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10 Wrestlers WWE Should've Pushed And 10 Unpopular Wrestlers They Shoved Down Fans' Throats

World Wrestling Entertainment pushes people based off a multitude of factors: looks, marketability, popularity, talent, health, age and ethnicity. While most of these factors remain a constant, popularity rises and falls every now and again.

A wrestler’s popularity rises when WWE chooses to push him or he wins over the WWE Universe somehow. Roman Reigns has become a global superstar thanks to WWE’s heavily investing in him, whereas AJ Styles did that by gaining the admiration of the fans first. WWE duly made AJ Styles a key part of their programming; AJ Styles makes seven figures now, while making the company millions.

WWE doesn’t always cash in on the popularity of wrestlers who manage to impress the fans without much backing from the writers and producers, however. Sometimes, they fail to act quickly or don’t acknowledge their popularity at all. A good example of their failing to capitalize on a wrestlers’ popularity is Zack Ryder. He managed to gain a decent following using YouTube as a tool, but WWE only made him job to John Cena, essentially killing all the momentum he’d built. We’ll be looking at 10 such instances on the current roster.

WWE sometimes shoves unpopular wrestlers down fans’ throats, putting titles on them and making them main-event PPVs, for commercial and economic reasons. Key historic evidences are Psycho Sid, Lex Luger and Tom Magee. We’ll also be looking at 10 wrestlers they’ve recently shoved down our throats.

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Should've Pushed: The Fashion Police

WWE did see great potential in Fandango and Tyler Breeze during their rookie years, as they gave them both decent push in the developmental. In the main roster, however, they did nothing with them until the formation of Breezango. The Fashion Police, shortly after the brand split, created numerous fun sketches on SmackDown, winning over the more hardcore fan base. They also had the casual audience rooting for them at one point. Vince McMahon, though, didn’t find enough reason to push them or give them enough screen time to change his opinion. An injury to Fandango and a move to Raw later, and they’ve become irrelevant.

Shoved: Jinder Mahal

Jinder Mahal’s return to WWE got those who loved 3MB excited, but WWE chose to do nothing with him until they decided to make him the WWE Champion out of nowhere. With WWE’s growing popularity in India, Vince McMahon and co. wanted to capitalize on the Indian market by making one of their own the WWE Champion. The Modern Day Maharaja ended up collecting wins against fan favourites Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles and Randy Orton just months after jobbing to mid-carders, much to the disdain of the hardcore fans. WWE didn’t end up benefitting from the push as well, as pro-kayfabe Indians shot him down for using illegal tactics during the match.

Should've Pushed: Cesaro

Cesaro has now become a crucial member of the WWE’s tag-team division, with The Bar winning Tag Team Championship in either brand. Only the hardcore fans of Cesaro must know he could now be so much more. During his The Real American run, he earned a solid following, with many fans deeming him main-event material because of his strength, agility, looks, talent and experience. At one point, he even had a good number of fans holding Cesaro Section signs to showcase their backing. His glorious return from injury in 2016 was seen as his last chance at gaining superstardom, but WWE chose not to capitalize on the support he was then receiving.

Shoved: Alexa Bliss

When a wrestler doesn’t earn the fans’ love during their NXT run, it’s unlikely they’ll impress them on the main roster. Their failing to get over with the NXT crowd, however, never stops WWE from handing them main-roster push. Alexa Bliss is an excellent case in point. She made few fans on NXT, and her winning the SmackDown Women’s Championship was considered a one-off, but she has since won Raw Women’s Championship numerous times, with wins over Sasha Banks, Mickie James and Bayley. Despite Ember Moon and Ruby Riott all proving more talented in the ring than her, WWE has made her The Goddess.

Should've Pushed: Bayley

Bayley was the single most over woman wrestler in the history of NXT. Many fans even hypothesized she could become the next John Cena thanks to her being over with the crowd. While her segments with Finn Balor proved fun-filled, her matches against Asuka, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair all showcased her talent. The fans saw her as one of their own, after becoming familiar with her childhood as a huge wrestling fan. Her move to the main roster, however, halted all the momentum she’d built, as WWE chose to use her to put over Alexa Bliss. Recovering from the rut she finds herself is now an impossible task.

Shoved: Carmella

Carmella, after becoming R-Truth’s partner in Mixed Match Challenge, has managed to win over fans with their dance-break gimmick. Her promos and segments with the former United States Champion gets both casual and hardcore fans cheering for them. However, it wasn’t the case during her SmackDown Women’s Championship reign. She did receive a plethora of heel heat, especially when she was working with James Ellsworth, but fans thought WWE was doing Asuka wrong by making The Empress of Tomorrow lose to her. The fact that fan favorites Becky Lynch and Naomi were then overlooked to put her over didn’t help things either.

Should've Pushed: Rusev Day

Wrestlers who master social media are bound to gain a decent following; one needs to look no further than Rusev for proof. The Bulgarian Brute, who excels at social-media banter, has always been a fan favourite, and his teaming up with Aiden English only helped him boost his brand. Rusev Day chants were echoing in every arena WWE performed in, no matter the brand for a while, and Rusev Day’s winning numerous titles looked inevitable. WWE, however, chose to involve Lana yet again, eventually breaking the team up. The break-up helped neither wrestler, and we'll see if Rusev's recent U.S. title win leads to anything.

Shoved: Baron Corbin

How Baron Corbin has found himself earning the opportunities he’s been receiving is unfathomable. The former Money in the Bank winner definitely has the size, but it’s the only thing going for him, perhaps except for his diverse moveset. He can’t cut a believable promo, and hasn’t proved a solid presence in the ring or outside it. It seemed WWE had finally realized he’s not worth investing in when they made him unsuccessfully cash in his Money in the Bank contract, but his move to Raw has boosted his stocks, with Vince McMahon and co. making him Constable and Acting General Manager of Raw.

Should've Pushed: Finn Balor

WWE did see a star in Finn Balor, as they rewarded him for his NXT laurels by making him the inaugural Universal Champion. However, an untimely injury has now made him an afterthought in the Raw main-event scene. With Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, Goldberg and Kevin Owens all dominating the main-event scene at various points, he’s had little to do, save for being a peripheral figure in multi-man matches on Raw. His Bullet Club and NXT history must have made him as big a star as AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan but, unfortunately, he finds even an Intercontinental Championship reign a distant dream at this point.

Shoved: Sheamus

Sheamus has slowly become a crowd favorite, especially after his forming The Bar with indie darling Cesaro. However, it wasn’t always the case, as fans resented seeing him main-event PPVs ahead of their favorites at one point. Sheamus held the WWE Championship, with WWE looking at John Cena replacements in the early ‘10s; fans, however, quickly rejected him, as he fell down the pecking order before seeing his career receive a boost after the formation of League of Nations. He’s now treated as a WWE veteran, and finds himself in a fantastic spot, which won’t just gain him more screen time but also prolong his in-ring career.

Should've Pushed: Shelton Benjamin

Shelton Benjamin, during his prolonged WWE hiatus, gained quite a following, with his matches often shared by fans on big forums. His return to the company was supposed to be huge although he wasn’t really a global star during his first run. An untimely injury curtailed any momentum he’d built, and it seemed WWE didn’t want to invest heavily in him anymore. He has since worked with Chad Gable as a Jason Jordan replacement of sorts and a lower mid-card heel. He could have been a solid United States Champion material, but his injury and WWE’s losing interest in him has reduced him to where he’s now.

Shoved: Kalisto

WWE went to extreme lengths to find a Rey Mysterio replacement. They even put up with the Sin Cara nonsense to find a masked underdog luchador fans adored. With Sin Cara proving a lost cause, they turned to Kalisto. Kalisto is definitely a great wrestler, but he didn’t have the connection the former WWE Heavyweight Champion did and still does with the WWE Universe. However, that didn’t stop WWE from shoving him down the fans’ throats. His United States Championship was largely lacklustre, and his Cruiserweight Championship reign didn’t have the pulling power of that of Enzo Amore or Neville. With Rey Mysterio himself returning, he’s been given an apt role: an undercard tag-team act.

Should've Pushed: Bobby Roode

Bobby Roode was the real deal in the post-Finn Balor NXT. His presence, entrance, gimmick and matches all highlighted why Impact Wrestling valued him so highly. He could have been a solid main-event heel, much like fellow NXT alum Samoa Joe, but Vince McMahon and co. instead chose to take away everything that made him, dare I say, glorious. While it looked he could still regain his lost status during his SmackDown days, his move to Raw has reduced him to a tag-team act. With recent reports stating Chad Gable is set to come out of a potential feud between them on top, it’s safe to assume Bobby Roode will wind up being a wasted opportunity.

Shoved: Nia Jax

Fans have been constantly stating WWE gives preferential treatment to The Rock’s relatives. The Usos have disproved the theory by being one of the best tag teams not just in WWE but in the business in general. Nia Jax, however, only adds weight to the theory. She’s been bang-on average, and has been an unsafe wrestler to boot. That hasn’t stopped WWE from handing her a Raw Women’s Championship reign and a high profile feud with Ronda Rousey, the company’s cash cow. What’s baffling is WWE isn't even using her as a face to promote body positivity, which is probably the only good way to use her.

Should've Pushed: Mickie James

Mickie James made her WWE return to a monstrous pop. The NXT audience lost their minds when she appeared on the titantron to challenge then-undefeated Asuka to a title match. She, unlike most other returning stars, did have an excellent match. However, WWE chose to do nothing with the momentum she’d built. They made her Alexa Bliss’ lackey, made her feud with her and then made her her lackey again. However, she’s been super reliable, showing up every time the company needs her. Perhaps, this is what they should do with a 39-year-old future Hall of Famer, but they could have made beating her a huge deal by capitalizing on the initial buzz.

Shoved: The McMahons

The McMahons own the company, and they have every right to be on the screen for as long as they want. The fans, however, have grown tired of seeing Stephanie McMahon and Shane McMahon outshining the wrestling talents often. The former constantly cuts long promos, talking down superstars; while that generates a great deal of heel heat, her putting down big names essentially devalues the product. Shane O’Mac, meanwhile, has been so overexposed in recent times that fans no longer want him wrestling in the big PPVs. Perhaps, it’s about time they took a hiatus to return as a face faction a couple years later.

Should've Pushed: Broken Matt Hardy

Broken Matt Hardy was the best thing in wrestling during his final Impact Wrestling days. In fact, he was the single reason why the company became relevant again. His move to WWE was supposed to make him and WWE millions, but a lawsuit and WWE’s delaying the debut of the character made him a comedy act of sorts. Additionally, WWE didn’t really seem to let him have a free run, as his character looked much more diluted than its original iteration. Right when the character was picking up steam again, The Woken One sustained an injury, making his WWE run less successful than it must have been.

Shoved: Brock Lesnar

There’s a reason why WWE shells out as much money as they do to keep Brock Lesnar. He’s their biggest attraction today, and he brings a level of legitimacy that no other wrestler, except perhaps Ronda Rousey, does. However, how WWE has been treating him hasn’t really bode well with the regulars. Unfortunately, WWE’s attempts at making a legitimate Universal Champion hasn’t worked well as well, with Finn Balor and Roman Reigns forced to surrender the title just days after winning it. Perhaps, it’s about time they let Seth Rollins or Braun Strowman have it, as the fans seem no longer interested in The Beast Incarnate carrying the red title.

Should've Pushed: Braun Strowman

Braun Strowman, during his feud with Roman Reigns, received the loudest pops of any wrestler, WWE or indie. It looked as though WWE had created a babyface wrestler the company, casuals and regulars can all get behind and actively cheer. However, WWE chose not to capitalize on his popularity, as they made him lose when it mattered the most to Brock Lesnar and The Big Dog, making him look a joker. His current feud with Baron Corbin has been dreary, and he now needs a miracle to be as popular as he could have been had WWE pulled the trigger at the right time.

Shoved: Roman Reigns

We wish Joe Anoa’i a speedy recovery, but we also need to admit WWE poorly handled Roman Reigns the character. The Big Dog received huge pops during his The Shield days, and the fans did buy into his character. He should have received a mini repackaging, like Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins did after the split. Accolades-wise, however, he collected every title there is to do, making him one of the most decorated WWE superstars of all time. The WWE Universe, however, rejected him, as they even cheered even Jinder Mahal, a wrestler they never cared about, during their rivalry.

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20 Should've Pushed: The Fashion Police

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WWE did see great potential in Fandango and Tyler Breeze during their rookie years, as they gave them both decent push in the developmental. In the main roster, however, they did nothing with them until the formation of Breezango. The Fashion Police, shortly after the brand split, created numerous fun sketches on SmackDown, winning over the more hardcore fan base. They also had the casual audience rooting for them at one point. Vince McMahon, though, didn’t find enough reason to push them or give them enough screen time to change his opinion. An injury to Fandango and a move to Raw later, and they’ve become irrelevant.

19 Shoved: Jinder Mahal

via wwe.com

Jinder Mahal’s return to WWE got those who loved 3MB excited, but WWE chose to do nothing with him until they decided to make him the WWE Champion out of nowhere. With WWE’s growing popularity in India, Vince McMahon and co. wanted to capitalize on the Indian market by making one of their own the WWE Champion. The Modern Day Maharaja ended up collecting wins against fan favourites Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles and Randy Orton just months after jobbing to mid-carders, much to the disdain of the hardcore fans. WWE didn’t end up benefitting from the push as well, as pro-kayfabe Indians shot him down for using illegal tactics during the match.

18 Should've Pushed: Cesaro

via wwe.com

Cesaro has now become a crucial member of the WWE’s tag-team division, with The Bar winning Tag Team Championship in either brand. Only the hardcore fans of Cesaro must know he could now be so much more. During his The Real American run, he earned a solid following, with many fans deeming him main-event material because of his strength, agility, looks, talent and experience. At one point, he even had a good number of fans holding Cesaro Section signs to showcase their backing. His glorious return from injury in 2016 was seen as his last chance at gaining superstardom, but WWE chose not to capitalize on the support he was then receiving.

17 Shoved: Alexa Bliss

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When a wrestler doesn’t earn the fans’ love during their NXT run, it’s unlikely they’ll impress them on the main roster. Their failing to get over with the NXT crowd, however, never stops WWE from handing them main-roster push. Alexa Bliss is an excellent case in point. She made few fans on NXT, and her winning the SmackDown Women’s Championship was considered a one-off, but she has since won Raw Women’s Championship numerous times, with wins over Sasha Banks, Mickie James and Bayley. Despite Ember Moon and Ruby Riott all proving more talented in the ring than her, WWE has made her The Goddess.

16 Should've Pushed: Bayley

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Bayley was the single most over woman wrestler in the history of NXT. Many fans even hypothesized she could become the next John Cena thanks to her being over with the crowd. While her segments with Finn Balor proved fun-filled, her matches against Asuka, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair all showcased her talent. The fans saw her as one of their own, after becoming familiar with her childhood as a huge wrestling fan. Her move to the main roster, however, halted all the momentum she’d built, as WWE chose to use her to put over Alexa Bliss. Recovering from the rut she finds herself is now an impossible task.

15 Shoved: Carmella

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Carmella, after becoming R-Truth’s partner in Mixed Match Challenge, has managed to win over fans with their dance-break gimmick. Her promos and segments with the former United States Champion gets both casual and hardcore fans cheering for them. However, it wasn’t the case during her SmackDown Women’s Championship reign. She did receive a plethora of heel heat, especially when she was working with James Ellsworth, but fans thought WWE was doing Asuka wrong by making The Empress of Tomorrow lose to her. The fact that fan favorites Becky Lynch and Naomi were then overlooked to put her over didn’t help things either.

14 Should've Pushed: Rusev Day

via wwe.com

Wrestlers who master social media are bound to gain a decent following; one needs to look no further than Rusev for proof. The Bulgarian Brute, who excels at social-media banter, has always been a fan favourite, and his teaming up with Aiden English only helped him boost his brand. Rusev Day chants were echoing in every arena WWE performed in, no matter the brand for a while, and Rusev Day’s winning numerous titles looked inevitable. WWE, however, chose to involve Lana yet again, eventually breaking the team up. The break-up helped neither wrestler, and we'll see if Rusev's recent U.S. title win leads to anything.

13 Shoved: Baron Corbin

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How Baron Corbin has found himself earning the opportunities he’s been receiving is unfathomable. The former Money in the Bank winner definitely has the size, but it’s the only thing going for him, perhaps except for his diverse moveset. He can’t cut a believable promo, and hasn’t proved a solid presence in the ring or outside it. It seemed WWE had finally realized he’s not worth investing in when they made him unsuccessfully cash in his Money in the Bank contract, but his move to Raw has boosted his stocks, with Vince McMahon and co. making him Constable and Acting General Manager of Raw.

12 Should've Pushed: Finn Balor

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WWE did see a star in Finn Balor, as they rewarded him for his NXT laurels by making him the inaugural Universal Champion. However, an untimely injury has now made him an afterthought in the Raw main-event scene. With Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, Goldberg and Kevin Owens all dominating the main-event scene at various points, he’s had little to do, save for being a peripheral figure in multi-man matches on Raw. His Bullet Club and NXT history must have made him as big a star as AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan but, unfortunately, he finds even an Intercontinental Championship reign a distant dream at this point.

11 Shoved: Sheamus

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Sheamus has slowly become a crowd favorite, especially after his forming The Bar with indie darling Cesaro. However, it wasn’t always the case, as fans resented seeing him main-event PPVs ahead of their favorites at one point. Sheamus held the WWE Championship, with WWE looking at John Cena replacements in the early ‘10s; fans, however, quickly rejected him, as he fell down the pecking order before seeing his career receive a boost after the formation of League of Nations. He’s now treated as a WWE veteran, and finds himself in a fantastic spot, which won’t just gain him more screen time but also prolong his in-ring career.

10 Should've Pushed: Shelton Benjamin

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Shelton Benjamin, during his prolonged WWE hiatus, gained quite a following, with his matches often shared by fans on big forums. His return to the company was supposed to be huge although he wasn’t really a global star during his first run. An untimely injury curtailed any momentum he’d built, and it seemed WWE didn’t want to invest heavily in him anymore. He has since worked with Chad Gable as a Jason Jordan replacement of sorts and a lower mid-card heel. He could have been a solid United States Champion material, but his injury and WWE’s losing interest in him has reduced him to where he’s now.

9 Shoved: Kalisto

via wwe.com

WWE went to extreme lengths to find a Rey Mysterio replacement. They even put up with the Sin Cara nonsense to find a masked underdog luchador fans adored. With Sin Cara proving a lost cause, they turned to Kalisto. Kalisto is definitely a great wrestler, but he didn’t have the connection the former WWE Heavyweight Champion did and still does with the WWE Universe. However, that didn’t stop WWE from shoving him down the fans’ throats. His United States Championship was largely lacklustre, and his Cruiserweight Championship reign didn’t have the pulling power of that of Enzo Amore or Neville. With Rey Mysterio himself returning, he’s been given an apt role: an undercard tag-team act.

8 Should've Pushed: Bobby Roode

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Bobby Roode was the real deal in the post-Finn Balor NXT. His presence, entrance, gimmick and matches all highlighted why Impact Wrestling valued him so highly. He could have been a solid main-event heel, much like fellow NXT alum Samoa Joe, but Vince McMahon and co. instead chose to take away everything that made him, dare I say, glorious. While it looked he could still regain his lost status during his SmackDown days, his move to Raw has reduced him to a tag-team act. With recent reports stating Chad Gable is set to come out of a potential feud between them on top, it’s safe to assume Bobby Roode will wind up being a wasted opportunity.

7 Shoved: Nia Jax

via wwe.com

Fans have been constantly stating WWE gives preferential treatment to The Rock’s relatives. The Usos have disproved the theory by being one of the best tag teams not just in WWE but in the business in general. Nia Jax, however, only adds weight to the theory. She’s been bang-on average, and has been an unsafe wrestler to boot. That hasn’t stopped WWE from handing her a Raw Women’s Championship reign and a high profile feud with Ronda Rousey, the company’s cash cow. What’s baffling is WWE isn't even using her as a face to promote body positivity, which is probably the only good way to use her.

6 Should've Pushed: Mickie James

via wwe.com

Mickie James made her WWE return to a monstrous pop. The NXT audience lost their minds when she appeared on the titantron to challenge then-undefeated Asuka to a title match. She, unlike most other returning stars, did have an excellent match. However, WWE chose to do nothing with the momentum she’d built. They made her Alexa Bliss’ lackey, made her feud with her and then made her her lackey again. However, she’s been super reliable, showing up every time the company needs her. Perhaps, this is what they should do with a 39-year-old future Hall of Famer, but they could have made beating her a huge deal by capitalizing on the initial buzz.

5 Shoved: The McMahons

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The McMahons own the company, and they have every right to be on the screen for as long as they want. The fans, however, have grown tired of seeing Stephanie McMahon and Shane McMahon outshining the wrestling talents often. The former constantly cuts long promos, talking down superstars; while that generates a great deal of heel heat, her putting down big names essentially devalues the product. Shane O’Mac, meanwhile, has been so overexposed in recent times that fans no longer want him wrestling in the big PPVs. Perhaps, it’s about time they took a hiatus to return as a face faction a couple years later.

4 Should've Pushed: Broken Matt Hardy

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Broken Matt Hardy was the best thing in wrestling during his final Impact Wrestling days. In fact, he was the single reason why the company became relevant again. His move to WWE was supposed to make him and WWE millions, but a lawsuit and WWE’s delaying the debut of the character made him a comedy act of sorts. Additionally, WWE didn’t really seem to let him have a free run, as his character looked much more diluted than its original iteration. Right when the character was picking up steam again, The Woken One sustained an injury, making his WWE run less successful than it must have been.

3 Shoved: Brock Lesnar

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There’s a reason why WWE shells out as much money as they do to keep Brock Lesnar. He’s their biggest attraction today, and he brings a level of legitimacy that no other wrestler, except perhaps Ronda Rousey, does. However, how WWE has been treating him hasn’t really bode well with the regulars. Unfortunately, WWE’s attempts at making a legitimate Universal Champion hasn’t worked well as well, with Finn Balor and Roman Reigns forced to surrender the title just days after winning it. Perhaps, it’s about time they let Seth Rollins or Braun Strowman have it, as the fans seem no longer interested in The Beast Incarnate carrying the red title.

2 Should've Pushed: Braun Strowman

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Braun Strowman, during his feud with Roman Reigns, received the loudest pops of any wrestler, WWE or indie. It looked as though WWE had created a babyface wrestler the company, casuals and regulars can all get behind and actively cheer. However, WWE chose not to capitalize on his popularity, as they made him lose when it mattered the most to Brock Lesnar and The Big Dog, making him look a joker. His current feud with Baron Corbin has been dreary, and he now needs a miracle to be as popular as he could have been had WWE pulled the trigger at the right time.

1 Shoved: Roman Reigns

via wwe.com

We wish Joe Anoa’i a speedy recovery, but we also need to admit WWE poorly handled Roman Reigns the character. The Big Dog received huge pops during his The Shield days, and the fans did buy into his character, a silent badass. He should have received a mini repackaging, like Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins did after the split. Accolades-wise, however, he collected every title there is to do, making him one of the most decorated WWE superstars of all time. The WWE Universe, however, rejected him, as they even cheered even Jinder Mahal, a wrestler they never cared about, during their rivalry.

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