More times than not, the WWE tends to listen to their audience when creating new stars. Often, but certainly not always. When push comes to shove, Vince McMahon is going to push the wrestlers who he sees as stars and he will hold back those who he doesn't. Sometimes, the wrestlers who Vince sees as stars are not the same as who the fans view, however. As a result, several talented wrestlers have been wasted throughout the years by WWE. In their place, there is usually lesser talented wrestlers who have been pushed to the moon.
In 2014, CM Punk figured out that being a good wrestler has little to do with who is put in the WrestleMania main event. It had been Punk's goal to main event the show and he felt he had done enough to prove he belonged there. The problem was, there is only one person who makes that decision and he makes it based on his own opinion. WWE is not a democracy and it's not a place where the most deserving talent is given their due.
Taking a look at wrestlers currently on the WWE roster, we break down eight good wrestlers WWE will waste in 2018 and seven bad wrestlers the company will push instead.
15 Cesaro - Good Wrestler Wasted
In 2018, WWE will continue to waste Cesaro just as they've wasted his talents since they signed him in 2011. Cesaro is a long-standing inclusion in articles such as this one, a talent so obviously wasted that few fail to notice.
According to Vince McMahon's comments on the Stone Cold Podcast, Cesaro might be great in the ring but has not developed the connection with fans required for him to become a marketable star. While it might be easy to disagree with the WWE chairman on this point, consideration should be given to the fact that McMahon is the most successful wrestling owner of all time. As much as many of us like to claim we know who should be the wrestlers pushed, the only person with a track record of successfully pushing wrestlers is Vince. So perhaps he is right on this one and the rest of us are wrong.
14 Nia Jax - Bad Wrestler Pushed
A decade or two ago, Nia Jax would not be considered a bad wrestler. Today's modern day wrestling fan wants fast and crisp looking wrestling, however. This can be difficult for any larger performer such as Nia Jax.
Despite what wrestling fans may want from their women's division, expect Vince McMahon to push Nia Jax to the moon in 2018. The 33-year-old has been signed to WWE since 2014 and it's believed the company wants to give her a push soon, given her marketable look as a major heel moving forward.
While today's wrestling fans might prefer such a push be given to a more athletic wrestler, Vince loves big monster heels and he can have that with Nia. Expect a major push for Nia throughout 2018.
13 Bayley - Good Wrestler Wasted
28-year-old Pamela Rose Martinez is better known to wrestling fans as Bayley. She was so popular in NXT that fans, old and young alike, would often show up to Full Sail dressed up just like her. You'll still see many kids in the audience do the same during Raw these days.
According to the WWE rumor mill, however, management has given up on making her a star. Many fans are confused by this as the crowd response to Bayley is generally positive. This is especially the case with kids, who are a driving force for WWE merchandise. She is still young and could be repackaged and given another chance but it appears this incarnation of her character is not something the WWE feels has much of a future.
12 Elias - Bad Wrestler Pushed
Just recently, Elias won the biggest match of his career defeating both John Cena and Braun Strowman in the main event of Raw. The victory cemented himself as the final entrant in the Elimination Chamber match. It's clear, he's in line for a monster push.
Unfortunately for those who would rather not walk with him, Elias appears destined to have a long stay in WWE. Vince McMahon is said to be quite fond of the character and happy with the performer's portrayal of the Drifter gimmick so far. It's not quite clear yet if Vince's more of a fan of his in-ring work or his in-ring guitar and song work but either way, Elias is here to stay in WWE for a long time. That he appears to be entering a program with John Cena and is recent victory is further evidence of this.
11 Sasha Banks - Good Wrestler Wasted
There is a chance that WWE decides to push Sasha Banks in 2018 but it's not a very good one. If this calendar year goes much like the last, Banks will continue to fall down the rankings. While the company has given her multiple runs as champion, they have never had her successfully defend the title on WWE television. They have used her more as a performer to help get Alexa Bliss over than they have as a Superstar who deserves her own spotlight.
Many, including herself, will state that Sasha Banks is the best women's wrestler in the world. Steve Austin is another one who believes this to be the case. For whatever reason, however, WWE's booking of her assures she is never seen as the best wrestler in storyline.
10 Mojo Rawley - Bad Wrestler Pushed
Mojo Rawley is an okay wrestler. He's not that talented but brings great enthusiasm to his matches. The WWE is also really high on the Superstar despite his short-lived experience.
While nobody involved would ever admit to this, there is good reason to believe Rawley is only receiving the push because of his relationship with Rob Gronkowski. Oh, by the way, Triple H and Stephanie just so happened to be huge New England Patriot fans.
Gronkowski got involved at WrestleMania last year, helping Rawley win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. We could see him again this year, depending on what Rawley is up to on the card. Gronkowski tweeted out not long after the Hype Bros broke up that he was disappointed in his friend's actions, though. Perhaps Gronk and Mojo could face each other somewhere down the line.
9 Neville - Good Wrestler Wasted
In terms of wasted talent, they don't come much more egregious than Neville. The 31-year-old walked out on WWE last year and rumors are the WWE will just have him sit out the remainder of his contract. Considering he is one of the most talented guys on the roster, it goes without saying that Neville on the sidelines is a gigantic waste of talent.
What is frustrating about Neville's situation is that what he was upset about is seemingly gone. While this is just a rumor, many believe Neville was upset about losing the Cruiserweight Title to Enzo and all the chicanery which went along with that on 205 Live. Now that Enzo is gone, however, we still don't have Neville back. In 2018, hopefully, WWE and Neville can reach an agreement.
8 Baron Corbin - Bad Wrestler Pushed
After he lost the Money in the Bank briefcase, it seemed as though WWE had given up on Baron Corbin. The WWE rumor mill believes that even though he has rubbed some the wrong way in WWE, that Vince is still high on Corbin. In fact, the push Corbin was on to start 2017 and will most likely be reinstated in 2018.
Despite changes which have taken place in the industry over the last decade plus, Vince McMahon still has a soft spot in his heart for anyone as tall as Corbin. By this time next year, Vince McMahon will be back to booking Corbin as a monster heel. Corbin winning the WWE Championship is also not out of the question. Wrestling fans won't like Corbin being pushed to the moon but Vince McMahon will and in the end, that's what really matters.
7 Becky Lynch - Good Wrestler Wasted
Becky Lynch is one of the best women's wrestlers in the world but at the moment she is lost in the shuffle. Lynch has even fallen behind Sasha Banks in terms of good women wrestlers falling down the rankings in WWE. Lynch is only 31, however, could easily get a second-wind to her character in a year or two. At the moment, it feels as though WWE has run out of ideas for the Irish Lass-Kicker and that really is too bad because she's great.
Lynch can really go in the ring. She puts everything into her performance and has a great reputation in the back. She might be the inaugural SmackDown Women's Champion but it's possible she doesn't wear the gold again for a very long time.
6 Big Cass - Bad Wrestler Pushed
A big reason for the split between Cass and Enzo was not intended to elevate Amore, instead it was done so as a major push towards Cass. As we've discussed in the article, Vince loves himself a big man and that's exactly what Cass exemplifies.
Now he lost a lot of momentum following a lackluster feud with Big Show and an untimely injury, however, don't expect Vince to give up on his push that easily. Just like Baron Corbin, we expect Cass to continue on his with push once he returns as a dominant heel. He's proven he can hang with the big guys in the past, something that was noticed by WWE personnel behind the scenes (Universal Title Fatal Four Way Match). Although he's not blessed with A.J. Styles type talent, expect a push regardless of his slower pace.
5 Eric Young - Good Wrestler Wasted
It's not exactly clear what Eric Young has to do to finally earn a shot on the main roster. While his former Team Canada stablemate, Bobby Roode, is now the United States champion, EY is still in the same place he has been ever since signing with NXT in 2016.
Now 38 years old, Young isn't getting any younger either. If you want to get the most out of him, now is the time to give him a shot. Young has a lot of personality and experience working main event matches with a diverse array of opponents. It seems they want him to help younger guys get over in NXT, however, and there are no signs the company will cast him in a larger role anytime soon. Perhaps, sAnity will get called up to the main roster after WrestleMania. It seems there are many others ahead of them in line, however.
4 Kane - Bad Wrestler Pushed
Glenn Jacobs, aka Kane, has been with WWE since 1995. He is seeking out other employment, however. Kane is looking to run for Knox County mayor in 2018. If he wins, forget about seeing him in WWE for a long time. If he loses, he'll be right back in the mix of things. After all, he's got to pay for what will surely be an expensive political campaign.
The other reason Kane will be pushed heavily in 2018 is a result of the state of Raw's main event picture. Vince has a monster-heavy lineup in the main event picture of Raw, which he probably thinks will help get Roman Reigns over. Kane's monster character is a natural rival for Braun Strowman, Roman Reigns, and Brock Lesnar on Raw. When he comes back after his mayoral run, he'll be right back with the big men in the main events.
3 Luke Harper - Good Wrestler Wasted
38-year-old Luke Harper isn't getting any younger. Still, WWE seems to have no interest in pushing Harper above a tag team level Superstar. There are many in WWE who feel Harper has the ability to be so much more. With an interesting look and the respect of his co-workers, you would think the promotion would give him a chance beyond the Bludgeon Brothers.
Perhaps WWE will go all the way with the Bludgeon Brothers and give them a run as Tag Team Champions but even that falls short of Harper's potential. WWE has shown signs of giving Harper a run before but in the end, they seem unwilling to pull the trigger. He's received a run as Intercontinental Champion before and last year prior to WrestleMania he was involved in a program with A.J.Styles. After every hint of a push, however, Harper always falls back down the card.
2 The Undertaker - Bad Wrestler Pushed
The rumor mill believes The Undertaker could return to WWE sometime in 2018. Speculation is he'll be back for Mania but speculation in wrestling circles tends to be wrong as often as it's right.
If Taker does indeed come back at 52 years of age, don't expect him to be putting too many people over (given his age and movement in the ring). It seems like his character and mystique will once again get pushed going into a Mania match against his rumored opponent, John Cena. Now he won't necessarily bring others down like some other Superstars on the list, but getting pushed into such a match means less TV time for other talent. With his skills no longer what they used to be, that's a major negative.
1 Daniel Bryan - Good Wrestler Wasted
Whether or not Daniel Bryan wrestles in WWE again or not is a question left for the company's doctors. Daniel Bryan wrestling outside of WWE again or not is a question left up to Bryan and his doctors. From the sounds of it, however, Bryan's doctors are okay with him wrestling again but WWE's doctors are not.
This means WWE will be holding onto Bryan's contract until September 2018 and using him only as an on-air performer and not a wrestler. His contract also contains a 90-day no-compete clause which means Bryan also won't be able to wrestle elsewhere for the final three months of the year. Meaning Daniel Bryan won't be wrestling at all in 2018 unless WWE's doctors clear him, something they seem hesitant to do.
It's safe for Bryan to wrestle again. However, seeing his in-ring talent back in WWE seems to be wasting away at this point.