Wow, have there ever been some terrible wrestlers on the WWE roster in 2017! It’s amazing to think that with such a deep developmental system, not to mention deep pockets, that WWE would decide to employ such a large crop of performers who have almost no hope whatsoever of turning into marketable stars. Of course, WWE’s decision to suddenly push Jinder Mahal to the top of the card, and give him the World Title, sends the message that just because a Superstar is terrible now, doesn’t mean we won’t push them to the moon in a week or two.
Every wrestler listed in this article has gotten lost in the shuffle in some way. This isn’t to say that they’re necessarily bad wrestlers, although many of them are, only that their characters aren’t resonating with fans. In fact, WWE is aware none of these wrestlers are connecting with fans, that’s why most of them don’t even have any merchandise available at WWE Shop.
Many of the wrestlers listed in this article are putting all of themselves into their character, hoping that Vince McMahon will pick them as his next big project. Maybe, just maybe, they can be the next Jinder Mahal… but don’t count on it.
Here are WWE’s worst superstars of 2017, and what they were doing before.
15. Dana Brooke – Bodybuilding
28 year old Dana Brooke was an accomplished gymnast and bodybuilder before being signed to WWE in 2013.
After breaking both her ankles in gymnastics, and sustaining numerous other injuries, Brooke decided to go into the world of competitive bodybuilding. She graduated from Kent State university in 2011, and received her IFBB tour card the next year. In 2013 she competed at her first Arnold Classic, coming in 12th. She would finish 13th in the same competition in 2015. Earlier this year, with WWE’s permission, she competed at the 2017 Arnold Classic, coming in fifth.
Vince McMahon has always been a fan of bodybuilders, which is perhaps why the company initially got behind her. Some of her work in the wrestling ring has been described as sloppy however, and as a result her planned rivalry with Charlotte was scrapped.
14. “The Drifter” Elias Samson – Indie Circuit
Elias Samson is one of few performers to not get over in NXT, yet he found himself on the main roster this year regardless. In fact, as of this writing, Samson is heading into a program with Finn Balor. Samson’s issue is more his gimmick than it is his ability however. He signed with WWE in 2014 as a 26-year old. He had spent six years toiling on the independent scene under the name Logan Shulo before that.
While he never developed much of a name for himself on the indie scene (generally wrestling in the northeastern USA), it was enough to get signed to WWE and debut on NXT a few months later. In 2016, Pro Wrestling Illustrated ranked him the 203 top singles wrestlers in the world.
13. Summer Rae – Lingerie Football League
WWE fans haven’t seen Summer Rae for some time. That’s unfortunate for both Summer Rae and WWE fans. Despite being talented, experienced and popular, she has somehow gotten lost in the shuffle on the main roster.
Before beginning her WWE career in 2011, Summer Rae was a football star, or kind of anyway. Real name Danielle Louise Moinet, she played three seasons for the Chicago Bliss of the Lingerie Football League. The league has since been renamed and phased out much of the lingerie based attire, but Summer Rae played in the old school scantily-clad version.
Not only did she play, she was good! Summer played cornerback and was named her team’s defensive captain. Unfortunately for fans of lingerie football, the exposure Summer received from the league resulted in WWE recruiting her. She spent three years in developmental before cracking the roster as Fandango’s dance partner.
12. James Ellsworth – Indie Circuit
If you’re looking for someone to blame for James Ellsworth still being on WWE programming, the fault lies with Mick Foley. According to Foley himself, he recommended the company hire Ellsworth, saying he saw real money in him. Foley is not always correct about such things.
The 32 year old Ellsworth had been wrestling since 2002 on the independent scene in the Baltimore area. He first appeared in WWE as a member of Adam Rose’s rosebuds, before being booked as an enhancement talent whenever WWE was near Maryland.
His name on the indie scene was “Pretty” Jimmy Dream, and he was 1/2 of the team “The Pretty Ugly” along with Adam Ugly. The recently deceased Axl Rotten initially trained him. Most recently Ellsworth caused some controversy during the MITB PPV, when he climbed the ladder and obtained the briefcase for Carmella. At least his name is still out there in the headlines, unlike most of the others on the list.
11. Eva Marie – Modelling
Performers who look like Eva Marie generally do well in WWE. The only small detail which prevented WWE from getting behind Eva Marie was the simple fact that she can’t wrestle to save her life. Fans in NXT were relentless in their disapproval of Marie’s inclusion on the roster. The fans inside Full Sail University have grown to appreciate good wrestling above all else, and Eva Marie was and is still unable to provide that.
Before WWE, Eva Marie was a fitness model, which up until recently was a heavily scouted recruiting pool for Vince’s company. She was discovered by WWE in 2013 and immediately placed on the reality TV show, Total Divas.
She failed a drug test last year however, and hasn’t been seen on television ever since. It’s currently not known if she ever will return to the company. Corey Graves is said to be beside himself.
10. Simon Gotch – Indie Circuit
34 year old Seth Lesser, better known to wrestling fans as Simon Gotch, was released by WWE earlier this year. Gotch is believed to have been a bit of a handful backstage, which may have contributed to his release.
Gotch toiled on the independents for 11 years before being signed by WWE. The gimmick he used on the indies was very similar to what he would use as a member of t=The Vaudevillians. Under the name Ryan Drago, he wrestled for PWG, Chikara and various other well known independents.
When he signed with WWE in 2013, he was put alongside Aiden English in the tag team. While the pair would win the NXT Tag Team Championships, they never quite found their way on the main roster. He’s currently back on the independent scene.
9. Curt Hawkins – Indies/ TNA Wrestling
Well, Curt Hawkins has a job in WWE, and he can feel good about that. He’s about as low on the roster as possible however.
Real name Brian Myers, he began his career in 2004, and would be signed by WWE two years later. He made his debut on the main roster alongside Zack Ryder, as Edge’s 2 “Edge Guys” as Shawn Michaels once described them. The pair would even win the WWE Tag Team Championships on one occasion. After the angle with Edge concluded, Hawkins went back to developmental for more training. After two new tag-teams fizzled out, he was released in 2014. After his release he joined TNA briefly, even winning the company’s Tag Titles along with Trevor Lee.
When WWE needed new talent for the brand extension in 2016, he was hired back.
8. Titus O’Neil – Football
The Titus brand has failed to win viewers over so far in 2017. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Titus O’Neil doesn’t exactly have a lot of merchandise available at WWE Shop.
Titus had a rough upbringing but managed to become a standout football star in high school. This led to him receiving a scholarship to the University of Florida. He played four seasons for the team, and was elected Student Body President.
From 2004 to 2007, Titus played in the Arena Football League. He signed with WWE developmental in 2009. He cracked the main roster in 2012 as a member of the Prime Time Players, with Darren Young. Since the PTP breakup, Titus has struggled to achieve relevance however. As of this writing, he appears to be transitioning into a manger role.
7. Alicia Fox – Modelling
Alicia Fox is one of the most experienced female WWE performers of all-time. It doesn’t seem like that should be the case, but it is. She’s been in WWE for ten years, that’s longer than anyone but Natalya (who is the most experienced female WWE performer of all-time).
Many find Alicia Fox to be entertaining, and to a certain extent, under-utilized. Her current storyline as Noam Dar’s demanding and obnoxious girlfriend has not exactly garnered much fan-interest however.
Before WWE, Fox worked as a model where she was discovered by John Laurinaitis in a fashion magazine, which sounds a little creepy. She was signed as a 20 year old, and is still going strong into her 30s. On a side note, Fox’s sister, Christina, was signed by the company as well, but never cracked the main roster. She is now a Tampa Bay Buccaneers cheerleader.
6. Aiden English – Actor/Indie Scene
Aiden English’s gimmick is based on a guy named Mathew Rehwoldt. This works out conveniently as Mathew Rehwoldt is the guy who plays Aiden English. The 29 year old really is a stage actor. He’s appeared in over 20 theatre productions.
He studied acting at Columbia College, graduating in 2010. Shortly after finishing his degree he began wrestling on the Chicago independent scene as Matt Marquee.
English was signed in 2012, just one year after beginning his pro career. He was assigned to developmental where he eventually began singing before and after his matches, similar to what he does now. In 2014, he was paired with Simon Gotch, and the two won the NXT Tag Team Championships as the Vaudevillians. Following Gotch’s release from the company, English once again adopted his singing gimmick.
5. The Ascension – Indie Circuit
The Ascension were dominant NXT Tag Team Champions, but have had little success on the main roster. Most recently, they were quickly defeated by Fandango and Tyler Breeze at Money in the Bank 2017.
36 year old Viktor began his training nearly 20 years ago in the Hart family dungeon. He was trained by Bruce and Ross Hart. From 2000 onwards he would wrestle wherever he could get booked. His most successful run was a tour of Japan he did with NJPW, wrestling under the name “The Shadow”. He was signed to WWE in 2011, and was quickly paired with Konnor.
37 year old Konnor is on his second stint with the company. He was in developmental from 2005 to 2007 but then requested his release due to family reasons. He was re-signed in 2010 and began wrestling as Ryan O’Reilly. Konnor would then be paired with Viktor in 2011.
4. Mike Kanellis – Impact Wrestling/Indie Circuit
Mike Bennett, is now better known to WWE fans as Mike Kanellis. According to the cecent WWE storyline, Mike took his wife’s last name.
While Mike and Maria’s love story on SmackDown represents a return to the company for Maria, it’s Mike Bennett’s WWE debut. A 15 year pro, he has been waiting for this point in his career for some time.
From 2008 to 2014, Bennett wrestled with ROH, and would also do a few tours with NJPW overseas. He and partner Matt Taven won the IWGP Tag Team Championships (from Gallows and Anderson) while in the promotion.
Bennett and Maria signed with TNA Wrestling, and almost resigned in 2017, but luckily for them, WWE came calling instead. They debuted at the Money in the Bank PPV, though they have yet to actually compete in a match.
3. The Singh Brothers
Harvinder and Gurvinder Sihra are a couple of brothers from Burnaby, British Columbia Canada. They’ve been competing on the independents for a decade.
Formerly known as the Bollywood Boyz, their first big break came in 2011, when they were signed to TNA’s Ring Ka King promotion in India. In 2012, they defeated the team of Scott Steiner and Abyss to win the promotion’s Tag Team Championships. Ring Ka King folded in 2012 however.
In 2015 they wrestled on a few GFW shows for Jeff Jarrett. In 2016, they were signed by WWE to compete in the Cruiserweight Classic. Neither made it passed the first round. They also competed in the second Dusty Rhodes Memorial Tag Team Tournament, but were eliminated in the first round as well.
Recently the Singh brothers have found themselves in the role of Jinder Mahal’s run-in buddies. They have played a pivotal part in Jinder defeating Randy Orton on two straight PPVs.
2. Bo Dallas – FCW/NXT
The real life brother of Bray Wyatt, one would think that a bearded Bo Dallas would do well as a new member of the Wyatt Family, but for some reason WWE doesn’t seem interested in going that route.
Taylor Michael Rotunda has been under WWE contract since he was 18 years old. When your grandfather is Black Jack Mulligan, your dad is Mike Rotunda, and your uncles are Barry and Kendall Windham, it tends to make you a blue-chip prospect.
He wrestled in WWE’s Florida developmental system from 2008 to 2012, until it was rebranded as NXT. During his time in FCW he won the Tag Team Championships twice with his brother, and the Heavyweight Title three times. He’s also a former NXT Champion.
He cracked the main roster in 2014, but his character has never risen passed lower mid-card status.
1. Curtis Axel – Brief Indie Circuit Run
In 2013, Curtis Axel must have thought his career was about to skyrocket. That was when he was named the newest “Paul Heyman Guy”. It wouldn’t be long before the company would give up on him however.
Despite being the son of Mr. Perfect, Axel didn’t go straight into pro wrestling. In fact, he didn’t have his first match until he was 27 years old. His father was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in March of 2007. Just months later, Hennig would begin wrestling for Harley Race’s promotion in Missouri. WWE would sign him to a developmental deal just months after that.
Real name Joe Hennig, Axel wrestled as Michael McGillicutty in the Nexus angle from 2010 to 2011. Following that angle’s demise, he was sent back to NXT. After spending two more years in NXT, he was brought up to be the new Paul Heyman guy. After that flopped, Axel found himself as Ryback’s tag team partner, then in the Social Outcasts, and now in Miz’s entourage.
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