The curtain has fallen on another year in the WWE, and with it, the landscape of the company looks a lot different than it did 12 months ago. After all, Daniel Bryan has been to the top of the mountain, and slipped all the way back down after being forced to undergo neck surgery. The Undertaker's legendary WrestleMania streak is dead and John Cena is a couple more championships closer to finally breaking Ric Flair's long-standing record.
And for all the success at the top end of the company for some stars, there are plenty of others who have had a pretty dismal year. Divas, mid-carders and even former main eventers fall into the category of stars that have had a disappointing 12 months in the WWE, and there are plenty of reasons why that is the case. It could be due to a lack of compelling storylines from the WWE's creative department - or it could be simply because their character just isn't cutting it in the eyes of wrestling fans - who are a demanding bunch, let's be honest.
Some of the damage is repairable; whether it's because the stars in question are still young, or simply because they may be able to turn around a disappointing 12 months with a strong 2015. But for others, it's looking pretty bleak in terms of a long term future with the WWE. This list isn't necessarily an indictment of the performers, but rather how their stock has fallen, partly due to how the WWE handled them over the past year. Given how the company will probably announce another batch of releases over the next year, expect some of the stars you see on this list to be involved in that cut. As we look forward to 2015, let's recap the top 10 stars in the WWE who've disappointed more than anyone else over the last 12 months.
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10 Sin Cara (character)
It's been another catastrophic year for the Sin Cara character, whose career in the WWE just cannot get off the ground. Ever since he debuted all the way back in 2011, a number of different guys have taken on the Sin Cara guise, and failed over and over again. The original Sin Cara (Mistico) was released shortly before WrestleMania XXX. The character, now played by Hunico, was dropped down to NXT in 2014 to try and revive his career, but it seems that no matter what level of popularity he achieves there, transforming it into mainstream success on the main roster is a near-impossible job. If the WWE has another batch of releases in 2015, expect the current Sin Cara to be there too.
9 Adam Rose
Adam Rose has been in and around developmental wrestling for a good few years in the WWE, and 2014 was expected to be the year he made a great leap forward. To be fair, the early weeks during his time on the main roster were relatively successful; Rose's party gimmick was certainly unique, and it gave him a bit of a niche place on the roster. For one reason or another though, the WWE didn't really jump on Rose's early popularity, and he's now being forced to feud with someone dressed in a bunny costume. Rose's heel turn has been slowly coming for a few months - and if he can pull it off to a decent degree of success, all may not be lost for Adam Rose in the WWE.
Naturally, there are a host of differing reasons why guys haven't perhaps done as well as they should have done over the past 12 months. When it comes to Kane, it's more a case of the WWE not really booking him in the way they should have. Sure, the 'Corporate Kane' angle was interesting at first, but it hasn't really gone anywhere since it was kicked off. He's ended up feuding with guys like Ryback in filler matches on pay-per-view - that's no way to treat one of the legends of the company. It would be nice to see the WWE bring back the demonic Kane in the coming 12 months - after all, that's where he is at his best.
7 Jack Swagger
Jack Swagger is perhaps the one guy on the WWE roster that seems to have been handled wrong more than anyone else. After all, it was only a few years ago that the WWE hurtled Swagger from the lofty heights of World Heavyweight Champion right down to the low end of the card. He's been in some stale storylines, and that hasn't changed over the last 12 months, unfortunately. His face turn showed much promise, but the fact he was repeatedly squashed by Rusev did him no favors. Where next for Swagger? A return to working as a heel seems his only realistic outlet, given how the WWE have made a bit of a hash of this face turn.
He's had such a disastrous year that the WWE sent him away from TV to get repackaged - but it really hasn't done Fandango's fortunes any good. It's incredible to think that he actually defeated Chris Jericho in his WrestleMania debut back in 2013 - since then, not a lot else has happened for Fandango that can be described as positive. He's come back - with Rosa Mendes alongside him - as a slightly darker, more mysterious character. Yet despite that, he's not really been given a platform to work from at all. Where next for Fandango then? Probably an early release from his contract - that's how disappointing things have been during the career of Fandango.
5 Big E
Whether it was as NXT Champion with his patented '5 Count', as the bodyguard of Dolph Ziggler, or even as a very valid and worthwhile Intercontinental Champion, things continuously looked rosy for the career of Big E (Langston). The second half of 2014 in particular has been hugely disappointing for Big E, who went hurtling down the card for no real reason. He's a talent, and the way he was quickly shuffled out of the Intercontinental Championship scene was pretty mystifying. He's now been repackaged as part of The New Day, a stable involving fellow disappointments Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston. The stable certainly has potential to succeed - but it's up to the WWE and its fans whether that turns out to be the case.
4 Bo Dallas
Some may see it as a tad harsh putting Bo Dallas on this list at all - after all, he went on a huge undefeated streak at the start of his time on the main roster in WWE. The only problem with that is, whilst it was great to see someone make the step up and win so many matches, he wasn't really going anywhere. He failed to solidify himself as a proper heel, and fell in the middle of being both face or heel. That meant the crowd couldn't buy into him, and as a result, he just became quite annoying. Dallas has been out of action since November; expect him to be a surprise entrant in the 2015 Royal Rumble. And when he does return, he'll need a big run to convince WWE fans that he's the real deal.
3 Kofi Kingston
Much like Big E before him on this list, Kofi Kingston is currently part of the repackaged group, The New Day. But the career of Kingston is perhaps even more frustrating than Big E's, given how Kingston was at the upper end of the card in WWE during his career. His feud with Randy Orton during a large part of 2009 was incredible, and had seemed to solidify him as a top talent in the company. Since then though, Kingston always seems to have been scratching around for a worthwhile rivalry - and 2014 was no difference. He's limited to the odd moment in the Royal Rumble that draws huge applause from the crowd - which does indicate that he's still got something. Hopefully The New Day can draw the best from Kofi Kingston once again.
2 Big Show
Heel turn, face turn. Heel turn, face turn. That seems to be the path Big Show's career has taken over the past five years - and none of those turns have produced anything too worthwhile. He started the year teaming up with Mark Henry - a move which may have been a success had the WWE kept them together as a worthwhile and relevant tag team. However, Henry turned on Show, leading to Show scratching around wrestling the odd match with little substance. He turned on Team Cena at Survivor Series to join up with The Authority, but since they disappeared from TV, Show is again in the middle of nowhere when it comes to a rivalry. The mini-feud he appears to have started with Roman Reigns is promising, but you get the feeling it's just a stepping stone for Reigns to move on towards the Royal Rumble. When he leaves Show behind in a few weeks, it's hard to see where he goes next.
If this list was solely about WrestleMania XXX - 2014's premier wrestling event - Cesaro would be nowhere near this list. But that's the thing, it's not. Cesaro stunned the world that night when he put on an incredible performance to win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. It seemed that on that night, a star was indeed born. The following night on Raw, Cesaro got an endorsement from none other than Hulk Hogan, and the crowd was in no doubt about their next big star.
Perhaps the mistake came when Cesaro aligned himself with Paul Heyman - after all, he seemed to have it made as a top face. Joining forces with a heel manager seemed a good idea in the short term, but looking back, it may have been the wrong move. Cesaro still puts on supremely entertaining matches whenever he steps into the ring, something he alluded to himself on the final Raw of 2014. WWE fans will want more done with Cesaro's character over the next 12 months, because there's still a potential world champion waiting in the wings.
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