During the past year it seems as if the WWE roster has changed tremendously, taking on an entirely different appearance than it ever has. Think about it, currently we have a strong Women’s Division, a completely revitalized Tag Team Division, and a Cruiserweight Division has been rumored to start after the Cruiserweight Classic event this Summer. Sure the Heavyweight talent isn’t exactly Attitude Era quality, and the mid-card is sort of shallow, but other than that the WWE has made some great decisions recently.
With the roster in the best shape it’s been in since the early 2000s, it’s time to be more critical of the wrestlers who are signed with the WWE. Sure we all have our favorites, but with the seemingly endless crop of talent coming from NXT, it may be time to give up on some wrestlers. Admittedly there is a chance that with the brand split, some wrestlers may get more of a push than before. In most cases though, not many of them will be able to contend with more established main eventers who are headlining those shows.
Now that’s not to say that there aren’t wrestlers on the main roster who don’t still deserve a chance to shine, as some have a pretty large fan base despite being undercard talent. The popularity of a Superstar can literally make or break their career in WWE. Keep in mind however, that popularity didn’t save Cody Rhodes or Damien Sandow from being future endeavored a few weeks ago. In either case fans can be a determining factor in whether or not someone in the WWE receives a push, and with that power comes responsibility. That is why we are here today, determining which wrestlers to give up on and which ones we should hold out hope for.
Feel free to let us know if you agree with our list in the comments below.
16 Give Up On: Alberto Del Rio
Alberto Del Rio’s multiple WWE runs have been ironic, considering that his ability to work is great, but his connection with the crowd is severely lacking. Truth be told, the only time he ever really elicited a large reaction, was when Ricardo Rodriguez was introducing him to the WWE Universe. Even when he made a surprise return to WWE in 2015, his positive reception was only temporary as he floated into a mid-card position almost immediately. At the least, it’s time to give up on Del Rio as a WWE main event talent.
15 Hold Out For: The Miz
Sure everyone hates The Miz, but why? The guy is a heat seeking missile, constantly garners a response from the crowd, and whether you believe it or not is one of the hardest working guys in the industry. Miz has gotten a bad rap since entering WWE on the merit of his reality star fame, rather than based on his wrestling ability. The former WWE Heavyweight Champion is one of the few active wrestlers on the roster who has actually main evented a WrestleMania, and that has got to count for something right?
14 Give Up On: Titus O’Neil
He may be the Father of the Year, but Titus O’Neil is about done in the WWE. Sadly despite having the look and charisma needed to succeed in the world of professional wrestling, O’Neil just doesn’t have the coordination to have a good match. The Former Florida Gator is constantly featured on the YouTube series Botchamania, and has yet been able to find his footing in singles competition. Perhaps his most recent feud with Rusev will finally be enough to solidify him as a credible big man in WWE.
13 Hold Out For: Zack Ryder
WOO WOO WOO, isn’t it about time for Ryder to start getting some respect around the WWE. Despite organically developing a cult following and working his way back to the main roster from NXT, Ryder is consistently neglected on Raw. Sure he won the Intercontinental Title this year at Wrestlemania, but his reign lasted all of 24 hours.
Ryder is a big guy who has the crowd behind him, and you can expect him to do big things once the brand split happens. If you don’t believe that, just remember that back when there were three brands, Ryder was the main headliner for ECW.
12 Give Up On: Kofi Kingston
Can you believe that Kofi Kingston is already a 10 year veteran of the WWE? Crazy right? Well despite his awesome run with The New Day currently, Kofi doesn’t really have much going for him when they eventually split up. WWE has tried multiple times to give the Tag Team Champion a push into the main event scene, but every time he has failed to step up to the plate.
The fact that Randy Orton is still employed at WWE is pretty much the nail in Kofi’s coffin. Well that and there has been a ridiculous influx of young talent who are hungrier than the former United States Champion has been in recent years.
11 Hold Out For: Tyler Breeze
As stupid as his prince pretty gimmick is, Tyler Breeze is a really good worker. Learning from the Fandango school of 'make every gimmick count', Breeze has managed to build a solid fan base for himself; his most important fan being Triple H. The COO of WWE has given his personal seal of approval of Breeze, despite Vince McMahon not agreeing with Trip’s vision for the young talent. Seeing as how the corporate version of Triple H is batting pretty well at this point, it’s safe to say that breeze will eventually get a push in the company.
10 Give Up On: Curtis Axel
Sadly a third generation is going to wither away in the WWE, despite being the son of one of the most legendary performers in the history of wrestling. Curtis Axel never really found his place in the WWE, running from gimmick to gimmick trying to find one that stuck with fans. For a while in 2015 it looked as if Axel had finally found his place, playing a parody of Hulk Hogan alongside Macho Mandow (Damien Sandow).
Unfortunately for Axel, Hulk Hogan’s racial tirade made it hard for the WWE to keep his gimmick afloat, and Axel has really had nothing to do since. And no, being a member of the Social Outcasts doesn’t count.
Speaking of Hogan...
9 Hold Out For: Hulk Hogan
Stay with us here on this one, there is actually a reason that Hulk Hogan is included on this list. Sure he is old, wrinkly, and couldn’t have a match if his life depended on it, but he is the most popular wrestler to ever walk the face of the Earth. Despite the release of his racial tirade from a few years back, the WWE hasn’t completely blackballed the Hall of Famer, as he appeared on the June 3rd edition of Raw during the memorial to Muhammad Ali. Now this could mean nothing, but it could also signal a reconciliation between the two parties, as Hogan has made it very clear that he would like to come back to the company.
8 Give Up On - Tamina
Although Tamina is by far the biggest girl on the roster, WWE has failed to capitalize on her size and name. The name part is understandable seeing as how her dad was arrested for a 30 year old murder charge last year, but that is another story. Tamina’s size is her biggest asset, and with it she could be the unstoppable force in the Women’s Division. Sadly due to injury and lack of interest, she hasn’t made much progress on WWE programming. With the NXT girls finding their way to the main roster, that may be all she wrote for the second generation star.
7 Hold Out For: Dolph Ziggler
Every year is going to be Dolph Ziggler’s year, right? All joking aside, this really may be the time for Ziggler to step up into the main event scene and stay there. There isn’t a single person on the roster who will benefit from the brand split more than this former World Champion. The problem Dolph has always had (besides too much selling) is that he only seems to be a placeholder Superstar. What that means is that he will feud with someone, but only until a bigger star comes along to take his spot.
With the rosters thinning out, and the potential for Smackdown to become more of a purely wrestling based show, things are looking good for Ziggler.
6 Give Up On: The Shining Stars
Vince McMahon is reportedly done with this duo who recently went through a gimmick change, transitioning from Los Matadores to The Shining Stars in recent months. The team of Epico and Primo are really good wrestlers, but for some reason, they just can’t quite get over. The change to pretty boys who hail from Puerto Rico wasn’t quite enough for fans to buy into, as the team hasn’t been on WWE television since their re-debut on May 16th.
5 Hold Out For: Jack Swagger
Jack Swagger has really bad luck. Right when the former WWE World Champion was about to receive another run in the main event scene in 2013, he goes and gets busted for a DUI and possession of marijuana. Sure you can argue that this arrest has put him in the dog house indefinitely, but can the WWE really keep him down for long?
Swagger is probably the most underrated wrestler in WWE, and still receives great pops when his music hits. The only thing that I can see holding him back is his voice, but if he is used as a destroyer he can still be a star in the WWE.
4 Give Up On: Rusev
Nothing against Rusev here, but his personal life is going to hinder his career in the WWE. It has been well documented that Rusev is in a real life relationship with his manager Lana, with the two recently sharing engagement photos on social media. Management didn’t like that, and apparently management doesn’t like Lana either.
This situation has many similarities to the John Morrison/Melina drama that plagued WWE a few years ago, and this one won’t end differently. Whenever Lana goes, Rusev will follow, so you might as well give up on him now.
3 Hold Out For: Samoa Joe
Many seem to believe that Samoa Joe will never make it to the main roster in WWE. The common rationale behind this thought, is due to the fact that Joe is not a home grown talent, and is extremely older than all of the other NXT wrestlers. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as WWE has shown their belief in the current NXT Champion, by allowing him to carry the title. Sure he may never main event WrestleMania, but best believe that Samoa Joe will have a WWE Championship in the next year or so.
2 Give Up On: Vince McMahon
Vince McMahon is the Godfather of this industry, and he will always be remembered for his positive impact on professional wrestling. His understanding of the business was unmatched during his rise to power, but the keyword in the previous sentence is “was”. Sadly in his older age, Vince just doesn’t seem to understand what a modern audience wants from wrestling. The Chairman still treats the WWE as his own personal playground, and it has been to the detriment of the WWE Universe.
There have been many who have defended McMahon based on his accomplishments, giving him the benefit of the doubt over the past decade, but that well has run dry. It is truly time for us all to give up on McMahon, and understand that there are no more good ideas left in his legendary mind.
1 Hold Out For: Roman Reigns
You’ve made it through this entire article, so don’t close the window without at least hearing us out on this one. The truth is that Roman Reigns is still really green in the business of professional wrestling, and we are blaming him for it. The WWE pushed Reigns before he was ready to carry that burden, and as of a result most of the fans out there have punished the WWE Champion with boos and jeers during his solo career.
Sure there are more deserving wrestlers who could be pushed right now, but imagine if those same guys (and girls) were learning the craft of wrestling on the fly like Reigns is. Kevin Owens didn’t start out as a great wrestler, it took him over a decade to become great at it, and the same is true for Roman Reigns. You don’t have to join the Roman Empire to give Reigns a fair chance to win you over.