In WWE it is expected that some wrestlers will gain pushes, while others are demoted, it is a constant circle that keeps the company going and running smoothly, after all, not everyone can get a major push at the same time, otherwise they would have nobody to beat and no one would truly be a top star. It can be a very fickle place and the way management picks who is set for a push is often something that goes against what the fans want, with WWE picking whoever is shifting the most merchandise, or who fits the profile of what the company wants at the time.
The can be incredibly frustrating, but sometimes WWE does listen to its audience and understands who the fans wants and does not want to see. When the machine gets behind a talent, it does it with all its might. This often means that the wrestlers WWE want to push get fully shoved down fans throats, appearing in multiple segments per show, working on PPV's, Network shows, and doing all the press interviews in between, ensuring their faces pop up everywhere.
On the opposite side of things, WWE is very careful with how it demotes wrestlers too, especially ones that the company knows has potential to be used in a better capacity again one day, often bringing a talent down a notch without them knowing, or at least attempting that. Whether that's by slowly pulling them away from the main event scene, or giving them a short title run before ripping it away, the company is very clever with how it approaches this.
Throughout this list we will look at 10 wrestlers who are currently unknowingly being demoted and pulled down the pecking order, while picking eight wrestlers who are about to be shoved down our throats with a major push.
18 Unknowingly Being Demoted: New Day
They might have broken the record for being the longest reigning Tag Team Champions in WWE history, but its fair to say that the fanfare behind The New Day has cooled down to the temperature of a New Day ice pop. The trio have managed to get everything over from cereal to pancakes to booty, they just make things work and the amount of merchandise they have sold is incredible, hence why WWE has treated them so well, but that is all coming to a halt and it is clear to see. The New Day might have been in the title picture over the past few months, but even during their feud with The Usos, they never really looked like they were picking up the gold, because WWE is using their star power and popularity to help establish other teams, having them job out for them.
It worked for The Usos and it is working for The Bludgeon Brothers, and it is very likely going to be WWE's trick for The Bar and SAnitY as well. The company has subtly put the trio down, reducing them to just another act, while also ensuring they are still very popular with fans and have something to sell. Now, all hope is not lost, the power of positivity will teach you that. It is very likely someone from the New Day is soon to be on the other side of this list, as a breakup for the group could be near, and whoever WWE picks as the star is likely to gain a huge push from the embers of the group's ashes.
17 Unknowingly Being Demoted: Rusev
It might very well be Rusev Day but that doesn't mean that WWE is prepared to push the Bulgarian Lion. In fact, it is quite the opposite; it seems like WWE is doing everything possible to squash Rusev and the momentum he has built for himself. WWE doesn't seem to like it when one of its wrestlers manages to break out on their own, becoming popular and making a name for themselves and while it might seem baffling to you or me, that is the way the company has operated for years, with Zack Ryder being a prime example. Sadly, Rusev could be about to fall down the same trap as the popular Broski. After winning over the fans, WWE is still positioning him in the typical "foreign heel gimmick," even though nobody actually wants to boo him or Aiden English because they are so entertaining.
Yet instead of pushing him, giving him a mid-card title run or even putting him in a meaningful feud, he is sent out week after week in random matches, often against other people who are deemed more important and are feuding, so Rusev puts them over. Hopefully WWE will understand exactly what it has with Rusev as he has the potential to be a major, main event level star, not only having the in-ring prowess, but also now the fan reaction, creating the perfect mix for what should be a top WWE Superstar.
16 About To Be Shoved Down Our Throats: Daniel Bryan
This might be one entry that you are willing to let WWE shove down your throat, after all, many people never thought they would see the day when Daniel Bryan wrestled in a WWE ring again, yet here we are. You can't exactly blame WWE for this either, they have been given one of the most popular wrestlers in company history back, at full health and looking just as good as ever in the ring, with an even greater story to be told given the years he spent retired. WWE couldn't have written a better story if it tried, yet Bryan has simply delivered it on a silver platter and there is no doubt that WWE is going to hammer it home from this point forward. Now that the fanfare has died down and the dust has settled on the fact he is back, competing every single week, not on a part-time schedule, WWE can get stuck in with some real storylines.
While he might not get thrown straight into the WWE Championship picture, that storyline will certainly be happening once again very soon.
There is no doubt WWE will be hammering home the underdog tale, which has already begun with Bryan just missing out on the Money in the Bank qualification. Any chance the company gets to use Bryan, he will be getting used with WWE making up for lost time with him, so strap yourselves in folks, because we are going to be getting a lot of everyone's favourite Yes man from this point onwards.
15 Unknowingly Being Demoted: Becky Lynch
Remember when Becky Lynch was the first-ever SmackDown Women's Champion? No, well that can be forgiven because the Irish Lass Kicker has been slowly demoted ever since the title was taken from her, which she has shown no signs of getting back since. The booking of the Four Horsewomen member is quite confusing as she is certainly one of the most talented wrestlers on the roster, she has tons of charisma and is a fan favourite, yet for some reason, WWE has decided to treat her terribly. Lynch should be someone battling for the Women's Championship and being treated as a major threat, yet instead, WWE has turned her into a gullible, weak wrestler who looks a million miles away from someone who could be a champion, yet the WWE Universe remains behind her.
The number of times she has been backstabbed by a friend in WWE is ridiculous at this point, yet WWE hasn't changed the way that the character behaves, which is what should have happened, it should have lit a fire in Lynch or even sparked a heel turn. She is far too good of a wrestler to be getting wasted, losing in mere minutes to Mandy Rose on SmackDown in a random match with no real feud behind it, making her a stepping stone for other wrestlers at this point, rather than someone who is seen as a big deal on the roster.
14 Unknowingly Being Demoted: Baron Corbin
Baron Corbin burst onto the scene when he left NXT, winning the Andre The Giant Battle Royal at WrestleMania as a surprise entrant, it was clear that WWE had big plans for the Lone Wolf, yet looking at him now it is like seeing a totally different wrestler. Corbin is a fantastic heel and is one of the very few people on the roster who can actually gain some real heat, rather than being a heel who is cheered more than he is booed, which is never really the goal, no matter how good the person is. When he picked up the Money in the Bank briefcase it seemed like Corbin was destined for big things, and a World Championship run would have made perfect sense for him. He has the look, the talent, and the gimmick, but instead, WWE had him fail with his cash-in and since then, he has been seen as a joke.
Corbin has failed to get any momentum back since that moment and WWE hasn't attempted to fix that problem with the booking decisions.
This makes us question whether that was on purpose or not. As a big man, you would think Corbin is a typical Vince McMahon type of a wrestler, yet with the way he is currently being used on Raw, it seems as though Corbin could be set for a career in the mid-card.
13 About To Be Shoved Down Our Throats: Bobby Lashley
Anytime WWE brings in a new talent you know that they are going to push them in the fans face, no matter where their spot is on the card, but when you are a main event caliber talent, then it is almost a guarantee that WWE will be pushing them hard. That has been the case so far with Bobby Lashley who has been heavily featured ever since he returned to WWE the night after WrestleMania 34. While he hasn't been pushed straight into the title picture, mainly because the champion is never actually there, he has been in plenty of main event matches on Raw and was placed into a squash match at Backlash.
His recent interview segment with Renee Young, as strange as it was, with Lashley rambling on about his sisters and something to do with a towel. It was another example of WWE giving him more time on screen, and they will continue to do that. WWE brought Lashley back with the intention of using him in the main events and anything less than that will be considered a waste by WWE, therefore the company will be doing everything in its power to get the fans interested in seeing him. If WWE can get Lashley in the title picture then we could potentially be on our way to seeing Lashley as a top-level star for several years to come, so prepare yourself to be seeing a lot of the former TNA star in the main event scene.
12 Unknowingly Being Demoted: Naomi
At this point last year, Naomi was feeling the glow as the SmackDown Live Women's Champion, now she can't even buy time on TV, being thrown to the side while WWE focuses on other people. One of WWE's biggest downfalls is the fact the company is seemingly only capable of putting on one female storyline at a given time, with that storyline nearly always being based around the championship, and whoever is challenging for it, meaning if you aren't in the title picture you don't get used. That is where Naomi has stumbled a lot lately, as she hasn't been involved in the title picture and instead WWE has seemingly just given up on her.
It is a real shame as Naomi had got over with fans really well due to her fantastic entrance and athletic ability inside the ring.
It seemed as if those plans had changed and WWE was prepared to start focusing on Naomi again when she won the first ever Women's Battle Royal at WrestleMania in New Orleans, but WWE has literally not mentioned it since and the entire thing proved to be pointless, with Naomi slowly slipping down the pecking order.
11 About To Be Shoved Down Our Throats: Jason Jordan
Jason Jordan being revealed as Kurt Angle's illegitimate child should have been the breakthrough moment for the former American Alpha wrestler, but sadly things didn't quite work out due to him getting injured prior to WrestleMania. Before his injury, Jordan was certainly being shoved down our throats, getting several segments in each show and being placed in major matches. He was one of the main stars of Raw and to his credit, he was doing an excellent job in the role he was given. Jordan wasn't supposed to be someone who got major cheers; he was meant to be seen as whiny and annoying and his potential feud with Seth Rollins was something that could have been great, so we should expect WWE to pick up right from where it left off with Jordan when he returns from injury.
Whether WWE continues to push the Kurt Angle link is unclear, but there's no doubt that the company will continue to invest in the character, and the best way to do it would be to shove him down people's throats and be over the top about it. Which is exactly what they will do. Whether he feuds with Angle, Seth Rollins or even Chad Gable, who is now on Monday Night Raw, there are plenty of options for Jordan upon his return, all of which can be done to help put him over.
10 Unknowingly Being Demoted: John Cena
It might seem crazy to think that John Cena is actually being demoted by WWE, but that is very much the case as it is tough to say that he is the poster boy of WWE that he once was, even though he is still a major star. Cena is very much still a main event name in the company and that is likely something that will never change until the day he retires, mainly because he has earned that right through his incredible career. However, he is no longer considered the top guy in the company. A major reason for that is because he is no longer a full-time performer, with Cena following the same path as Batista and The Rock and breaking into Hollywood, which has allowed him to become an even bigger name outside the landscape of wrestling, which in turn does help WWE whenever he returns for a match.
But if you take a look at how the company is using him, WWE is very subtly having him be someone who picks up a lot of defeats. They might hype him up as the main event name that he is in order to gain peoples attention, but when he actually gets into the ring, Cena is failing to get the job done and is slowly being demoted by WWE with the way they book him. His run into WrestleMania 34 was arguably the worst of his entire career, picking up countless defeats on the way to being destroyed in under five minutes by The Undertaker. It is smart booking by WWE, with the company ensuring that fans don't expect too much from Cena, considering he isn't around as much.
9 About To Be Shoved Down Our Throats: Roman Reigns
Let's be clear, this isn't something new that is about to start, WWE has been shoving Roman Reigns down everyone's throats for years now with the experiment to have him as the top guy in the company dating all the way back to before WrestleMania 31. It's an experiment that is yet to pay off or one that WWE has actually pulled the trigger on yet, with the Big Dog failing to defeat Brock Lesnar on multiple occasions at this point, making fans question why they've been forced to go through his over the top booking for the past several years. While there is nothing wrong with Roman Reigns, he is actually a very good wrestler and if you actually sit and watch his matches with a clear mind you see that.
The way he is booked just makes it nearly impossible to get behind him.
It is incredibly rare that Reigns ever picks up a loss, and if he does it certainly isn't in a clean way, booking him as Super Reigns the same way WWE did with John Cena for so many years, which also didn't go down well. The way he wins matches is also something that frustrates fans as Roman spends the majority of the match getting beat down, hit by several finishers, only for him to turn around hit a Spear and pick up the win. It just isn't believable and the WWE Universe has already had enough, but don't expect anything to change soon.
8 Unknowingly Being Demoted: Jinder Mahal
Jinder Mahal had an incredible 2017, but it seems like that might have just been a fluke year for the former WWE Champion because ever since he lost the title to AJ Styles in the UK, he has failed to get anywhere close to where he was on the card. WWE has tucked Mahal away quietly, almost pretending that the entire thing never happened, which might be something that the WWE Universe is quite happy about considering how the fans reacted to his entire title run. He might not be the smoothest in the ring, but Mahal has ability and is someone who can really get the job done in terms of being a heel, which is why it is surprising to see him be relegated to a mid-card act, which he could easily slip down from again if he isn't careful.
When he became the United States Champion at WrestleMania, things started to look up for him, but that run was cut short and he quickly lost the title to a returning Jeff Hardy, proving that the faith in him might have just died out at this point. It will be interesting to see how WWE handles Mahal moving forwards, as he certainly won't be reaching the Universal Championship scene, so whether he remains a relevant feature on the show or slides even further down will be something to keep an eye on.
7 About To Be Shoved Down Our Throats: Ronda Rousey
WWE finally got her! They may have wanted to sign her from WrestleMania 31 and only got her to have an in-ring debut at WrestleMania 34, but Ronda Rousey finally arrived in WWE after plenty of persuasions. After all that effort there is no doubt WWE is going to push the former UFC star to the moon, and who can blame them? In terms of star power, you can easily make a case that Ronda has more than not just the entire women's division, but the men's as well.
Rousey is a household name and arguably the biggest female sporting athlete on the planet, which is a huge draw for WWE.
If the company books her right, she could be a huge star for the company over the next few years. Rousey dominated the octagon and there is no doubt she is set to do the same in the squared circle, so WWE will be pushing Rousey at every opportunity it gets, especially on major shows like SummerSlam. Anytime there is a big date you can expect Rousey to be playing a key factor in one of the main event matches, regardless of what else is happening on the show, because she is that big of a star.
6 Unknowingly Being Demoted: Randy Orton
Randy Orton is one of the smoothest in-ring workers in WWE today, and in the history of the company for that matter. The only problem is, he appears to not care anymore, working as if he isn't interested in being there for much longer. Sure, Orton broke into the business very early and has been around WWE for an incredibly long time, he has had a longer career than most people and has been at the very top for the majority of that, so it is unlikely he gets the same buzz out of it, but a little more passion would be nice to see.
It appears that WWE management might have noticed that problem as well, because Orton has been slowly getting pulled further and further away from the main event scene as each month passes, only just staying relevant enough to warrant TV time. In a similar way to John Cena, who has been around as long as Orton, WWE is moving him away from the very top of the card in order to allow younger talent to leapfrog him, and even though they have kept him involved with a United States Championship run, even that was kept short and sweet. Orton still has plenty left in the tank, though, so if he really wanted, he could easily have another killer run before he calls time. It is just whether he actually wants to do that or not which will make the difference.
5 About To Be Shoved Down Our Throats: Elias
Whether you love him or hate him, Elias gets a reaction out of everybody every single time he enters the WWE ring and strums that guitar. That is exactly what WWE looks for in their Superstars. He is a wrestler who will get a response; after all, there is nothing worse than a quiet crowd not reacting. The more and more Elias gets over with the fans, the more music segments WWE is booking. From PPV's to Monday Night Raw, Elias is being heavily featured on a weekly basis and while he isn't going anywhere in terms of wrestling, the company does use him every week in a featured spot.
Even though WWE hasn't placed him in a major feud or in the title picture, that is going to be coming in the near future. Management is high on Elias, and for someone who looked like he was going nowhere during his run in NXT, you have to give him credit for the way he has turned things around in his own career. This might not be someone who fans are too upset about being shoved down their throats though because Elias is actually very entertaining. His gimmick is fun and it brings in great heel heat and it also has a fantastic comedic element to it.
4 Unknowingly Being Demoted: Sasha Banks
She might not have the star power of Ronda Rousey, but she certainly has the skill levels as Sasha Banks is one of the greatest workers in WWE today, regardless of gender, with her bumping even giving Dolph Ziggler's a run for its money. The Boss has been one of the major reasons for the women's evolution and has been at the forefront of the entire thing, breaking down barriers and putting on several main event matches, proving the women can do just as much as the men, if not more. From her time in NXT with Bayley all the way to her Hell in a Cell with Charlotte Flair, Banks has always been a key player in the women's division, until the past few months when all of her momentum has seemingly slammed still.
No longer is she being booked on every show and no longer is she winning most of her matches, instead the Boss has been relegated to being a bit part player while the likes of Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax gain more of a shine. Her stop-start feud with Bayley failed to get itself on the WrestleMania card, with Banks being sent down to the pre-show, and even since then it hasn't managed to kick off in the way it should have, putting her down the pecking order of the women's division.
3 About To Be Shoved Down Our Throats: Velveteen Dream
While NXT and the WWE Performance Center are both incredible and have changed the entire landscape of the company, one thing WWE gets criticized about is that it is mainly built up of top independent wrestlers who are already established in the industry. Guys like Kevin Owens or Finn Balor made a name for themselves elsewhere, whether in New Japan or Ring Of Honor and were already experienced when WWE signed them, meaning the idea that they were developmental wrestlers was fairly silly.
However that is where the Velveteen Dream stands out, as he is someone who has actually come through WWE's developmental territory primarily and is a product of the Performance Center and is, therefore, someone that the company will be sure to get behind. Dream has already been a huge hit with fans and because his gimmick is so popular there is no doubt that WWE is going to be very creative with how he is treated because management will know that there is a potential major star. If he can make it all the way to the top, then it is something for WWE to brag about due to the companies involved in his development, so you can expect him to be pushed a lot from now on.
2 Unknowingly Being Demoted: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
It is a real shame the way in which Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens are being booked, with WWE certainly demoting them in front of everyone's faces. They are being put together in this list because currently with the way WWE is booking them they are slipping down the card together. While Sami Zayn hasn't managed to get to the main event levels on the main roster since moving up to the main roster, he has always been in the upper mid-card. And Kevin Owens has slumped from Universal Champion to someone who is getting beaten comfortably and quickly by another talent that WWE considers to be ready for a push.
When WWE first put them together, marking a major heel turn for Zayn, it seemed like the company was ready to give them a huge push.
With the company sticking them in a feud with Shane McMahon, the duo were given plenty of microphone time and the future seemed bright. However, since then they have just taken loss after loss, with their recent Backlash defeat being a glorified squash match. WWE really should put them into the tag team division at this point, in order for them to add star power and get some momentum back, but it doesn't seem like the company is that way inclined. Instead, WWE looks set to keep booking the pair incredibly weakly. The only issue with that is the more defeats that they suffer, the harder it is to be invested in their characters and this means when they eventually split again to become singles wrestlers, they will find it tough to climb back to the main event level.
1 About To Be Shoved Down Our Throats: Braun Strowman
Everybody always says that Roman Reigns is the next big thing in WWE, with people believing he is "Vince's boy," and someone who is going to be pushed as the next top champion, and while that is the case, there is another man who might have something to say about that. Braun Strowman had a breakout 2017 after being someone who fans complained about during his time with the Wyatt Family, with most people not wanting to see him in any form, even in a quick squash match. Yet here we are in 2018 and Strowman is arguably the biggest fan favourite in the entire company, being used in all of the biggest spots on a regular basis. WWE has slowly but surely being using Strowman more and more, giving him microphone time and plenty of in-ring opportunities, using the Monster Amongst Men on every PPV and protecting him to ensure he doesn't suffer any big losses.
This is the same way WWE books all of its major stars, from Brock Lesnar to John Cena and Strowman is the next in the list. The reason why he is so popular is that WWE hasn't gone overboard with him yet, but yet is the keyword here, as there is no doubt that WWE has huge plans for Strowman as a top champion and that means he will be thrust down people's throats more and more. Given the gimmick that WWE has given Strowman as a total monster, it is going to be hard to do anything other than shoving him down fans throats as he is someone who can't afford many losses. Given how destructive he is, there is no doubt plenty of people will be "getting these hands" moving forward.