For wrestling fans, this is somewhat of a golden age that we’re in. We are able to connect with other fans around the world, watch clips of small organizations on YouTube, and we have access to the thousands of hours of archived programming via the WWE Network. The downside of the latter is that we’re constantly inundated with the same faces, day in and day out. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but, realistically, how many times can you hear Roman Reigns cut his “I’m not a good guy, bad guy, THE guy” promo before you want to rip your ears off?
Thing is, in between Monday Night Raw, Smackdown, Superstars, and Total Divas, we, the audience, start to notice that our favorite WWE talents start to look a little sluggish, or maybe we’re just tired of seeing them all the time? For what it’s worth, I, too, think that any segment can be improved by a Kevin Owens and/or Sami Zayn run-in, but let’s be real, that can only go so far.
What we have here is a list of current WWE superstars who need a break from the company. It could be for overexposure, under-utilization, or just because they really, really shouldn’t be there anymore.
15 The Miz
At the time that this is being written, The Miz is currently is a bit of a career resurgence as the Intercontinental Champion. It’s actually probably something that he could have achieved a year-and-a-half ago when the Mizdow thing was happening, but let’s not dwell on that.
Thanks to an incredible Fatal Four-way match against Cesaro, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn at Payback 2016, Miz retained the IC title, while also looking great against three world-class competitors. Looking ahead, what else is there for The Miz?
It’s possible that he’ll feud with Cesaro, but the real reason why The Miz is doing so well, ring-wise, is that the other wrestlers in the IC title picture can help cover up some of Miz’s weaknesses. Like David Otunga, The Miz would make a great public ambassador for the WWE, but other than that, he could probably just keep starring in those Marine movies.
14 Tyler Breeze
Tyler Breeze was just called up to the main roster and I already want him back on NXT.
It’s not really his fault; it’s just that there’s no room for him on the WWE roster. Even with the brand split, Breeze’s Zoolander-esque gimmick doesn’t work on Monday Night Raw, particularly when he’s physically close to other wrestlers like Fandango and Dolph Ziggler. This isn’t to suggest that Breeze can’t make it on the main roster, but he never had a chance to tweak or change his gimmick. He was pushed into a feud with Ziggler and has pretty much been jobbing since. For his sake, he needs to step away for a minute.
R-Truth is not unlike death and taxes, meaning that we, the Internet Wrestling Community, can always count on him being there for us. But the question is, do we want him there?
I don’t want to turn this into a “I hate R-Truth” rant because it’s furthest from the truth (pun intended). He has been a staple of WWE television for so long, that it’s difficult to see programming without him, but despite his current tag team with Goldust, Truth isn’t really adding anything to the overall narrative.
We’ve seen Truth on Total Divas as one of Natalya’s friends outside of the ring and, even though he still hams it up for the camera, is far more likeable in that respect. An absence of Truth and a return as a commentator or a manager would do his character some good.
12 Sin Cara
When Sin Cara is remembered years down the line, he might be remembered as one of the few wrestlers who was played by multiple people. Fake Undertaker, Fake Razor Ramon, Fake Diesel, and Fake Warrior were lambasted by both fans and wrestling critics. Sin Cara, on the other hand, has been played by two people and to some success.
The thing about Sin Cara is that, like John Cena, he’s a character that exists to appeal to children and sell toys. The men who have played Sin Cara have been exceptional athletes, but the character itself has never broken through the midcard ranks.
The original Sin Cara, Mistico, has since gone back to Mexico, and current Sin Cara’s (Hunico) Lucha Dragon tag team partner, Kalisto, has been getting the push as of late. As much as they are trying to find the next Rey Mysterio with these great luchadores, they’re never booked well and for Sin Cara to have the kind of revered history they want for him, he needs to be away from the WWE for a bit.
Over the last two years, Sheamus has had significant breaks from WWE TV for injuries and (as of right now) promoting his role in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Out of the Shadows, and he was hardly missed by the audience.
It’s difficult to take Sheamus as any sort of serious wrestler when he was booked as being a legitimate threat to Roman Reigns, then teaming up with Wade Barrett, Rusev, and Alberto Del Rio as the League of Nations who got stomped on by comedy stable The New Day. In fact, Sheamus’ last WWE Championship title run was accepted because the WWE Universe hated Roman Reigns so much, which is probably not the best way to book a champion.
Sheamus has been in need of a repackaging for some time now and now would be a good time to tinker with his character while he’s off TV and talking about Ninja Turtles.
10 Dolph Ziggler
We, the WWE Universe, appreciate the hard work of Dolph Ziggler. You know who doesn’t appreciate him? WWE management and bookers.
Concussion aside, Ziggler could’ve had a great World Title run three years ago when he cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase and still had an entertaining, albeit random, stable with Big E and AJ Lee.
Instead, Ziggler has been thrown into meaningless feuds with Rusev (which went south when Lana and Rusev broke kayfaybe and announced their real-life engagement while the former was in a storyline relationship with Dolph), Tyler Breeze, a random cast of Intercontinental Title contenders, and Baron Corbin.
The company has a special talent who continues to do whatever they throw at him and make it gold. They really don’t deserve Dolph Ziggler and he deserves so much better. His absence would show his true value and how the company has been mistreating him.
9 Heath Slater
Current #SocialOutcast leader, Heath Slater, hasn’t been seen on TV lately and perhaps it could be due for the reasons why he’s on this list.
Like Zack Ryder, Slater is an underdog fan-favorite. Even though his gimmicks don’t always hit with the fans and his mic work isn’t the best, Slater is an extremely charismatic sports entertainer and is probably the best heel that we all feel sorry for, so we cheer for his small flashes of victories.
As he continues to be away from WWE TV, it’s hard to miss Slater, as well as the rest of the #SocialOutcasts because they might be the only other comedy stable, beside the New Day, who are truly entertaining.
Remember when everyone was Fandango-ing? 2012 was such a wacky time for the WWE!
For a while, Fandago was firing on all cylinders, getting over on Chris Jericho, having a memorable entrance song and dance, and everyone loved him. And then nothing.
For the record, I am not a WWE writer or booker, so the thought process behind a huge push and a sudden stop to that is something that I am not privy to. Fandango’s character has suffered quite a bit and it’s easy to forget that he’s on the roster.
Sadly, if he were to disappear from WWE broadcast shows, no one will notice. He doesn’t have the presence of a Heath Slater or R-Truth to keep a solid mid-card position. He is, however, teamed with fellow pretty boy, Tyler Breeze, so it might not be a bad idea to take both of them off TV screens and reintroduce them as a pair of handsome wrestlers with a huge mean streak, a la Rick Martel.
7 Alicia Fox
Without the Bella Twins, Alicia Fox just seems to be floating around, lost in the Women’s Division. Historically, WWE is terrible at booking multiple storylines with their women, so talents like Fox and Becky Lynch are thrown to doing quick matches on Superstars or Main Event.
Alicia Fox is one of the longer tenured pre-Divas Revolution women on the roster and she should be booked better. Instead, she’s merely in filler matches and mostly known for Total Divas. She’s another character whose absence is only noticed when brought up by others, which doesn’t bode well that she anchors a top-rated cable TV show.
She has been known to do a lot more ambassador work for the company, which is probably what she should be doing while they figure out how to better utilize her character.
6 The Usos
When describing the nWo on the Monday Night Wars documentary, Eddie Guererro said, “Same old sh*t; day in and day out.” That also applies to Anoa’i offspring, Jimmy and Jey Uso.
They have been part of the WWE for the better half of a decade and their gimmick hasn’t changed. They run out, chant, there’s explosions, and make up. It’s all very disinteresting.
Such as the case with Sin Cara, The Usos exist to appeal to children and sell toys, which doesn’t bode well with older fans. Still, they come from THE wrestling family, which makes their lack of evolution all the more frustrating. It would be cool to see The Usos act as heaters for Roman Reigns, but they embrace their baby face roles making them completely unlikeable to the crowd because of their association with their cousin, Reigns.
The Tag Team Division is currently shifting and now would be as good a time as any for The Usos to quietly go into the night and take a breather from the Roman Empire.
Lately, Natalya’s gotten a huge push because of her quirky, out-of-ring personality via reality show Total Divas. She had a great build up against current Women’s Champion, Charlotte, which had a less-than-stellar schmoz-y ending at Extreme Rules 2016.
Like Alicia Fox and many of the Total Divas cast members, however, Natalya will soon find her way back into doing filler matches on Superstars and maybe Smackdown. It’s not her fault; it’s more of a reflection of how WWE does not know how to book their female roster unless a title is involved.
Natalya still has a lot of gas in the tank (no pun intended for the farting gimmick she had a few years ago), so a breather for her while the company sorts out what to do with their Women’s Division would be best for her character.
4 The Undertaker
Is there anyone else who’s an active wrestler and seen less than The Undertaker? Brock Lesnar? Triple H?
As the Undertaker grows older and his inability to carry matches becomes more apparent, one would argue that retirement would better suit the Phenom. This is a controversial stance, but it’s now a foregone conclusion that Taker will be expected to wrestle during Mania, each match touted as possibly his last. Best practice would suggest that maybe the Undertaker should take an entire WrestleMania season off before coming back for a real final match. The Streak’s already been broken, so getting him healthy and back after a year absence would be the best way to end his tenure as a performer.
As it stands, Paige has been seemingly disinterested in wrestling. Since she hasn’t been in the Women’s Title picture, she’s sort of shuffled around on the B-shows and, aside from going public with her relationship with Alberto Del Rio, has been relatively quiet.
Unlike Natalya and Alicia Fox, the recommendation for Paige to take a break from WWE has more to do with her youth and inability to hide her disdain for her current position in the company. She could easily burn herself out and better to preserve her character by taking a few months off rather than wrestle terrible matches against former models.
2 Roman Reigns
Although he’s currently the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Roman Reigns could use some time off of TV, purely based on the negative vitriol that the WWE Universe has against him.
As we’ve seen in his last two pay-per-view matches against AJ Styles, Reigns can go and have the ability to carry a five-star match. The problem is that he’s overexposed and we get the crowd chanting, “You can’t wrestle” and “You still suck” after hitting some incredible spots. Let’s also add in the fact that WWE is still trying to push him as a baby face despite the fact that he’s “not a good guy, a bad guy, but THE guy.” No, he’s clearly being positioned as a face because he hasn’t done anything on a Seth Rollins or CM Punk-level of getting heat (i.e. calling out the crowd for being incredibly stupid.)
Just as WWE doesn’t deserve to have Dolph Ziggler, the WWE Universe doesn’t deserve Roman Reigns and putting the audience in a place where they’d miss his antics would serve his character better in the long run.
1 Vince McMahon
It’s been a hot minute since Vinnie Mac was a competitor in the ring, but this is more of doing away with the Mr. McMahon character altogether.
As The Authority, Stephanie McMahon and Triple H have done a tremendous job as The Corporation 2.0, and Shane coming back as their foil is more than welcome, even if it’s just been a little awkward at times.
Prior to the last year, Vince has returned when the ratings were suffering; now it seems like he’s on TV far more often, even just to oversee how the McMahon siblings are running his company. Yet when the three interact on TV, it’s just really cringe-worthy and better suited for a Peter-Marcia dispute on The Brady Bunch. It’s unnecessary, particularly since Vince has so often told the WWE Universe that he doesn’t care what they think. He was forced to push CM Punk and Daniel Bryan and killed Tyler Breeze when Triple H brought him up from NXT.
Because fans are incredibly savvy with the goings-on behind the scenes, the perception of Vince being out-of-touch with the WWE Universe hurts his Mr. McMahon character inasmuch as he comes off more as incompetent than a maniacal self-serving billionaire. Until he’s needed again, it might be time for the Chairman to go on a long vacation.