Several significant changes have affected the landscape of World Wrestling Entertainment throughout the spring and summer months of 2016. Wrestlers who never before were featured on major WWE shows are now some of the biggest stars in the promotion. The WWE kicked off the latest edition of the brand split that dominated the organization during the first decade of the 2000s. Dean Ambrose won and successfully defended the WWE Championship. While we cannot say, for sure, that the WWE has learned from previous mistakes and turned a corner as it pertains to the talent pushed, there is some hope that the company is going in the right direction and that the future may be bright for the WWE and for pro wrestling in North America.
Nothing is perfect, of course, and that holds true with the WWE. As much as there are WWE wrestlers we want to see more of in 2016 and down the road, there also exists a handful of talent we are sick of and we don’t want shoved down our throats. Then, there are the cases of wrestlers we are unsure of as of the summer of 2016. One individual who falls into that specific category is a wrestler who has been booed by in-house audiences time and time again, a wrestler who is not having the best year of his career in and outside of the ring. Don’t look now, but the WWE may finally have realized what to do with the Roman Reigns character. That would be quite the victory for the WWE before fall arrives.
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15 Roman Reigns: Unsure
In a way, you have to feel sorry for Roman Reigns. Reigns did not choose to be the hand-picked wrestler of those running the WWE, nor did he select the character who has been rejected by pockets of WWE fans.
Reigns also did not intentionally do anything to make himself a heel in the eyes of viewers and fans who have refused to accept him as the next top babyface in the WWE. Reigns’ failure to get over with fans was made worse when it was learned that he received a 30-day suspension after violating the WWE Wellness Policy. Following the events of July 24th and Reigns doing the clean job to Dean Ambrose, it seems as if the WWE is going in a different direction with Reigns. That could be a positive for the character and that is why we placed Reigns in the “unsure” category for the time being.
14 Eva Marie: Sick Of
There is good heat that a wrestler can have in the eyes of fans and then there is bad heat. Eva Marie is easy on the eyes and can play the role of a hated heel, but she nevertheless possesses bad heat among WWE fans.
It’s just not working with Eva Marie and that isn’t changing anytime soon. Part of the reason is that the WWE is currently pushing women’s wrestling to be as important as men’s wrestling. A male at the level of Eva Marie inside of the ring would struggle to get out of NXT let alone be featured on worldwide television. This reality has affected how we view Eva Marie as a wrestler. Eva Marie can play a role on WWE television, but not as a wrestler. We hope that the WWE realizes this sooner than later and pulls the plug on this experiment before we get even more sick of Eva Marie.
13 A.J. Styles: Want More Of
There cannot possibly be any fan out there who is sick of watching A.J. Styles perform underneath the WWE umbrella in 2016. Styles has, in his first six months of working in the WWE, left no doubt that he can work as both a babyface and a heel. The sky is the limit for the Styles character after the company wraps up his feud with John Cena.
There remains a variety of feuds for Styles depending on what the WWE wants him to be and assuming that the promotion is splitting Styles up from The Club for good. Regardless of who Styles is booked to face, it is a safe bet that he will be responsible for entertaining matches that leave crowds standing on their feet in approval. We are counting down the months and the days until we get to see Styles once again perform at a WrestleMania show, hopefully against somebody good enough to put on a five-star contest with the man who may be the best worker in the WWE today.
12 The Club: Unsure Of
We want to have hope that the WWE is going to do right by The Club even though the promotion decided to split Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson away from A.J. Styles. We are simply unsure about it during the early days of the second half of 2016.
Gallows and Anderson are already just two guys on the WWE roster who have already been defeated and who are no longer special acts. This was not the best way to book the team upon their arrival in the WWE. Both men are talented enough that the WWE could still save the team and make Gallows and Anderson a big deal if the company wanted to go in that direction. Perhaps the best way for the WWE to do so would be to link Gallows and Anderson up with a wrestler who was recently called up from NXT to the main roster. Yes, we are dreaming of a real-life “Balor Club.”
11 Dudley Boyz: Sick Of
We have to be honest and say that we really don’t get why the WWE brought The Dudley Boyz back to the promotion in 2016, other than for a one-time pop they received upon their first night back in the company.
Not only has The Dudley Boyz team become nothing more than a nostalgia act among fans. We have witnessed Bubba Ray show what he can do on his own as a heel in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling and that leaves us wanting to see his “Bully Ray” character in the WWE. The hope, moving forward, is that the WWE will realize this and allow Bully Ray to shine as a top heel during what will likely be the twilight of his WWE career. Otherwise, this duo will only become more watered-down than it is in the summer of 2016. Fans are sick of seeing The Dudley Boyz as it is.
10 Enzo and Cass: Want More Of
We do realize that the time is going to come when the WWE ends the team of Enzo Amore and Big Cass, likely so that Cass can receive a push as a singles star. We simply want to see a lot more of Enzo and Cass before that day arrives.
Both Enzo and Cass can be huge stars in the WWE if the company protects the team and allows both, particularly Enzo, to continue doing what they are doing with their promos and interview segments. Enzo and Cass may not be the best duo inside of the ring, but their crafting of matches is not why fans are so drawn to them. Enzo and Cass are two of the best babyfaces in the WWE today and they receive huge pops wherever they go. We want to see Enzo and Cass become Tag Team Champions before the thought of splitting them up enters the minds of those running WWE.
9 The Revival: Unsure Of
Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder, currently known as The Revival, are tremendous while working with fellow tag teams in NXT. The Revival currently reign as the NXT Tag Team Champions and they could continue carrying the flag for the tag team portion of that brand for the foreseeable future.
There will eventually come a time when The Revival are no longer fresh in NXT and when they receive their opportunities to feature on the main roster. That is what we are unsure of regarding the futures of Dash and Dawson. We can see how and why the WWE would turn The Revival into midcard workers who ultimately don’t get over among fans. That would be a shame, because these two can be great main-event heels if given the right push and if they are protected for at least a brief amount of time on the main WWE roster.
8 The New Day: Sick Of
The trio of Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and Big E deserve a ton of credit for taking what was originally a horrible idea and turning into one of the top acts in all of the WWE. Revisionist history has allowed some to forget just how awful New Day was during the early days of that group.
All good things must, however, eventually come to an end and that is the case with New Day as of the summer of 2016. We don’t mean to suggest that New Day has to break up for good or that we don’t want to see Big E, Kofi and Xavier do their own things outside of the group. The trio has merely done all that it can do as a unified faction. Let’s see what the New Day members can do away from their current gimmicks that involve over-the-top comedy segments and a feud with The Wyatt Family that is not doing any favors for anybody.
7 Samoa Joe: Want More Of
Yes, we realize that Samoa Joe should have been part of the main WWE roster sooner, probably even a decade ago if we are really being honest about the matter. What’s done is done, though, and Joe is currently signed to the WWE and serving as the champion of NXT.
Samoa Joe is far too good for NXT and for shows that are exclusive to the WWE Network. There is money to be made in Joe playing the role of one of the top heels in the WWE and the promotion needs to realize this and push Joe to one of its main shows as soon as possible. Every month that Joe remains in NXT is another lost opportunity for what could be a fun feud on either one of the WWE brands. We want to see more of Samoa Joe and we want to see him on WWE programming and WWE pay-per-view events.
6 Nix Jax: Unsure Of
The biggest concern with Nia Jax at this portion of her career is that she remains very green as an in-ring worker. Other than that, Jax has all of the tools to become one of the top stars of the women’s division of the WWE.
We remain unsure of what is to come for Nia Jax because of the perception that she was called up from NXT before she was ready for a role on the main roster. Jax could have used more than just a few months learning in NXT and working with polished stars. Even Jax’s work on the microphone could use improvement. WWE fans who post on social media websites and in forums who have bashed Jax should remember that she is but a toddler as a big-time pro wrestler. Jax can be something other than a forgotten member of the women’s roster with the right push.
5 The Miz: Sick Of
There was a time when it was fun to boo and jeer The Miz. Miz’s run as WWE Champion has become somewhat underrated in the eyes of some fans, as Miz was unquestionably better than some of the individuals who have been given runs with that title over the years.
The positive heat that Miz had during that portion of his career has been replaced by “go away” heat among some WWE fans and viewers, however, and the character has become bland and boring as somebody who holds one of the company’s midcard championships. The best thing for the Miz character as of August 2016 would be for Miz to take more than a few weeks away from the company so that fans don’t see him cut promos and work matches. A six-month vacation away from the WWE could do wonders for Miz, as it would allow us to forget the worst parts of his latest run in the promotion.
4 Shinsuke Nakamura: More Of
It is almost hard to believe that, as of the posting of this piece, Shinsuke Nakamura has been a member of the WWE only for several months. Nakamura was arguably the best worker in all of the WWE beginning with his first night in NXT earlier this year, and he is clearly ready to receive chances to work with those who are on the main WWE roster.
Before that day arrives, however, we will likely see more of Nakamura in NXT. That’s alright so long as it means that Nakamura is one of the top stars of that touring brand up through the end of summer and fall. All indications are that Nakamura will be the next NXT Champion unless plans change and he is called up to the main roster before that event occurs. We cannot wait to see Nakamura have matches with Samoa Joe, Kevin Owens, A.J. Styles and others.
3 Darren Young: Unsure Of
We have to be honest and say that we do not know what to think about the “Make Darren Young Great Again” storyline that is currently being portrayed on WWE television. What is the end result of all of this? Who came up with the idea of linking Bob Backlund with Darren Young all so that the WWE could go with a play on the slogan used by the campaign to elect Donald Trump?
Darren Young is a fine worker inside of the ring. Young can use a mouthpiece such as Backlund to get over among fans, but the payoff to this entire thing remains a mystery. We have no reason to believe Young is ever going to be a WWE Champion. Is Young going to be handed a chance to run as a holder of a midcard title? Will Young eventually turn heel on Backlund? We are unsure of what the WWE has in mind for Young’s future, but we’ll watch and see before we make a final judgment.
2 Brock Lesnar: Sick Of
We have yet to encounter a single WWE fan who was thinking to himself or herself “gee, Brock Lesnar could receive a big bump by feuding with Randy Orton leading up to a match at SummerSlam!” There are several things that make Lesnar a special and unique member of the WWE Universe. For starters, Lesnar is seen as a legitimate competitor because of his experience in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Lesnar’s matches occur at major shows such as SummerSlam and WrestleMania. Less is more in certain situations and that is the case with Lesnar.
While it is fun to see Lesnar suplex opposing wrestlers left and right, Lesnar going away for a significant amount of time and becoming forgotten would make his next match that much bigger. It would not be the worst thing for the WWE to keep Lesnar off of television past SummerSlam and all the way up through the conclusion of the Royal Rumble and the official start of what has become known as WrestleMania season.
1 Finn Balor: More Of
There is a lot of excitement among WWE fans regarding what the company is going to do with the Finn Balor character now that Balor has been called up to the main roster and will be part of the Raw brand. Will we finally see the formation of the “Balor Club” that has been teased on social media websites and in merchandise that is sold by the WWE? Will Balor work as a babyface or will he finally make the switch to heel?
Either way, Balor is going to have chances to take part in multiple entertaining matches at major WWE shows. We hope that those in charge of these types of decisions are already planning for Balor’s WrestleMania entrance that could be a show-stealer on its own. The WWE needs to be smart with Balor, as he can get over with fans of all ages if allowed to do so.
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