Wrestling is a dog eat dog world and despite the fact that they all might get along behind the scenes, there are only so many spots available in the main event of WWE. The problem is that everybody in the company would like to be in one. Some wrestlers are lucky enough to be given that opportunity, whether that is earned through circumstance or hard work it is ultimately what happens after they've reached that point that matters.
Many times, wrestlers who get to the main event spot take it and run with it for as long as possible. Just look at John Cena's incredible career as a perfect example. Yet sometimes wrestlers arrive in the main event scene and totally fail with the responsibility. Someone like Ryback springs to mind as an example. He was put in the main event spot and didn't take full advantage. While a lot of that comes down to timing and not popularity or ability, there can be varying reasons why a WWE Superstar doesn't work as a main event talent.
Whether the fans just don't react to them no matter what they do, or whether their matches aren't up to standard, there can be countless reasons for failure. But there is always someone waiting in the wings to replace them. That is exactly what this list will look at, eight current WWE main event talents who are failing in the top spot, and eight who are ready to replace them and attempt to do a greater job.
18 Failed: Jinder Mahal
The Jinder Mahal project has failed, it is as simple as that. While his run as WWE Champion won't rank as the worst of all time, it also won't be remembered as one of the best with lacklustre feud after lacklustre feud.
With Mahal not being technically gifted in the ring, he is best served to keep things simple. His matches don't stand out either, making everything he does very bland, which is not something you want from your main event talent. While he doesn't deserve to simply be relegated into obscurity (after all, his improvements are clear and he still has an entertaining purpose) a step down from the main event picture would enhance the product and allow Mahal to develop with less pressure.
17 Replace: Baron Corbin
Baron Corbin is the man that WWE should have pushed in the first place. Much better in the ring, Corbin offers something that very few people on the entire WWE roster can: genuine heel heat. Corbin isn't a heel that fans love to hate, he is someone that they simply despise. While Mahal gets boos, those come because fans don't believe he belongs in the position he has been put in or because he talks trash about America.
The Lone Wolf has all the tools needed to make a main event run and it appeared 2017 was going to be his time after winning the Money in the Bank. Instead WWE changed its mind at the last minute. Hopefully in 2018 WWE will go all the way with Corbin.
16 Failed: Bayley
Remeber when there was so much buzz and anticipation about when Bayley would debut on the main roster? Well, that feels like an eternity ago now. The once incredibly popular Bayley now feels like just an ordinary member of the women's roster.
Following her incredible run in NXT, everyone's favourite Hugger had so much momentum heading into the main roster. WWE has all but squashed that and she now feels like a character without a purpose or goal. From her horrendous feud with Alexa Bliss, which only made her look even weaker, to the fact she has just been portrayed as a megastar without the uphill climb that made her so loved in NXT. Bayley has failed to become the main event star she had the potential to be.
15 Replace: Asuka
Whilst WWE failed to capitalize on the momentum and booking of Bayley when she transitioned to the main roster, so far WWE's handling of Asuka has been exactly what it should be. Maintaining her undefeated streak, allowing her to wrestle her own style and feeding her jobbers when needed, Asuka has been protected and has been presented to the fans as a complete star.
There is no question that she will be moving to the main event spot and likely the Women's Championship in the near future and hopefully she can be one of the faces of the women's division for years to come.
14 Failed: Shinsuke Nakamura
In a similar way to Bayley, Shinsuke Nakamura had a lot of hype surrounding his debut on the main roster. It was something fans had been hoping for after a stellar run in NXT, but his time on SmackDown Live hasn't gone smoothly.
Nakamura has lacked the strong style edge that made him so unique in NXT. He has just blended in among the rest of the roster and is struggling to fit in, instead of showing the world what he is truly capable of. It hasn't helped that his feuds haven't been amazing either. Working with Jinder Mahal wasn't the most exciting program, but Nakamura doesn't look like someone who should be WWE Champion anytime soon and that is a real shame.
13 Replace: Aleister Black
When one hard-hitting and, rather unique character left NXT, another arrived in the form of Aleister Black and he has wowed audiences since his arrival in the company in a similar way to how Nakamura first did.
Black has got it all. From the look, the character, to the in-ring ability, he is going to be a major star for WWE. His run in NXT will likely not be as long as others have been because of this. Whenever he does eventually gain his call-up, it is crucial that Black replaces the void that fans expected Nakamura to fill in hard-hitting wrestling and bring his own style to the main roster.
12 Failed: Kane
To start with, let's make it clear that Kane's main event run has only failed during his recent return. Overall his career is one worthy of a Hall of Fame ring, with the Big Red Machine being one of the greatest big men of all time.
With that said, his recent run has not been enjoyable to witness in the slightest. From squashing upcoming talents such as Finn Balor to his sluggish brawls with Braun Strowman, Kane has looked like a shell of his former self. The fact he is heading into a Universal Championship match at the Royal Rumble is something that just shouldn't be happening in 2018. While having him around is fine, the main event is not where he belongs.
11 Replace: Big Cass
On the other hand, a big man that is on the rise is none other than Big Cass who has all the tools to make a big splash in WWE. While he is out of action nursing an injury right now, WWE could have a big star on their hands when he returns.
Cass did an incredible job alongside Enzo Amore, creating one of the most popular tag teams in recent memory and inside the ring, he can get the job done. His heel turn and singles run was cut short due to injury, but hopefully, he can pick up where he left off upon his return. WWE likes to have several big men at the top of the card. That has always and will always be the case and Big Cass could fit that bill for years to come.
10 Failed: Bray Wyatt
Last year was tough for Bray Wyatt both personally and professionally. His love life was made public and he sank from WWE Champion to barely being able to string a victory together.
Wyatt has always been booked in an odd manner, presented to fans as the main event talent who can talk the talk but never back it up with actions, always losing when it counts at the main focal point of every feud. It felt like WrestleMania 33 could have been a turning point for this, cementing him as a top star. Instead, he put on a poor match and was soundly defeated by Randy Orton. This proves that WWE does not have the faith in him as a top guy.
8 Replace: Eric Young
When you talk about someone actually being crazy and psychotic, you don't have to look too far in WWE. Just to NXT, where the leader of SAnitY displays all sorts of crazy that could easily do the role that Ambrose should have been doing as a solo star.
Eric Young has years of experience all over the world. He has proven himself as a reliable hand who belongs in the main event scene. With his stable behind him, the amount of mayhem Young could bring to the main roster would be fantastic to witness. It has been quite a while since we have seen a pure stable who want to cause nothing but carnage and that is what Young and SAnitY could, and will, bring to the main roster whenever they are called upon.
7 Failed: Sasha Banks
The Boss is another example of a huge star in NXT that hasn't quite hit the same level since making the move to the main roster. The main reason for that is the fact she has been positioned as a babyface.
Sasha Banks is at her very best in the Legit Boss gimmick and that is one that works best as an arrogant heel. She can be so vicious, yet always backs it up with her tremendous abilities inside the squared circle. The fact WWE has booked her so poorly, trading the title back and forth with Charlotte (and not in the way that got her over) has damaged the way Banks has been seen in the fans eyes, hurting her main event spot.
6 Replace: Paige
The Anti Diva might have had a very difficult 2017, but her return to WWE as the leader of Absolution has to be the highlight of the year for her. It starts off her 2018 in very strong fashion. Paige has always been one of the very best female wrestlers in WWE and has been considered the main event of the division before. But since the influx of NXT talent, she has taken a backseat and now it is time to retake her crown in the main event spot.
With a stable now by her side and a new attitude, Paige has all the tools to become a main event star once again, and could easily take the heel spot that was supposed to be reserved for the Banks turn that never happened.
5 Failed: Dean Ambrose
While Dean Ambrose ended the year strongly (until his injury) by reuniting with the Shield and teaming up with Seth Rollins, a lot of wrestling fans seem to forget that Ambrose really was stuck in a rut before that point. Even though he was a major hit with the Shield and has had some high points as a solo star, including a fantastic feud against Seth Rollins, out of the three Hounds of Justice, Ambrose has had the least success.
Something about his 'lunatic' character (that actually isn't all that crazy) just hasn't worked and he was quickly overtaken as 'the guy' on SmackDown by AJ Styles before a return to Raw. His injury could be the best thing that has happened to him, allowing Ambrose to hit the refresh button.
4 Replace: Jason Jordan
This one isn't so much a like for like, as Jason Jordan and Dean Ambrose couldn't be more different if they tried. But in terms of Monday Night Raw having a top-level talent, the former American Alpha member is ready to replace Ambrose in that spot.
While Jordan is positioned as a babyface and the son of Kurt Angle right now, that storyline is only leading to one place, a heel turn. The fans are ready to boo him out of the building and Jordan is playing his role fantastically. Already possessing all the natural in-ring gifts, if WWE can pull off this long-term storyline then Jordan has the potential to be a major player on Raw and could easily make a strong main event candidate.
2 Failed: Finn Balor
In wrestling, everything is about timing. Being in the right place at the right time to be pushed to the sky. Unfortunately for Finn Balor, his injury was the wrong place at the wrong time and he simply hasn't recovered from that point.
As the first ever Universal Champion, it looked like Balor was destined to carry on his monumental rise in WWE that started in NXT. But after having to relinquish the title due to injury the day after winning it, the company has lacked that same faith in the Demon King. Balor has floated around the mid-card since his return, competing in meaningless feuds with the likes of Elias and Bray Wyatt, struggling to regain the momentum he previously had.
1 Replace: Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe made an incredible impact when he finally debuted on the main roster and has kept that momentum up ever since. A standout summer that included a singles match with Brock Lesnar, WWE has shown they have faith in the former NXT Champion.
However, Joe hasn't quite reached his full potential just yet on the main roster and is swimming just below the main event surface, a place where someone of his talent really deserves to be. Wherever he has worked, whoever against and whether as a heel or a babyface, Joe has always been a hit and always been a champion and it is only a matter of time until that happens on Raw.