WrestleMania season is almost over and the build to WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans will begin on the Raw and SmackDown after WrestleMania 33. It’s typically the night after WrestleMania where big stars make comebacks, characters changes, and new wrestlers debut. We’ve seen all these things and more after WrestleMania over the years and it’s vital that the WWE do this to keep things fresh and interesting. However, the two biggest things the WWE does after Mania that affect the talent most are pushing wrestlers and firing others.
Many Superstars who have showcased their talents and abilities throughout the year are often rewarded with a big opportunity that could usher them into superstardom. A perfect example would be A.J. Styles, who was rewarded for his hard work and great matches with the WWE Championship; a title many felt he would never hold in his career. On the other hand, wrestlers who the WWE feel have outlived their usefulness, aren’t connecting with the audience, or who some officials just don’t like will often be fired. An example would be Santino Marella, who played his comedy role very well over the years, but was released in 2016 after being with the company for nearly ten years. This system of pushes and releases helps the WWE create new stars, while letting go of people who they can’t get much else out of going forward.
So, with WrestleMania season ending soon and the inevitable releases coming, here’s our list of eight WWE stars that need to go and seven stars that need a push as soon as possible.
15 Dolph Ziggler - Needs to Go
Dolph Ziggler has been with the company for 13 years under a variety of gimmicks and circumstances. He finally began to hit his stride in 2011 and looked like a homegrown WWE talent on the verge of becoming the next big star in the company. Since 2011, Ziggler has had moments of greatness, but the majority of his time was spent losing to other Superstars and being treated as a joke. Even now, after he turned heel, he’s heading into WrestleMania with nothing to look forward to except his inevitable elimination from the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. At this stage in his career, Ziggler would probably be better off somewhere else.
Ziggler is a good wrestler and is good enough when it comes to talking, but he’s often used more as an enhancement talent than anything that resembles a wrestler who should be taken seriously. The WWE have wasted so many of his potential star-making moments that the fans have all but given up on the hopes of Ziggler being anything more than what he was this past year and it may be time for Ziggler to try his hand in another wrestling company.
14 Enzo and Cass - Need a Push
Enzo Amore and Big Cass have been one of the few entertaining tag teams on Monday Night Raw. Their in-ring abilities may not be special, but their mic skills and charisma make every fan chant along with them and get sucked into their promos. Right now, Enzo and Cass are booked for a shot at the Raw Tag Team Championships and it looks like they have a chance at winning them, but their push needs to last for a while.
At some point after WrestleMania, it’s expected that The Revival and #DIY will be called up to the main roster. Whichever roster they go to, they'll more than likely win the belts as soon as possible. However, Enzo and Cass have never held tag team gold before and they should win the belts at least once before any other team grabs them. For all we know, they’re a lock to win the Tag Team Belts right now and they’ll have a lengthy title reign, but it’s not impossible to think that the Certified Gs won’t be winning the belts at WrestleMania.
13 Apollo Crews - Needs to Go
Once the Raw after WrestleMania comes around, it'll mark one year since Apollo Crews has been on the main roster and he doesn’t have much to show for it. He defeated Sheamus in a match right out of the gate and fought The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship, but none of his performances really stuck out, nor has he done anything to set himself apart from the rest of the roster.
Even in NXT, Crews didn’t do anything of significance that caught the attention of fans or made him feel like a wrestler worthy of being in the WWE. His blandness is so apparent that Ziggler attacking him and turning heel led to Ziggler getting cheered rather than sympathy for Crews being built up. Crews just isn’t working on the main roster and it may be time for the WWE to wish him the best in his future endeavors.
12 Rusev - Needs a Push
Rusev has shown time and time again that he has potential to be a bigger deal for the company. He’s gotten injured a few times over the years, but the fact remains that he can be one of the comedic highlights of Raw when given the chance, in addition to all his other attributes as one of the more underrated wrestlers on the roster.
Rusev is a good wrestler, has decent mic skills, and good comedic timing; something that unfortunately can’t be said for all Raw Superstars. He can be an intimidating brute or the big funny guy. He’s been on the main roster the past three years and has become a two-time United States Champion, with big matches against John Cena and Roman Reigns. The company clearly are confident in him at some level, but they should do more with him when he comes back.
11 Dana Brooke - Needs to Go
Dana Brooke has only been with the WWE for a short amount of time, but when something’s clearly not working, it’s best to cut all ties as soon as possible. Brooke was originally paired with Emma as her lackey, but would end up being paired with Charlotte following Emma’s injury. During her time as Charlotte’s flunky, Brooke would expose herself time and time again as a wrestler who got called up to the main roster way too soon. Her matches were often uninteresting, any promos she’s cut have been greatly unmemorable, and even her recent face turn probably won’t amount to much.
This may just be a symptom of her getting called up too fast, but she’s reaching Eva Marie territory when it comes to her performance. So, the WWE should consider whether or not Brooke is worth all this TV time and whether or not sending her back to NXT could fix these problems.
10 Luke Harper - Needs a Push
2017 seemed like it would be a breakout year for Luke Harper. His involvement in The Wyatt Family and the feud brewing between Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt made for interesting television. Storylines aside, Harper also showed how great of a wrestler he was as he took on Orton and A.J. Styles in fantastic bouts. It was even rumored that the company was considering adding him to the WWE Championship match. Sadly, this didn’t happen and Harper will also be another Superstar regulated to the pre-show or the Andre the Giant Battle Royal match.
Harper is a great wrestler and a good talker, so he can be a big asset as a singles competitor if the WWE goes down that road. His Intercontinental Championship feud with Dolph Ziggler showed that he had potential as an upper mid-carder and the WWE should test this further as the year progresses.
9 Jinder Mahal - Needs to Go
When Jinder Mahal was released from the roster, little to no one even showed any interest, let alone made any desire known to see him return. Regardless of this, the WWE brought Mahal back anyway, seemingly hoping the brand split would help give him a second chance at becoming interesting…but it didn’t.
Instead, Mahal’s presence on the show became an indicator of when it was time to ignore whatever match was happening on Monday Night Raw. The company tried teaming him up with Rusev, but only Rusev received any praise during their time as a team. The only noticeable difference between Mahal from his days in 3MB and the Mahal of today is the fact that he's a lot more shredded than before. Aside from that, there was no reason to bring him back and even less of a reason to keep him around any longer.
8 Sami Zayn - Needs a Push
Sami Zayn will probably be relegated to the WrestleMania 33 pre-show next Sunday or the Andre the Giant match; which is disappointing considering all he’s managed to do in NXT and on the main roster.
After returning from injury, Zayn wrestled Shinsuke Nakamura at NXT Takeover: Dallas in what many considered a Match of the Year candidate. After that, he would continue to put on some fantastic matches including his bout for the Intercontinental Championship at Extreme Rules and his match with Kevin Owens at Battleground. Zayn also helped to make Braun Strowman look dominant in their Last Man Standing Match; which only further illustrated how versatile and great of a wrestler Zayn is.
He doesn’t have much of anything on the table right now, but that needs to change after WrestleMania. We're not saying he should be given the World Championship right off the bat, but he should at least be given more chances to showcase his skills against more high-profile opponents.
7 The Bollywood Boys - Need to Go
The Bollywood Boys joined the WWE after their performances in the Cruiserweight Classic. Since that time, the Cruiserweights have debuted on Monday Night Raw and they have their own show on the WWE Network, but Gurv and Harv Sihra have barely even been seen on WWE TV.
Judging them solely off their performances in the Cruiserweight Classic, neither brother demonstrated any great wrestling ability or charisma that would warrant a contract with the WWE; especially since they both were eliminated in round one. They would later take part in the NXT Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, but would once again be eliminated in the first round. In both NXT and on 205 Live, they've have found no success in their tag team efforts, so it may be time for the Bollywood Boys to be cut loose.
6 Cesaro - Needs A Push
Cesaro has been on the main roster for six years and it’s clear that fans want to see him do more. He didn’t catch on when he debuted in 2012, but he would eventually win the crowd over during his time with The Real Americans and his singles matches against wrestlers like Randy Orton and John Cena in 2013 and 2014.
Cesaro would go on to win the inaugural Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal to the delight of the fans, but would remain a heel and lose match after match for quite some time for the rest of 2014. He even secured the Tag Team Championships in 2015 with Tyson Kidd prior to his injury, which Cesaro didn’t let hinder his success as he continued to win fans over with his superior wrestling ability. He’s currently in the tag team division now, but 2017 should be the year that Cesaro tries his hand in the main event scene.
5 The Vaudevillians - Need to Go
Another team that could be let go are The Vaudevillians, who continue to suffer. Aiden English and Simon Gotch did well for themselves in NXT and managed to hold the NXT Tag Team Championships before they were called up to the main roster. However, they wouldn’t even get close to looking like a viable contender for the main roster Tag Team Championships as The Vaudevillians fizzled out as quickly as they debuted.
When they were used, their matches and promos weren’t anything to speak of. They’ve competed for championships, but never won them, nor were fans even convinced it could happen. They’ve done nothing of interest in the tag team division and it’s becoming abundantly clear that they won’t amount to much as it stands now.
4 Braun Strowman - Needs a Push
After the brand split, Braun Strowman slowly but surely began to win fans over with his dominant persona and strength. His feuds with men like Sami Zayn and Big Show helped to establish him as a force to be reckoned with in the WWE and it seemed like the company finally got the big man wrestler that the fans and the office could be happy with.
Unfortunately, Strowman was robbed of his momentum when he took a loss to Roman Reigns at Fastlane. A few weeks later, he would be chokeslammed by The Undertaker looking like an afterthought.
Now Strowman is the man most likely to win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, but neither the fans nor the WWE take that battle royal seriously after all this time. Triple H said that the WWE have some very big plans for the big man after WrestleMania. Hopefully, those plans kick in sooner rather than later.
3 The Shining Stars - Need to Go
Ever since Primo and Epico dropped the matador attire and picked up their timeshare gimmick, fans have expressed a strong desire to see the two Colóns leave the WWE. Aside from the fact that they're barely used, Primo and Epico are the personification of bland and boring. Their promos are often uninteresting and their wrestling is as average as it gets as well.
Fans even suggested bringing back Carlito to add some interest to the group, but their suggestions were clearly ignored. Whether under the management of Rosa Mendes or dressed up as bull fighters, they have never had one memorable feud and their most memorable match was when El Torito took on Hornswoggle. The WWE have employed these two for seven years and for seven years they have yielded no results. At this point, it’s time to call it quits.
2 The Miz - Needs a Push
When people think of wrestlers who were given opportunity following the brand split, three people come to mind; Kevin Owens, A.J. Styles, and The Miz. While Styles and Owens held down the main event scenes of their perspective brands, The Miz had to hold down the Intercontinental Championship and the mid-card of SmackDown Live. It took a while for him to truly catch fire, but his promo on Talking Smack against Daniel Bryan helped fans notice both the post-show and The Miz’s talents.
He and his wife Maryse are wrestling John Cena and Nikki Bella at WrestleMania, which is still a big deal, but The Miz has proven that he needs to go above the mid-card and back to pursuing the WWE Championship. Many people criticized The Miz’s WWE Championship reign and his persona back in 2011, but this past year has shown that The Miz from back then and The Miz of today are in two completely different leagues.
1 Eva Marie - Needs to Go
In a lot of ways, Eva Marie represents what used to be wrong with the women’s division. Despite being trained by Brian Kendrick and spending a lot of time in developmental, it appears as if she may not be cut out for professional wrestling.
Many people praised the WWE for her gimmick where she would come up with excuse after excuse not to wrestle, but the problem with her gimmick is that anyone could’ve done it. Anyone could’ve been given a gimmick that delayed them competing in the ring, but the difference would be another wrestler would probably be able to have a good match when the gimmick came to an end, while Marie doesn’t look good in the ring at any point. She's not special or unique in anyway, apart from her look, so there’s not much of a reason to keep her around.