They say anything can happen in the WWE, and that was proven true when Kofi Kingston beat Daniel Brian for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania (that’s still an amazingly weird sentence to write). Yet, while we celebrate Kingston's triumph after more than a decade in the wrestling business, we can’t help but think of all the other stars in the company who have yet to receive a run with WWE’s top strap. So with that in mind, we’re going to take a look at 10 WWE Superstars who still need to win the World Heavyweight Championship.
10 Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn had all the momentum in the world when he wrestled his first televised main roster match against John Cena. Unfortunately for him, however, he injured himself before he could even start the match. Still, he put on one heck of a performance and made a name for himself against the biggest star the WWE had to offer. Still, when he came back, he was placed in a solid high-profile feud with Kevin Owens where the two put on some of the best matches that year. Once that wrapped up, though, Zayn’s direction went one way while Owens’ stature in the company went up.
A heel turn helped change his direction slightly, but it seems like the company has cold feet to go all the way with this star. Perhaps it is his injury history, or maybe his relative lack of size, but whatever it is, WWE is missing out on a top-tier performer who could have a run with the World Championship if booked correctly.
9 Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe is one of the biggest gets the WWE ever signed. His body of work from his time in Ring of Honor and Total Nonstop Action could speak for itself, but the superstar still had something to prove in WWE. Judging by his run in NXT, one would think Samoa Joe had a bright road ahead of him in Vince McMahon’s promotion, yet, once he hit the main roster, it took him years to capture a singles championship. Sure, he was placed in some big-time feuds with titleholders like AJ Styles and Brock Lesnar, but he always failed to win the big one.
8 Braun Strowman
WWE could be actively hurting Braun Strowman by not giving him a run with the World Heavyweight Championship. Don’t get us wrong, we love the Monster Among Men, but he’s had a few shots at the big one and failed to win it.
It might have been better to keep him away from the title scene until WWE is ready to give him a run, but we’d love to see it anyway. Even if it is a year too late.
7 Shane McMahon
Is an absolute legend in WWE, but his last name may be what prevents him from ever winning the World Heavyweight Championship. Still, it would be difficult to argue he doesn’t deserve it.
Sure, he doesn’t wrestle consistently anymore, but when he does, he puts his body on the line. Whether it’s an elbow drop from the top of a cell, or falling from a camera platform at WrestleMania, Shane McMahon leaves the fans entertained. For that, he deserves a run with the belt.
6 Zack Ryder
Zack Ryder is the poster child of what could have been. There was a point in time, at the beginning of this decade, when Ryder was one of the most popular WWE Superstars on the roster. He was given a run with the United States Championship, and it seemed like momentum was on his side. Yet, for some unknown reason, WWE absolutely destroyed his character by placing him in a feud with Kane where he never got one over on the monster, and capped it off with his onscreen girlfriend leaving him for John Cena. After that, it was hard to really rehab his character, and many fans would be lucky to see him on TV at all outside of the odd Main Event (the show) appearance. Then he won the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania in a fantastic ladder match, leaving many to believe WWE was going to give the Ryder experiment another shot, but that didn’t happen.
Now, he and Curt Hawkins are the Raw Tag-Team Champions, and momentum is on Long Island Iced Z’s side and at 33 years old, he can be rebuilt into the main eventer fans wanted to see years ago.
5 Bobby Lashley
When you look at Bobby Lashley, it’s hard to figure out why WWE hasn’t given him a run with the World Heavyweight Championship. He’s a massive man who takes his appearance seriously, has a military background, and is a legitimate MMA fighter. One would think he checks off everything Vince McMahon would want in a champion but he hasn’t reached the heights WWE hoped.
During his first stint in the company, it seemed more likely that we’d see Lashley win the big one, but every year he gets older, and while he may look great now, it’s hard to invest in a champion well into his 40s.
Cesaro is one of the most talented wrestlers the WWE has ever employed, and we think he’d make a terrific World Champion. He was given what appeared to be a monstrous push when he aligned himself with Paul Heyman, but that didn’t end up going anywhere.
Unfortunately, Vince McMahon himself has said Cesaro is missing something, which is not a good sign for his future as a singles star, but that hasn’t stopped fans from supporting the Swiss Cyborg. Hopefully, that can mean a bright future for Cesaro — one where he finally wins the big one.
3 Matt Hardy
At the time of this writing, Matt Hardy is one-half of the SmackDown Live tag team champions with his brother Jeff, yet every time they’re together we can only think about how different their careers have been.
Jeff has been to the top of the mountain, winning multiple WWE Championships and taking part in some high-profile feuds along the way. Matt, on the other hand, hasn’t gotten as much. Still, fans love to support him, and his ability to constantly evolve his character is something we can all appreciate. So, a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship would be a great way for the Woken One to cap off an incredible career.
The Bulgarian Brute has constantly been the best part of some truly awful storylines dating back to before the brand split. Whether it was his awful feud with Dolph Ziggler, or the lackluster implosion of Rusev Day, he’s been consistently one of the most entertaining WWE Superstars on the main roster.
It seems like every time he manages to garner some support, he’s shot down the card, but eventually, WWE will have to give him his due and let him hold the World Heavyweight Championship.
1 Shinsuke Nakamura
Coming over from New Japan Pro Wrestling, the Japanese star was immediately placed in a main-event position in NXT. As a performer in the developmental brand, WWE hid his weaknesses (mostly his ability to speak English) and highlighted his strength — his wrestling ability. Yet, once he was called up to the main roster, he was expected to cut promos, and his in-ring time was shortened significantly.
Hopefully, WWE can try to repair him, but he could have benefitted a lot by defeating AJ Styles in one of their title matches.