What happens when a superstar overstays their welcome? Or when a wrestler is booked and overbooked to look like an idiot? What happens when a competitor simply loses faith with the fans and garners what has been come to be known as “X–Pac Heat?” They simply just can’t be taken seriously anymore. Whether it is because of their in–ring performance, a bad promo or two, or simply the creative team stops giving a superstar something new and exciting to do, once you’ve lost the ability for the fans to believe in you, you can bet the farm that unless the Boss likes you, you’ll be on the bread line soon.
There are few things worse in any sport, or job for that matter. You have to work doubly hard to curry favor again with the fans or your boss in order to be respected and taken seriously. For some, like the wrestlers on this list, that is no small order. Often times, it can’t even be done. Perhaps a wrestler got way too big of a push at first, perhaps they had a legacy they had to work extra hard to live up to, or they never went away to reinvent themselves, they were one gimmick one week and then seemingly another the next week.
Whether fans once cared about these WWE superstars or not, at this current moment in their careers, no one can take them seriously at all.
15. Xavier Woods
At least our first entry is just doing his job, and doing it exceptionally well. Xavier Woods is playing the Buddy Roberts of the New Day. As the jaw-jacking, jive spewing ringside cheerleader of the New Day, Woods rants at eaves so much at ringside, that he's going to need a cast for his vocal chords sooner than later. The man that no one takes seriously at all but everyone loves to hate him and loves to beat the tar out of him all at the same time. But that also puts a damper on any career aspirations Woods might have past the New Day.
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Let's be honest with each other wrestling fans, was the Big Red Machine ever taken as a serious threat. Sure, he debuted as the evil younger brother of the Undertaker, but his entire backstory was far–fetched, even by professional wrestling standards. First, he was long thought dead but was supposedly burnt alive and hideously scarred. Forced to unmask, he was just a bald man with strange contact lenses. Of course now, as Corporate Kane / Demon Kane, the guy has an identity issue, but both identities have worn out their welcome with the fans. When certain crowds disrespectfully chant "please retire" at you, you know that no one believes in you anymore, perhaps not a lot of fans did in the first place.
12 The Miz
More than anyone on this list, the Miz has nothing to be ashamed for for becoming a shell of his former self. Going from jerk reality star to jerk top heel WrestleMania headliner is no small fete. Going from top heel to Jericho–wannabe spouting on about conspiracies to becoming a mouth that roared in his own right, the Miz has had one of the more questionable careers in recent memory. Taking a look at him now, can anyone believe that he one stood toe-to-toe with John Cena, and defeated him? He seems to be content with playing more of a comedic rule, but if the Miz ever decides to get serious getting back to the top, all of this current nonsense will be hard to overcome.
11 Chris Jericho
From a wannabe to the original…Chris Jericho can espouse all he wants to about the benefits of DDP Yoga all he wants to on his podcasts and we all know how much of a fan he is. But the Ayatollah of Rock–n–Rolla is also a shameless self–promotor, not to mention a bit of an self–conscious ego maniac; he’d most likely rip into this article if he read it. But it’s really time for this guy to step aside; there was no reason he needed to beat Neville in Japan and no reason for him to snipe at Reigns and Ambrose. He had no plan on sticking around; he’s got too many different things to do. All of his comings and goings just leave fans scratching their heads instead of wanting more.
11. Bull Dempsey
If there ever was a goat of NXT, it would be Bull Dempsey. The guy came in like a…like a big nasty bull, destroying everyone in his path. Then the big guy met another monster in the Lone Wolf Baron Corbin. They met; Bull lost and has never regained any steam he had. The guy seemed like he was poised become a Rhyno–type of nasty villain, but then Rhyno stepped foot into NXT and the need for Bull Dempsey as he was went away. In his place is a comedy character that makes guys like Tyler Breeze sneer at him. The guy went from menacing to ridiculous in such a short time that it if he ever wants to get to the main roster, Bull will have to make a drastic but memorable impact.
10 Tamina Snuka
Before the flailing Divas Revolution, there were a few Divas that were brought in that made you think there would be a shift in how the ladies were represented. Tamina Snuka was one of these Divas. The daughter of the Superfly, Jimmy Snuka, Tamina came in with fellow dynastic wrestlers, the Usos and the Hart Dynasty. But while Nattie and the Usos excelled and found their niche, for whatever reason, Tamina never found hers. She’s been regulated to a sidekick know for the past few years, first with A.J. Lee, and now with Sasha Banks as part of Team B.A.D. Now that the ladies are starting to be given a chance, maybe Tamina will have a true case to show her stuff in the ring.
9 Zack Ryder
Submitted for your approval, the sad and annoyingly frustrating tale of Long Island Iced–Z Zack Ryder. Ryder did something that should have made him a top star, he started his own internet show and the fledgling superstar got himself over. Crowds all over the country would chant “we want Ryder!” But even though Vince McMahon seemingly wants his stars to reach and grab those brass rings, when Ryder did it on his own, it didn’t seem to fly with the powers that be. Whether or not Ryder should have been elevated thanks to his own efforts is debatable, but that fact that he was barely pushed, and not even given a real chance to get over is shame, and because of this, Ryder will be never be taken seriously again.
We all know that if Vince McMahon and The Stinger worked together when Sting was in his prime, the guy would have been as big as Hogan and Warrior, if not bigger. But unfortunately, his prime was years ago and even though the Icon is phenomenal shape, he was still the last and final holdover from WCW, plus one of the first guys from TNA to come aboard. Simply put, there was no way Vince was going book the match with Triple H any differently. But in doing so, it left a bad taste in many older fans’ mouths, and for younger fans who had little idea who Sting was, now only see him as an old man who talks big but can’t back it up in the ring.
7 Bo Dallas
From former NXT champion to delusional jerk who no one Bolieves in, Bo Dallas is having a rough go of it on the main roster. His character a cross between Kurt Angle, what his brother Bray does and what the New Day do, one would think Dallas would be experiencing the kind of run that hasn’t been seen in years. Instead, Bo Dallas is seldom seen and regulated to mid–card jobber and a cautionary tale for anyone coming up from NXT. While you could be the next Seth Rollins, you could easily become the next Bo Dallas, former top NXT star turned pretty close to bottom of the barrel jabroni.
While the Stardust character has taken off, thanks in part to the war with Stephen Amell, the man behind the face paint; Cody Rhodes should be a lot higher on the totem pole that is the WWE. There was a time when Dashing Cody Rhodes was giving way to a villainous madman who thought his face scarred. Even an emotional partnership with his brother Goldust couldn’t bring out the fire that many thought Cody had inside. So he went in a different direction, Stardust. While donning the face paint pretty much guarantees that Cody will never get to the top of the summit, it also does guarantee that as long as he stays healthy and can reinvent himself through the years like his brother, Stardust will be around a long time.
Floundering around the WWE since 2009, Naomi gets treated a little better than she should be, considering her spot on Total Divas and now being part of the Anoa’i family, the former number one contender for the Divas championship was even given a prime spot in the Divas revolution, as the leader of Beautiful and Dangerous. But these days unless you’re a Belle, Charlotte, Bailey, Paige, or Sasha, no one is going to believe in you until you can showcase what you can do in the ring. Currently, she hasn’t shown much in the ring, but perhaps the more Divas are given a chance, the more we’ll see out of Mrs. Fatu.
4 Adam Rose
Another “in NXT he was good,” Adam Rose’s party boy character was never going to be world heavyweight champion, but his quirky personality should have made him a mainstay attraction, or at the very least a suitable replacement for Santino Marella’s comedic spot in the company. The man behind the Exotic Express, Ray Leppan made an emotional impact and connection during the E:60 documentary on NXT. But his time on the main roster has not been memorable and the Exotic Express gimmick that worked so well down in NXT has left Rose wandering around the Universe trying to find his way, even so far as becoming a party pooper.
3 Damien Sandow
From the Intellectual Savior of the Masses to being one half of the Meta–Powers, Damien Sandow has been a loyal soldier, doing everything the company asks of him and getting over in the process. Having shared the same mentor as Triple H (Killer Kowalski), one would think he’d have an in with the boss to better further his career. But alas, Sandow is a victim of a creative team that simply has no clue what to do with him. As evidenced by his run with the Miz, the fans want to root for Sandow. But because of how he is booked, we’re left with little choice but to not believe in him and simply wait for him to be served his “Future Endeavors.”
2 Curtis Axel
Like Sandow, earlier this year, Curtis Axel had starting gaining some traction with his “Axelmania” gimmick. The other half of the Meta–Powers came with expectations that he would surely never be able to live up to. His grandfather was Minnesota territory legend Larry the Axe Henning, and of course his father is the aptly named Mr. Perfect. Now while Axel shouldn’t worry about living up to his relatives and just worry about finding his own way, he has been saddled with a ridiculous name, along with angles and bits that just go nowhere. Unlike Sandow, Axel has never been able to catch a lot of traction with the fans and everything the WWE has done to try and fix that felt forced and fallen flat, including making him a Paul Heyman Guy.
1 Hulk Hogan
Do we even have to explain how the once mighty Hulk made it to the top of the list? First, the man overstayed his welcome in the ring. Then the guy showed some signs of senility with his epic Silverdome gaff. The reality shows, the sex tape, and of course, comments made in bad taste. But despite it all, brothers, Hulk still is trying to get back into the world’s good graces instead of doing what he should have done and had just gone away for a while until the world forgave him. Now he just seems like a petulant child who refuses to believe he was wrong but will continue to apologize just for appearances sake.
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