in-ring abilities comparable to that of an athletic cruiserweight. Despite this, you can find his best highlights on the main roster with clips of him getting jobbed out to Samoa Joe. I want to remind you guys that this same guy went toe to toe with Finn Balor in NXT but has now been reduced to one of two members of the never-growing “Titus World Wide” brand.
Gimmick Change: Aggressive Heel Turn
What I would do with this guy is change up his attitude, make him a little more aggressive in the ring, maybe turn him heel, and probably a new, more violent looking finisher and you instantly have a new potential main event wrestler. I understand that jobbers are necessary to a degree, but Crews absolutely shouldn’t be one of them.
11. Baron Corbin
I would be hard-pressed to find any wrestler on SmackDown Live who’s had a worse year than Baron Corbin. You would think that in a year where you win the United States Championship and the Money in The Bank ladder match that you would be set up pretty well for the nearby future right? After all, that’s what happened with The Miz not too long ago in 2010. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Baron Corbin. After unsuccessfully cashing in his money in the bank contract and losing his United States Championship, Corbin finds himself in a position similar to that of when he first debuted on the main roster: barely paid any attention. Maybe a new gimmick is in order for Baron Corbin to get back on track in 2018.
Gimmick Change: Tag Team With Randy Orton
What I would do is put him in a tag team with someone like the aforementioned Randy Orton. Someone with a very aggressive style in the ring with a solid heel persona. I think it would make for a really good tag team championship duo down the line. Moreover, it’ll help Corbin get things back on track.
10. Bray Wyatt
Remember when I brought up Baron Corbin and how bad a year he had? Okay, multiply that and you might get as bad as a year as Bray Wyatt has had. Considering how far his star has dropped, it’s quite saddening when you remember that this is the same person who walked into this past year’s WrestleMania as the WWE champion. He had a bad match at WrestleMania. He’s had almost nothing but bad matches since WrestleMania. I mean who could forget the House of Horrors? I certainly wish I could. How about the very very strange feud he had with Finn Balor. Nothing about 2017 went right for Bray Wyatt since he lost the world championship, which is why a change is much needed.
Gimmick Change: Turn Him Face Or Drop The Sister Abigail Gimmick Altogether
Whether it’s turning face, getting rid of his current persona or whatever may have you, something has to give. Maybe going back to SmackDown, or actually having him win his matches would help. At some point, Wyatt has to be booked better than being just a glorified jobber.
9. Becky Lynch
Bray Wyatt had a very bad year, that’s undeniable. Although, there was a point where his character was relevant in 2017. The same cannot be said about Becky Lynch. Since being crowned as the inaugural Smackdown Women’s champion in 2016, Lynch’s character has had to have experienced one of the biggest drop offs in recent memory. I mean for crying out loud Alicia Fox was given more shine than her; most of the Cruiserweight division got more shine than her.
Gimmick Change: Turn Heel, Beat Down Everyone>
Whether it was because of injury or something else, that is not how you are supposed to be booked when you’re one of the supposed “Horse Women”, along with 3 other Superstars who won championships this past year. Becky needs something fresh to rejuvenate her character in 2018. Turn heel, beat down everyone, and re-establish yourself. Maybe she can have a spot in the next entry’s new stable…?
8. Finn Balor
Balor is one of the most skilled in-ring performers in the company, and when given the opportunity he can put on some of the more phenomenal matches that you’ll ever see. It is for this reason that fresh off his call up from NXT he was crowned as the first ever Universal Champion at last years SummerSlam pay-per-view. Unfortunately, because of the injury he sustained that night, his title reign was short lived. Since returning to the ring this past spring, Balor has basically been floating around on Raw not doing anything of real significance, with the exception of one great match with A.J Styles at TLC a few months ago (it replaced the match between “The Demon” and “Sister Abigail” so let’s be thankful).
Gimmick Change: Leader Of The Balor Club
With that being the case, Balor needs something new to rejuvenate his character, like a heel turn or a brand change. I would propose starting a heel faction and just start wrecking it wherever they end up. They already have the perfect name: “Balor Club”.
7. Dolph Ziggler
It had been a slow regression down the popularity chart for the show off in recent years. He has had sparks of pure brilliance in the ring when given the opportunity. His matches in the past with guys like The Miz, John Cena, Luke Harper, Cesaro and others, for instance, all gave us a glimpse of the greatness that could come about with this guy at the top of the card. Unfortunately, that was all we have ever gotten: glimpses. It hasn’t helped that his current gimmick involves him shunning the fans and coming out to no theme music. He doesn’t need all that.
Gimmick Change: Be The Showoff & Win Matches
What I think should happen is that he builds his way back up to the top of the card by cutting the great, emotional promos that we know he can do, and keep winning well put together matches that we all know he can perform in and well – show off.
6. Big Cass
2017 was supposed to be the year where Big Cass finally broke out as a single star in the WWE. Unfortunately, those plans came to a screeching halt after he tore his ACL this past Summer. If you can remember though, before the injury came about and ended his year, Cass’ new gimmick hadn’t gone over very well with the WWE Universe, which we all know to be key to character success. With that in mind, as we draw closer to Big Cass’ return to the ring, WWE creative may want to use this opportunity to tweak his character in an attempt to get him over with the fans once more.
Gimmick Change: Tag With Enzo Again, This Time As Heels
It’s hard to see how he will be received when he returns, but the reaction he gets from the fans should be telling as it pertains to what the writers should do with him moving forward. If you were to ask me, he and Enzo would get back together and be heels this time. I mean, it’s new, it’s easy to do, why not try it?
At the beginning of this year I would have never thought that Bayley of all people would land on this list, but low and behold here she is. Since her debut on the main roster, Bayley’s character has been in a word: shaky. By that I mean always teetering around doing pretty bad and doing pretty well. Eventually though, we reached a point where it was just bad and we haven’t really gotten back to the good yet. If you’re looking for the root cause for that look no further then her feud with current Raw Women’s champion, Alexa Bliss. Throughout their “rivalry” Bliss basically dominated the entire time, making Bayley look like your average joe in comparison. Since then, she hasn’t been able to bounce back like most would hope.
Gimmick Change: Less Hugs, More Butt Kicking, Possible Heel Turn?
With that being the case, change with her gimmick could help. I don’t want to go as far as to say that she should turn heel, but beforehand I could have never imagined Sami Zayn doing well as a heel, yet he is. Maybe the same would go for Bayley.
4. Dean Ambrose
The Lunatic Fringe has been one of the more popular figures in WWE since arriving on the scene in late 2012. Whether heel or face, Ambrose has always been well received by the fans. Since Seth Rollins’s infamous heel turn in mid 2014 that sparked the beginning of the new era in the WWE, Dean Ambrose has been one of the WWE’s top babyfaces. However, much like most wrestlers in the WWE today there comes a time where change is needed, and that time has come for Ambrose. While he remains very popular, his character as of late has become quite bland and was in need of some reshaping.
Gimmick Change: Be An Actual Heel Lunatic>
With that being said I believe a heel turn is in order. Now for someone with Dean Ambrose’s in ring style, it’s hard to see him as a heel wrestler but he was able to do it when he first appeared on the scene with the Shield in 2012 and he can do it again in 2018.
3. Jason Jordan
You know, I genuinely feel bad for Jason Jordan. Once upon a time, he was part of one the best young tag teams in all of WWE on SmackDown live with Chad Gable (American Alpha). Now while yes he is a featured star on Raw, he gets booed almost as loud as someone we will get to a little later on our list does. Honestly, it’s disappointing to see. The whole Kurt Angle’s son thing was one heck of an idea, but it wasn’t received very well with the fans and hasn’t made much progress to this point. Really it’s hard to see where Jordan can really go from here.
Gimmick Change: Full Heel Turn
Ideally, I would put him back on SmackDown live and try to pretend like the last 3 months of his career didn’t happen. Unfortunately, that isn’t possible. If the WWE is planning on turning Jason Jordan heel down the line, I think that’s the best way to go at this point. Hopefully then he’ll be received much better than he has thus far as a singles competitor.
2. Jinder Mahal
The former WWE Champion has had one hell of a turnaround this year. Mahal went from being your basic jobber at the start of the year to dethroning one of the greatest superstars in the history of the company to win his first world championship just months later. The problem is that his rise to the top of the card was just so fast and his current gimmick never lasts.
Gimmick Change: Anything But The “Evil Foreigner With The US Title” Gimmick
You guys know what I’m talking about. The whole “(insert country here) is greater than America ever will be” gimmick. It works until you start losing matches. People start to care less, and eventually you find yourself near the bottom of the deck. Just ask Rusev, it took like three years before he got anywhere again. Now if WWE is planning to make Mahal the United States Champion in the nearby future then that’s fine, but it will only delay the inevitable. It never works.
1. Roman Reigns
I know I’m basically beating my head against the wall with this one, but it needs to be said once again: Roman Reigns over the course of the last two to three years has really needed to change his gimmick. It has reached the point beyond irritating that the WWE has insisted on getting him over with the character that he has now. It has not worked; it will not work; you need to change it. It’s nothing against Roman himself. Since the Shield broke up the first time in 2014, he has come a long way. Reigns has much improved on the microphone and is much better at cutting promos, and his in-ring work has improved overall, but in the end he has struggled to get over with the fans, all because his character is synonymous amongst the fans to that of the old John Cena back in the late 2000s. The frustrating part is that with any other wrestler on the roster, the WWE surely would have done something by now, but for some reason with Roman they are adamant on getting him over a specific way.
Gimmick Change: Change Wrestling Gear, Change Theme, Change… Everything>
Here’s a tip from me: If and when The Shield break up again, get rid of The Shield attire, give him his own theme music, and cut out the corny one liner catch phrases and nicknames ( “Believe That”, “I’m THE guy”, “The Big Dog”). Do all that and maybe – just maybe – you’ll get a more favorable reaction for him.
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