Now more than ever (barring The Alliance angle), we’re seeing a massive influx of talent on the WWE roster. The last few years have seen the company make a distinct commitment to expand their talent pool. With the emergence of things like NXT and 205 Live! it’s been abundantly clear that WWE is trying to find some new long-term elite talent that can be featured moving forward. While there have been undoubted successes, there’s also been some notable failures. Some of these relatively new acquisitions just can’t wrestle, and don’t have the firepower to succeed on a significant level in the future.
From a pure wrestling standpoint, it’s easy to pick out some of the biggest culprits. Unfortunately, many of the worst wrestlers on the roster are still featured on pay-per-views, and given a push. It’s hardly the first time WWE has elevated poor wrestling to the top of the card, but we see it a lot in this day and age. Let’s take a look some of the sub-par talent in WWE right now, and how they got to this point.
Ranked below are WWE’s 15 worst wrestlers today, and where they were before making it big.
Working her way up from manager to Enzo & Cass, to a contender in the Women’s Division, Carmella should have a role with the company for years to come. She’s garnered a fairly significant following for herself, considering she started in a managerial role, and that could continue to build in 2018 and beyond. Maybe she’ll even get a push, and a shot with the Women’s Title when she cashes in her Money in the Bank contract.
A former Patriots and Lakers cheerleader, Carmella was used to performing in front of large audiences. Her background in dance has likely led to her quick transition to the ring, and explains her quick turnaround from training, to actually appearing in a WWE ring. The two sports are oddly similar, and Carmella has been able to take advantage of that, parlaying her first career into a successful one in the squared circle.
14. Baron Corbin
For somebody who is still new to the business, Corbin has actually caught on fairly well. He’s not too far removed from playing in the NFL for the Colts and Cardinals, and has jumped into a wrestling ring, showing a knack for being a quick learner. The issue is that WWE shouldn’t be giving him such a monstrous push with his skill level just yet. Add on to that a faceless gimmick that doesn’t have much personality, and Corbin doesn’t have much to hang his hat on.
Spending four years in NXT, and then making it to the main roster in 2016, it’s a testament to how good the WWE training program can be for newer wrestlers, and veteran wrestlers looking to get associated with the company. In this sense, Corbin is a success, but as a main event-caliber talent, he is not.
13. Enzo Amore
Nobody denies that Enzo is one of the best talents on the mic that WWE has seen in a long time, but as a wrestler he’s just not very impressive. There’s good reason for this. Enzo had no prior wrestling experience before WWE, holding a variety of different jobs. He did play college football at Salisbury University, so he did have some athletic ability, but as a wrestler, he’s relatively green.
Who knows what the future is for Enzo at this point. With the dissolution of the tag team he had with Cass, there’s no telling how long management will continue with his current heel turn. It’s unlikely he’d have much clout on the Indy circuit, so his best bet is to whatever it takes to stay put where he is.
There’s a time and place for a wrestler like Rusev, and he just doesn’t fit with wrestling’s aesthetic in 2017. He’s certainly a serviceable powerhouse, but the gimmick is a throwback and not in a very appealing way. After a push that saw him win a Untied States Title, it seems that he’s been moving down the card in recent months. Rusev’s time with the company may be waning, and he could be gone soon. While he isn’t the worst worker in the company, he’s still out of step with most of the roster.
Before WWE, Rusev was a powerlifting and rowing competitor, and then started training for his wrestling career. He trained at Rikishi and Gangrel’s Knokx Pro Wrestling Academy in California, and worked for some Indy promotions in the state, until he signed his WWE developmental deal.
11. Dana Brooke
Brooke has been a newcomer to the main roster’s Women’s Division, and although she’s been in various storylines since her debut in 2016, she hasn’t yet had a title run. That could change, as she’s just returned to action in October, and should be a prominent factor in the division going forward. It needs a shakeup, and someone like Brooke could be in line for push as 2018 gets underway.
Her roots are in bodybuilding, and it’s no surprise that WWE would have an interest in her, based on that qualification alone. She’s had high-placing finishes in numerous competitions throughout the years. If she can transfer the entirety of those skills into the wrestling ring, WWE should have an asset in the women’s ranks for a long time coming.
10. Aiden English
WWE seems to have invested a lot of time into English, but the fact remains that he just isn’t very good. After three years of toiling away in the subpar Vaudevillains gimmick, he’s now trying his hand at a singles career, and given the lame drama- and singing-based gimmick he’s sporting, it doesn’t appear that it’s going to be very successful.
English started out on the Chicago Indy circuit, and after just a year or so was able to land a WWE developmental contract. Clearly impressed with his athleticism, it’s not surprising that they were willing to take a chance, as they were dolling out developmental deals by the dozen around 2012. We’ll see if English can establish a long-term presence, but his in-ring work hasn’t warranted that so far.
Some may not agree, but TJ Perkins has been one of the most overrated wrestlers in the business over the last five years or so. He’s competent in the ring to a degree, but he does nothing to elevate a match, and in the world of juniors and cruiserweights there are simply but better talents to be seen.
TJP finally got to WWE last year, and before that, to his credit, he had an extensive resume of different companies he had worked for. In combination with American Indy juggernauts like ROH and PWG, he also wrestled in Japan and Mexico for NJPW and CMLL respectively. Some may find Perkins to be worthwhile, but he generally gets more credit than he deserves. Still, he’s an acceptable filler cruiserweight for WWE right now.
8. Jinder Mahal
Mahal’s WWE Title reign has been one of the most perplexing of all-time, and it’s questionable why such an average talent should be holding the belt at all. He has been in the WWE system for some time now, but he has done little to show that he’s worthy of being WWE Champion; a clear indicator of one of the company’s best talents.
Mahal has also spent time in the legendary Stampede Wrestling in Canada, and is the nephew of Gama Singh, which explains his entrance into the promotion. He’s also spent time with other Northern promotions such as PWA, and is well-established in that territory. In WWE however, he’s been average at best, and pushed far too much in the past year.
7. Ariya Daivari
Another cruiserweight filler on 205 Live, Daivari doesn’t have the staying power to be considered one of WWE’s best light-heavyweights. He’s pretty average all things considered, and that’s on a good day. His resume says as much, as he’s been all over the place with either sub-par promotions, or has been a non-factor in notable promotions such as ROH.
He just doesn’t have what it takes to be considered a major player in WWE right now. Ultimately, he’ll probably hang around for another year or so, but he’s not going to accomplish much with the sheer amount of talent in the company right now. Daivari is pretty much dead weight, and will stay that way until he leaves.
6. Tye Dillinger
This is Dillinger’s second stint in WWE, and this one is just as anonymous as his first. He’s in that category of wrestlers that are essentially used as filler contenders for various mid-range titles, and it’s probably not going to change anytime soon. WWE clearly has no long-term plan for him that involves a significant push, and his matches are generally mediocre at best.
With that said, Dillinger does have a fairly extensive resume to his name. He’s been all over the wrestling world, often under the name of Shawn Spears. (He used the name Gavin Spears during his first WWE stint.) Before coming to WWE for the second time, he wrestled for Puerto Rico’s World Wrestling Council, which is the biggest promotion in that region.
5. Brock Lesnar
Lesnar is certainly a physical specimen, and one of the most renowned wrestlers that has come down the pike for WWE in the last 15 years, but in the ring, his style has run its course. Lesnar’s matches are uneventful, plodding, and the shtick has worn off in recent years. What was once intriguing has become lifeless and dull with Lesnar’s inability to develop his character.
Of course, unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll know that Lesnar has been prominent in the MMA world, mainly fighting for UFC. He was also a standout collegiate wrestler for the University of Minnesota. His ability as a shoot-fighter, however, falls in line with where he is as a wrestler. Lesnar also had a stint in NJPW, and also tried his hand in the NFL, lasting an offseason with the Minnesota Vikings.
4. James Ellsworth
By far one of the most annoying characters in WWE right now, Ellsworth is a waste of a spot on the roster. He contributes nothing integral to storylines, is a terrible wrestler, and has no intrigue as a manager. He’s nothing short of an annoyance, and the sooner he is off of WWE programming, the better.
His track record in the Indys has been terrible. He hasn’t made a name for himself at any notable promotion outside of WWE, and has been a low-level talent just about everywhere he’s gone. With the amount of great wrestling talent in the world right now, there’s no reason to give Ellsworth a spot instead. He could be the single-worst member of the WWE roster at the current moment, and that’s saying something.
3. Brian Kendrick
Before there was an abundance of cruiserweights in the WWE ranks, Kendrick was able to appear better than he actually was. He was also in the prime of his career, which definitely helped, but as he faced increasingly better talent, it was clear that he wasn’t up to the level of some of his peers. Kendrick is a peripheral member of the WWE roster at this point, in his third stint with the company.
He’s wrestled all over the United States, having multiple runs in ROH, a brief one in TNA, as well as one overseas for NJPW. The resume is certainly impressive, but he’s never been able to really stand out in any of those promotions. Kendrick simply is a mediocre talent in the world of cruiserweights and juniors. There is much better talent to be found all over the world, and he’ll likely be gone from WWE soon.
For years the Goldust gimmick was one of the most popular in the mid-card for WWE, and in his prime Dustin Runnels was a very good wrestler, no doubt about it. But I think that even he would say he’s past his prime at this point, and hasn’t been relevant in a long time. He’s given credence to the Goldust character, which should have been yet another throwaway gimmick from the mid-’90s when it began. Instead, it’s become renowned throughout the years as a WWE staple.
As the son of Dusty Rhodes, Runnels had a clear foot in the door to WCW, and many NWA-affiliated territories, before he picked up the Goldust gimmick. He received a push as WCW’s United States Champion in the early-90s, and was considered one of the better young wrestlers on the roster. The lure of WWE proved to be too much however, and he’s been mostly utilizing the Goldust gimmick for the past 20 years or so.
1. Roman Reigns
Easily the most maligned wrestler on the WWE roster, and for good reason. Reigns is nothing more than a detriment to the upper-tier of the roster, yet he consistently is put in situations that demand elite talent. For some reason, WWE management can’t see the forest for the trees on this one. Obviously, the fans’ incessant booing and jeering of Reigns has kind of become a parody of itself, but it’s deserved nonetheless.
Of course, Reigns always had an easy entrance into the business. As a part of the legendary Anoa’i family, he could have waltzed into WWE any time he wanted. Before doing so, he played college football at Georgia Tech, and for the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL. Who knows if Reigns was better as a football player (he went undrafted in the NFL), but it’s hard to imagine him being worse.
So hopefully WWE will wake up one day, and realize that limited movesets and a boring character aren’t the best recipe for a big draw and major star. That’s unlikely to happen however, and we’ll probably have to endure Reigns for a long time coming.
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