Not everyone in the WWE is going to win a world championship. Being considered a world champion is meant for wrestlers who are truly special in multiple ways. Not just for their ring work alone. Not for just being great speaking on a microphone. It has to be a combination of in-ring ability and personality shown on the microphone.
True, the recent brand extension has allowed for the WWE to feature two world championships – the WWE Universal Championship on Raw and the WWE Championship on SmackDown Live. But that doesn’t just mean that everyone can be the top champion on either brand. However, there are multiple reasons for why certain wrestlers are deemed deserving of winning at least one more world title in the next five years.
While the major WWE titles have been held by the likes of AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens for most of 2016, there are many talented WWE Superstars who have yet to earn their first world championship. They range from rising stars who have completed their first year or two in the WWE main roster. All the way up to veterans who have been consistently great workers for a decade; only to have won every other title possible.
Along with them are former champions who should be allowed one more championship run before retiring. Some have found themselves to be in the best physical shape in their career. Others have done everything right to earn a second chance to be the main event star. And then there are those who have a chance to make history with one more world title.
Regardless of championship experience, the following are 15 WWE wrestlers who deserve to win a world title very soon.
15. Baron Corbin
Baron Corbin had one of the weirdest main roster debuts in recent memory. There was nothing announced before he just walked into the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 32. No vignettes teasing his arrival. Not even showing up on television before the event to announce he was entering the match. It sort of deflated the impact of his big win last year. However, Corbin has grown a lot since coming into the WWE.
The former NFL player has improved in the ring and on the microphone. He’s still a work in progress to bring up to main event status. But within the next year, he stands a very good chance of winning a world title. He deserves to be in the conversation with the expectation that he will continue to grow in the WWE.
Back during the Golden Era of WWE, there were wrestlers who got over as villains merely because they were from another country. Rusev was a throwback to that mindset when he was the United States Champion. The man even had one of the best entrances at WrestleMania 31 with a Russian Army and a tank. The WWE could have continued that momentum, but have let him stay at the mid-card level.
Rusev has still maintained a great work ethic and should have been positioned better in recent months. It’s not too late to save Rusev from the same fate as others like him. As long as they don’t put him in a comedy gimmick like they did with Vladimir Kozlov, Rusev can still have a legitimate run for a world championship.
13. Sami Zayn
With a lot of the recent additions to the WWE main roster getting main event pushes, one has to imagine that Sami Zayn’s turn is coming. Zayn spent three years in NXT, the WWE’s developmental promotion. Oftentimes, he was in the hunt for the NXT Championship and often fell short. Even when he won the title, he quickly lost it to Kevin Owens. Fast forward to getting the call up to the main roster, Zayn has often found himself being used to put over other emerging stars.
With other NXT alum like Finn Balor, Kevin Owens and Bray Wyatt all having won world championships in the last year, which would make a case for Zayn. The Underdog from the Underground has given a lot of heart and dedication to the WWE. It would be smart to reward him with a main event push that capitalizes on said underdog factor.
12. Big E
Not everything can be positive with rainbows, unicorns and Booty-O cereal. There will come a day when the trio is split up, which might make more fans sad than when the friendship between Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens ended. The group has been entertaining fans with their unique attitudes since 2014, but it has to come to an end. One way would be to see a heel turn by Big E. The big man certainly has experience being a villain when he was an enforcer for Dolph Ziggler and AJ Lee before The New Day.
But Big E developed quite well as he won the NXT Championship just before moving up to the main roster. If he can go back to the serious, focused competitor who is driven to win gold, it would be a great change of pace. He’s improved greatly overall during his time with The New Day; both on the microphone and in the ring. Now might be the time to start building him towards a world title run when the time is right.
11. Kofi Kingston
If the WWE decides to make Big E the heel in The New Day split, then it would make sense to have him go into a feud with Kofi Kingston. The two could easily be able to run an entertaining feud that could easily lead to facing each other for the WWE Universal Championship. This would be a big boost for someone who has certainly done everything he can to earn a spot in the main event picture.
Kingston has been a WWE fan favorite since coming into the ECW brand in 2007. In a decade, Kingston has won the Intercontinental Championship four times, the United States Championship three times and four tag team titles. Let’s not forget being one part of the longest reigning WWE tag team championship group in New Day. The only thing he hasn’t done is win a world title; which feels overdue.
10. Luke Harper
Usually, the members of the WWE Universe can help elevate a wrestler to become a champion. Luke Harper has certainly developed quite a dedicated following in recent months. But he’s always showed the potential to be a singles star. When the Wyatt Family first broke up in 2014, Harper was successful in winning the WWE Intercontinental Championship. He would eventually lose the title to Dolph Ziggler after an entertaining feud.
But the current singles run with Harper has seen the fans cheer loudly for him and follow along as he yells “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” Things like that usually help a superstar get moved up the totem pole. It’s possible we could see Harper become a WWE Champion on SmackDown Live if he’s involved in the Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton storyline. If he maintains his momentum, it’s just a matter of time before he wins a world title.
9. Braun Strowman
It’s only a matter of time before Braun Strowman becomes a staple in the WWE’s main event picture. While we’ve seen more of a focus on lighter wrestlers and not as much on bodybuilders, Strowman could become the new giant that truly can be the “monster among men” on the WWE roster. He’s also become somewhat of a breakout star after the brand extension months ago.
Strowman came to Raw and was booked perfectly as a monster heel; being able to defeat multiple men at a time. The shift for him to face the likes of Big Show and Roman Reigns shows that the WWE is wanting to build him up for an eventual championship run down the road. If Strowman can continue to improve, he could easily become a top heel within the next 12 months.
8. Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler is arguably one of the most misused wrestlers on the WWE roster of the last five years. His last world championship was the night after WrestleMania XXIX against Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship. It lasted a little more than two months before losing the title back to Del Rio. Since then, Ziggler has not been used on a consistent basis. Despite being one of the best wrestlers on the roster, he’s been kept at the mid-card or lower.
His recent heel turn would have given some hope that he could be on the right track; but a loss to Kalisto and Apollo Crews at Elimination Chamber hurt his stock as a heel. The fact remains that Ziggler deserves better treatment and should be built up for a respectable championship reign – one that lasts at least four or five months.
Speaking of misused and underutilized superstars, Cesaro is someone who is deserving of not only a main event push, but a world championship. The Swiss Superman has continued to be one of the most athletically gifted wrestlers on the roster. He’s had amazing singles matches with everyone he’s worked with. He’s also been able to make do with his tag team partnership with Sheamus.
The way things stand, it is highly unlikely to see Cesaro get a quick turn towards a world title. It might have to take some time. It would be best to see Cesaro get his run at a future Royal Rumble by winning the match. The storyline would be questioning his ability to win at WrestleMania before finally getting his first world title.
6. Big Show
This is not the same Big Show who weighed in well above the 500-pound mark. Over the last few years, Big Show has put a lot of focus on his overall health. That’s probably a really good thing considering that he’s 45 years old and should weigh that much anyway. Regardless, he has dropped about 70 pounds as of January and looks to be in the best shape of his life. While he’s seems to be dedicated to a match with NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, he does have a right to one more world title reign.
Big Show hasn’t been used properly by the WWE several times – with more changes from face to heel and heel to face than any wrestler should have to go through. He’s also a legend in pro wrestling and will likely be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame when he’s retired. After losing the weight that he has, Big Show probably could have one more good championship run in him.
5. Samoa Joe
While there are several WWE wrestlers who will likely get a world title before Samoa Joe, it’s important to note that it probably won’t take long. He’s also someone who spent a good amount of time working in NXT before he was called up to the main roster a few weeks ago. From 2015 until the beginning of this year, Samoa Joe has been part of what made NXT the popular brand that it is today.
Samoa Joe has been one of the best overall wrestlers in the last 15 years; dating back to his time with Ring of Honor and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. Considering that he’s in his late 30s, now would be a good time to give someone like Samoa Joe a monster main event push, similar to how AJ Styles rose to the WWE stardom during his first year with the company in 2016.
4. Finn Balor
When Finn Balor makes his return to the WWE, he will likely be thrown into the mix for the WWE Universal Championship. His return seems to be closer than ever after his recent return to the NXT tapings this month. Balor would obviously have a great feud with someone like Kevin Owens, who is currently holding the title. Additionally, it would allow the WWE to continue with the plans they had originally for Balor as the WWE Universal Champion.
His immediate rise after joining the main roster was cut short after he suffered a shoulder injury while winning the WWE Universal Championship. The fact that he never officially lost the belt will lead to him getting a championship match shortly after his return. It’s a matter of “when” and not a matter of “if.”
3. Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho is unlikely to win the WWE Universal Championship anytime soon, despite entering a feud with current champion Kevin Owens. But Jericho is about to leave the WWE to go on tour with his band Fozzy. This past year, we’ve seen Jericho reinvent himself, again, with a more self-absorbed character. The List of Jericho was more over than a lot of wrestlers on the Raw roster.
Jericho has shown that he might be an ageless wonder and would hopefully have at least one more title run in the WWE. It could take a while before we see him again after this year’s WrestleMania. But a returning Jericho should get at least one more run with either the WWE Championship or WWE Universal Championship. That would depend on which brand he returns to and whether the titles switch shows.
2. The Miz
If there was ever a villain who deserves to be in the main event picture in a much needed way, it would be The Miz. His first run as the WWE Champion from 2010 to 2011 was not as successful as many in the WWE would have hoped. Despite The Miz being one of the most hated wrestlers by the fans, he wasn’t able to transition that into a successful run as the WWE Champion. However, he’s improved so much in the past few months with the brand extension.
While spending most of his time in 2016 holding the WWE Intercontinental Championship, he’s delivered some of his best promos in years. The best was when he had a segment with Daniel Bryan during an episode of Talking Smack. The Miz looks to be at the level he was at before winning his first, and only WWE Championship. The WWE would be smart in giving him one more chance to hold the title as a main event heel.
1. John Cena
John Cena is one of the most polarizing figures in the WWE. But whether you cheer or jeer for him, there’s a level of respect that a majority of wrestling fans have for him. Cena is currently tied with “Nature Boy” Ric Flair for the most world championships by any single pro wrestler in history. Considering everything that Cena has done for the WWE in and out of the ring, he certainly deserves to stand alone with that record.
His 17th championship reign really feels more like a foregone conclusion. Cena would certainly create a lot of buzz that would get the WWE more attention. The one thing that’s important for the WWE to do is not let it feel like a throwaway title reign. Cena winning at the Royal Rumble before losing the WWE Championship two weeks later was a wasted run. No. 17 should be a lengthier one; possibly as part of his final run in the company.
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