When it comes to the WWE, fewer things are quite as exciting as new stars in the making. Nostalgia has always been a major draw in the industry, but there is also intrigue in seeing newer names come up and leave their mark on the WWE. With the creation of NXT and 205 Live, that has afforded the WWE more opportunities than ever to create a larger roster while granting them opportunities to compete as well as grow as performers.
But as fans know by now, WWE booking isn't always consistent nor does it always put Superstars in the best position to succeed. In the past year, there have been many new additions to the WWE, some of whom were brought back to the main roster while others are being integrated into NXT. For the most part, fans have been excited to see these recent signings since many of them bring something unique to the table. From past stars to new wrestlers with major potential, they have already generated some buzz among the WWE Universe.
A few of these signings have had a disappointing start to their WWE journey due to the creative direction in which they were given, affecting their overall work for the time being - especially when compared to the expectations. On the other hand, some are on the right path to potentially make a name for themselves with the company. Today's list brings forward 10 recent signings WWE has already mishandled and 10 they will turn into stars.
20 Already Mishandled: Mike Bennett
Mike Bennett had impressive stints for different promotions beginning with Ring of Honor to his later runs with NJPW and TNA. When he agreed to sign with the WWE in 2017, fans were hopeful that his next move would be his best yet. But the opposite has been true after a year and a half with the company as he has struggled to make any impact with the company. Bennett may not have been a top star even if he had reached his full potential, but he was more than capable of being a solid mid-carder. He has now become a jobber without any sense of direction.
19 Will Turn Into Star: Ricochet
Prior to his arrival into the WWE, Ricochet had been one of the hottest names in the wrestling industry away from the company. As a complete wrestler, there is a belief that his ceiling may be limited due to his size. While he could end up on 205 Live, or even worse a low-card wrestler, fans are hoping that Ricochet will be given a chance to succeed on the main roster. If given a proper push, he could turn out to be a star in every sense of the word as we have seen what he is capable of at his very best.
18 Already Mishandled: Mark Andrews
From Progress Wrestling to Chikara, Mark Andrews had been making rounds around various promotions before he truly established himself with Impact Wrestling. His successful stint with the company led to interest on the WWE's behalf, which is why he was invited to the WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament. Since then, Andrews has competed on both 205 Live and NXT UK, although he hasn't received plenty of air time. While fans had interest in him due to his exciting in-ring style, WWE must make better use of his talents as soon as possible if they wish to truly get him over.
17 Will Turn Into Star: Lio Rush
Lio Rush is one of the most intriguing prospects in the WWE right now. At 24 years old, he could be a member of the roster for many, many years to come. He was only used on NXT for one year before the company moved him to the main roster, tagging him alongside Bobby Lashley. While Rush is still green in some sense, he has the tools to become a star as long as his progression remains on track. Not only is he a very talented in-ring performer, but Rush has become acclaimed for his mic skills as well.
16 Already Mishandled: Rey Mysterio
When Rey Mysterio joined the WWE, fans were hoping that the company would make better use of his talents. And with all due respect to Randy Orton, we have already seen him feud with Mysterio in the past, so fans aren't exactly thrilled about it, nor intrigued. There are so many dream matches and rivalries that fans wish to see soon, but it's unclear which direction Mysterio's run will take in the future. To be fair to the WWE, it's still early into his comeback so there is time for Mysterio to live up to the massive hype generated by his return.
15 Will Turn Into Star: Shayna Baszler
The current NXT Women's Champion has already put everyone on notice. Given her MMA background, Baszler is perfect for her current character and a great addition to the WWE. The main roster is currently lacking a believable heel who can run through anybody, and Baszler has done exactly that during her NXT run. Since she is 38 years old, the company will probably promote her to the main roster within the next year so she can perform at a high level while still in her prime years. There are a number of interesting feuds to be had for Baszler, and if her Raw or SmackDown stint turn out to be similar to her NXT run, then Baszler will surely become a star.
14 Already Mishandled: Candice LeRae
When news came out that Candice LeRae signed to WWE earlier this year, fans were thrilled about the endless possibilities of feuds and matches. Following some delays, she finally made it to NXT although her appearances haven't been quite memorable to date. She hasn't been used nearly as much as an active wrestler, nor has LeRae been granted enough air time to shine. WWE seems to have abandoned many of the factors that made her successful elsewhere, so it will be interesting to see if she can bounce back. It is still early in her stint so the best might come in 2019.
13 Will Turn Into Star: Rhea Ripley
Rhea Ripley is the first and reigning NXT UK Women's Champion who is quickly making her way through the ranks of the industry. She had participated in the 2017 Mae Young Classic, and returned for the next tournament where she had made major strides. Ripley is considered to he a bright future ahead of her as she has everything that the WWE looks for in a star. Of course the question mark remains whether the company will put her in a situation to succeed, as well as if Ripley can continue impressing at the highest level now that she is apart of the company.
12 Already Mishandled: War Raiders
War Raiders were one of the better tag teams on the independent scene, and ended up having memorable stints with Ring of Honor and NJPW. Earlier this year, they were signed to a deal by the WWE and eventually began competing on NXT. Their introduction to the brand hasn't been quite as good as it could have been, leaving some fans disappointed with their creative direction.
War Raiders are already being mishandled since they haven't been made to look like a legitimate threat the way they had been prior to their WWE signings, although they may be fortunate enough to have a turnaround in the near future.
11 Will Turn Into Star: Drew McIntyre
Going back to his first WWE run, Vince McMahon was already big on Drew McIntyre. Upon his return in 2017, McMahon had grown even more fond of McIntyre who had improved in every single aspect. He has already become one of the prominent figures on Raw, and while he has yet to be established as a main eventer - it's only a matter of time before McIntyre becomes the WWE's newest star. With management and fans on his side, McIntyre is a sure thing at the moment and will likely be apart of the main event scene for years to come.
10 Already Mishandled: Shelton Benjamin
Shelton Benjamin was initially set to return to the WWE in 2016, but a torn rotator cuff put him out of action for almost a year. His return finally took place the next summer where Benjamin competed on SmackDown as a tag team with Chad Gable. While fans had realistic expectations for his second run with the company, they were hoping for a more intriguing re-introduction to the WWE. It didn't take long before any buzz surrounding Benjamin was gone, and he now appears to mostly put over other Superstars in single matches - making his recent stint a complete disappointment.
9 Will Turn Into Star: Chelsea Green
Chelsea Green has been making noise on the independent scene as well as Impact Wrestling for the past two years, so it was only a matter of time before the WWE recruited her. In October of 2018, both sides confirmed that a deal had been reached and it didn't exactly come off as a shock to anybody who had followed Green's career. While she may not possess the in-ring talent of some female wrestlers out there, Green has proven the ability to get over with fans regardless of the promotion - and that will surely impress Vince McMahon once she makes it to NXT, and later on the main roster.
8 Already Mishandled: Ronda Rousey
Ronda Rousey was always going to be a star in the WWE regardless of her ability. She had been one of the most popular athletes for a few years, and the WWE intended to push her as the face of the division. She did get off to an impressive start to her career - especially her debut match at WrestleMania 34 - but there hasn't been any changes to her overall character since then. Rousey has grown stale with plenty of fans turning on her now, since she has been repeating the same material as we have already seen from her before.
7 Will Turn Into Star: Toni Storm
Toni Storm became the second Superstar to win the 2018 Mae Young Classic, and seems to be on the verge of becoming a star in the near future. For the time being, she remains on the NXT UK brand where she has also had great showings. Storm had been among the most hyped female talents in recent years thanks to her work for Progress Wrestling and World Wonder Ring Stardom - so it's no surprise that she quickly landed on the WWE's radar. Now it will be interesting to see how she transitions into the main roster once she makes it.
6 Already Mishandled: Bobby Lashley
Following a decade long absence from the WWE, Bobby Lashley finally returned earlier this year although it hasn't been quite as spectacular as fans had anticipated. While some were hoping that he would feud with Brock Lesnar, Lashley found himself without a real direction on the main roster to the point where fans stopped reacting to him at all. All hope is not lost yet since time is on his side to turn it around, especially now that he has Lio Rush by his side. But it will take a significant improvement from the WWE creative to get him on the right path.
5 Will Turn Into Star: EC3
EC3 is currently one of the most exciting Superstars in NXT, who is set to be called up soon. Reports suggest that he could make the jump to the main roster during the 2019 Royal Rumble, although it remains to be seen. Unless the WWE happen to completely mess up his momentum, then it won't be surprising to see EC3 become a star. He has all the tools needed to make it in the company, and now it's only a matter of time before he does it on the biggest stage. Given his talent and experience, EC3 will most likely impress any doubters left once he arrives on Raw or SmackDown.
4 Already Mishandled: Donovan Dijak
Donovan Dijak has become a forgotten name among fans who had hopes for him early on. In the WWE's defense, Dijak is still green and in need of further development, but they haven't done him any wonders by constantly delaying his on-screen debut. By the time he finally made it, there wasn't quite as much interest in seeing him since he had already become an afterthought. It's still early in his career, and given his huge size at 6'7, there is no doubt that Vince McMahon will not be giving up on him anytime soon - so Dijak may have the opportunity to get it together soon.
3 Will Turn Into Star: Zack Gibson
These days, not many heels get booed since even the very best get a positive to mixed reaction from the WWE Universe. But Zack Gibson has already become notorious for gaining heat without a problem among fans, and that will surely earn him extra points in the eyes of WWE management. He is a recent signing who was scooped up in 2018, and has been competing on NXT UK since then. Once he is a more polished product, there is no doubt that Gibson will generating plenty of buzz among fans as he could become equally as successful of a heel on the main roster.
2 Already Mishandled: Tyler Bate
It's no secret that Tyler Bate has shown the potential to become a star in the WWE. Before he even made it to the company, fans were excited to see whether he would make it to the WWE - and while he has had some good moments thus far, they have been very few relatively to his talent. Bate should be in a much better position, but booking hasn't done him many favors as of late. Given that he is only 21 years old, Bate has all the time in the world to turn his career around for the better and reach his full ceiling with the company.
1 Will Turn Into Star: Adam Cole
Adam Cole may not be one of the most talented in-ring performers in NXT today, but he is arguably the most charismatic. He certainly has what it takes to become a WWE star as he knows how to wrestle their style, which is good enough for Vince McMahon since Cole has plenty of charisma to make him stand out among his peers. He has had a brilliant run in NXT so far and may be among the names called up in 2019. Cole is expected to succeed on the main roster since he brings a unique skill set that is lacking right now.