The nature of our environment can define us as a people – labeling us something or someone that we despise. Transforming us into slaves of the system, the people we thought we would never be when we were young and full of dreams but now that we're older, the sad realization of reality feels like a stiff punch to the face – black eyes and black ties for everyone.
Everybody wants to be somebody else at some point, it's a matter of having the fortitude to change our surroundings. The problem with change is the lack of normalcy. People grow comfortable and comfort can be a terrible thing in terms of personal growth. Those who have found absolute comfort often find conformity and convenience while fearing the unknown.
In professional wrestling, personality is a tricky subject. While many wrestlers use their own real life personalities (often cranked up high), others become trapped in what is known as a “gimmick.” Essentially, everybody is working a gimmick but to a degree. The Ric Flair you see on TV is not far from the Ric Flair you would see in the every day world.
However, this is not the case with most talents – especially in WWE – where the gimmick has stood the test or time; for better or worse. Obviously, many of these gimmicks have gotten over while many have flopped. These are grown men who dreamed about working for WWE – many since childhood – only to arrive and be told that they are going to go out to the ring and dance … but such is the way of the business.
Of course we have the classic cases of talents being mismanaged and misused which has been happening for years and will continue to occur. Triple H likes to discuss spotting “diamonds” such as Randy Orton and Seth Rollins but would he have ever noticed Stone Cold Steve Austin or CM Punk? Probably not (Thanks, Paul Heyman).
The current roster is full of outstanding talent so why is the product this bad? Stale material, loss of edge, and lack of competition stand out as some of the main obstacles facing the modern WWE. Which is we why we are going to take a look at some of these talents, their current position within the company, and where they may find greener pastures; or at least less crab grass.
These are the top 15 current WWE talents who would be better off elsewhere:
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15 Eva Marie
Cold Hard Truth: being beautiful is not a talent. Beauty pageants are a sham and modeling is misleading but appearance means everything therefore the “beautiful people” are placed all over television, internet, film, and advertising.
Eva Marie is a beauty in the purest sense: a girl that turns heads and draws attention without effort. However, Eva Marie is awful in the ring and bad on the mic. Marie doesn't fit the wrestling industry. She doesn't work as an in-ring talent and she would never work as a manager.
Eva Marie is basically employed by WWE to take part on Total Divas – a show that will eventually run its course and then what is left for Eva Marie and WWE? Marie would be better off applying that “beauty-talent” in other aspects of the entertainment industry.
14 Jack Swagger
Jack Swagger: the All-American wrestler and former World Heavyweight Champion who never quite rose to that next level in WWE. When Swagger was given a Tea Party gimmick, new life was breathed into his career. However, that would soon fizzle.
Jack Swagger has a good “wrestling look.” Very typical. Inside of the ring, Swagger can hold his own; not the greatest mat technician but solid which in this day-and-age passes as “good enough.” Swagger will never again win a top championship in WWE or find himself in the main event picture which means that it may be time to leave.
Jack Swagger seems like the kind of guy that would get along with the likes of Jeff Jarrett. Perhaps Global Force Wrestling is a viable option for Swagger.
Fandango holds a WrestleMania victory over Chris Jericho. Kudos to Jericho for putting over an up-and-coming talent but where has Fandango gone since that win? He danced and danced some more and kept on dancing and switched dance partners and faded into the background.
Aside from the fans doing the “Fandango Dance,” there is not much else to say about this tired and recycled character. However, Curtis Hussey (real name) was trained by Killer Kowalski and spent many years on the independent circuit prior to WWE.
Supposing that Hussey is repackaged someday soon with a new gimmick, nobody is going to forget about the dancing. Hussey may want to reconsider the independent circuit. Less money but more dignity.
12 Heath Slater
“The One Man Band,” Heath Slater has been kicking around the WWE for a few years now with not much to show for his efforts. Slater's most memorable moments came at the hands of legends in the build towards Raw 1000.
Heath Slater was getting beat week-after-week by Superstars of the past which was actually entertaining while also providing a sense of nostalgia. However, the rest of Slater's time in WWE is forgettable. Slater doesn't fit the “WWE Look” despite his in-ring ability.
Heath Slater would be better off finding work on the independent scene where his talents would be utilized and presented properly.
11 Alex Riley
Alex Riley was once on the rise in WWE, enjoying a push that was soon halted thanks to John Cena (allegedly). According to the story, Cena was ragging on Riley who did not appreciate getting ribbed and came back angrily at Cena. This was viewed as breaking some sort of unwritten “locker room code.”
Where has Alex Riley been in recent years? Sitting in at the NXT announce table or competing against the NXT talent, a guy who was supposed to be a main roster success delegated to the NXT system while the up-and-coming stars surpass him on a weekly basis.
Alex Riley has TNA written all over him and would probably fit in well in place where he could bash WWE and perform amid the mediocrity.
The best Diva on the current main roster is undoubtedly Paige. She is young and talented and has already held the Divas Championship twice but what does that all really mean? Nothing … and things will remain as such until the “Divas” are once again considered Women.
Paige doesn't need the WWE in order to have a wrestling career. Having been raised in a wrestling family and performing since her early teenage years in her native England, Paige could just as easily walk away and return home to glory.
However, she is featured on Total Divas which is really all that matters. When the Women of NXT are finally called up to the main roster, one must wonder: how long before they are force-featured on the show?
9 Zack Ryder
“The Ryder Revolution” is over … or never really began. The self proclaimed “Internet Champion” made waves in the WWE Universe and gained recognition through self-promotion, homemade video, and social media and it worked … for a while.
WWE missed the boat with Zack Ryder and now that vessel is so far gone that it is no longer visible out at sea. Perhaps if WWE had used Ryder during his internet rise, something good might have came of his WWE career.
Zack Ryder should get out and get back to the Net with his fanbase. Independent wrestling fans love “internet darlings.”
8 Damien Sandow
Damien Sandow has proven to be one of the biggest examples of misused WWE talents in a very long time. When Sandow captured the MITB briefcase, a title run seemed eminent. However, when Sandow cashed-in on John Cena for the World Heavyweight Championship, he lost the match.
The decline of Damien Sandow would follow as bad imitation gimmicks would become the forefront of his personality. Damien Mizdow may have worked out well but once Sandow broke away form The Miz, WWE blew the opportunity to make him a star.
Imitating the Macho Man doesn't work and neither will anything else along those lines. Damien Sandow can work and talk and should find employment where he will truly be appreciated. Perhaps in the start-up GFW promotion where he could possibly become a top talent.
7 Tyson Kidd
There has always been something between the McMahon and Hart families that lingers to this day, a stench of something foul that keeps a silent animosity strong between both side. Thus, the Hart family must suffer while under contract with WWE.
Tyson Kidd is married to a Hart and is the final graduate of the Hart Dungeon – where he learned proper wrestling techniques that he has infused with his sharp and quick in-ring style. Kidd is not much for personality but maintains a really good work ethic. Which, of course, will never get him over in WWE.
Tyson Kidd has a unique style of wrestling, one that could be prominently displayed in places like Japan or Mexico. However, Kidd is married to a Diva who is a star on that reality show and will likely remain in North America.
6 Kofi Kingston
Kofi Kingston came into the WWE with a Jamaican accent, an ear-to-ear smile and colorful ring gear. The accent was eventually dropped but Kingston was never pushed that hard by the company, a mid-card success at best.
Kofi Kingston currently makes up one-third of New Day, but if the WWE career of Kingston is any indication of the direction in which that gimmick is heading: place your bets on downhill. It is just a matter of time.
Kofi Kingston is an exceptional wrestler whose personality is infectious (hating on Xavier Woods and Big E is one thing but it's hard to hate Kofi). Kingston could find some sort of success should he take his talents to a place like TNA or GFW.
5 Wade Barrett
Wade Barrett is the current “King” of the WWE. However, the push of Barrett has been placed on perpetual hold; another fantastic Superstar who is constantly misused and misplaced on the card. Barrett could be a main event talent.
The whole King gimmick doesn't work anymore, as not since King Booker has winning the King of the Ring meant anything significant. Wade Barrett is best as Wade Barrett – a former bare-knuckle boxer turned professional wrestler who enjoys a good fight.
The tough Englishman may one day grow tired of WWE and if that day should come, Wade Barrett could find work on the smaller scale in North America or head back home to England as a WWE anti-hero.
Cesaro is a professional wrestler – plain and simple – and therein lies his greatest downfall. Cesaro is not an “entertainer.” Adding the Cesaro Spin to his repertoire was a nice way of including an element of entertainment to his matches but it's not enough.
Ceasro has worked for a number of independent promotions such as Chikara, Combat Zone Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, and Ring of Honor; promotions where he has honed his wrestling skills, has been respected and found success.
NXT is the WWE version of an independent promotion – and while Cesaro has competed down there – it is not where he belongs. Perhaps Cesaro would be better off returning to a place like ROH while it is still around.
3 Dean Ambrose
What will become of Dean Ambrose? Will he ever be a real main event player in WWE? There is definitely hope but something just isn't right about the entire situation. Ambrose has been in the main event multiple times now but quickly falls out of the picture.
Is this another case of WWE misusing a talent or is Dean Ambrose not a good fit for the WWE system? Ambrose is young and will likely remain with WWE for the foreseeable future but will he ever grab that “brass ring?”
Dean Ambrose may pack his bags and leave someday and should such a thing happen, the options for Ambrose are vast as most promotions would jump at the chance to have a talent of his caliber.
2 Dolph Ziggler
Despite all the love from the WWE Universe, Dolph Ziggler is never going to be the top guy in the company. While Ziggler certainly has the ability, the company does not stand behind The Show Off. Ziggler has been labeled “injury prone” and that will never help his cause.
While there has been much speculation regarding Dolph Ziggler and his future in WWE, he has re-signed with the company, but the former World Heavyweight Champion (Yes, Ziggler was twice WHC) may venture down other avenues and step away from the WWE in the future.
While Dolph Ziggler could go work for another wrestling promotion, he has displayed interest in comedy while trying his hand as a stand-up comic. Ziggler might pursue this love for comedy should he ever decide to leave WWE.
1 Bray Wyatt
The greatest example of current misused WWE talent is Bray Wyatt. Aside from Paul Heyman, Wyatt is the best on the microphone right now. Inside of the ring, Wyatt works a psychological and precise style which is a nice contrast to many of the other performers.
Bray Wyatt could easily find himself with another promotion. Windham Rotunda (real name) comes from a wrestling lineage and has proven that he can get the job done both in the ring and on the mic which should be enough to get a man over.
Once again we must divert back to the WWE Formula which Bray Wyatt does not fit and while fans of The Eater of Worlds would hate to see him leave, Wyatt could be much better off elsewhere.
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