With the exception of John Cena and Randy Orton, WWE’s main event scene is an ever-changing landscape. New stars are continuously booked to the top end of the roster, as we’ve seen with the likes of Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose recently. But there’s always a need for a long-term goal in the WWE; to keep an eye on talents that could eventually replicate the success of people like Cena and Orton. With new stars emerging all the time, and guys in the middle of the card desperately trying to make an impact, there’s always the possibility of new main event stars coming to the forefront of the WWE.
Guys like Dolph Ziggler have shown that in the past; gradually rising to the point of World Heavyweight Champion and main eventing pay-per-view shows on a frequent basis. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose have also become certified main eventers – and elsewhere on the roster, there’s lots of other guys who could do exactly the same. Every WWE fan will have their own opinion on who could be the next big main event star; whether it’s a star who isn’t quite getting the push he deserves, or a fresh, young talent that simply looks destined for the top.
Are there guys who could emulate the success of the likes of Cena? That will be tough, given how many world titles he has to his name, and is likely to win before he retires. But there’s always the potential for worldwide stars to break through. This list looks at the guys who’ve yet to become established main eventers, but could develop into one for the remainder of their career.
10. Adrian Neville
Neville is the latest hot talent to emerge from the United Kingdom’s wrestling scene, and he’s been the dominating force in NXT wrestling for the last few months, now. When he and three other talents got the call up to Raw to promote an upcoming NXT show, Neville really put on an impressive showing for those watching. He’s been NXT Champion since February and looks very capable of turning that into a year-long reign. However, it is when he drops the title that his story and development could really catch fire, with a move to the main roster seeming inevitable. From there on in, it’s all about how the WWE books him, but Neville has the talent and the energy to win over the fans. We saw the first example of that when Neville made his Raw debut; with more exposure and some decent feuds, Neville could shoot to the top of the tree in no time whatsoever.
The Bulgarian brute makes this list for a couple of reasons. First of all, he’s got a great character that is incredibly unique when it comes to the rest of the WWE roster, with that anti-American gimmick starting to make real waves in the WWE. Having just claimed the United States Championship, Rusev’s movement on the card seems to be only going one way; up. He’s getting more and more heat from wrestling fans as the weeks go on, and that will only help his push towards the main event scene even more. On top of his gimmick helping him stand out, there’s also his incredible wrestling ability to consider. He’s been dubbed as the ‘Super Athlete’ in the past, and that’s obvious to see when you see him inside the ring. As well as awesome feats of strength, he is also unbelievably agile for such a huge guy. With that perfect blend of ability, it seems that the only thing standing in Rusev’s way is shaky booking, you feel.
8. Damien Sandow
Until the day Damien Sandow actually claims a world title, there will probably always be a feeling of injustice when it comes to his WWE career. After all, he gradually worked his way up the card before eventually claiming the Money in the Bank briefcase in 2013. Unfortunately, he was set to cash it in against John Cena, and that led to a rather inevitable defeat on an edition of Monday Night Raw back in October 2013. That wouldn’t have been too much of a concern had Sandow been thrust into a feud with Cena, but instead, he was sent packing down the card once again. He’s gradually gaining a reputation again amongst WWE fans, and his work as The Miz’s stunt double is helping him stand out as a credible character once more. Should a turn on The Miz occur at some point (leading to Sandow turning face), that would be an intelligent move. He has the ability, and he certainly has the gift on the microphone.
7. Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn is another exciting prospect currently waiting in the wings of NXT’s roster. However, what transcends Zayn above those two is the fan base he seems to have established in NXT – simply put, Zayn has huge stacks of momentum behind him. He’s a real high flyer inside the ring, which seems to be a trait that gets you popular among wrestling fans, judging by recent examples such as Daniel Bryan.
We saw a glimpse of Zayn’s talent when he wrestled on Raw alongside the likes of Neville to promote NXT: Fatal 4 Way, and the Canadian is probably the next cab off the rank when it comes to stepping up to the main roster. It may take a while for him to burst into the top end of the roster, but as Bryan himself proved as an NXT graduate, good things come to those who wait. If Zayn is patient, and continues to wrestle with the same flair and excitement he’s shown on NXT, then he’s headed for a world title in the coming years.
It may seem surprising to have Cesaro so high this list, but there are a few reasons why he’s got huge potential to be a main event star. First of all, we’ve seen that he can develop enough popularity to become a top star; all you need to do is think back to WrestleMania XXX. When he won the battle royal in a very competitive field, the reaction he got was huge. Similarly, the night after on Monday Night Raw, Cesaro got a massive pop from the crowd when he seemingly turned babyface.
Although that didn’t quite work out, it proved a point that Cesaro has something about him that could thrust him towards the main event scene. And when you factor in his talent as well – especially that patented swing that gets a huge reaction – it becomes obvious that Cesaro has everything required to be a world champion. His biggest obstacle is the booking he receives from the WWE. If the company become brave enough to turn him into a full fledged babyface, then we could see something very special happen with Cesaro’s career.
5. Bad News Barrett
Injuries can come at the worst possible time for a wrestler – something Bad News Barrett can only testify to all too well. His Bad News Barrett gimmick was just starting to gain some momentum from WWE fans, who were starting to buy into him as a valid addition to the roster. However, after claiming the Intercontinental Championship, Barrett suffered a nasty shoulder injury that has seen him ruled out of action to the present day.
A return to the ring will be in the cards shortly, and when he does come back, it’s important the WWE keeps his momentum going. Too often a wrestler returns from injury and fails to get back into the position they once were – something that will worry fans of Daniel Bryan with his lengthy lay-off. The Englishman has been within striking distance of the main event scene in recent years, most memorably as the leader of The Nexus, when he entered into a great rivalry with John Cena. However, that final push to the world title never really transpired for Barrett, and when he returns, it would be great to see the WWE give him a chance at the top.
4. Bray Wyatt
It’s often the guys you never really expect to be a main event star that eventually ascend the ladder to become a real star in the WWE. Guys like CM Punk and Daniel Bryan are prime examples – they never appeared to have all the tools to reach the top, but eventually, their hard work and dedication paid off. Cast your minds back a couple of years when Bray Wyatt was wrestling as Husky Harris – not in a million years could anyone have imagined him becoming a main eventer in the WWE.
Since his repackaging as Wyatt though, he’s turned into a precious talent for the WWE for the coming months and years, Wyatt’s development must continue towards world title level. He’s had a pretty good 2014, most notably fighting John Cena at WrestleMania XXX. And although that wasn’t in the main event, it was a good marker to prove just how close Wyatt is to that level. With him recently splitting from Erick Rowan and Luke Harper, his feud with Dean Ambrose is another important step forward. These are two guys who could easily shape the future of the WWE – and if Wyatt carries on how he is, he’s a world champion in the making.
3. Dean Ambrose
There’s simply no way the “Lunatic Fringe” could have been left off this list. All you have to do is look at his recent performances to see how much talent he has. He seems to be quickly becoming the 2014 version of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, with his rebellious attitude against those in power, garnering him huge popularity among WWE fans. He’s unpredictable, and he’s incredibly exciting. That’s a perfect blend for a top WWE babyface, with nobody quite knowing what he’s going to do next. Ambrose could go above and beyond the success of anyone else on this list if booked correctly; and in terms of becoming a main eventer, it looks to be more and more of a guarantee as the weeks pass by.
2. Roman Reigns
Even though he’s been around the top end of the card in recent months, Roman Reigns makes this list because when he returns from injury, he’ll find himself in a much different WWE main event scene. The likes of Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose have stepped up to that level in his absence and the onus will be on Reigns to strike back and show everyone what he is capable of.
The hernia injury he suffered came at an unfortunate time. However, looking long-term, Reigns will be returning around the beginning of 2015 – perhaps even the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. If that turns out to be the case, it will be interesting to see whether Reigns gets a good crack at the main event scene heading towards WrestleMania. Being realistic, it’s hard to see Reigns not becoming a world champion in the next couple of years. He’s got everything in the locker; it’s just up to the WWE to find him the right rivalry.
1. Seth Rollins
Dubbed as the “future of the WWE” by Triple H, Seth Rollins is well on the way to becoming a certified main event star in the WWE – of that there is no doubting. His technical ability always managed to catch the eye when part of The Shield, and now that the group has split, Rollins’ push is starting to pay dividends. He’s almost guaranteed a run as a world champion, given how he’s currently in possession of the Money in the Bank briefcase. And from there on, the world is his oyster – not least due to his affiliation with The Authority. As a guy who can make any match more exciting with his inclusion, Rollins could quite easily become the company’s next major star.
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