On October 29, 2013, I made my editorial debut here at eWrestlingNews.com. My first article looked at the “Top Ten Misused Talents In WWE” at the time. A lot has happened since October and I was asked to re-enter the “Top Ten” style editorial here on the new-and-improved eWN, so I figured what better way to return than to go back to the beginning. With nearly a half of a year passing since that article, I figured now was as good a time as any to take a revised look at the current active WWE roster and try and determine who among them is being underutilized the most.
Before we get started, allow me to point out that good ole’ Merriam Webster defines the word “underutilized” as follows:
un·der·uti·lized transitive verb ˌən-dər-ˈyü-tə-ˌlīzd
to utilize less than fully or below the potential use
With all of the always fun “setups” and “introductory” style nonsense out of the way, let’s take a look at how my new list turned out. I give you the “Top Ten Underutilized Superstars In WWE Today.”
In my humble opinion, of course.
I should mention that I am not personally the biggest Sheamus fan on the planet. Regardless, few can deny that since returning to WWE he has had some excellent television matches. His match with Bad News Barrett at this past Monday’s RAW was a really solid effort. His bouts with Christian leading into WrestleMania XXX were great. I seem to recall a few additional matches that were above-average, but those two in particular come to mind immediately.
Additionally, I don’t think many would argue that he hasn’t made much of an impact — other than having great in-ring performances on a regular basis — in terms of his character, or as part of the regular story lines in WWE since he made his return at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view in January.
As I understand it, the company is planning on turning him heel and giving him the shove upon doing so. The mindset in WWE is that prior to switching someone, particularly when turning them heel, they are more able to endure losses on television. So, while he may just crack the bottom portion of my top ten today, if we were to revisit this list in a faster span of time than six months this time around, I would assume that he would be being utilized better at that point in time.
We’ll see what happens.
9. Tyson Kidd
I’m aware that there’s only so far Tyson Kidd can go in WWE without a stellar gimmick or huge Daniel Bryan-style groundswell of support from the “WWE Universe.”
Having said that, I’m of the belief that with his added exposure as one of the few male characters on Total Divas, which reaches a different audience (and certainly a bit of a different demographic) that they might as well try something with him and see if it sticks. One thing is for sure, he certainly has the in-ring ability to back up such an attempt.
Personally, I was enjoying the Kidd-Fandango program, with the jealousy tie-in with Natalya and Eva Marie in season one of the E! reality show. It led to some decent matches, but was quickly forgotten and pretty much thrown to the side. While I’m aware that most of the story line stemming from Total Divas that set that whole thing up may have been partially — if not completely — scripted, it still gave both guys something that they could at least attempt to sink their teeth into.
Instead, Fandango gets to sell on the mat while Santino Marella and Emma have sock-puppet fights. Considering the alternative, I would say at least mull over the idea of going back to the former.
8. Kofi Kingston
I’ve always felt that Kofi Kingston had the potential to get over on a higher level in WWE. They gave him a quick look with Randy Orton several years ago, and one slip-up on a motor vehicle on a WWE television program — and boom — it was dropped (no pun intended).
A few months back, they seemed to be teasing a heel turn during Kingston’s program with The Miz, which I thought was a nice change of pace. If you consider the fact that he was opposing The Miz, who would be the obvious choice to turn heel if one-or-the-other were to do so, I thought the unpredictability factor was nice, and also thought Kingston was doing a pretty solid job with the turn. As is the case with many characters and angles in WWE, it was dropped and quickly forgotten.
I understand that Kingston has an appeal to a younger demographic, somewhat of a typical “smiley babyface that appeals to kids,” however in a PG-era of WWE, most babyfaces are going to fit that description. If none are ever allowed to turn heel because of it, we’re going to have some stale characters and story lines for quite a while.
I’m not so sure that a heel turn is necessary as a fresh coat of paint (not trying to re-reference the car mishap mentioned above, I swear these puns are organic and unintentional!) for the master of the “Trouble In Paradise,” but something needs to be done to alter his persona a bit and see if anything happens as a result.
7. Zack Ryder
You’ll never convince me that a guy who gets over — strong at that — in spite of his character and/or push, shouldn’t at least get a chance at doing something on a bigger level. Zack Ryder fits this description almost as good as anybody on the current WWE roster.
The creator of the “Z! True Long Island Story” and man with well over one-and-a-half million Twitter followers almost single-handedly showed WWE the way in terms of social media significance. Look what happened as a result. WWE is dominating the world of social media in many ways, and Ryder’s YouTube show was cancelled.
That doesn’t exactly strike me as “fair.”
The dude is still over when he gets in front of a crowd, but for whatever reason, WWE simply won’t give him anything to do. I always enjoyed Scott Hall’s description of his early attempts to get out of WCW and get into WWE, noting that “even Barry Horowitz has a baseball card.” Zack Ryder is basically a glorified jobber at this point in his career, much like Horowitz was in his, and he’s only one “pat on the back” away from getting an opportunity that I’m sure he could make the most out of.