WWE may be “Then. Now and Forever,” but that’s definitely not the case for every WWE superstar. Whether the company wishes their former employees the “best in their future endeavors,” releases them from their contract or sticks them in the “Alumni” section of their website, former WWE legends and superstars alike can find themselves off of WWE's stacked roster. For some superstars struggling to pick up wins, feuds, storylines or decent T.V. time, the writing is on the wall and these wrestlers could be soon gone from the company. However, other superstars, who were once pushed to the moon, can see their rise abruptly end, and it’s these “burials” that are many times unexpected.
Sadly, unforeseen burials are common, and a superstar can rise to WWE Champion and instantly free fall to jobber. However, major pushes from WWE management can be just as unexpected. With All Elite Wrestling catching Vince McMahon's attention, WWE management may start to push more superstars they previously had not before. The WWE Universe has already seen some of these pushes begin, and this new “shake-up” is certain to benefit other superstars as well. These renewed pushes will placate the fans, freshen up the rosters and will also please the superstars who have felt neglected.
While fans shouldn’t confuse “wins” and “losses” with “pushes” and “burials,” the WWE Universe will notice certain superstars get a little closer to grabbing that brass ring while other superstars will noticeably become less prominent on Raw and SmackDown. WWE is like a new season after WrestleMania, and many superstars will see a rise or a fall. Surprise title wins and upset victories may be on the way as well as demotions for superstars that were seemingly on the cusp of breaking-out. In this article, we look at 10 of these unexpected superstars that could see a push after WrestleMania, and 10 that we could see buried.
20 Push: Kevin Owens
When Kevin Owens made his main roster debut, Monday Night Raw became the Kevin Owens Show. K.O. defeated John Cena in his first main roster debut match, won the Universal, Intercontinental and United States Titles with fans chanting “Fight. Owens. Fight." Unfortunately, since moving to back to Raw from SmackDown, fans have been treated to “Job. Owens. Jobs.” instead.
Owens was squashed by Braun Strowman after returning to Raw and was recently taken out by Bobby Lashley. However, Owens's misfortune may be coming to an end. Owens is healed up and looking to be in great shape. Previously, Vince McMahon had been discouraged by Owens’s size, but K.O.’s recent transformation may turn his latest Raw stint around.
19 Burial: Braun Strowman
The Monster Among Men put the entire Raw roster on notice and promised that anyone standing in his way would “get these hands.” Sadly, Braun Strowman has yet to get any singles titles and has failed to take the Universal Title from both Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar.
Without any singles titles to claim as his own, the only thing Braun Strowman has gotten has been injuries. Due to these setbacks, WWE has held off on pulling the trigger on him, and Strowman may be in for a surprise burial in 2019. A move to SmackDown may do The Monster some good, but his recent promo against Lesnar didn’t help him either.
18 Push: Finn Balor
Despite winning the NXT Championship and becoming the first ever WWE Universal Champion, Finn Balor hasn’t seen much success on Raw since. The Extraordinary Man who does Extraordinary Things still gets a great reaction from the fans and puts on some terrific matches. Unfortunately, his shoulder injury and size have been reasons that a legitimate push has yet to happen.
Luckily, Balor’s 50/50 booking may be finally over. He received his Universal Title opportunity against Brock Lesnar and may be in line to keep his push going in the future. Balor has been rumored as a superstar in line for a big push in 2019, and with a major endorsement from John Cena, Balor may just get it.
17 Burial: AJ Styles
On SmackDown, AJ Styles is the face that runs the place but maybe not much longer. Styles is no longer the champ that runs the camp and has seemingly given the reigns to “the new” Daniel Bryan. AJ dropped the WWE Championship to Bryan and is unlikely to win the title back soon. However, there are other reasons why 2019 may not be a phenomenal year for Styles.
Styles is looking for a lighter schedule to spend more time with his family and that may limit his future title opportunities. Moreover, Styles’s contract is coming up, and WWE is often reluctant to push anyone that could potentially leave the company. Even worse are the ongoing discussions that Styles could be drafted to Raw. If that happens, Styles may get lost in what could become a potentially overcrowded main event scene there. Time will tell, but AJ having anywhere near the same success he had on Smackdown is highly unlikely.
16 Push: Sasha Banks
While Sasha Banks is a former four-time Raw Women’s Champion, none of her title reigns felt legit. They were short reigns that eventually just went back to Charlotte Flair. However, after WrestleMania, The Boss may be back. Banks is a top contender for the new WWE Women’s Tag Titles and could be winning those titles with Bayley. However, 2019 could produce a brand switch or even a heel turn that could seriously propel Sasha even further.
A huge push for The Boss is likely on its way, but it could be a little surprising given Sasha’s recent Twitter comments. Sasha disparaged WWE’s number of Pay Per Views and replied to The Revival’s rumored departure with a gif saying “Take me with you.” While Banks hasn’t had the best 2018, it’s also likely she’s just working the fans. She’s in a title match against Ronda Rousey and will likely get a big push after WrestleMania as well.
15 Burial: Baron Corbin
Baron Corbin had an up and down run on the Smackdown brand, but he was able to capture the United States Title and become Mr. Money in the Bank. His move to Raw could have provided him a sustained push, but his tenure there has been more of the same.
Corbin was able to become the “Acting General Manager of Raw” and has been involved in some major Raw storylines. However, the Lone Wolf is taking all of the blame for Raw’s 2018 ratings woes. Corbin was destroyed by the babyfaces there and was publicly trashed by the McMahons the next night. If his recent downward spiral on Raw is any indication, Corbin may find himself as a former acting WWE superstar also.
14 Push: Mandy Rose
With so much going on with the WWE Women’s Division, superstars like Mandy Rose have fallen under the radar. Asuka, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch are all still top contenders for the Smackdown Women’s Title and will be through WrestleMania and beyond. However, even with strong competition throughout the roster, there’s plenty of reason to think that 2019 will be golden for Mandy Rose.
Vince McMahon is a big fan of The Golden Goddess and is said to be giving Mandy Rose a big push in the near future. Rose definitely has the look, and her recent success among YouTube viewers may have solidified a strong push for her after WrestleMania.
13 Burial: Dolph Ziggler
WWE fans may be wondering how Dolph Ziggler can be buried any further in WWE, but they had hoped he would get a decent push after receiving some sort of unique, tentative deal with WWE. Sure, Dolph got an Intercontinental Title run since his draft to Raw, but after WrestleMania he may not have much to show-off.
WWE has never been serious about pushing Ziggler, and recent reports have indicated that Dolph turned down a new WWE contract. With The Show-off splitting from Drew McIntyre and having no storyline involvement at the moment, Ziggler may not be stealing any shows after WrestleMania.
12 Push: Bobby Roode
Former NXT Champion, Bobby Roode, made his main roster debut on the SmackDown brand and was able to capture the United States Title. He remains popular with the WWE Universe and has won the Raw Tag Team Titles since switching brands. While the fans may have wanted a stronger push for Roode during his time on Raw, there’s a strong possibility that 2019 will be absolutely glorious.
Many fans feel that Roode is wasted in the Tag Team Division. However, this could change after WrestleMania. The Glorious One could find himself drafted back to SmackDown where he experienced singles success, or fans could be treated to an imminent heel turn. Either way, a shake-up for Roode could present him with a nice push.
11 Burial: Nia Jax
Nia Jax has seen many character turns that have been reminiscent of the Big Show’s face/heel turns, but right now, she is cemented as one of the most hated heels in the Women’s Division. Thanks to her family lineage, Jax remains one of the top superstars in her Division. However her status at the top may not be so irresistible after WrestleMania.
Jax is a former Raw Women’s Champion, but, despite being The Rock’s cousin, there is reason to believe 2019 won’t be as kind. Jax underwent some heat among her peers and WWE management, after legitimately injuring Becky Lynch. She has also publicly ripped the company on social media for not promoting diversity in the WWE Women’s Division. If Jax continues to cause headaches backstage, the only thing The Irresistible Force will be breaking will be her career.
10 Push: Big E
Even before the fans would “feel the power” of The New Day, Big E had already won the WWE Intercontinental Title once before. Despite throwing pancakes into the crowd and wearing diapers, Big E. remains popular with the fans and has won the WWE Tag Title a total of five times currently. However, reports of The New Day breaking up have circulated, but don’t you dare be sour because Big E may still be in line for a huge push on his own after 'Mania.
If the reports are true, and The New Day does breaks up, Big E is the obvious member to benefit the most from it. Big E has the size, strength, look and charisma to go far in WWE. With an Intercontinental Title already under his belt, an even more experienced Big E has potential to flourish once on his own.
9 Burial: AoP
The Authors of Pain were a dominant tag team in NXT, becoming Tag Team Champions while there and looked to be a dominant tag team on Raw. They’ve already won the Raw Tag Team Titles, but they are already showing signs of a burial.
Akam and Rezar debuted on Raw and immediately shed Paul Ellering as their manager. Five months later, Drake Maverick became their manager for no reason and cost them the Tag Team Titles that they had won two and a half months prior. To make matters worse, Akam is out with an injury which often causes WWE management some reluctance in pushing superstars they perceive as injury prone.
8 Push: Heath Slater
Throughout his WWE career, Heath Slater hasn’t seen much time picking up wins, with the exception of his surprising Tag Team Title victory on Smackdown with Rhyno. Slater’s move to Raw has only seen more jobbing, and the only recent storyline involving Slater as a referee was abruptly cancelled.
Despite the interesting storyline as the reluctant referee being casually dropped and reuniting with Rhyno who retired for a week, there is still hope that the One Man Band will have a good 2019. Even after being a jobber for most of his career, rumors have hinted at big plans for Heath. That’s a good thing for fans who feared for Heath’s WWE future because, after all, he’s got kids.
7 Burial: The Revival
There was a recent glimmer of hope that The Revival would finally be taken seriously on Raw after becoming number one contenders for the Raw Tag Team Titles. Unfortunately, The Revival failed in two attempts to defeat Bobby Roode and Chad Gable, and backstage reports have put the WWE futures of Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder in jeopardy.
After a very underwhelming stretch on the main roster, Dash and Dawson have reportedly asked for their release from the company. While The Revival has been completely misused since their Raw debut, their request still comes as a bit of a surprise. Their number one contender opportunity seemed like a step in the right direction, and they still have significant time left on their contract. Unfortunately for them, their request has been denied, and their frustrations are unlikely to get better after WrestleMania.
6 Push: Sami Zayn
Just like his best friend, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn has been on the shelf with an injury. Certainly, his stint on Raw since his acquisition hasn’t been very notable, but the time may be now to start betting on the Underdog from the Underground.
Sami Zayn is about to return to action at around the same time as Kevin Owens. This could bode well for Sami who may end up teaming with Owens to bolster a struggling Raw Tag Team Division. Sami could even be inserted into the mid-card as well, and could bring a character change with him to freshen up his character. Either way, Sami Zayn has a lot of options going for him, and 2019 could be a much needed fresh start.
5 Burial: Andrade
Andrade "Cien" Almas and Rey Mysterio had an outstanding match on SmackDown which was praised by fans and many fellow superstars alike. However, prior to that match, Andrade took many unfortunate losses, leaving fans concerned that Almas would experience the same fate as many former NXT superstars before him.
There is still time for the former NXT Champion to turn his main roster career around, but Almas (whose name is now shortened to just “Andrade”) has yet to win a single title since his call-up. Andrade has also supposedly told independent wrestlers Rush and Dragon Lee, not to join WWE which could put any hope of a future WWE push in question. If Andrade is truly unhappy in WWE, he may soon lose more than his last name after WrestleMania.
4 Push: Zelina Vega
While some doubt has been cast on a push for Andrade, no such reports surround Zelina Vega. Even if the speculation regarding Andrade is true, a huge push could be in store for Vega even without the superstar she has been managing throughout her WWE career.
Despite not being as heavily pushed as Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair or Rhonda Rousey, Vince McMahon was said to be very high on Zelina Vega. Even if Andrade has some heat regarding those reports, Vega could still be in good standing with The Chairman and may see some higher profile matches after WrestleMania season.
3 Burial: Lars Sullivan
About four months after his NXT Title match in which he took the then NXT Champion, Aleister Black, to the limit, vignettes of Sullivan’s main roster arrival began airing on Raw and SmackDown. Plans began circulating that “The Freak” could even be a potential opponent for John Cena at WrestleMania. Unfortunately, some sort of backstage incident has put Sullivan's career on hold.
With his huge size and larger-than-life appearance, Lars Sullivan has everything Vince McMahon looks for in a WWE superstar. However, a reported anxiety/panic attack may have derailed Sullivan’s main roster career altogether. Vince McMahon is said to be unhappy with Sullivan’s situation and may have already “moved on” from the character. If true, Lars Sullivan may get buried before his career can even start.
2 Push: Sanity
NXT’s call-ups certainly don’t have a great track record in WWE, and Sanity’s experience on SmackDown hasn’t been much different. They’ve failed to capture the SmackDown Tag Team Titles and haven’t built up a large chunk of wins either. Although Sanity has everything going against them at the moment, 2019 could be a different story.
Right now, SmackDown’s Tag Team Division is loaded, and Sanity isn’t anywhere near a storyline with The Bar. However, a WWE Draft could turn the division into Sanity’s favor. A shake-up could shuffle SmackDown’s tag teams and make the division more competitive for Sanity should they stay on the blue brand. They’ve been former NXT Tag Team Champions before, and after WrestleMania, fans could see WWE finally let Sanity loose.
1 Burial: Lana
While WWE management as always been a fan of Lana, 2019 may not be so ravishing for Lana. She’s trying to transition into a singles competitor and has been given a character that management believed fans would eventually start supporting. Unfortunately, Lana is still looking for that support.
Ironically, Rusev was the one that caught on with the fans, but Lana doesn’t have that fanbase. Even more worrisome for Lana is that Vince McMahon may be moving on from her as well. He’s far more enamored with Zelina Vega and Mandy Rose that Lana may now be an afterthought. Even if Rusev has a solid 2019, Lana, after WrestleMania, may be jobbing even more than she was in 2018.