Although what has become known as 'sports entertainment' is exactly that - entertainment - the business itself is extremely competitive. Make no mistake about it, every man and woman on the WWE roster wants to be the top player from a personal standpoint.
However, there is only so much room at the top and that room is quickly becoming less accessible with more and more talent being brought to the WWE.
As the WWE roster has expanded with the blazing success of NXT, it's so much easier for established wrestler to become lost in the crowd, especially in the Divas division with the likes of Emma, Cameron, Natalya and Tamina being completely overshadowed in the push to introduce fresh faces.
Despite the roster growing in size, professional wrestling is bringing in talent from different avenues than in the past, making the pool of potential WWE-level talent even bigger.
What that means is that if those who aren't currently on the roster don't succeed, they can quickly be pushed aside for new faces.
One way to combat being swept aside is for wrestlers to adopt a new gimmick in a bid to create a fresh start. It’s more drastic than a heel or face turn, but can completely revamp a career in an instant.
However, gimmick changes aren't solely limited to those struggling to make it as a relevant star in the WWE, with those already established in the company needing to freshen things up in order to stay relevant.
These are the top 15 Superstars and Divas who desperately need a gimmick change.
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15 Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins' rise to fame has been incredible to watch, but his run as the WWE Champion is severely lacking some clout. It appears Rollins is going to hold onto the title for a while to come, but constantly being on the receiving end of beatings and worming his way out of defending the championship is growing old quickly. Rollins' time as champion should serve as a development period for his character, going from a skittish runaway to a guy who is confident enough to back up his cocky claims. Constantly seeing him retain the title through lucky breaks is getting dull - it's time to develop Rollins' character into a guy who is a 'worthy' champion, rather than someone coasting on The Authority's favoritism.
14 Big Show
It's not exactly a good sign when crowds across the country are chanting "please retire." Big Show has been shouting from the rooftops about how he is a giant for the last 20 years – please let sanity prevail and give us something new. Although Show isn't exactly about to be placed in the main event picture anytime soon, fans are bored to death of the regular act of him flip-flopping between face and heel. Rather than just existing for the sake of existing, Show can still push the new generation of talent with a gimmick that is enjoyable for fans to watch. As it stands, Big Show matches and angles serve as little more than bathroom breaks.
It's a pretty bold statement to say the current Intercontinental Champion needs to change his entire gimmick, but much like Big Show, Ryback is simply dull. Apart from a small portion of younger wrestling fans, there isn't a whole lot of support for "the big guy." This kind of gimmick has been done to death and fans aren't suddenly going to want more of the same. Having developed his in-ring abilities in recent times, Ryback could have a long and successful career in the WWE as a much-liked wrestler if the company is willing to shake things up a bit.
12 Zack Ryder
The Long Island Iced-Z experienced moderate success, but it's clear to see that Zack Ryder isn't exactly setting the wrestling world on fire. Currently making up one half of the Hype Bros with Mojo Rawley in NXT, it appears the duo have been brought together as one final attempt at trying to salvage something from Ryder's successful singles run. With so many awesome tag teams coming up through NXT, it's hard to see the two breaking out from the pack. If Zack Ryder is going to have any future with the company in a singles capacity, a heel change, possibly spurred by bitterness over his fall from grace ala Emma, could be his one saving grace.
11 Adam Rose
When your most notable feud to date is with a guy in a bunny suit, you know things aren't going well. Currently making sporadic appearances in NXT, Adam Rose has shed his party boy ways and is trying his hand at the heel role. He certainly has the look of a bad guy, but he isn't going to find any kind of success pursuing the party persona in a heel capacity. If he is going to be taken seriously as a genuine heel, it's going to have to come from a less party-friendly direction.
10 Curtis Axel
This one sort of speaks for itself. Things seemed to be going swimmingly for Curtis Axel during his time taking on the Hulkamania gimmick, teaming up with Damien Sandow, or Macho Mandow, for a bit of comic relief. After Hulk Hogan's racist comments were made public, it seems as though Axel is the casualty caught in the crossfire, with WWE almost instantly removing any traces of Hogan from its website, including anything Axelmania related. Although wrestling is a business where fairness isn't exactly common, Axel deserves a solid singles push after having to deal with Hogan's misdemeanors.
The dancing gimmick didn't work as a face and it certainly didn't work as a heel. In fact, the less said about Fandango's time as a bad guy the better. It's becoming pretty clear that Fandango's ballroom abilities aren't exactly going to put him in a title picture, as the character comes off as far too wanky for lack of a better term. As a wrestler, Fandango is incredibly athletic and produces good in-ring work, but his character has well and truly hit its ceiling.
8 Jack Swagger
From All-American American in the World Heavyweight Championship picture to Rusev's personal stepping stone, Jack Swagger's only use currently is getting cheap pops in his home state of Oklahoma. With the attendees of WWE shows generally being American, it says a lot when Swagger can't make an American patriot gimmick work. Swagger is a very vanilla-looking performer and although he is a prized amateur wrestler, that’s not exactly what most WWE fans are looking for when seeking a cult figure to get behind. If he has any hope of salvaging a career with WWE, a gimmick change is most definitely required.
Watching Neville's character go from a dynamic high flier to a children's character has been hard to watch, mostly because he is so talented in the ring. Despite providing numerous in-ring highlights every time he steps through the ropes, the decision to book Neville as a comic book hero, or 'The Man that Gravity Forgot', is rapidly making those who loved his work in NXT turn away. Instead of marketing Neville to the younger portion of the WWE Universe, WWE should continue on the same path before Neville made his main roster debut. After all, his popularity was enough to justify him holding the NXT Championship for an extended period of time.
6 King Barrett
Taking on the king gimmick after winning the 2015 King of the Ring tournament, Wade Barrett's career is continuing to go backwards. The idea of a King of the Ring winner taking on the role as king has been done to death and, quite frankly, it's boring. As a talented in-ring wrestler, Barrett possesses enough unique qualities to make it as a straight-up heel; he doesn't need to deliver bad news and he most certainly doesn't need to walk around in old fashioned royal attire.
As far as Divas go, Tamina is the perennial bridesmaid. Tamina has only managed to have success when playing second fiddle to AJ Lee and more recently Naomi and Sasha Banks, which is disappointing when you consider her unique skill set. Taking one look at her, it's clear to see that Tamina isn't your average Diva. With what has been dubbed the 'Divas Revolution' currently going on, Tamina personifies what the revolution should be all about. She completely breaks the mold of what WWE Divas have been in the past and seeing her be brought from the dark as a menacing bodyguard into the light, potentially playing on the fact she isn't like most Divas, would be cool to see.
Speaking of the Divas Revolution, it's odd that Natalya, a Diva who has been at the forefront of the division for years, has been pushed aside. If she wasn't already becoming obsolete as the valet for husband Tyson Kidd and Cesaro before Kidd's injury, she most certainly is now. With NXT Divas coming through the ranks, Natalya has become expendable. However, changing her gimmick from playing on Hart family roots to something completely different, much like Naomi has gone from a fun-loving Funkadactyl to a brash ass kicker with a chip on her shoulder, could place her back in the fray. There's no doubting Natalya's in-ring ability, but the Queen of Harts gimmick has reached its limit.
3 Mark Henry
This is more an irrational hope rather than a likely occurrence, but wouldn't it be fun to see Mark Henry reprise the role of Sexual Chocolate before his career comes to an end? When you think about it, it somewhat makes sense. Henry has only recently become involved on WWE TV shows again, though it has mostly been in the capacity of jobbing for younger talent. It completely takes away from what Henry has achieved as the World's Strongest Man in recent years, making him appear as a weak stepping stone. There is always room for some comic relief in sports entertainment and Henry filled that role perfectly during the Attitude Era as Sexual Chocolate. Having Henry play that part again would not only be a great nostalgia trip - even if it is a PG alteration - it would give him fresh life heading towards the end of his career.
2 Bo Dallas
If Bo Dallas wants to have a WWE career that is more rewarding than being beaten up by wrestling legends of the past, the motivational speaker gimmick has to go. It's actually a pretty cool gimmick, but it's one that has grown incredibly stale very quickly. As a former NXT Champion, it's clear WWE is interested in Dallas playing a role in the company's future. With real life brother Bray Wyatt recently bringing the Wyatt family back together, a simple transition from a motivational speaker to a propaganda spitter, like his brother Bray, would make for an awesome combination.
For the love of God, stop this Authority puppet business and give us the Big Red Machine back. Kane has long been renowned as a great partner to work with in the ring and it shows when WWE is willing to allow Kane to still compete using a gimmick that couldn't be further from what saw him rise to fame. However, we all know that Kane's time as a professional wrestler is coming to an end, and one final run as the Big Red Machine/Monster, the Devil's Favorite Demon and the half-brother of The Undertaker is what fans are crying out for before his time is up. With The Undertaker also heading towards retirement, let sanity prevail and allow a story involving the two play out.
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