The current WWE roster features a plethora of stars with great variety. WWE has a roster of diversity like never before with talents from all over the world, both male and female divisions being of importance and various ages in play. There are talents of the past, present, and future all working for WWE today. One common complaint from fans, pundits, and wrestlers alike is that WWE relies way too much on the older stars of the past to continue bringing them success. Major cards like WrestleMania and other special events will feature Superstars from the 2000s and '90s coming back for major spots on the show.
Today’s younger stars trying to make their impact end up being undercut by the part-time Superstars coming back and stealing the spotlight. CM Punk cited that as one of the frustrations that culminated in him walking out of the company. The problem still exists today as WrestleMania, Super Show-down, Crown Jewel and other major shows this year have been focused on certain talents that don’t wrestle on a consistent basis. We will look at both the wrestlers coming back and taking up the top spots along with those that end up getting hurt because of this game plan. Find out the wrestlers that thrive and hurt with the current system in play. These are ten WWE Superstars that steal the spotlight along with ten that end up most effect by it.
20 Stealing the spotlight: Triple H
Triple H used to have a reputation for stealing the spotlight from younger wrestlers. The belief was that Triple H wanted to hold down the top spot and tried to sabotage others coming for it. This is not the same thought process these days as Triple H is now known for trying to help younger talent behind the scenes.
However, the part-time wrestling status of Triple H still holds a top spot in the company. Major shows like WrestleMania and the bigger international spectacles will see Triple H make his rare appearances. Triple H is instantly in a top spot whenever he becomes part of a feud. There are even rumors of him getting an attraction match against fellow semi-retired wrestler Batista at WrestleMania 35, though his recent injury might put that match in jeopardy.
19 Hurt by part-timers: Finn Balor
One wrestler that does not receive as many opportunities as his talent should get is Finn Balor. WWE has done nothing of note with Balor following his 2016 injury forced him to relinquish the Universal Championship. Balor often gets great reactions from the crowd, sells a lot of merchandise and has the demon in his back pocket for special events.
Unfortunately, we rarely get to see Balor do anything of importance on the big shows. The part-timers led to Finn having less noteworthy roles on WrestleMania and SummerSlam. Balor even struggled to make the cards of Crown Jewel and Super Showdown.
18 Stealing the spotlight: Randy Orton
Randy Orton’s schedule is not as bad as most of the other part-time wrestlers on the list, but he is getting closer to it. The Viper's WWE run has been going strong for fifteen years now since becoming a star as part of Evolution. Orton remains a top heel on the SmackDown brand.
Orton's lighter schedule allows him to skip out on most live events. Orton gets to pick and choose which tours he will appear on. We usually see him every week on the live SmackDown television episodes, but the same isn’t said for the house shows. Orton usually only appears on one live event tour, while remaining a top name on television.
17 Hurt by part-timers: Bray Wyatt
Most fans have already forgotten that Bray Wyatt was once considered one of the top names in WWE. Wyatt came right after Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins when looking at the younger rising stars WWE wanted to build the future of the company around.
Things have fallen off for Wyatt over the past year and a half. His WWE Championship reign ended within weeks at the hands of glorified part-timer Randy Orton. Wyatt also lost a lot of his mystique after getting destroyed by The Undertaker and Kane in the past. WWE had plans for him to face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 32, but Lesnar had zero interest. Wyatt has been hurt by the part-time culture in WWE multiple times.
16 Stealing the spotlight: Kane
Kane has been a fixture in WWE for over two decades now. The idea of an even scarier brother of The Undertaker led to fans finding interest right away. Kane was the wrestling version of Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, and all the other horror movies we saw in the movies back then.
It is impossible to argue against the success of Kane, but he clearly is hanging on too long. Kane looked embarrassingly lost in many of his recent matches. The recent win to become Mayor of Knox County made fans assume Kane was leaving wrestler forever. That was until Saudi Arabia offered huge money for the Brothers of Destruction vs DX. Kane will continue returning if the money is right.
15 Hurt by part-timers: Dean Ambrose
Dean Ambrose is starting to get a huge push as a major heel following turning on Seth Rollins. The potential of Ambrose as a heel may be greater than his face character, and he already proved he could thrive in that role.
One issue for Ambrose getting to the top of the mountain and staying there is the part-timers getting top spots over him on major shows. WrestleMania 32 featured Ambrose getting destroyed by Brock Lesnar due to Brock not wanting to give him offense. WrestleMania 33 may have been worse as Ambrose faced Baron Corbin on the pre-show months after losing the WWE Championship. Ambrose has yet to have a special WM moment due to the lack of opportunities.
14 Stealing the spotlight: Kurt Angle
Kurt Angle is getting his dream of ending his wrestling career in WWE. The bitter departure of Angle from WWE in 2006 led to him spending almost a decade in Impact Wrestling. Angle was vocal towards the end of his Impact run that he wanted to end his wrestling career back home in WWE.
WWE welcomed Angle back by inducting him into the Hall of Fame and giving him a role as Raw General Manager. WWE is trying to get more out of Angle in the ring with a few matches booked for him this year. Angle is expected to wrestle at Survivor Series for the Raw team, taking a spot away from many young wrestlers waiting for a chance.
13 Hurt by part-timers: Braun Strowman
Braun Strowman is the most beloved full-time wrestler of Vince McMahon right now. The booking of Strowman has seen him decimate the entire Raw roster with no one really posing a threat. That is, until the part-time wrestlers come back around.
Strowman would be Universal Champion by now if not for Brock Lesnar always entering the picture. Lesnar defeating Strowman at Crown Jewel proved Vince still values Brock more. The embarrassing loss in minutes may have buried Strowman. WWE risked a potential superstar losing his credibility all to sacrifice to another part-timer in the Universal title scene. Good luck to Strowman attempting to recover from this loss.
12 Stealing the spotlight: Big Show
Big Show is not as aggressively frustrating as the others when it comes to hogging the spotlight, but he still counts as one of the part-timers. WWE hired Big Show almost two decades ago to become their next big man superstar.
At 48-years-old, Big Show is among the older wrestlers on the roster. WWE recently brought him back to the SmackDown brand. Big Show is now in an unofficial faction with Sheamus and Cesaro feuding with The New Day. Many wrestlers struggling on SmackDown would have loved the opportunity to work with a credible tag team, but the part-time veteran gets it until he’s ready to leave again.
11 Hurt by part-timers: Rusev
Rusev has found popularity in 2018, thanks to the success of his Rusev Day catchphrase. WWE has spotlighted him a little more than usual with a WWE Championship title shot against AJ Styles and a storyline spotlighting his split with Aiden English.
Sadly, fans of Rusev may never get to see him move any further up the card than he is right now. The WrestleMania spots will get filled up by both the full-time wrestlers above him in the pecking order and the part-timers getting priority booking over him. Rusev Day will never take place on WrestleMania or any other major annual WWE event.
10 Stealing the spotlight: John Cena
John Cena has become the person he used to insult in his promos. The memorable feud between Cena and The Rock mostly featured Cena ripping apart Rock for his part-time status in the company. Cena believed Rock should not return to WWE in a main event role if it meant only showing up occasionally.
Cena's acting career has taken off and he finds his way into the same situation as The Rock. Cena only shows up to WWE for major shows like WrestleMania, Royal Rumble, and Super Show-down. The part-time schedule of Cena gives WWE their most recent mega-star, but it exposes the rest of the roster in a way that hurts them. Cena easily destroying Elias and Kevin Owens at Super Show-down shows why.
9 Hurt by part-timers: Samoa Joe
The world title pictures in WWE have become trickier this past year. Brock Lesnar spent most of the past year and a half as the Universal Champion for Raw. AJ Styles is a full-time workhorse for SmackDown as the WWE Champion, but the plans for his lengthy reign have prevented others from getting runs with the belt.
Samoa Joe is one man that would have likely won a world title if not for the part-timers. 2017 featured Joe becoming red hot, but WWE had him lose to Lesnar given the plans for that belt. Joe moved to SmackDown and has lost to Styles to build his reign up. Another negative is that Joe will likely fall out of relevance come WrestleMania season once the big names are back to appeal to the casual/lapsed crowd.
8 Stealing the spotlight: Brock Lesnar
No part-time wrestler frustrates the WWE fan base and wrestlers as much as Brock Lesnar. Vince McMahon has gone out of his way to book Lesnar as being significantly above everyone else on the roster. Major names like Braun Strowman, Samoa Joe, and AJ Styles have been decimated by Lesnar.
The Universal Championship reigns of Lesnar has made him the most important man in the company, especially with Roman Reigns now sidelined and battling leukemia. WWE’s roster is reportedly unhappy with how much Brock dominates the Raw brand. The fact that he makes the most money while working the least amount of dates is understandably difficult for the talent to accept.
7 Hurt by part-timers: The Miz
The older process of WWE’s hierarchy would see a credible superstar with strong momentum get a chance at a world title reign. One wrestler that clearly deserves either a WWE Championship or Universal Championship run is The Miz, due to his superb heel work in recent years.
Miz spent a full year outside of the Universal title picture on Raw due to Brock Lesnar holding it that entire time and not defending it consistently. AJ Styles’ long WWE Championship reign has seen Miz yet to win that title either. Miz will likely get a chance to move up, but it’s hard to envision during WrestleMania season when the old guys are back.
6 Stealing the spotlight: Shane McMahon
Shane McMahon returning to WWE early in 2016 created huge interest. Fans were genuinely surprised and loved seeing Shane back in the company. However, he has started to wear out his welcome over the nearly past three years.
McMahon is currently the General Manager of the SmackDown brand. The opinion on Shane started to trend downhill recently following the win at Crown Jewel. McMahon jumping into the tournament at the end to win the WWE World Cup as “best in the world” made the WWE Universe start to sour on him. Shane is now rumored to turn heel with the potential of another big match at WrestleMania 35.
5 Hurt by part-timers: Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens has accomplished almost everything realistic within a few years since joining WWE. The biggest accomplishment of Owens’ career was winning the Universal Championship. Owens is the only full-time wrestler to have a legitimate run with the title that didn’t end due to unforeseen circumstances.
However, the loss that ended Owens’ title reign hurt his standing in WWE. Part-time wrestler Goldberg defeated Owens within seconds to become the Universal Champion. Owens would fall lower down the card and never receive a rematch. Shane McMahon is another part-timer that hurt KO's momentum. The injury layoff can be a blessing in disguise, though, as Owens should have a better chance when he returns in early 2019.
4 Stealing the spotlight: Nikki Bella
One of the rare part-time performers in the women’s division is Nikki Bella. Both Nikki and Brie returned to WWE during SummerSlam weekend with a plan in place for a little over two months. The end game was to have Nikki face off with Ronda Rousey in the historic main event of Evolution.
Nikki and Rousey ended up having a good match, but someone else could have benefited more from the spot. The fact that Nikki did nothing before the Rousey feud and is already leaving proved that the part-time status is leading to her taking opportunities from the full-time stars. Nikki is expected back for another short run come WrestleMania season.
3 Hurt by part-timers: Sasha Banks
Sasha Banks is arguably the most talented woman on the WWE roster. A look back at her NXT matches will have fans wondering why she isn’t being used better on Raw these days. Banks has been out of the Raw Women’s Championship picture for about a year now.
The Evolution match for Banks was one of the least significant ones as she teamed with Bayley and Natalya to defeat the Riott Squad in a match that's been seen countless times in different variations. Part-timers like Nikki Bella, Trish Stratus, and Lita having huge spots prevented Sasha from getting a really important match. The part-time names sticking around for WrestleMania season could make it a tough time for Banks to find relevance again.
2 Stealing the spotlight: The Undertaker
Past interviews from the prime of his career would see The Undertaker make claims that he would never wrestle once his time in the spotlight was over. The past few years have seen him become a huge hypocrite. Undertaker returns for WrestleMania and any other major show that leads to a massive payday.
Performances against Triple H, Roman Reigns and a few others have resulted in humiliating efforts by the legend. Fans still love The Undertaker for the past work, but he currently has no business in the ring these days. All Taker is doing is stealing the spotlight from the full-time wrestlers, and negatively harming his legacy.
1 Hurt by part-time wrestlers: Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins has a valid argument for being the best wrestler in the world today when it comes to his in-ring performances. He is also doing very well for himself as Intercontinental Champion. However, it’s hard to see him as someone living up to his potential, given how far away he is from the Universal Championship picture. Rollins has raised his star power to another level and is firing on all cylinders this year.
The problem is Brock Lesnar dominating the Universal Championship in part-time fashion means Rollins has no chance of having such a reign. WrestleMania 34 featured Rollins working the opening match and stealing the show. Sadly, he did not get the spotlight he deserved due to the part-timers receiving bigger matches than him on the biggest stage.