Every wrestler in WWE aspires to become a major Superstar and World Champion in the company. Quite a few wrestlers have immense talent but have struggled to move up the card. Others don't show as much and still get opportunities. There is no exact science to getting a push as Vince McMahon is still the person that makes those decisions. Wrestlers that Vince dislikes will have almost no chance to get a push that can land them the spots they deserve. They must try to figure out how to prove to Vince they are worthy of such a push, but it remains unlikely that it will happen.
We will look at both sides of the wrestling landscape in WWE with wrestlers that will not get the push they deserve and wrestlers that will get huge opportunities they may not necessarily have proven they can handle. It really is a crapshoot in WWE to move up the card. Many wrestlers just impress Vince with their look or presence and get a huge push right away. Time will tell if those wrestlers will thrive or fail with the undeserved push. It all comes down to McMahon’s opinion and his desire towards changing it for any changes in these wrestlers’ futures. These are ten deserving wrestlers that Vince will never give a major title to and ten undeserving ones that he will.
19 Deserving: Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn was arguably the greatest star in NXT history for good reason. The developmental brand became a hot show when Zayn and Neville took it to the next level in the early stages. Zayn has always been an extremely talented performer when it comes to good wrestling and charming character work.
Vince McMahon had zero interest in the underdog story of Zayn moving his way up the rankings. A heel turn would give him some life teaming with Kevin Owens, but it still left him in the mid-card picture. There is almost no chance of McMahon allowing Zayn to become a major champion if he is running the show.
18 Undeserving: Baron Corbin
Baron Corbin has underwhelmed since getting called up to the main roster from NXT. Despite the mediocre work in the ring and the issues backstage, Corbin has received a couple of huge opportunities. Backstage issues ultimately led to WWE having him fail in his Money in the Bank cash-in attempt.
Corbin also received a huge role as the General Manager-Elect running Raw for a few months. WWE would have Corbin get destroyed at the end, but he still received a lot of momentum as a heel character. Vince McMahon clearly likes Corbin, and there’s a good chance he will one day become a world champion.
17 Deserving: Cesaro
Cesaro has been one of the most underrated wrestlers in WWE since he joined the main roster. The skill set of Cesaro sees him having as much strength as anyone on the roster with great speed and agility for a tremendous all-around wrestling game.
Vince McMahon is the only person backstage that does not have a strong appreciation for Cesaro. The past interview on Steve Austin’s podcast would feature McMahon naming Cesaro as someone that didn’t step up enough to get a push. Cesaro is finding success in the tag division with Sheamus, but he’ll likely never have a major singles world title.
16 Undeserving: Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir
The reports of WWE creating Women’s Tag Team Championship belts will have that as a huge title for the first year or two. Many teams like Sasha Banks and Bayley, Trish Stratus and Lita, and The Bella Twins are already established choices.
There is another duo that could get a huge opportunity due to their association with Ronda Rousey. Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke are the two newest members of Rousey’s Four Horsewomen to debut for NXT helping Shayna Baszler. There is a good chance that Duke and Shafir will be the tag team as Rousey and Baszler stay in singles. Many other duos are just better and more deserving than the newcomers.
15 Deserving: Kairi Sane
Kairi Sane's talent has her thriving as one of the best female wrestlers in the world. WWE signed Sane following a great run in Japan. The short run has seen her already win the Mae Young Classic and have a reign as the NXT Women’s Champion.
Sane should be a major player whenever she does join the main roster. Unfortunately, Vince McMahon is still hesitant to push non-English speaking wrestlers to the top. Asuka’s mystique helped her get a run, but others still struggle. Sane likely will never have a major singles title run unless Triple H officially takes over for Vince.
14 Undeserving: EC3
EC3 is a talented wrestler that proved he could be great in Impact Wrestling. Unfortunately, he has been quite disappointing in NXT since joining the brand in early 2018. EC3 had one of the worst TakeOver matches of the year against Velveteen Dream that received slight criticism from Triple H in an interview.
The matches and character work of EC3 have flopped during the time in NXT as he fails to stand out like Adam Cole, Tommaso Ciampa, and many others. There is a chance he’ll get a great push on the main roster due to his physique and Vince McMahon’s preference. Hopefully, EC3 improves and deserves the opportunity he may get in a top spot.
13 Deserving: Apollo Crews
The athleticism of Apollo Crews should make him a much bigger asset on Raw than he is. Crews signed with huge interest from the fans when he joined NXT. This is one instance of a wrestler getting called up too early. Crews did great work in NXT, but he was called up before he could develop a character that fans could care for, like Finn Balor or Kevin Owens.
WWE has given Crews a few small opportunities to present the potential of a push. It never ends well for Crews, as Vince McMahon apparently gives up on him all the time. Crews doesn’t have the charisma McMahon wants from him, and likely will never get a real push for it.
12 Undeserving: Tamina
Tamina is arguably the worst in-ring performer for the women’s division on either Raw or SmackDown. The long run in WWE has seen her struggling to find a role as nothing ever works out. WWE recently paired Tamina with Nia Jax to create a potentially dominant tag team for later down the road when the tag titles are created.
Given how much WWE loves Jax and Tamina behind the scenes, there’s a very good chance that Vince McMahon gives them an early Women’s Tag Team Championship reign. The fans would not like that, as Tamina is not one of the talents they enjoy watching perform.
11 Deserving: Samoa Joe
The career of Samoa Joe has seen him achieve great success everywhere as a champion. Joe is a former world champion in TNA/Impact, Ring of Honor and NXT. The call-up to the main roster has seen him become an upper card name, but he never gets above the hump to win either of the two world titles.
Joe is not Vince McMahon’s cup of tea in terms of his look. Triple H offered Joe a contract with the honesty that McMahon would likely never agree to a call-up. Joe impressed enough to have a great role on television, but it remains unlikely that he will become a world champion on Raw or SmackDown.
10 Undeserving: Bobby Lashley
The return of Bobby Lashley to WWE has been a disappointing one if you watched his Impact Wrestling run. Lashley emerged into a main event heel with great matches during the past few years of success in Impact. WWE rehired him with the intent of making him a main eventer this time around after the initial failure.
Lashley struggled immensely as a face during his first few months. The heel run has been a lot better with Lio Rush as his manager, but his work is still not good enough for a world title reign. Vince McMahon, however, does still view Lashley as a top star due to his look. A world title reign may come his way in 2019, whether he deserves it or not.
9 Deserving: Finn Balor (With An Actual Run)
Finn Balor was the most valuable performer for NXT to help it grow to another level. The main event run of Balor played a massive role in NXT selling out major venues and growing as a brand. Balor took his game to the next level with the special attraction of the Demon leading to more merchandise sold than most main roster stars.
The call-up to Raw started with a bang as Vince McMahon trusted Triple H enough to make Finn the first Universal Champion. Balor relinquished the title one night later due to an injury and lost all faith of McMahon. It remains highly unlikely that Balor will get a real chance as a world champion with Vince in charge.
8 Undeserving: Braun Strowman
It may be a bit harsh to say Braun Strowman is undeserving, but the push of his has been quite interesting to watch unfold in both positive and negative ways. There is no arguing that Strowman is a successful wrestler after getting a massive push into the main event picture.
However, there are huge expectations to come from a world champion. The title matches are expected to be long, have a high quality, and deliver compelling angles. Strowman has not had much of those, as his strengths feature him destroying others and taking part in glorified stunts. Braun should deliver some good matches and show variety in his character before getting a major title reign.
7 Deserving: Johnny Gargano
Johnny Gargano has become one of the top stars in NXT for good reason. Any list that looked back to the best WWE matches of 2018 would feature Gargano’s TakeOver matches. A heel turn towards the end of the year added more character depth and proved that Johnny Wrestling could excel as both an underdog face and twisted villain.
Gargano has the potential to deliver some of the greatest matches in WWE history if allowed to shine on the main roster. The most likely result will feature Gargano getting stuck in the mid-card due to his size not impressing Vince McMahon. We can only hope Gargano can prove McMahon wrong like Daniel Bryan and a few other smaller wrestlers have.
6 Undeserving: Lacey Evans
The news of new NXT wrestlers coming to WWE in 2019 will see Lacey Evans join one of the divisions. Raw or SmackDown will have Evans as a likely heavily-pushed woman in the roster. NXT featured her showcasing her character as an old-school Southern belle trashing the new ladies of the division.
There weren’t many, if any, stand out matches for Evans during her time in NXT. Evans is not nearly as talented as most of the ladies on Raw or SmackDown, but she does have the look and character that typically gets favored by Vince McMahon. Get ready to rage as Evans getting pushed above Sasha Banks, Bayley, and many other favorites in 2019.
5 Deserving: Ember Moon
One of the most underutilized women on the WWE roster today is Ember Moon. The incredible NXT run for Moon featured her winning the NXT Women’s Champion. It led to great matches with Asuka, Shayna Baszler and many others when there were fewer restraints on her work.
Ember rarely gets PPV matches and struggles to find a storyline on the Raw brand. She is clearly one of the more underrated wrestlers in any division today. Moon reportedly is not one of Vince McMahon’s favorites and will have to show a lot to get a push any time in the near future.
4 Undeserving: Randy Orton (again)
Randy Orton has already won a world title in WWE 13 times in his career. The best days of Orton are behind him, as he’s been in the company for a long time now. John Cena transitioning into a part-time role makes you think Orton should do the same soon, but he has no realistic chances at succeeding in Hollywood.
Orton has been a favorite of Vince McMahon from day one and that remains the same today. There’s a very good chance Orton will have a world title run yet again in 2019 with the heel character. So many wrestlers deserve their first chance in the big spot that Orton getting another one with mediocre work would be a huge disappointment.
3 Deserving: Andrade Almas
Andrade Almas showed that he could deliver great work in the main event spot in NXT. The alignment with manager Zelina Vega led to Almas having a successful NXT Championship run against the likes of Aleister Black and Johnny Gargano.
Almas has struggled to gain momentum on the main roster despite being on SmackDown for more than half of 2018. The new year of 2019 is expected to see him get more opportunities. It does remain unlikely that Almas will get elevated to the world title level any time soon, with Vince McMahon favoring others over him for such top spots.
2 Undeserving: Mandy Rose
Mandy Rose has been a favorite of Vince McMahon since her time on Tough Enough. McMahon reportedly wanted her to win the contest. Despite finishing in second place, Rose received a contract and was always planned to have a main roster run.
The first year on WWE television has given Rose a slow burn with mostly tag team work in secondary feuds. However, there are reportedly bigger plans for Mandy in 2019. McMahon loves her look and charisma. The athleticism of Rose gives her the chance to improve in the ring with more opportunities coming. Unfortunately, there are many more talented and deserving wrestlers that will take a back seat for her.
1 Deserving: Kofi Kingston
It is a bit surprising to realize Kofi Kingston has been on the WWE main roster for over 11 years without a world title. Kingston is an important part of the SmackDown product, with The New Day becoming some of the more important faces of the company. New Day all work well together, but Kingston is the most talented of the three.
Kingston’s long journey in WWE would provide a great story of him finally having his big moment of a world title win. Don’t hold your breath expecting it, as Vince McMahon has always stopped short when trying to push Kingston in the past. Kofi will have a Hall of Fame career, but he may never win one of the world titles.