There is a lot of talent in the WWE. We have superstars who are often viewed as superheroes who can lift large amounts thought humanly impossible, or reach heights that often defy gravity. The men and women who compete in the WWE ring are a fascinating group. Sometimes, the WWE knows how to properly portray their strengths on Raw and SmackDown.
However, not everyone gets the right creative direction. They may have plenty of natural charisma and the athletic abilities that earn them the respect of wrestling fans all over the world. But the WWE creative team has often been criticized for how they’ve handled the influx of talent they’ve been blessed with in recent years.
It’s true that not everyone is going to become a main event star like recent additions AJ Styles and Kevin Owens. There are several wrestlers who do not get nearly as much of a push as they deserve. There are also tenured members of the WWE roster who have not had the right creative direction, or have had a lack of one for years.
It’s hard to make everyone happy on any wrestling promotion’s roster, but the WWE has failed several superstars in how they handle them. The following are the top 15 wrestlers the WWE seemingly has no clue how to use properly.
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15 Darren Young
There’s likely going to come a time when the WWE decides there is nothing they can do with Darren Young. Just about every time he’s been brought up on the main roster has failed. The only success he had was in a tag team with Titus O’Neil as The Primetime Players. The current storyline with Bob Backlund as his life coach was doomed to fail from the beginning with subpar vignettes to “Make Darren Young Great Again.”
He’s a decent athlete, but he doesn’t quite have the charisma one would like to see in a WWE superstar. The WWE hasn’t been able to help capitalize one what he does well, which is working with a tag team partner that has a good relationship with him. But they aren’t really able to reunite him with O’Neil since the two have already had two splits since 2014.
14 Alicia Fox
One member of the WWE women’s division who doesn’t nearly get enough credit for her improvement is Alicia Fox. She’s come a long way since she portrayed the wedding planner that had the affair with Edge before his big wedding to Vickie Guerrero. Her experience before debuting on the WWE main roster in 2008 was very limited. While she’s won the WWE Divas Championship once, she has usually been a jobber to the rest of the division.
But Fox has grown so much athletically and deserves to be given a gimmick that can put her over the top. While the women’s division has become more competitive with talents like Charlotte, Bayley and Sasha Banks, Fox is a veteran that was homegrown within WWE and deserves a chance to have a unique persona like her peers.
The criticism of how the WWE has used Fandango goes way back. Before he was the dancing machine that upset Chris Jericho at WrestleMania XXIX, he was a mainstay member of the NXT brand that was in between the reality show concept for rookies and the development brand it is now known as. Johnny Curtis had a weird persona that made him a little unique. He was a little off from the norm.
Since being brought up to the main roster, he was developing quite the following with his flamboyant persona and colorful attire. Fans were singing along with his “ChaChaLaLa” theme song shortly after his debut. But the WWE never capitalized on the momentum his character generated and now the WWE has scrambled to put him in a tag team with Tyler Breeze – another misused wrestler who is brought up later in this article.
12 Erick Rowan
While he is certainly not the most talented brother within the Wyatt Family, he’s certainly the most misused member the faction has ever had. Luke Harper was able to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship in 2014. The WWE has also found the right way to book Braun Strowman in recent months. But what about the red-bearded giant with a sheep mask?
During his singles run from 2014 and 2015, the WWE didn’t seem to know whether he was a good face or a heel. He had a creepy interview segment with Renee Young that went nowhere. He also joined John Cena’s team for Survivor Series in 2014 without any set up except that he was going to be across from his former tag team partner. It feels like he’s dependent on being an enforcer for Bray Wyatt without being able to stand on his own.
11 Titus O’Neil
Maybe the promo on August 22 where Titus O’Neil attempted to call out Darren Young wasn’t the best example of his abilities with the microphone. But he is far from the worst to ever speak on live WWE programming. One bad night shouldn’t ruin an entire career where he showed he has a good amount of charisma.
Whether he was part of Slater Gator, the big man in the Primetime Players or as Rufus “Pancake” Patterson, he could make fans laugh. Similar to Darren Young, O’Neil was better suited to be in a tag team. There are fans who find him entertaining, but the WWE hasn’t properly used him as a singles superstar. Certain superstars are better suited for the tag team division, where their flaws can be better hidden.
10 Tamina Snuka
When looking at the current roster on WWE.com, one might be surprised that Tamina Snuka is still listed as an active competitor. Sure, she has been dealing with an ankle injury since May that has kept her off television. But her roles in the WWE have been very inconsistent. While she’s been an enforcer on Team B.A.D. and also helped other divas win championships in the WWE, the WWE failed to help her stand out on her own.
It’s a shame because she's the daughter of WWE legend Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka. She has some decent in-ring abilities and should have been booked as the dominant woman on the WWE roster. But there might not be any place for her since they’ve given that role to Nia Jax. Maybe Snuka can have that chance on the SmackDown roster when she returns. But if the past has taught us anything, the WWE doesn’t seem to truly value what Tamina Snuka can bring.
9 The Colons
The WWE has probably given the worst creative treatment to Primo and Epico. The two Colons have had several gimmick changes since 2011. They started as tag team jobbers before they were repackaged as Los Matadores. It was a silly gimmick where they were renamed Fernando and Diego and partnered with a small wrestler in a bull costume named El Torito. It’s amazing that it lasted until 2015.
After an absence from WWE television, they returned with several vignettes where they were essentially advertising how great Puerto Rico is. While no one is going to argue how it is a nice vacation spot, travel agents should never be a tag team gimmick. It ranks along with terrible ideas like evil dentists and a repo man. Both Primo and Epico deserve better.
8 Curtis Axel
Not every second-generation superstar is able to find the same kind of success that their parents had in professional wrestling. Not everyone can have the type of success that Randy Orton did, which was above his father “Cowboy” Bob Orton. While it’s hard to exceed expectations set because his father was Mr. Perfect, Joe Hennig didn’t necessarily get the right creative direction.
The son of Curt Hennig was immediately put into a partnership with Paul Heyman to win the Intercontinental Championship in 2013, but the momentum was halted when he was put into a tag team with Ryback. He showed some charisma when he was impersonating Hulk Hogan, but it was killed off with the Hulkster getting into trouble for racist comments he made. This made him an outcast who now doesn’t really have anything going for him.
7 Tyler Breeze
While NXT has developed a faithful audience over the last few years, not all of their stars have been properly booked to succeed on the WWE main roster. Tyler Breeze is one of those superstars who was on the top of the NXT brand from 2013 to 2015. His former gimmick of Mike Dalton struggled to get any kind of momentum with the crowd, so the change to selfie-smitten supermodel was perfect.
But since coming to WWE in 2015, it feels like the main creative staff was never able to fully capitalize on his potential. Prince Pretty hasn’t been able to win big singles matches and quickly became a glorified jobber. Not even the pairing with Fandango has been able to help him. This is a matter of the WWE not taking advantage of a talented superstar who never got a chance to truly succeed.
6 Apollo Crews
When competing on the independent circuit as Uhaa Nation, he was one of the most athletically gifted wrestlers in the world. There was some excitement when he was signed to join WWE in 2015 at the WWE Performance Center. There’s no denying that the WWE saw the potential of someone who could be the perfect hybrid between powerhouse and high-flyer.
But similar to a few other recent NXT call-ups, they might have moved him up the ranks a little too fast. Other than his athleticism, Apollo Crews doesn’t really have anything that makes him stand out in terms of character. The WWE hasn’t quite helped in that department. Crews could very easily be a big star. But without a unique character, he’s doomed to stay in the mid-card and be a filler feud for the champions in the WWE.
5 Jack Swagger
The problem with how the WWE has recently used Jack Swagger is that they missed an opportunity with something great. Sure, Swagger’s marijuana charges didn’t help his standing just before he faced Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXIX, but the creative direction Swagger had with Zeb Colter as the main mouthpiece got a lot of attention.
People like Glenn Beck were bringing attention to what WWE was doing. It had potential and it really should have been continued for a longer period of time. Fans still shout “We the People” with Swagger. But the WWE never put Swagger back with Colter. Swagger isn’t quite strong enough verbally to be without a manager. But the in-ring talent is there and hopefully the WWE can right this creative wrong.
Natalya has come across as somewhat of a mother hen for the newer women on the WWE roster. She’s an in-ring veteran who has been one of the consistently best performers in the WWE women’s division. While there is a continued influx of great female wrestlers that have come into the WWE, Natalya has sort of been lost in the shuffle.
Don’t expect her to complain if she does decide to leave the WWE. Natalya is someone who has received some poor gimmicks in her time in the company. She’s always been a real trooper who should have more championship reigns to her name. She’s also seemingly one of the kindest when talking to the fans before and after shows. It’s unfortunate how competitive the division has been with talents like Becky Lynch and Charlotte.
3 Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler is certainly one of the most talented wrestlers in the world. But while the WWE notes that he’s a former two-time World Heavyweight Champion, they haven’t really booked him like a former champion in 2016. First of all, he has lost pay-per-view matches to Baron Corbin and also lost his title matches against Dean Ambrose and The Miz while having one of the worst win-loss records of his career.
But this has been a problem for several years. He was the sole survivor of the 2014 Survivor Series match which helped John Cena get rid of The Authority. But weeks later, the Authority were given their power back and the momentum Ziggler had was destroyed just as fast. The WWE has never given Ziggler the consistent direction and he is likely better off leaving the WWE at this point.
It is important to note that Kane is going to deserve his spot in the WWE Hall of Fame when that time comes. He was an integral part of the Attitude Era with memorable matches with The Undertaker and Stone Cold Steve Austin. But the WWE has also had him consistently go from dominant monster to a fun-loving tag team partner.
While he’s won gold with different talents like X-Pac, Rob Van Dam and Big Show, his character has changed several times. His demeanor has never been consistent for a long stretch.
In recent years, we’ve seen him jump from Demon Kane to Corporate Kane repeatedly. It’s almost at the same alarming rate as how Big Show switches from face to heel. Keeping things fresh is good, but with Kane, we never seem to have a clear indicator of where he stands.
1 Bray Wyatt
Very few superstars have been able to bring something as unique as the character Bray Wyatt brings to the WWE. He’s obviously considered one of the more charismatic members of the WWE roster that has developed a cult following within the WWE Universe. His abilities on the microphone make him one of the best to be given time on live television. Wyatt is also very decent in the ring as a larger man who does a lot of things right.
In terms of the storylines, the WWE gets it right about 95 percent of the time. They put him into the right feuds with the right superstars. The problem with Wyatt is that he’s rarely the one who gets the win. He’s becoming more and more like the crazy man who shouts at people on the sidewalk about the impending apocalypse and that he’s their savior. The lack of wins in big matches continues to hurt Wyatt’s credibility and that is solely the fault of WWE officials.
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