World Wrestling Entertainment fans are some of the most vocal in the world. From selling out arenas to taking over social networks like Twitter, fans love to voice their opinion on their favorite WWE superstars on a daily basis. You can tell rather quickly if a WWE superstar is getting over with the fans. Cheering or booing, loving or hating, a part of a wrestlers craft is to do whatever they can to try and get over and entertain the fan base – otherwise known as the ‘WWE Universe.’
There’s been plenty of superstars that have had to undergo changes or tweaks in their characters over the years, with one of the most stunning being the change that WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan made when he went from All-American good guy to bad guy in 1996 in WCW.
The change not only put a new spin on Hogan’s career, but put the WCW, at the time WWE’s biggest competitor, into another realm, as the group led by Hogan, the New World Order (nWo) dominated the wrestling industry in the late 1990’s.
Hogan’s turn showed just how much a change in character, whether from good guy to bad or vice-versa, or even development in character, can rejuvenate a wrestler and get him or her over with the fan base. With that in mind, today we look at 15 current WWE Superstars who are in need of a big change.
15 Big E
Formerly known by the name of ‘Big E Langston,’ now he’s just ‘Big E,’ and he’s stuck in a silly group with Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods. The group comes out to a gospel music and dance around, which gets very little reaction by the fans. The group seem like mid-card fillers when they show up on WWE television. Langston at 5’11 and near 300 pounds has had success both as a heel and babyface, but this current gimmick is clearly a bust. Make Langston a heel again and let him have a run with the U.S. or Intercontinental title. From there we'll be able to see if he can finally make the jump to the top of the card.
It’s tough for any diva on the WWE roster to really go through an overhaul, but if any one diva needs it – it’s Natalya. On E’s “Total Divas” show each week, she’s the whiny wife of Tyson Kidd who seems to be an emotional wreck, but also is stubborn and takes her role as the vet of the women’s division seriously. She should go the heel route, playing the card of getting dissed and insisting that she’s been disrespected by not getting a more serious shot at the Divas title. The current angle she’s involved in with her husband, Cesaro and the Uso’s and Naomi is decent, but she needs more of an edge and an overhaul.
13 Curtis Axel
He has plenty of potential and talent, and yet in his only real push, he was left in the backseat of a feud between Paul Heyman and CM Punk. Then Axel, after a four-month reign with the Intercontinental title, was quickly thrown into an awful tag team with Ryback. The team broke up this past November, and now the son of Curt Hennig is barely an afterthought on the main WWE roster, apart from this #AxelMania business. He’s got talent, but what he really needs is a new look. Axel needs a new name, new gimmick, and a chance to show what he can do on an extended run.
12 Adam Rose
The development of this ‘party boy’ character has been a disaster from the start. Fans have never connected with him coming to the ring with a bunch of groupies, otherwise known as ‘Rosebuds,’ and the character eventually was pushed to a heel direction where he feuded with a bunny. Ugh. In FCW, Rose (known then as Leo Kruger) was much more polished, and was at one point the champion of the promotion. He didn’t need the cartoon-like character he has now and should go back to that more technical wrestler he was then. Anything change they make with Rose, at this point, will likely be an improvement.
The winner of the WrestleMania XXX ‘Andre the Giant’ Battle Royale, Cesaro now is stuck in a tag team with Tyson Kidd, though at least they put the titles on them. He’s got a great look, can do just about anything in the ring, and many WWE alumni, like ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, feel he’s the future of the business. Paul Heyman, his former advisor, says it’s a matter of time, but along with time, Cesaro needs a new gimmick and look worthy of being a top player in the WWE.
Back and forth from heel to face, fans seem to respond to Ryback, but he’s never gotten a chance with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, despite many chances at it. Stuck in mid-card as a friend to John Cena and Dolph Ziggler, he needs a fresh overhaul of his character and that could include going back to being a monster heel, and maybe going after the Intercontinental title. His interviews lack as well and while he had Paul Heyman as his advisor for a time, that didn’t really work. It could come down to Ryback even adopting a new name and look for this total gimmick change.
9 Titus O’Neil
O’Neil has gone from face to heel too many times to count. He’s 37 years old, so clearly time is running out for him to be a force of any sort in the industry, but he’s got the look that the company seems to like, as he's big and can move. When the ‘Prime Time Players’ broke up, it appeared he was going to get a major push, but it fizzled quickly. Now that it seems the team is getting back together, O’Neil may be stuck in tag mode forever. If the creative team decides to do something different with him, it would benefit not only him, but give the fans a new face to hate at the same time.
When ‘Fandango’ came in, he was pushed right away with a huge WrestleMania 29 win over Chris Jericho, but quickly slid down the card and now seems to only make occasional appearances. They tried to change ‘dancing partners’ from Summer Rae to Layla, but that did little for his character and fans seemed to care little. There’s no doubt that he has ability and talent, and he needs to get a complete revamp to be able to show that off. Scrap the ‘Fandango’ character all together, and come out with something new that people haven’t seen.
7 Kofi Kingston
Like Big E, as part of the “New Day” faction, Kingston’s career appears to be going nowhere fast. It appeared when the new faction was starting their development, that they would turn heel, which was exciting as we have yet to see that side of Kingston since he came into WWE seven years ago. He’s athletic and has range, but it’s time for him to scrap the babyface, happy-go-lucky character he’s been running out with since his WWE debut in 2008 and go to a darker place that could make him a huge star.
6 Erick Rowan
Rowan played his role well as part of the Wyatt family, being a big monster that wears a sheep's mask. Oddly when the faction broke up, instead of going the heel route like the rest of the group, he became a face and now seems to be floundering. He lost his highest profile match to date, a stairs match to Big Show at December’s ‘TLC’ PPV, and since hasn’t seemed to find his way trying to be a good guy. Repackage this monster, let him turn heel, and find a new voice with a totally new character that doesn’t wear a sheep's mask.
5 Bo Dallas
It seemed for a while that the ‘Bo-Lieve’ gimmick Dallas was pushing as a heel was getting some traction, but sadly the company decided for whatever reason to stop his push, and then an injury stopped him completely. The rumor was that Dallas was going to return for the Royal Rumble, but he never was shown during the event. The son of Mike Rotunda and brother of Bray Wyatt needs a fresh look and a totally new gimmick to get back to where he was before his push was stopped. Forget about ‘Bo-Lieving’ and start with a clean slate.
4 Damien Mizdow
Mizdow has been living in the shadow of ‘Miz’ for the last few months and it's been the best angle of his career. Sure it’s a comedy angle, but the tension between him and The Miz is heating up, and there’s sure to be a confrontation soon, maybe as soon as the Battle Royal at WrestleMania 31. People have been clamoring for Mizdow to break away and become the star many feel he can be. He’ll need a change in his gimmick, as the comedy role which has served him for most of 2014, and now into 2015, isn’t going to work if he’s going to be taken seriously as a title contender in the WWE.
It seems like we are finally going to get the character change in Sheaums that’s been bantered about for a while, with him going back to being a heel. When he was a heel, Sheamus was very good, much more of a force than when he went to being a face. In a company that needs heels right now with Randy Orton as a face, Sheamus’ turn to the dark side should inject great life into his character, which was growing stale before he got hurt.
2 Roman Reigns
The WWE is presenting Roman Reigns as the next huge star, but right now it’s just not happening with the fans. They ‘like’ him, but he’s not getting love from the fans like Daniel Bryan does, or like CM Punk did back in the day. Going heel appears to be the change that can truly make Reigns into the star the company is setting him up to be. One thing that Reigns needs to work on is his promos, and one person that can be a major help in this area is Paul Heyman. It’s been talked about, now let’s see if it’s the direction the company takes with him.
1 John Cena
It’s probably never going to happen, but fans have been calling for something new from Cena for a long time. He’s the Hulk Hogan of his generation and while his character needs to go heel once and for all, it’s a tough sell to both Cena and Vince McMahon. If it did, it would turn the wrestling world upside down, and may be what the company needs. Talking the powers that be, and Cena himself, into doing it is another story all together, one that eventually has to happen.
Remember when Hogan joined the nWo? This could be as huge.