Multiple World Wrestling Entertainment performers have enjoyed breakout years in 2016. A.J. Styles, who was not even signed by the WWE 12 months ago, became one of the biggest stars in the company after he made his debut at the 2016 Royal Rumble. Styles is now carrying the flag for the SmackDown brand as the champion of that show. Shinsuke Nakamura, arguably the best overall wrestler in the world as of the fall of 2016, is currently serving as the champion and top draw of the NXT touring roster. It is, to borrow the phrase used by the popular WWE trio, "a new day" in the top wrestling company in North America and fans have multiple reasons to be excited about what the future could hold for the WWE.
For every version of a Styles or Nakamura, however, there are numerous wrestlers who are floundering and appear to be doomed while working underneath the WWE umbrella. Some individuals such as Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow chose to take their talents away from the WWE and work for independent companies and also for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. One has to wonder if one or more of the wrestlers mentioned in this list will soon choose to make moves away from the WWE and work for TNA, Ring of Honor or other promotions. With the WWE continuing to scout talent from all around the world, those currently on the company’s roster who appear to be doomed are now expendable and could be surplus to requirements as of the start of 2017.
15 Bray Wyatt
One could argue Bray Wyatt is the most wasted talent the WWE has had on its roster in the past six years. Wyatt can work entertaining matches against a variety of opponents. He can cut good promos when he is not tasked with speaking for 20 minutes at a time. His character was different than anything else in the company, to the point that he could have been this generation’s version of The Undertaker.
Instead, Wyatt is just a guy on the roster who wins some matches and loses others. Wyatt will likely never be all that big of a deal while working for the WWE, as the company has made it clear he is not a top Superstar at the level of a John Cena, A.J. Styles or Seth Rollins. Wyatt’s career is going in circles and there’s little reason to believe that will change in the near future.
14 Darren Young
If you’re anything like us, you had one thought upon seeing those promos featuring Bob Backlund claiming he was going to “Make Darren Young Great Again” during segments of Raw: "Darren Young was once great while working in the WWE?"
Young’s best days as a member of the WWE, all things considered, may have occurred when he was a member of the original NXT class and then part of The Nexus. Since that time, Young has been a midcard wrestler, at best, and it seems as if the WWE is going to do nothing of note with him other than have him feud with the individual who is next on this list. Perhaps Young could have been something had he been pushed differently, but it now seems as if his career is doomed to the point that he wouldn’t be missed if he was cut by the WWE before the end of 2016.
13 Titus O’Neil
Titus O’Neil is a big guy who has a good look, can be decent on the microphone every now and again and can work as a heel. Those are just about the nicest things one could say about the wrestler as of September 2016.
O’Neil does not stand out on the WWE roster even though he hovers over other wrestlers due to his size. Nothing about the character makes him intriguing for passionate WWE fans or for casual observers who may tune into an edition of Raw when a football game isn’t all that entertaining. Other than giving him a run as a WWE tag team championship, the WWE has done little with O’Neil. His career seems doomed because of the fact that he has not been pushed to the top of card and has been a disappointment since he was part of NXT.
12 The Vaudevillains
Wrestling fans can sometimes tell when an act is going to get over and also when certain gimmicks will flop. There was little question The Vaudevillains, who were popular and even beloved while working on the NXT brand, were going to flop when called up to the main roster. It’s just not an act that is going to attract attention and positive reactions from casual wrestling fans. Aiden English and Simon Gotch are both fine workers and fine performers, but they were doomed to fail from the start when they were given their current characters.
Perhaps the WWE can do something different with this duo at some point in the future. If not, though, the Vaudevillains are likely headed toward being wished the best in their future endeavors in a short post on the WWE website. Probably the best thing that could happen to these two would be the WWE relegating them back to NXT where they would be over with fans.
11 Alicia Fox
As best as we can tell as of the end of September 2016, the gimmick with Alicia Fox is that she is a recognizable women’s wrestler who exists on the roster to be beaten up by the likes of Nia Jax and other better performers. Being squashed by Jax was the most noteworthy thing Fox has done as a member of the WWE roster in quite some time. Since the start of the supposed “Divas Revolution,” Fox has not been pushed like wrestlers such as Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks and Bayley. Fox, instead, is a woman who is taking a spot on the WWE roster.
It almost seems as if it is inevitable before Fox is replaced by Asuka or somebody else who is wrestling in NXT in the final months of 2016. Fox is essentially a jobber these days and that is why we can predict her career looks to be doomed.
10 Sin Cara
Remember when the WWE thought it wise, for whatever reasons, to split up the tag team of Sin Cara and Kalisto? That decision did zero favors for either performer. Sin Cara, specifically, has become a nothing character as part of the Raw brand. The most noteworthy thing he has achieved since no longer teaming up with Kalisto is being beaten up by Braun Strowman in squash matches that were boring and failed to entertain fans.
We understand the idea with a character such as Sin Cara is meant to sell masks at arenas and be popular with younger audiences. We simply cannot understand why anybody would even be interested in a wrestler who has been buried like Sin Cara as of late.
This character is doomed and you probably wouldn’t even notice if he quietly went away without any detailed explanation or farewell offered by the WWE.
It is comical, in a way, that the WWE managed to take a concept such as a seven-match series involving Sheamus and Cesaro and make it something fans don’t care about and don’t even want to follow. One reason that is the case is because Sheamus is no longer anywhere close to being a special act who draws attention and leaves us wanting more. We have seen what the WWE is like when Sheamus is given an opportunity to figuratively run with the ball. It’s not compelling television in any way. Some guys just have that so-called “it factor” as it pertains to being a Superstar who can move the needle and make money for a wrestling promotion. Sheamus has lacked it for years and he likely isn’t finding it at any point in 2016.
Sheamus appears doomed to be a midcard act, at best, and the harsh truth of the matter is that he might need to make a move if he wants to be anything more come 2017.
8 Buddy Murphy
We’ll be completely honest and say that we actually forgot Buddy Murphy was still part of the WWE as of September 2016. Some fans out there may have been bored by the team of Murphy and Wesley Blake during the closing days of that duo’s existence, but at least they were something when they were a team.
Both Murphy and Blake are nothing more than jobbers on NXT as singles workers. The best thing the WWE could do with these two is call them up to SmackDown, align them back with Alexa Bliss and see if the trio could maybe get over as a unified group. Otherwise, it is difficult to imagine a scenario where Murphy becomes anything of note on the main roster.
For all we know, Murphy could be cut by the WWE before you read this sentence. That is how meaningless the character became during the summer of 2016.
7 Apollo Crews
Apollo Crews has all the tools necessary to be a big star in the WWE. Crews has a great look and the size that is supposedly coveted by those making important decisions regarding WWE talent. He can work entertaining matches, and his wrestling style is unique in that he can take to the air unlike other big men.
We have yet to see Crews put in memorable work on the microphone, though, largely because the WWE has not given him adequate time to cut promos and try to get over with fans. The top reason we believe the Crews character seems to be doomed is that the WWE insists on pushing other acts ahead of him. Baron Corbin is currently more over than Crews, which is absurd when you consider the reactions those two received while working in NXT.
The WWE will have truly dropped the ball if they can’t get things right with a talent such as Crews.
6 Bo Dallas
It’s not happening with Bo Dallas, WWE. It’s just not. You can have Dallas carry signs around rings before and after matches. You can give him the “Bo-Lieve” slogan. You can have him defeat jobbers and assorted “local talents” during editions of Raw. Nobody cares. Dallas’ matches are not even worthy of spots on Hulu editions of Raw these days.
We’ll never be able to say, with any certainty, if Dallas could have been a star had he been given a different character when he was the NXT Champion. What’s done is done and the Bo Dallas character is absolutely doomed to be a failure for multiple reasons. The last hope with this character is that the WWE aligns Dallas with Bray Wyatt and has them run a storyline touching upon their real-life brotherly bond. Outside of that, though, Dallas has “go-away heat” in the worst way imaginable.
5 Jinder Mahal
We honestly have no idea why the WWE thought it necessary to bring Jinder Mahal back to the company in the summer of 2016. Yes, the promotion’s main roster needed additional talent and bodies following the brand split that occurred in July. The NXT roster is filled with individuals who could have played the role of Mahal and taken beatings during editions of Raw.
This is not at all a knock on Mahal. His character has simply been booked to be nothing more than a loser who doesn’t get over. At least Mahal was allowed to be funny and somewhat entertaining as a member of the 3MB during his last stint in the WWE. The character Mahal is playing in 2016 is forgettable and the wrestler is a jobber to other talents.
Mahal is doomed to fail unless the WWE chooses, out of nowhere, to make him a star sooner rather than later. That’s probably not happening.
Neville could have been a Superstar babyface had the WWE properly protected his character after he was called up from NXT to the main roster. He has a great look even if he is undersized when compared to other performers. Neville is a high-flyer and such acts always get over with pockets of WWE viewers.
He has proven, throughout his career, he can cut solid promos if he is not forced to read from a script. The WWE nevertheless quickly turned Neville from a promising prospect into somebody who loses to the top acts in the company once he was called up to the main roster, and that largely has not changed as of the summer of 2016. Sure, Neville can earn wins over jobbers such as Jinder Mahal. Why would we believe, for a second, Neville is not doomed? He’s never been booked as a main event act and we have no reason to think that will change anytime soon.
3 Zack Ryder
This one should not shock any passionate WWE fan who stumbled upon this post. Zack Ryder was once an Internet darling who used his own YouTube show as a way to get himself over and attract a following of fans who chanted his name during editions of Raw and live shows.
The WWE teased the company was going to push Ryder, even giving him the United States Championship for a brief amount of time. That was years ago. Ryder has since been turned into a goof and a jobber to top heels such as Rusev and other wrestlers. The WWE even went so far to create a storyline where Ryder had to drop down to NXT and team up with Mojo Rawley as a last chance to salvage whatever he can of his WWE career.
For whatever reasons, the WWE chose to doom Ryder’s career years ago. The damage is done and Ryder is now nothing.
We cannot explain why the WWE did not do more with the Natalya character following the start of the “Divas Revolution.” Natalya is a beautiful woman. She is a better worker than at least half of the females currently signed to any portion of the WWE roster. Natalya can play a babyface and a heel. One would think she has everything the WWE would want in a stellar women’s wrestler.
Instead, the WWE has made it clear Natalya is not at the level of a Charlotte or Becky Lynch. Natalya’s last important storyline involved her doing multiple jobs to Charlotte and she has not since been pushed as a talent worthy of working in main events.
With acts such as Carmella receiving more attention in WWE storylines as of late, every indication is that the Natalya character is absolutely doomed. We wouldn’t be shocked if she chose to leave the WWE on her own at some point in the near future.
1 Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler is a loser from Cleveland who is not nearly as good as he thinks he is and who can’t beat the best wrestlers on SmackDown. That is not an opinion or a negative take on the performer. That is actually the storyline presented to WWE fans in 2016.
Even turning heel would probably mean little for the Ziggler character, because fans have been conditioned to not take him seriously as a wrestler. Ziggler loses whether he is a heel or babyface. That’s his gimmick. Underdogs such as Sami Zayn can get over with fans, in part because they earn upset victories. Asides from his brief push winning the number one contendership, you would have to head over to Wikipedia to remember the last time Ziggler earned a meaningful victory during a WWE show.
Ziggler could have been a top star had the WWE allowed him to get over. He is instead a loser, and thus we believe he is doomed.