The current WWE roster is probably the most talented one in years, as the company seems to have snatched up all the top wrestlers from around the globe in their own basket. From signing sensations from Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling, the company’s main roster is packed with so many world class athletes that even the writers themselves cannot decide on whom to push and whom to bury. The Brand of WWE has become so lucrative for these wrestlers that they cannot help but get seduced by the company’s call, as over the past few years we’ve seen so many wrestlers join the company.
The thing is, this is hampering the progress and situation for some of the older guards as well as other guys who worked their way to the top over the years as they have been left to rot in a corner by the WWE. Because of the acquisition of superstars who seem to fill all the levels of the roster, some of these wrestlers who’ve been in the company for many years seem to be sidelined into irrelevancy. Because of the limited time slot and so many storylines already in the hands of creative, they seem to pay no heed to these washed away athletes who can’t help but obey whatever is commanded by Vince.
What creative does do for these superstars is put them in fringe shows like WWE Superstars or Main Event to job to emerging mid-carders, as they only have these irrelevant shows to give signs of improvement in hopes to get a push into at least appearing on WWE TV. Some of these superstars who do appear on WWE TV on a weekly basis are stuck in such a difficult predicament, having to wrestle the same superstar every week or doing the same exact thing every week which hampers the uniqueness of the superstar. Let’s take a look at 15 Superstars in WWE who are stuck in a rut right now.
The exciting luchador looked like a hot commodity when he dazzled everyone in NXT to make his main roster debut alongside Sin Cara as part of “The Lucha Dragons”, and was labeled by many to be the next Rey Mysterio. Things looked bright for the little spark, as he caught everyone’s attention with his dazzling, high-flying ability inside the ring and was booked to look as the ultimate underdog in the mid-card. After some impressive months with Sin Cara, Kalisto was given a singles run when his partner got injured and was pushed to surprisingly win the US Title from Alberto Del Rio. He would lose it the next night, but have another reign when he won it off Del Rio again at the Royal Rumble. The Luchador would hold the title till Extreme Rules, defeating the likes of Del Rio and Ryback along the way. But after a rematch vs Rusev to try to regain it back, he seems to have completely disappeared from the scene as he rarely makes appearances and the “Lucha Dragons” themselves have been shoved to the pre-shows of the WWE as creative can’t seem to figure out what to do with the two-time US champion anymore.
14 The Big Show
“WEELLLLLLL.... WHERE IS THE BIG SHOW?!?” That’s a damn good question as the “World’s Largest Athlete” is nowhere to be seen nowadays. The guy is still one of the most intimidating wrestlers in the company, in spite of being 44 years old and can still legitimately knock someone out with his monstrous fists. Big Show was quite involved in the Authority vs Roman Reigns storyline last year, having many (too many for our liking) matches with "THE Guy" with A Last Man Standing Match ending the feud and putting the big man out of action for some time. He then tried to mess with Brock Lesnar in a network show and got suplexed into some more months on the shelf, before returning just to be able to compete for the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal (with him being its previous holder). After having that epic (ish) clash with Shaq, Show went out of sight from WWE TV and rarely appears nowadays, without competing in a singles match in over 3 months. He made periodic appearances, making the most recent one when he promoted WWE’s involvement with The Special Olympics and it doesn’t seem like creative has anymore plans for him.
13 The Dudley Boyz
So much was anticipated when The Dudley Boyz returned to the WWE last year, with WWE’s tag team division looking strong as ever, many thought this return could be amazing for The Dudleyz themselves. That didn’t really happen. As soon as they returned, they started feuding with The New Day (who were slowly growing as the most over part in the WWE) and weren’t really cheered despite being the “extreme” tag team because of their opponents' irresistible aura. The Dudleys moved to the back of the line, having a feud with The Wyatt Family which was underwhelming before they were turned heel and assured to be “the baddest tag team on the planet” again. This sparked hopes of seeing the Dudleyz of old, but with the inflow of many new exciting teams, no one seemed to take them seriously and WWE’s booking of their heel run has been quite limited as well. From being the 9 time Tag Team Champions, they have become jobbers to other teams in the pre-show as no signs of another tag reign seem in sight with more new, more agile teams coming into the fray.
Despite being part of some teams who we just don’t seem to take seriously, Naomi has proven to have grown into a very good wrestler, having the ability to put on some really good matches. She has turned into a proven athlete, from dancing as a Funkadactyl to becoming a really good heel. Naomi seemed to be on a dominating roll as part of Team B.A.D. with Tamina and Sasha Banks at her side, but found it difficult to compete with the NXT female wrestlers in terms of being over with the crowd to being over with creative. She would have a good feud with Sasha Banks when The Boss decided to go her own way, and maintained her heel persona superbly during this time. But things started going downwards from that point, as creative was more focused on pushing the NXT call-ups as she and Tamina had to compete in periodic matches, with their last being at WrestleMania as part of a 5 on 5 Diva Tag battle. Tamina got injured after that and creative didn’t seem to have anything for a singles run for her, as she is now just waiting for an opportunity.
11 Tyler Breeze
Even though Tyler Breeze wasn’t exactly "The Face" of NXT, his narcissistic gimmick was pretty over for fans to lament his promotion to the main roster. After almost 5 years in developmental, Breeze finally got his main roster call and even looked to be set to be a prominent mid-carder when he defeated Dolph Ziggler in his first match. But that was probably the end of the line for him. He continued to lose matches and from January 20th onwards he would have a winless streak of 20 televised matches. He finally broke the duck when he got a win over Goldust with R-Truth (who was actually trying to make Goldust jealous) at his side. Breeze continued to roll with Truth before he formed a team with Fandango called “Breezango” who scored a couple of wins over “The Golden Truth”. There were rumors flying around that creative was actually very happy with “Breezango”, but that doesn’t seemed to be the case as they then started jobbing to “The Golden Truth”, losing to them at Money in the Bank, with Breeze and Fandango covered in sunburns. Stuff like this are what breaks a career, as creative doesn’t seem to be interested in improving his situation.
The Big Red Monster has been one of WWE's most reliable assets over the years, and his unreal passion for the product and loyalty towards Vince McMahon means he’ll never complain about anything. Kane was a definite icon in the Attitude Era as well as the Ruthless Aggression Era, but seemed to get less relevant with the PG Era taking shape as WWE took his mask off (again) and made him into an Authority guy. This took away all the credibility of the demonic Kane, and fans just stopped caring about him, as he helped the Authority win all the time but would often lay down to get “the good guys” an advantage. Kane would get his “demon Kane” personality back after losing a WWE Championship match to Seth Rollins and being fired as “Corporate Kane”, but would be reduced to making periodic appearances with the most relevant being with his helping The Undertaker take down The Wyatt Family. He returned in the Andre the Giant Memorial battle but disappeared yet again, eventually returning as “Corporate Kane” recently and losing an IC Title match against The Miz. It seems like he isn’t being fit into “The New Era” anytime soon.
9 David Otunga
Remember when David Otunga was a prominent guy from The Nexus who actually seemed to have a future as a heel “authority” guy? Yeah, WWE doesn’t really remember as they’ve treated Otunga with no respect at all after The Nexus disbanded. Otunga didn’t really do much to impress creative either, who gave him the gimmick of a legal advisor (with Otunga actually having a law degree from Harvard Law in real life) and someone who sucked up to John Laurinaitis rather than trying to wrestle his way into success. Otunga did continue wrestling on the side after a while, but mostly just jobbed to other mid-carders and was given no push whatsoever. After a failed time in wrestling, Otunga was given the chance to become the Raw Pre-Show panelist, after which he became a color commentator for Main Event and Superstars. But with Jerry Lawler being suspended recently due to being arrested, Otunga was promoted to be a voice of SmackDown where he doesn’t exactly look comfortable. The WWE should’ve focused more on training him in the ring than outside it, and now creative has nothing for him.
8 Summer Rae
For those who didn’t follow her NXT days, you would probably ask whether Summer Rae could even wrestle. The answer to that is yes, she was quite a capable athlete in her NXT days and even went on to defeat Sasha Banks in the inaugural NXT Women’s Championship Tournament. She continued to be a hot property in the Women’s division in NXT, forming an alliance with Sasha later on and often competing for the NXT Women’s Championship. But the creative of the main roster had other ideas for her, as she debuted as Fandango’s dance partner which didn’t let her be involved in the Divas Title scene. Even at a time where women’s wrestling is being greatly advertised by the WWE, creative turned her into something of an eye-candy who tried to ruin relationships. Later on she became Rusev’s replacement for Lana after the two had separated, before trying to hit on Dolph Ziggler. She would later accompany Tyler Breeze for a short time, with her last major match being the 10-Diva tag at WrestleMania. Creative has ruined her chances of being a top female wrestler for the company, with no options being seen for her by creative right now.
7 Darren Young
Things looked to be on the rise for Darren Young after he came out of the closet to publicly declare himself as being gay, as Vince had no choice but to protect his image by pushing the guy. A slight push got him into appearing on WWE TV a lot more than he normally did, before it was tarnished after he was injured in 2014. Young returned in 2015 to reunite with Titus O’Neil to again roll as The Prime Time Players and both men were pushed into the tag team scene, winning the Tag Titles off from The New Day which gave them their first belts in the company. But the overwhelming popularity of The New Day would propel the WWE into giving the belts back to them, as the PTP returned to rarely winning as a team. They went their separate ways later on, with Young again having to wrestle on shows like Superstars and sporadic matches which he continued to lose. Recently, he was re-packaged with a new gimmick called “Make Darren Young Great Again” with WWE Hall of Famer Bob Backlund as his “life coach” and even though the recycled promos are somewhat entertaining, creative doesn’t seem to know where to go with it as Young isn’t being brought to the ring anytime sooner and is stuck with these ridiculous promos.
6 Mark Henry
Mark Henry was once a monster nobody wanted to mess with during his “Hall of Pain” gimmick where he even crushed The Big Show to dominate his way into his first World Heavyweight Championship. But things started to deteriorate for him after that gimmick was discarded, as he turned from the “World’s Strongest Man” to someone who could be regarded as “The World’s Strongest Jobber”. In the past few years all the relevancy and dominance which Henry had asserted during his “Hall of Pain” gimmick seemed to have been forgotten as he’s being reduced to someone who lays down for other guys to get over. This got more infuriating when last year he was reduced to turning heel one week, only to become a face (without any explanation) the next. Henry would job to the likes of The Big Show, Sheamus and even Neville (who’s probably half his size) before he got injured during a match with Big E. Henry did recover to compete in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal where he had a decent showing, but hasn’t appeared much since. He has stated Vince McMahon’s irresistible personality as a factor for him signing another WWE contract some years back, but he definitely won’t be signing another one as creative has turned him into an absolute disappointment.
5 The Ascension
For those who followed The Ascension during their dominating run as NXT Tag Team Champions, the team which debuted on the main roster was only a shade of the team which dominated NXT for so long. After being very impressive in NXT, Konnor and Viktor got a surprise call from the main roster where they debuted as the Road Warriors rip-offs and were never given the chance of being themselves. To add to that, JBL continued to bury them with his commentary, even coming off the chair to destroy them with other legends. It seemed they still had hope when they defeated The New Age Outlaws at the Royal Rumble, but that wasn’t to be as they were soon turned into a jobber tag team and all their hard work tarnished in a matter of months. They would be in the tag team scene, but would always be the ones who ate the pin in the matches and soon aligned with Stardust to form "The Cosmic Wasteland”. This only ridiculed them even more, as they soon had to break up when Konnor was suspended for 60 days for violating the WWE’s wellness policy. They’ve reunited recently, but nothing more than jobbing looks to be in their fate.
To think that Sheamus was the WWE World Heavyweight Champion some months back is preposterous considering his state in the roster right now. Sheamus had won last year’s Money in the Bank and topped off a fairly successful 2015 when he also won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship off from Roman Reigns, but this would turn only to be a transitional champion as Reigns won it off him soon. WWE then tarnished his whole reign by making him the leader of “The League of Nations” as the boring stable threatened to destroy the reputation of all 4 of the wrestlers in it. It was disbanded soon after WrestleMania as Barrett left and Del Rio and Rusev went onto their own, successful ways and Sheamus was left to becoming a mid-card jobber in “The New Era”. He is currently feuding with Apollo Crews which is composed off same recycled matches with Apollo probably going over at the end of it, and Sheamus is a victim of this “New Era” where the more “superior” athletes will probably be preferred to the Irish brawler who will probably continue to put over upcoming talent, as creative doesn’t look intent on making him into a monster again.
3 Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler’s downfall in the past years is probably amongst the most annoying things about WWE right now, as “The Showoff” just doesn’t seem to catch a break at the company. Many thought that great things were heading Ziggler’s way when he was the sole survivor and responsible for winning “Team Cena” the match against The Authority at Survivor Series, but he only got fired(kayfabe) later on. Things only got worse after he was brought back, as he was part of some horrible matches with god-awful story-lines with The Love Triangle with Rusev and Lana tarnishing his relevancy as a top star of the company. Ziggler would then put over Tyler Breeze in another love triangle, this time with Summer Rae in it. Ziggler impressed in the Royal Rumble match this year and also in the 7 man IC Title Ladder match at WrestleMania, but things again went down for him as he gained some momentum. This time, he would have to put over Baron Corbin as both of them have been in many recycled matches over the few months as the feud just doesn’t seem to end. At the rate at which he’s being downgraded by creative, Ziggler should just leave the company when his contract expires next as creative seems to have no respect for his character.
2 Zack Ryder
Another victim of horrible booking from creative, Zack Ryder probably doesn’t even care anymore of what WWE does with his character. The “Long Island Iced-Z” worked really hard to get himself over with the fans with his “Long Island Loudmouth” gimmick but was buried by creative even before he could become a fan-favorite. Despite much pleading from the fans to give him a push, Ryder was always booked to look like a glorified jobber and has been a jobber for many years now. He was “demoted” to NXT in 2015 when he formed “The Hype Bros” with Mojo Rawley and did something right to please Vince McMahon enough to let him win the Intercontinental Title at WrestleMania 32. He would obviously go onto lose it to The Miz the next night (because who cares about Ryder being champion, right?) and all the ovation he got for his win was again shadowed by this. Ryder returned to NXT where he is somewhat successful, while making sporadic appearances on the main roster jobbing to random people. Creative seems to have nothing more than jobbing for him for the past few years, as Ryder’s WWE career seems to be a bad curse.
1 Jack Swagger
Jack Swagger’s fall from grace in the past few years is depressing, as someone who was being touted as the next Kurt Angle is now a definitive jobber in the WWE. Swagger’s WWE career started with a bang, as he won the ECW Title followed by Money in the Bank and the World Heavyweight Title in a matter of 3 years, but things fell horribly for him. He was first managed by Vickie Guerrero with Dolph Ziggler and then by Zeb Colter who formed “The Real Americans” with Swagger and Cesaro. This got him somewhat over with fans, before they were disbanded and Swagger was continuously put against the anti-American Rusev in an America vs its Enemy match which has been recycled so many times over the past few years. Swagger mostly spends his time competing in fringe shows like Superstars and Main Event, where he loses to emerging mid-carders and recently feuded with Alberto Del Rio and Zeb Colter in an America vs Mexico type of a feud(which he lost). He makes sporadic appearance as the “The Real American” trying to fight for his country but failing every time, as the talented and trained wrestler deserved much more than what creative has served him over the past few years.