Triple H said it best before Seth Rollins turned on The Shield: What he does better than anybody else is adapt.
That’s a key element to have in life, particularly since he and his wife Stephanie McMahon are being groomed to take over the business for good when Vince McMahon is ready to step down.
But one thing that the WWE hasn’t been able to ever do well is know when it’s time to let wrestlers stay or go. Hulk Hogan (on numerous occasions) Randy Savage, Lex Luger, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and others left WWE far too early.
But some wrestlers somehow find their way to stay on the roster even though their overall entertainment in the ring and character ended a long time ago. Rey Mysterio’s departure was inevitable. Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, and CM Punk left while they were hot.
Somehow, and some way, McMahon and The Authority have elected to hold on to the same ol’ boring wrestlers and their gimmicks forever, not realizing how they’ve become so boring to the WWE and its fans.
If Triple H and Stephanie McMahon want to run the company as successfully as their father, they’re going to have to learn when it’s time to say farewell to some wrestlers even though it’s hard to let go of people who have done so much for the company.
But McMahon knows best that it’s a business, and with that, it’s time do to what’s best for business (as Triple H likes to put it).
Here are the 14 wrestlers who have overstayed their welcome and are officially part of the irrelevant group.
14. Titus O’Neil
The man who is currently suspended for a playful shove of Vince McMahon during Daniel Bryan’s retiring segment also showed us the signs that perhaps his best years in WWE are well behind him.
O’Neil has been in so many different alliances and characters that it’s clear he can’t find something that’s works consistently: Prime Time Players, Slater-Gator, and singles competition made his character boring.
It’s come to a point where there’s no need for him anymore.
13. Jack Swagger
The All-American American was a cool heel figure to Americans (see what I did there) a few years ago. But this is now.
His World Championship reign in 2010 was as close to main event status Swagger would attain, and has since been relegated to lower-to-mid card status, as his character has been drying up ever since.
The Real Americans alliance was a moderate success, but after that, it’s been downhill for him. He’s been with WWE for more than a half decade and he hasn’t provided any entertainment for a while now.
12. Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler, like others on this list, has been involved in far too many alliances (some successful, some not) to the point where you question how much longer WWE will keep him around?
Ever since losing his Intercontinental Championship a year ago, he hasn’t been involved in any entertaining feuds; which is another reminder he’s no longer needed much for the company.
11. John Cena
Unless WWE does something drastic to fix John Cena’s career, then he’s not going to be relevant to the business much longer.
His character ran out of interest years ago, though his feud with Seth Rollins last summer was fun to watch. Considering WWE didn’t treat him as their top star prior to his surgery, they’re obviously preparing for life without him.
Cena needs to turn heel, otherwise the “You Can’t See Me” gimmick will turn out to be true when fans decide he’s not worth their time anymore.
10. Randy Orton
I’m not trying to blame Orton for being on this list. Quite frankly, WWE finds more and more ways to mistreat one of their biggest named wrestlers.
Orton’s involvement with The Authority was a huge success, as was his temporary feud when he backstabbed them and started a rivalry with Seth Rollins heading into WrestleMania.
But the WWE keeps putting him in meaningless feuds and matches. I feel sorry for him, because he deserves to stay on the top of the card for all the hard work he’s put in. But WWE wants us to think he’s lost his relevance to the company. Or so it seems.
9. Big Show
Where is the Big Show? is something I like to ask myself quite often.
That’s because he hasn’t been a big part of the WWE for a while. His Jeri-Show alliance with Y2J worked out greatly. Big Show’s involvement with The Authority was also a success. Notice a trend?
Big Show is a giant. People of his stature seem to be best as heel figures in major alliances. But putting him in low-card matches against people half his size has lost its mojo.
Too bad that’s the only way WWE is using him now.
8. Alberto Del Rio
Hopefully his loyalty to the League of Nations will fix Alberto Del Rio, but so far, he hasn’t taken off as a major heel (that’s been fun to watch) in his second run with WWE.
Del Rio is being hidden among other heels like Sheamus, Rusev, The Authority, and The Wyatt Family. It’s a shame, because his character is actually very fun to watch. But honestly, when will the WWE make him worth watching?
Right now, he’s just a household name.
Goldust is the opposite of a fine wine: He gets more boring and worthless with age.
Perhaps the WWE still employs him because they want that nostalgic element to appeal to the old-time wrestling fans.
But the WWE doesn’t seem to think that it’s becoming boring watching him in pointless promos and backstage segments over and over again.
Well, fortunately for him, another one bites the dust.
The man better known as Cody Rhodes is using a gimmick that is just simply not matching his personality.
Cody Rhodes was much better playing a mid-card heel figure in his career, and unlike Sting, a character change with face paint and a brand new in-ring outfit is not taking his career to new heights.
Stardust he needs to simply go back to being Cody, because this gimmick is not working on any level.
5. The Dudley Boyz
Like Goldust, it’s nice to bring back old names for the sake of old-time wrestling fans, but that doesn’t mean The Dudley Boyz are fun to watch.
even though fans love their Table matches, it’s actually becoming the same old: Tag-team matches with slams through tables. Their characters are just so old, and it’s not in any way generating new interest.
Hopefully their recent heel turn will revive their once-prominent careers.
4. Mark Henry
Like just about everybody else on this list, Mark Henry was put in so many great rivalries in his WWE career, namely with Big Show and Batista while feuding for the World Heavyweight Championship.
But even though Henry’s frustration with The New Day was humorous, that’s basically the best highlight he’s had in a while.
WWE needs to make him appear as the World’s Strongest Man again by putting him in one of the world’s largest rivalries, instead of using him whenever they need someone to fill air time.
3. Chris Jericho
This pains me to say, because I’ve been a huge Jericho fan since 2002, but in so many ways, his prime years are behind.
Jericho simply returns to WWE whenever he wants, and that’s not a way to keep your career in great shape. Sure, his microphone skills are still on point, but he’s not even wrestling all that much.
It’s the same ol’ pattern of leaving then returning briefly then leaving for long periods of time. So hopefully Jericho can get exciting again by sticking around long-term.
Kane will no doubt go down as a WWE Hall of Famer, and his reunion with The Undertaker as the Brothers of Destruction this past Survivor Series was one heckuva way to end that alliance’s run.
It’s also, quite possibly, the final great match Kane wrestles in. He’s not fighting full-time anymore, and again, his gimmick isn’t as appealing to fans as it used to be.
Kane, like Undertaker, probably has a couple of more memorable matches left in him. But if anything else, his career is winding down.
1. The Rock
Sorry, I don’t smell what the Rock is cooking anymore.
As I’ve stated in previous articles, the never-ending cycle of coming out whenever he’s free from Hollywood, then insulting people on the mic (not as entertaining as before) and not even wrestling has gotten old.
WWE truly brings him back for the joy of the fans, which is great. But for the most part, it’s for making money. He’s not even a wrestler anymore. He’s taking away time and attention from other Superstars.
It’s not fair for them. Unless The Rock wants to come back for another rivalry of some sort, his relevancy in the WWE will continue to fade.
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