The PG Era of WWE lasted was considered to run from 2008 to 2013 with many underrated wrestlers not getting a fair opportunity to shine. Incredible names like John Cena, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and others dominated the era with great performances. Unfortunately, there were many more with similar potential that just never had a realistic shot to break out into the main event picture.
We will look at the wrestlers that primarily were in the C-List tier of WWE with minimal moments towards the top of the card. They all had strong potential that made fans interested in them at different points, but WWE just never fully believed in them. Some of the wrestlers would have bigger success in different promotions while others would see their WWE run doom their careers. Find out just which wrestlers could have been bigger names. These are ten wrestlers from the PG-Era that should have been huge but remained C-Listers.
10 Wade Barrett
The potential of Wade Barrett could have seen him become a world champion if things worked out well for him. Barrett had a superb start as the leader of the Nexus faction. Feuds with Randy Orton and John Cena right away established him, but he ended up losing his luster right after it.
Barrett losing to the bigger names was the start of his decline as WWE put him back into the mid-card picture. The secondary feuds often saw him involved in the Intercontinental Championship picture with no signs of the main event momentum. Barrett struggled as a C-lister in WWE until he let his contract expire.
9 Gail Kim
Gail Kim struggled to break out during both of her stints in WWE. The talented wrestler unfortunately was around when WWE put little importance into the women’s division. Unless you were involved in a match with Trish Stratus, the chances are you’d get minimal time on television.
Kim would end both stints to join TNA for a bigger opportunity. The success in TNA proved that Gail could thrive and lead a women’s division. TNA used her as the centerpiece of the knockouts division for many years. WWE sadly missed the boat as they casted her as a C-lister for her entire time there.
8 Tyson Kidd
Tyson Kidd was consistently one of the most underrated wrestlers on the WWE roster throughout his entire in-ring career. The incredible skills of Kidd allowed him to have good matches with just about everyone on the main roster.
Kidd achieved his greatest success in tag team runs with both David Hart Smith and Cesaro. WWE never viewed him as anything special in a singles role. An injury would unfortunately end his career short as Kidd transitioned into a new role as a producer helping put together matches of the current stars today.
7 Justin Gabriel
Nexus featured quite a few wrestlers of the PG Era having their potentials squandered after the group disbanded. Justin Gabriel was arguably the most talented member of Nexus with his incredible aerial moves leaving the audience in awe.
The aftermath of Nexus would see Gabriel struggling to find television time. Most fans would struggle to name a single for Gabriel outside of the Nexus run. WWE primarily used him on the secondary shows like Superstars and Main Event before releasing him. Gabriel is now a regular member of the Ring of Honor roster.
6 Katie Lea Burchill
Katie Lea Burchill was one of the top female prospects in developmental when WWE called her up with a controversial gimmick. The implications of incest between Katie Lea and Paul Burchill had fans confused leading to WWE dropping the gimmick as they were now starting the PG Era.
This led to Katie Lea struggling to break out with the planned gimmick being removed from her early in the WWE stint. The in-ring skills, charisma and look of Burchill gave her all the tools to succeed, but WWE just didn’t care to push her. TNA would provide bigger success for her under the name of Winter.
5 John Morrison
Fans still wonder why John Morrison never received a legitimate run in the main event picture. WWE did test the waters of Morrison with a few short upper card runs against Sheamus and The Miz. Morrison would unfortunately get slotted back into the lower card afterwards.
The talent of Morrison allowed him to perform as well as any of his peers and fans did care enough in him to warrant a push. WWE wanted him to remain a consistent mid-carder for the rest of his run which led to him leaving the company. Morrison would showcase his main event ability with runs in Impact Wrestling and Lucha Underground.
Another strong mid-carder that WWE did not see moving further up the card during the PG Era was MVP. The heel work of MVP made him a successful United States Champion as WWE started to move into the new era. A face turn unfortunately caused him to lose most of his momentum.
MVP would have many ups and downs in the final years of his WWE run never getting a chance to break out in the bigger picture. He made the call to leave WWE to pursuit his dream of wrestling for New Japan and has never returned. The career of MVP is still going on the independent circuit today.
The run of Awesome Kong in TNA made her a huge attraction for the company in the knockouts division. WWE hoped to find the same magic when signing her under the name of Kharma. A unique storyline would see her get involved in matches involving Kelly Kelly and the Bella Twins.
Kharma even managed to eliminate a few male wrestlers when joining the men’s Royal Rumble match. Some behind the scenes controversy would see the company not bring her back after a stint away from the ring. Kharma is now part of the AEW roster and an actress on the Netflix series GLOW.
2 The Brian Kendrick
The early years of the PG Era featured WWE experimenting with new ideas and talents. Brian Kendrick added “The” to the front of his name and started a new unique heel gimmick. The jacked Ezekiel Jackson as his manager allowed him to play a character inspired by Kurt Cobain.
Kendrick’s best success came when he was temporary but an unofficial WWE Champion during a five-man Scramble match. The presence of Kendrick saw him step up against bigger names like Jeff Hardy and Triple H. WWE unfortunately did nothing with him afterwards as he remained a C-lister.
1 Evan Bourne
Evan Bourne was one of the first independent wrestlers from Ring of Honor to receive a contract with WWE for good reason. The high-flying skills of Bourne made him an underground star as Matt Sydal on the independent circuit.
WWE would allow Bourne to deliver his incredible Shooting Star Press finisher. The presence of Bourne in ladder matches often showcased just how talented he was. Fans often rallied behind Bourne, but his peak came in the mid-card and tag team divisions. WWE eventually released him after injuries and wellness policy suspensions without ever hitting his potential.