"Out with the old and in with the new?" Is this a proven formula? While new blood and new life will alway rejuvenate a product, a solid sense of the Old School is often necessary to serve as both a reminder of the past and provide an outlook into the future.
In WWE, the New Era is in full swing as the recent WWE Draft would split the roster in two providing both Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live with their own unique crop of WWE Superstars.
Among both rosters, we can find a number of veterans who have either spent years working the mat for WWE or have traveled the world grappling and grunting in various squared-circles. This is a look at those veteran Superstars.
These are the 8 veterans who belong in the New Era and the 7 who do not:
15 8. Belongs: The Miz
There are many who counted The Miz out of the picture entirely; a lost fixture on a scene to which he never quite belonged. However, the former WWE Champion has become a star once again in the New Era.
The Miz has found new life in this New Era with three main components to consider as contributing factors: 1) The reintroduction of The Miz' wife Maryse. 2) The Miz' stellar Intercontinental Championship run. 3) The Miz' feud with Daniel Bryan.
Over on SmackDown Live, The Miz has bene able to showcase a side of his character that has not bene seen in quite some time. That true arrogance that caused so many fans to hate The Miz in the first place has returned to the surface and it's working.
14 7. Doesn't Belong: Big Show
The Big Show catches a ton of internet heat from wrestling fans (guilty as charged). However, we cannot overlook the contributions of Show to the WWE since the turn of the century. Show is a true professional who was willing to take on any role required.
Hell, WWE has slapped a diaper on Big Show at WrestleMania, dressed him up as Baby New Year, and have made him cry on live television far too many times throughout his tenure with the company. However, Show would take all of this in stride.
The Big Show has served his cause as the Modern Giant of Sports Entertainment. However, those days have past. The fans expect their new seven-foot Superstars to look like Big Cass and not Big Show. This is simply no longer Show's Era.
13 7. Belongs: Brian Kendrick
The relaunched Cruiserweight Division has already exceeded expectations. Thanks to the introduction of the Cruiserweight Classic this summer, these smaller breed of Superstars are now featured in a prominent purple light on the Monday Night Raw brand.
Known as the veteran of the Cruiserweight bunch, Brian Kendrick has been a breath of fresh air for the brand new division. Kendrick is no stranger to a WWE ring and has captured the Tag Team Championship twice with his old partner Paul London.
Now, "The Wizard of Odd" plays the role of the long-traveled wrestler working on his last legs; searching for that redemption that can only be found within the the confines of the Cruiserweight Championship belt being nestled around his waste. The strange has rising.
12 6. Doesn't Belong: Kane
Kane, much like Big Show - a man with whom he has twice captured the Tag Team Championship - no longer belongs among the Superstars of WWE. The New Era is certainly not an Era that can cater to the likes of Kane and his character.
"The Big Red Machine" has been with the company for the past twenty years and has assumed not only the role of a monster but the roles of a dentist and imposter Diesel. Kane has remained loyal and there is something to be said about a man as such.
However, Kane has lost all sense of relevance in these modern times and it appears as though Kane is simply out of place on WWE television. Within the New Era, there is only one true "Demon." Kane is no longer strikes fear; only a sense of vague nostalgia.
11 6. Belongs: Randy Orton
Everything New can always use a dose of Old. This is what Randy Orton provides to the SmackDown live brand every Tuesday night. Orton is a seasoned veteran and a twelve-time World Champion. "The Viper" is one to whom the New Ear stars can turn.
These up-and-coming Superstars can not only turn to Randy Orton for advice but also for a chance to establish their own name. Taking out Orton would provide any fresh, young star of the New Era with instant eyes locked upon their career moving forward.
Randy Orton once identified as "The Legend Killer" but it appears as though the tables have turned in the ever-changing times. Orton is now considered to be a WWE legend himself and must watch his back as a New Era of Legend Hunters look to strike.
10 5. Doesn't Belong: Mark Henry
Mark Henry may be a former World Champion but "The World's Strongest Man" has never been much of a draw in WWE; no matter the time. In fact, Henry's most interesting run would come by way of "The Sexual Chocolate" gimmick during the Attitude Era.
While finding limited appearances on WWE television in recent months, Mark Henry remains a member of the Monday Night Raw roster and is sure to find his way back out through the curtain and to the ring soon enough. (Competition for Braun Strowman?)
The New Era has proven to be something that Mark Henry is not: fast and fresh. At this point a match involving Henry provides little to the fan who demand a much more high-strung level of in-ring entertainment. Gone are the days of Henry-esque Superstars.
9 5. Belongs: Dolph Ziggler
In recent weeks, the speculation surrounding Dolph Ziggler lead the fans of WWE to believe that "The Show Off" would be taking some time away from WWE following the No Mercy Pay-Per-View event where Ziggler placed his entire career on the line.
In twist, the internet was wrong (that doesn't usually happen, right?) In the end, Dolph Ziggler would capture his fifth Intercontinental Championship from The Miz and retain his WWE career in the process. Yes, Ziggler would pull a fast one on everybody.
While Dolph Ziggler (a former two-time World Heavyweight Champion) will likely never become WWE World Champion, the WWE veteran certainly fits well into the New Era. Ziggler is one Superstar who the WWE fans can stand behind on any given night.
8 4. Doesn't Belong: Rhyno
Rhyno is one half of the current SmackDown Tag Team Champions with Heath Slater. And yes, their Odd Couple storyline has provided some solid entertainment to viewers of SmackDown Live. However, these angles can only last for so long before they expire.
Rhyno, an ECW Original has been around the wrestling scene for many years and has captured titles in multiple promotions. However, "The Man Beast" and the New Era have not meshed that well; despite the current Tag Team Championship reign.
Once the Heath Slater experiment ends what's left for Rhyno? The WWE World Championship? Hell no! The Intercontinental Championship? Unlikely. Rhyno will fade into the background of SmackDown Live and remain there until his contract expires.
7 4. Belongs: Finn Balor
Unfortunately for Finn Balor, his reign as the inaugural WWE Universal Champion would last merely a day. While Balor would defeat Seth Rollins at SummerSlam to claim the title as his own, a shoulder injury would force Balor to relinquish the red strap.
However, Finn Balor will soon return back to the WWE and the New Era; a place where he most definitely belongs. "The Demon King" of WWE provides an aura of mystery to his character and the fans have fallen in love with the Irish Superstar in the process.
Finn Balor may be a newcomer to Monday Night Raw but the former NXT Champion is a true veteran of the industry; having worked the globe for a number of years prior to his arrival in Florida for the NXT brand.
6 3. Doesn't Belong: The Golden Truth
The team of Goldust and R-Truth, collectively known as The Golden Truth has provided the New Era with very little in the ways of progress. Goldust and Truth are simply the recycled version of Goldust and Booker T with less of the impact.
Both Goldust and R-Truth have been around the game for a long time and while their gimmick provides some form of entertainment and comedic relief, this schtick has become stale in a hurry. Is this team even in talks of contention for the Tag Team Championship?
Goldust and R-Truth can both provide sound advice to the Superstars of the New Era. In fact, this duo have "backstage agents" written all over them. It's time to quit lying to The Golden Truth. The New Era really holds no place for this tag team on television.
5 3. Belongs: Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho belonged in ECW; even though "Lionheart" would only spend a short amount of time with the Extreme promotion. Chris Jericho belonged in WCW; even though Erich Bischoff would drop the ball with Jericho and misuse the wrestler.
Chris Jericho belonged in WWE during the Attitude Era; serving as one of its most comedic and controversial Superstars. Chris Jericho belonged in WWE during the Ruthless Aggression Era; showcasing a different side to his character in the process.
And now, Chris Jericho belongs in the New Era; where Y2J and his best friend Kevin Owens have provided some of the best WWE segments in recent memory. Jericho belongs no matter the time, no matter the Era, no mater who else has risen through the ranks.
4 2. Doesn't Belong: Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows
Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows: Doctors? Retirement Home Caregivers? These comedy angles did not work for the Bullet Club members. In fact, since leaving the side of their leader, A.J. Styles, nothing has seemed to work for Anderson and Gallows.
For a moment, and at a quick glanced, it appeared as though Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows would be the team to finally defeat The New Day and end their historic WWE Tag Team Championship reign of over 400 days and counting. However, that fizzled out.
So, where do these guys stand within the New Era? Nowhere. Perhaps it's simply a problem of placement as Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows would have been better suited for the SmackDown Live roster because on Monday Night Raw, it's not happening.
3 2. Belongs: John Cena
To many, the concept of the New Era would have John Cena pushed aside and forgotten; on to the new life. However, Cena remains an important part of the WWE Machine and is needed now to help push the ideals of this Era while also representing the past.
Since moving exclusively to SmackDown Live John Cena has lost clean to both A.J. Styles and Dean Ambrose. Two clean loses in a matter of a few months? This shows the direction in which Cena's character will be heading; no longer Superman but a sympathetic figure.
John Cena may claim to be "the face that runs the place" but in reality, said place has bene handed over to the next generation. While there remains an apartment for Cena in the buidling, the fifteen-time World Champion can no longer occupy the Penthouse suite.
2 1. Doesn't Belong: Triple H
In many ways, Triple H is responsible for the New Era. "The Game" has taken NXT from reality show nonsense and transformed it into the hottest wrestling promotion in town. Triple H has also helped spark the brand new Cruiserweight movement within WWE.
While Triple H's intentions seem good; they often lead to unwanted scrutiny and accusations of selfishness. There are many who still question the decision of having Triple H win the Royal Rumble and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship this year.
There is an inevitable bout set to take place between Triple H and Seth Rollins. The screwjob angle from the Universal Championship match needs to conclude. However, from there Triple H really doesn't need to be an active competitor in the New Era.
1 1. Belongs: A.J. Styles
A.J. Styles is considered to be a rookie in WWE. However, the thirty-nine-year-old is a veteran of the wrestling world and has seen success all over the planet thanks to his in-ring ability and work ethic. Styles embodies everything bout this New Era in WWE.
For years, it was believed that A.J. Styles would appear on WWE television; that is was only a mater of time. However, time and time again, Styles would remain out on the circuit, wrestling for the likes of TNA and NJPW. Then one day, Styles finally arrived.
A.J. Styles is not a WWE prototype and did not require the influence of Vince McMahon to make a name for himself worldwide. Styles would take the long road and while that road may have been paved with obstacles, Styles is now the WWE World Champion.
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