Who becomes a main event star in pro wrestling has as much to do with who is promoting the shows as it does the performers. Naturally, better performers are going to be placed in the main event more often, but being a good wrestler seems to have surprisingly little to do with the whole process. Instead, wrestlers are often split between main eventers and mid-carders based on their perceived drawing power. That is to say, you are only as good as the money people will pay to see you with.
Different promotions have different standards about what makes a main event star. In WWE, star power or presence plays a large role. Vince McMahon loves to create a larger than life atmosphere with WWE so most of his performers have to be able to project that.
Meanwhile, in places like Ring of Honor, they won’t even let you in the door if you can’t wrestle but often the main eventers are picked based on who will draw independent wrestling fans to the show. Then again at Impact Wrestling, who is picked for the main event depends on who owns the company that week…
In this article, we take a look at eight main event wrestlers from various promotions who we’re sick of seeing in the main events. We also take a look at eight wrestlers who aren’t currently wrestling in main events but should be.
16. Roman Reigns – Sick Of Main Eventing
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first; some are sick of Roman Reigns. More to the point, fans are tired of WWE’s constant attempts to get us to like him.
Finally, it seems the promotion is returning to what originally had some fans liking him, cloaking him in the Shield. The truth is Roman Reigns is a decent wrestler, it’s just that it became popular to boo him after it was clear WWE was pushing him over Daniel Bryan. Perhaps if he remains in the Shield for some time, that smell will start to come off him.
It might be best for Reigns to take some time away from the spotlight so fans stop feeling like he is so forced on them. Unfortunately, with WrestleMania coming up, it seems unlikely WWE will push him down the card.
15. Rusev – Should Main Event
There has never been a better time to turn Rusev face, pair him back up with Lana and give him a giant push. Rusev is hilarious and fans have slowly picked up on this over the years.
Working in Rusev’s favor is also that he seems to have finally gotten a catchphrase with “Rusev Day”. The comedy routine he’s currently doing with Aiden English will almost certainly lead to at least one member of the team turning babyface if not both.
Rusev was pushed as a monster when he first burst onto the scene. He even went undefeated for an entire year before losing to John Cena at WrestleMania 31. Since then, however, it seems he’s slowly been pushed down the card. We could see that trend change in 2018, however.
14. Alberto El Patron – Sick of Main Eventing
Granted, he’s only main eventing shows in Mexico and for Impact Wrestling but even that is more than he should. Fans got to see a rather unpleasant side of Alberto during his tumultuous relationship with Paige. There was an incident at an airport which made Alberto seem to be a particularly off-putting individual.
Alas, there is hope for those of us who would rather not see Alberto main event shows anymore. While he currently plays a major role in Impact Wrestling, that promotion recently hired a new crew and is undergoing changes. Part of those changes seems to be getting rid of high cost salaries like Alberto’s.
Del Rio is still a big deal in Mexico, however, and that doesn’t appear to have been shaken too much by his recent indiscretions. Thankfully, he and Paige separated recently.
13. Johnny Impact – Should Main Event
Impact Wrestling should cut ties with Alberto El Patron and push Johnny Impact to the moon. Thankfully, it looks as though that is exactly what they plan on doing. Along with the recent changes to Impact’s management team, they announced that both Taya and Johnny have signed new deals with the company which will also allow them to film episodes of Lucha Underground.
Johnny Mundo/Impact/Hennigan and Taya are big stars and won’t let the company down in the same ways Alberto did. With Impact getting rid of high paying salaries, we’ll also see Bobby Lashley gone from the company soon most likely, creating an even larger gap in their main event picture for Johnny and Taya to fill. It’s also good news that the Lucha Underground and Impact contracts won’t impede each other as both promotions have now relaxed their exclusivity requirements for talent.
12. Jinder Mahal – Sick Of Main Eventing
It’s time for the Jinder Mahal experiment to end. If he was to be the big star in India the company hoped for, they would have had him defeat Triple H on the recent live event show in the country. Instead, they had him lose the match to the company’s COO.
Jinder Mahal could be pushed down to mid-card status now and few would complain. Unfortunately, Shinsuke Nakamura’s main event run has so far only included defeats to Jinder. Nakamura lost to Jinder at SummerSlam and then again at Hell in a Cell. A lot of Nakamura’s momentum was sacrificed in favor of trying to get Jinder over.
This doesn’t mean it’s the end for Jinder, as he’ll still be a featured performer in WWE. It’s just he might be better suited to a mid-card role.
11. Cesaro – Should Main Event
Cesaro is a terrific wrestler and many WWE fans appreciate that. Unfortunately, Vince McMahon himself suggested the Swiss Superman has failed to resonate with the audience. McMahon stated that many of today’s current Superstars have failed to reach out and grab the brass ring, with Cesaro seemingly providing an excellent example of such a Superstar.
In the ring, there are few who can compare with Cesaro. His recent match on Monday Night Raw with Roman Reigns was evidence of this. If pushed to the top of the card, he could be having world-class matches with guys like A.J. Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura. For whatever reason, however, Vince McMahon is very hesitant to place him in such a role. Perhaps if Cesaro ends up drafted to SmackDown someday we could see him finally be given a shot in a top spot.
10. Triple H – Sick of Main Eventing
Recently, Triple H defeated Jinder Mahal at WWE’s special live event from India. Some are wondering why the 48-year-old WWE Executive was booked to defeat a guy who was WWE Champion just weeks ago.
After all, considering his age shouldn’t Hunter be losing matches at this stage of his career?Unfortunately, Triple H will always be in the main event whenever he returns to in-ring action. While his full-time career might fully be over, Triple H will be a part-timer in WWE for as long as his body will last. While the occasional main event match for Triple H might help to get some wrestlers over, it will also take an opportunity away from a full-timer with many more years of performing in front of them. Triple H might even win another World Championship before everything is said and done in his career.
9. Chad Gable – Should Main Event
Chad Gable has everything needed to become a top guy in WWE. He’s a former Olympic wrestler who has transitioned to the sports entertainment game nicely.
Many wrestling pundits have called Gable a star in the making. Some thought his run in American Alpha would last much longer than it did but evidently WWE really wanted to run with the Jason Jordan as Kurt Angle’s son. Now Gable is paired up with former Team Angle member, Shelton Benjamin.
WWE will continue to hide Gable in tag matches until they are ready to give him a run. The right people are said to be high on Gable, however, which is a good sign. It’s still only been a little over three years since he had his first match in NXT, so it might be a year or two until we see him pushed as a star.
8. Shane McMahon – Sick of Main Eventing
It’s been almost two years now since Shane McMahon returned to WWE. While having Shane in a GM or Commissioner’s role makes perfect sense, having the 47-year old regularly compete in matches is something many fans are hoping will end soon.
Since returning, Shane has wrestled both the Undertaker and A.J. Styles at WrestleMania. While both were decent matches, having Shane be the opponent of two top stars two years in a row prevented those stars from facing opponents who are much better than Shane is. Perhaps if we didn’t get A.J. Styles versus Shane McMahon at WrestleMania, we would have gotten A.J. against Shinsuke Nakamura.
Shane came back, jumped off Hell in a Cell, and is now running SmackDown. That’s enough. He doesn’t need to be doing that and wrestling in big matches.
7. Woken Matt Hardy – Should Main Event
Matt Hardy first appeared on an episode of Monday Night Raw in 1994. That nearly 24 years later he has completely reinvented himself and re-invigorated his career is a testament to him. Many of Matt’s Woken followers are hoping WWE goes all the way with the gimmick and puts him in the main event.
Working in Matt’s favor is the rumor that Vince McMahon himself is open to the character. Without Vince’s approval, the character would go nowhere but luckily he won’t have to worry about that.
Still, it seems as though WWE might just see the whole Woken/Broken universe as a mid-card comedy act. Hopefully, that is not the case. Now in the twilight of his career, wouldn’t it be something if Matt reaches a level in WWE he never has before.
6. Randy Orton – Sick of Main Eventing
Randy Orton is a great wrestler, it’s just that he’s been around forever. Not only that but Randy Orton has basically just been Randy Orton throughout his entire career. Unlike someone like Chris Jericho who re-invents himself every few years, Orton has had the same look, theme music, and move-set for the vast majority of his career.
Don’t get us wrong though, Randy Orton is an incredible performer and has a fanbase proven to be willing to spend money on the guy. After so many years, however, we’ve seen Orton in basically every scenario possible. We’ve even seen him in a haunted house match even!
Randy might be better served by going to a part-time schedule to make his matches feel more special or unique. This would also allow someone from the mid-card to be given more of an opportunity to shine in Orton’s absence.
5. Luke Harper – Should Main Event
Luke Harper is one of the most underused talents in all of wrestling. There are signs that might be changing however as his team with Eric Rowan has been given a makeover. So far, fans seem to be responding to the Bludgeon Brothers and that can only help Harper’s case for consideration as a future main eventer.
Harper did get a run as Intercontinental Champion once and for awhile it looked as though he was going to be placed in a more prominent role on SmackDown. Then he disappeared from TV for weeks before being repackaged.
Perhaps after the Bludgeon Brothers have a strong run as a tag team, WWE will listen to the many voices expressing the opinion that Luke Harper has something special to offer WWE’s main event picture.
4. Hiroshi Tanahashi – Sick of Main Eventing
For those who don’t follow NJPW, Hiroshi Tanahashi is sort of like their John Cena. He’s been around for over a decade and consistently been in the main events. Also like John Cena, Hiroshi Tanahashi is now in his 40s and ready to take a step back from the main event picture.
The most recent main event Tanahashi was featured in saw him defending his IWGP Intercontinental Championship successfully against Kota Ibushi. As of this writing, he is scheduled to defend the title again on January 4th, 2018, in the Tokyo Dome against Jay White. If NJPW is really ready to call it quits on Tanahashi as a main event star they will have White defeat him in the Dome. Unfortunately for Jay White fans, that seems unlikely to occur.
3. Kota Ibushi – Should Main Event
WWE fans might remember Kota Ibushi as a semi-finalist in 2016’s Cruiserweight Classic tournament. He’s one of the most talented wrestlers in the world but chooses only to work a part-time schedule which may prevent him from being placed in more main events.
Ibushi is former tag team partners with Kenny Omega and many had expected the two of them to face each other at Wrestle Kingdom this year. When Chris Jericho showed up in Japan it changed all that, however.
Now Kota Ibushi will challenge Cody for the Ring of Honor World Championship at the event. Considering that it seems as though there is some dissension brewing between Cody and Omega, it’s interesting that Cody will be facing Omega’s former tag team partner on the biggest show of the year for NJPW.
2. John Cena – Sick of Main Eventing
While John Cena appears to be transitioning away from being WWE’s franchise guy, he will still be at the top of the card when he does return. Many WWE fans would rather that not be the case.
Cena, like Orton, has simply been around on top for too long. Kids love him, in part, because they haven’t been around long enough to get sick of him. Also, Cena is the personification of WWE in the PG era. His jokes are corny, he wrestles in jean shorts, and he has the ability to make wrestling fans feel embarrassed to be wrestling fans (again not all fans but some).
On the other hand, Cena has been great for the WWE’s public image. Few people talk poorly of Cena either, though Alex Riley might have a gripe. On the surface however, in comparison to WWE main eventers of other eras, Cena is well-respected within the industry.
1. New Day – Should Main Event
New Day is a main event act, it’s just WWE hasn’t figured out they should be putting them in main events yet.
They had their chance to have The Usos cersus New Day Hell in a Cell match closeout a PPV but instead, they put Shane McMahon’s match in that place. The match between the Usos and New Day that night was definitely main event quality, however.
If WWE is dead-set against ever allowing a tag team title match main event a PPV- with that in mind, they should consider having any member of New Day go after a singles title. Either Kofi Kingston or Big E could be placed in a main event storyline and fans would believe it. An argument can be made that Xavier Woods doesn’t quite have a main event feel to him, at least not as a singles wrestler.
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