WWE is heading to the biggest part of its calendar year, and following WrestleMania, they must start over and provide fans with another year’s worth of exciting, fresh television, while trying to make big stars to replace the ones that are coming back just for WrestleMania season. The company will also be letting go of some talents to make way for people coming up from NXT, and in short, there will be a lot of change in the air after WrestleMania 34 is all said and done.
Aside from the inevitable talent releases, shifts in the main event scene are a better way to accomplish change and keep things fresh. There have been some wrestlers who feel as if they’ve been in the main event scene forever, and there are others who have been treading midcard water for years, with no clear plans for a main event push. Who should be demoted to the midcard after spending so long in the main event (or a brief, undeserved period), and who should be promoted to the main event?
It may be time the WWE made a change to their midcard-main event alignments, and here are 15 examples of performers who need to be moved up or down the card.
15. Midcard –> Main Event: Luke Harper
Luke Harper has been attached to Bray Wyatt for the majority of his career, and he has shown his potential the entire time. But when he split from Wyatt again in 2016, fans were worried about his standing in the company. The bearded giant has gone on to prove everyone wrong, as he has looked like a star since this split, and even in a loss to Randy Orton at Elimination Chamber, he came out looking like he should be a permanent fixture in the main event scene, even worthy of inclusion in the WWE title match at WrestleMania. He will need to develop more of a character if he is to stay at this level outside of “former Wyatt Family member,” but the writing on SmackDown has been excellent and could accommodate him well.
14. Main Event –> Midcard: Charlotte
This decision is quite a difficult one, as the women’s division on RAW has no midcard, but if there is anyone who would benefit from stepping aside and letting other women have their rivalries for the title, it’s Charlotte. While there may be a lack of midcard babyfaces for Charlotte to do battle with, there are only so many times that fans can see the same segments and the same matches featuring Charlotte, Sasha Banks, or Bayley against each other, and after their blow-off bout at WrestleMania, this change has to be made. Maybe a feud with Dana Brooke or a young up-and-comer from NXT has the potential to be worth watching, but for now, Charlotte’s run at the top of the division has to be stopped.
13. Midcard –> Main Event: Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler has been stuck in midcard purgatory for the past few years, but at the tail end of 2014, it looked like he was finally going to get the main event push he deserved. That was not to be, and his stale character was again stuck in the midcard until the brand spli, where he had a fire lit under him and has shown more passion than ever. His recent heel turn has reignited his career, but after a lukewarm feud with Kalisto and Apollo Crews, Dolph Ziggler again has no positive prospects moving forward. Yet if he were to move to the main event, one last run for this longtime crowd favorite could be fantastic television.
12. Main Event –> Midcard: Roman Reigns
I’m pretty sure everyone knew this was coming, but it would do wonders for Roman’s character, as fans are still not warming to him as the main babyface on RAW. A demotion to the midcard to solidify that part of the show would not only help RAW’s depth, but it could work as a catalyst for a much needed heel turn. We know this isn’t coming before WrestleMania, as Reigns is coming off a big win against Braun Strowman and an impending match with the Undertaker, but battling in the midcard scene would give Reigns time to develop his character without the main event pressure, and that would work out perfectly for Reigns and his chances when he returns to the top.
11. Midcard –> Main Event: Roderick Strong
It’s harder to include an NXT entry on this list as the program has no midcard title belts, but in terms of time on TV and his fleeting chances at the NXT Championship, it’s easy to consider Mr. ROH an NXT midcarder. Following NXT Takeover: Orlando, that has to change, as we will no doubt see some promotions, leaving many mouth-watering matchups for Strong at the top of the card. Whether he is battling the “Glorious” Bobby Roode, the returning Hideo Itami or everyone’s favorite indie darling Kassius Ohno, Strong has to be in contention for the prestigious NXT title. He may not have the overwhelming charisma of others on the show, but at yet another time of turmoil and roster change in NXT, a great performer like Roderick could anchor the main event scene.
10. Main Event –> Midcard: Becky Lynch
The SmackDown women’s division has been pushed much differently from the RAW women, as there have been several performers at the forefront, allowing for several stories to have the spot light at the same time. One wrestler who has remained at the top throughout is fan favorite Becky Lynch, but with Nikki Bella, Alexa Bliss, Natalya, Mickie James and Naomi all performing well, it may be time for Lynch to take a back seat for now. This doesn’t mean that Becky’s role on the show should be seen as any less important, but there are many great stories to be told with her character, and for now, it would be best if those stories didn’t involve her again pursuing Alexa Bliss and her SmackDown Women’s Championship.
9. Midcard –> Main Event: Cesaro
Fans around the world have been asking for it over the last few years, but it’s about time Vince McMahon puts his foolish views on the Swiss Superman aside, and at least gives him the ball to see if he can run with it. If someone with the lack of charisma and promo ability like Roman Reigns can be a main event player, and even main event two straight WrestleManias, then surely someone with the rugged good looks and even better in-ring ability like Cesaro should surely get a chance. Whether this comes from a Money in the Bank ladder match victory or from a string of fantastic matches, this has to happen in 2017, or the company will risk losing one of its best wrestlers.
8. Main Event –> Midcard: John Cena
Here’s another big one, as John Cena has been competing at the top of the card for well over a decade. With his career winding down and heading into part-timer territory, it’s time for him to step aside and let the new breed shine. With talents like Baron Corbin, Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler currently roaming the midcard region on SmackDown, and some NXT call ups to be made, Cena would have no shortage of entertaining matches and rivalries, and it would let the young stars take the spotlight. I doubt that Cena, as he is becoming a bigger star outside of WWE, would take this lightly, but if he continues to have time off, then WWE just won’t be able to justify him being in the main event over the likes of AJ Styles, Bray Wyatt and the rest of the SmackDown stars.
7. Midcard –> Main Event: Sami Zayn
Fans of NXT and ROH know the work that El Generico, now Sami Zayn, can do, and his storytelling in the ring is completely unparalleled, as his plethora of classic matches in NXT and his short time on RAW shows. He has shown an ability to work with wrestlers with differing styles, from the high flying Neville to bruisers like Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens, even with top stars like John Cena and Braun Strowman. In short, he has earned the right to be the underdog in the main event scene. This could work on either RAW or SmackDown, as Zayn has the ability to be a top star in the company the likes of Daniel Bryan, as fans genuinely feel an emotional attachment to him and his story, especially those who have followed him since his days in NXT.
6. Main Event –> Midcard: Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins is perhaps the most talented in-ring performer in the WWE since Shawn Michaels, but up until his recent injury, he had been involved in the WWE Championship match for several PPVs straight. Even for someone as talented and impressive as Rollins, that will disenfranchise many fans, seeing the same thing over and over again. And with the stars WWE currently has at their disposal, Rollins and the mid ard would both benefit greatly from this move, especially if someone with the resume of Rollins entered either the U.S. title or Tag Team title picture, as it would give these belts more credibility. If this happens, it wouldn’t happen for long, as WWE have placed great faith in the #1 overall draft pick. But for a brief time, this would benefit both Rollins and the WWE.
5. Midcard –> Main Event: The Miz
We have seen The Miz’s development in WWE for over a decade now, but it wasn’t until now that he found a gimmick that could make him a true star. His persona as a Hollywood star in combination with the WWE return of his real-life wife Maryse has him doing the best work of his career, and has become the best act on all of SmackDown. His feud with retired Daniel Bryan is a pleasure to watch, as it blends storyline drama with Bryan’s real life hatred of retirement and the Miz’s “soft” style. That has allowed both men to take part in must-see TV every week, to borrow Miz’s catchphrase. It won’t be this rivalry that takes the Miz back to the main event, but after his failed main event of WrestleMania 27, the Miz is again ready to take on the main event scene and battle for the WWE Championship.
4. Main Event –> Midcard: Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens is a fantastic performer, both in the ring and on the microphone, and his run as WWE Universal Champion has very much divided the opinion of fans, with some seeing him as a great wrestler with great personality, others feel he isn’t a big enough star to be in that spot. This move is already in motion, as Owens will battle Chris Jericho at WrestleMania for the United States Championship, a belt which he should hold for a long time so he can get back to the heel he was when he first arrived on the scene.
3. Midcard –> Main Event: Neville
At this point, it’s fair to say that the revitalized Neville is easily one of the most improved performers in the WWE after his heel turn. Yet that’s the problem; he’s become too good for the Cruiserweight division, which would benefit from letting guys like Cedric Alexander, Austin Aries and Jack Gallagher be themselves and go all out in the ring against each other. Neville looks so far above the rest of the division, that it looks like his ‘King’ gimmick and arrogance could carry him to the top of the show, if not holding the main title, at least challenging for it. Maybe this would be a great idea for the upcoming draft to send Neville to SmackDown and have him test himself against the main event caliber stars, as we have already seen him shine in the ring with the likes of Seth Rollins.
2. Main Event –> Midcard: Randy Orton
After a decade-long run at the top of whichever card he has found himself on, it is time for Orton to start battling some up-and-coming stars in the midcard, plain and simple. His current rivalry with WWE Champion Bray Wyatt has been fantastic due to the great storytelling and developments in the plot, but he just doesn’t have the same aura and excitement around him as he once did. Following WrestleMania 33 and his “main event” from winning the Royal Rumble, it would be great to see Orton battling for the Intercontinental Championship with the likes of Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler or even a struggling Apollo Crews, because at this time, his legacy can’t be tarnished, and this would definitely help the next generation.
1. Midcard –> Main Event: Baron Corbin
No one has improved in the past year more than Baron Corbin. After seeing his supposed limitations in NXT, no one could have seen this type of speedy development coming, but that’s what happens when you give wrestlers time and let them be themselves. The Lone Wolf has taken the tired “bully” gimmick and made it his own, and had probably the only watchable Chairs Match in WWE history, tearing the house down at TLC with Kalisto. His involvement in the main event has already begun, starring in two WWE Championship matches in the past few months alone, but it is time he had a one-on-one rivalry with the champion, whoever that is. He may still be limited inside the ring compared to other top stars like AJ Styles or Kevin Owens, but his style fits his persona and he tells fantastic stories in the ring.
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