As WWE fans have already learned, WWE is returning to the brand split which is good business move for the company, however not necessarily their superstars. If they move forward with SmackDown vs. Raw again, that means some of its superstars might not get the title shots and pushes they rightfully deserve. Some of its biggest names are suffering in the current landscape of the product. For example, Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler, Big Show, Titus O'Neil, and others have either been moved to the middle of average stars or near the bottom, while former members of The Shield are getting a push. It was eventually going to happen that all three former members of the Shield would get their time to shine again just this time Dean Ambrose is holding the WWE title feuding with his former brothers, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins.
Those three guys will of course get more tv time because they’re in their prime. Plus, Seth Rollins recently returned while the Ambrose Asylum has become a big hit, and Roman Reigns is a strong individual. The only problem is people like Sheamus, Ziggler, Cesaro, and others tend to stay in the middle. It’s basically watching Cesaro vs. the Social Outcasts. The Social Outcasts can continue dreaming that they’re a force to be reckoned with, but never really get anywhere. Obviously, in the WWE its hard to find the right gimmick. Even for people like the New Day, at first they weren’t a fan favorite, but as time passed and they won more matches and interacted with the WWE Universe people started to enjoy them.
Hopefully for other superstars, that’s different in the near future. Only time will tell for how other superstars will fare in the WWE. WWE is bringing in new names, leaving other old faces in the dust so the saying out with the old and in with the new could make or break WWE. This could leave some guys stuck in the midcard for the long haul. Here are 15 wrestlers who will be stuck in the midcard after the brand split.
15 Tyler Breeze
Tyler Breeze is weird yet average wrestler. The selfie loving individual hasn’t had much of a standout career, but merely someone that’s just there. His time will come where selfie sticks will become outdated and people will move on. He may love himself now, but in a couple years, the WWE Universe might not hear much of him anymore. Even now, he’s teaming up with Fandango, but like Fandango both guys are becoming things of the past. Soon the WWE Universe will give up on the selfie sticks and move onto better, brighter things. So Breeze moving to the back of the locker room won’t be too surprising.
Breeze had a promising run in NXT, but like several NXT stars, their acts don't necessarily get over as well on the main roster. If Breeze doesn't overhaul his gimmick, he will be nothing more than a midcarder.
The good news is Fandango had his moment with all the dancing he did, now it’s just redundant, as all he does is dance and dance some more. Nothing is wrong with that, but that doesn’t make much of his wrestling skills. He danced his way to the top before, but now he’s dancing just to be there. Fandango and Tyler Breeze make somewhat of an interesting tag team because they both care about how they look and feel, but that will eventually hurt their careers later. If Fandango is used more, he could make his name heard once more like the finger dance. That was a hit, however now he seems like a hit and miss kind of wrestler.
Part of his positioning is due to how the WWE has booked him in the last few years, but let's face it; his gimmick never quite gave you the impression of a main eventer.
13 Bo Dallas
Bo Dallas has had a mediocre career using his strange gimmick. He could go back to being a solo wrestler instead of teaming with the Social Outcasts, but even then he still might not be good enough anymore. He actually wasn’t bad as a solo wrestler, but he later died down when he wasn’t used regularly in relevant segments. Now he and his other colleagues of the Social Outcasts are just bodies that are being used as a punching bag for all the other wrestlers. It’s more likely the Social Outcasts won’t get far in the WWE with other good team tag teams there and these guys not winning their matches.
Bo Dallas doesn't have the look of a main eventer and his ring work isn't good enough to compensate for that. It's clear he isn't going to be the big star that his real life brother Bray Wyatt is.
12 Curtis Axel
Curtis Axel was probably someone who had higher hopes in the WWE, but ever since he joined the Social Outcasts his chances of amounting to anything essentially disappeared. If WWE uses his talents properly, he could be something big again. Now it’s just the WWE Universe is tired of him and the Social Outcasts. Even the members of the Social Outcasts including him, Bo Dallas, and Heath Slater are merely guys that are there trying to prove something, but never do. Once Axel decides to go solo again then his career could led down the right path, for now it doesn’t seem like he’ll be making any noise.
Axel just doesn't seem to have the charisma necessary to move up the card and he just doesn't excite anybody when he's in the ring. At this point, it's a miracle if he even gets a midcard title.
11 Heath Slater
Heath Slater is an odd individual who believes a one man band can reach him to the top. He formed the Social Outcasts hoping things would change, but every time he or another member of the Social Outcasts steps into the ring, they’re just there for embarrassment. He acts as the leader of the Social Outcasts, but hasn’t led them to beating up other tag teams or big names. At least he gets tv time to talk and to wrestle. Later on, WWE might not make much of him besides a guy who will run his mouth and not able to win many matches.
It's probably not the worst thing in the world for Slater to stay in his current spot on the card. He works well as a jobber and he is good enough on the mic to keep fans interested in his actions. He just wouldn't work if he was higher up on the card.
This probably isn't as surprising, given that Goldust has mainly been a midcarder his entire career. At this point, you have to even wonder if it's worth keeping Goldust around at all in the New Era. Goldust has stayed constant his whole career, the black and yellow faced painted guy that people love. Now he and R-Truth are trying to get their whole tag team situation going, but even that seems a bit discombobulated. Still, Goldust has the talents to entertain a crowd is making use of his tv time. He’s been with the WWE for a long time, so he’s just another wrestler that’s there for pure entertainment. Once the Golden Truth dies out, Goldust’s services may no longer be needed, they’re just making use of it now.
It's very likely he'll keep a job behind the scenes as an agent, but his days in the ring are clearly numbered.
R-Truth isn’t getting any younger, but his career is one that will be remembered. From little Jimmy to the rapping R-Truth, one thing is certain he can definitely put on a show. It may be weird at times, but it’s entertaining and that’s what the WWE Universe wants to see. Right now, he’s trying to get things to work with him Goldust, but that tag team flip flops around. They’ll do well one night and then do the job for someone else another night. Now R-truth is doing what he does best which is entertain the crowd. He may be a middle person kind of guy, but he’s good enough to the point where having him there is far more important.
R-Truth had a mini run in the main event scene back in 2011 and it's safe to say, he's never going back there. It's puzzling as to why he sticks around if there are no bigger plans for him. Perhaps WWE just likes him for what he is, a solid hand in the midcard.
8 Jack Swagger
Jack Swagger’s career now isn’t going too well now basically being a ragdoll against Rusev. Even throughout his career, Swagger didn’t have much of an impactful one. Sure, he’s wrestled against the best and beat and lost against them, but Swagger is another middle man. It seems like he’s just someone there just to be there. His ankle lock looks more than painful, but now WWE doesn’t seem like they’ll be pushing him more. He’s had an average career which is why he probably won’t make a big difference.
The brand split is going to open the door for guys to be main eventers on either RAW or SmackDown, but even with the brand split, Swagger's run on top of the card has come and gone. He just doesn't connect with the crowd well enough to be a top guy and the rest of his career looks like it's going to be one step forward, two steps back.
7 Zack Ryder
Zack Ryder is obviously someone who has his random bright spots in the WWE. Still, the WWE Universe enjoys his presence. He may be one of the best lower card wrestlers because he’s done the unthinkable. He’ll still remain as an average wrestler, but still good enough to keep his spot on the card. It’s like his WrestleMania moment; Ryder beat many superstars to claim the Intercontinental Championship in a ladder match, but then lost it the very next night. It was unfortunate for him, but Ryder does his best when he gets his opportunity.
That’s the good thing about him; whatever his next big moment is, it's unpredictable. Still though, it's clear that WWE is never going to seriously push him. For Ryder to be a main eventer, he might be better off asking for his release and pursuing a top spot in another company.
Ryback is someone who may be moving on from the WWE since his name hasn’t been brought up for quite a while. He was known as the big guy who’s hard to put down because of his strength, but now he’s become irrelevant. If things between him and the WWE come to an agreement of some sort, Ryback can definitely bring some good in WWE. WWE could use him to build up a new guy or have him to dominate other wrestlers like he used to. Only time will tell how things will turn out for the big guy.
Even if Ryback does patch things up with WWE though, it seems the ship has sailed on him being a main eventer. The WWE has tried to give Ryback a bigger role in the company, but it never seems to stick. If his future is with WWE, it's in the midcard.
5 Big Show
The WWE Universe hasn’t heard much of the Big Show anymore partly because he’s outdated, still Big Show can bring a punch that’s hard to get up from. Now Big Show is usually used for a battle royal or a rare match where someone calls for anyone in the locker room. Big Show has had a long career with the WWE so it’s understandable why WWE may not use him as prominently now. So WWE is probably using as a part time wrestler just waiting for his name to be called upon. When he is called up, it’ll probably be against someone new to make that opponent more well known.
Big Show's days in a main event match on a PPV are over (hopefully). WWE has gone down the same well before, but if they are serious about this New Era, there is no reason to believe Big Show will be anything more than a novelty act.
4 Dolph Ziggler
It seems as though Dolph Ziggler reached the peak of his career and WWE can’t make use of him. He was upstaged against the new guy Baron Corbin from NXT. So Ziggler’s career isn’t exactly going in he right direction. WWE may just be using him against the young guns proving his way to a title match of any kind whether it’s the U.S. title or Intercontinental one. The show off Dolph Ziggler has the talents of being an exciting wrestler, the only problem is he’s been mostly a middle kind of guy being just average. The WWE Universe still supports him, he’s just not as big as he used to be.
Ziggler is getting up there in age and he has made it pretty clear in recent interviews that he's not going to re-sign with WWE when his current contract expires. That means the WWE will not bother to commit to him as a big star.
Sheamus is someone who can easily make noise, but now seems comfortable taking a backseat as he’s feuding with Apollo Crews. He held the WWE Heavyweight title before and led the League of Nations so his number can be called up for anything. It’s most likely that he’ll get his shot at any title later on. For now, Sheamus is probably building character for the new names coming in. WWE may decide to bring in other names from NXT so Sheamus can be used there. Sheamus is a solid wrestler that’s obviously hard to beat, but Crews did it so after these two are done who knows what’s next for Sheamus.
Whenever Sheamus has been elevated to a main event spot, it's never worked out well, as he's just not interesting enough to hold down that spot. Sheamus is worth keeping around for the midcard, but it's been proven time and time again that he can't be a top star.
2 Alberto Del Rio
When Alberto Del Rio was brought back in late 2015, he beat John Cena for the United States Championship in his return match. It seemed from there he was going to be a big star this time around in WWE, but much like his first WWE stint, he's found himself brought down to the midcard in irrelevant storylines. Del Rio definitely has the in-ring talent to be a main eventer but throughout his WWE career, Del Rio has failed to generate interest from the audience. That could either be Del Rio's fault or the fault of the creative team behind the scenes.
It's unclear as to why Del Rio saw himself tumble into irrelevance so quickly since returning in 2015 but one thing is clear; the WWE doesn't have big plans for him.
1 Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho may not want to be a top star at this point in his career anyway. He comes back in short spurts, but when he is there, he's fully committed to the WWE. He still carries plenty of prestige and reputation with his name, which keeps him relevant enough to connect with the crowd, but it's clear he's never going to be a world champion again. In his mid 40s, the WWE is perfectly happy with keeping Jericho as an enhancement talent for younger guys, while occasionally throwing a win his way.
Jericho will be used in main events occasionally following the brand split, but don't expect him to actually win a match when there are high stakes involved. Ultimately, he's a glorified jobber at this stage of his career. You have to wonder how long Jericho will want to stick around in his current role.