State of the WWE roster: Who are the next Wrestlemania headliners?
by, 08-13-2011 at 04:54 AM (5696 Views)
WrestlingNerd here once again. Today I'd like to chat a little about WWE's roster. It's sort of alarming right now and I hope Triple H is really good at what he's doing up in the talent development department (his new job), because by the looks of this roster, WWE needs a bunch of new stars to be developed pretty quickly. I'm going to take a look at the top stars of both brands and add my own analysis of them. Just a warning, this could very well be a long read since I have a lot to say about this topic.
Top babyfaces: John Cena, Rey Mysterio, John Morrison, Alex Riley, Kofi Kingston
Now, am I the only one who sees a major problem ALREADY? Of course, this is my own opinion of who the top babyfaces on the roster are, but it looks pretty accurate to me.. these are the only guys you could even CONSIDER to be the top five babyfaces on the Raw roster. Go and take a look at the entire Raw roster yourself and I dare you to name someone who is a more popular babyface than these five men. It's impossible. I guess you can throw Evan Bourne in there as well, just to prevent someone from trying to prove me wrong. But the fact is, Morrison, Riley, Kofi and Bourne don't have what it takes to be a good main event superstar right now. Morrison is flashy in the ring and popular amongst the crowd because of it, but listening him on the mic is like pulling teeth, and he doesn't have much of a character to get behind. Then you can go ahead and add in the fact that they're most likely de-emphasizing him due to the controversy surrounding Melina's release and backstage behavior and you can pretty much scrap him from this mix. Riley is brand new in the WWE, I understand that. But he's made a lot of progress in these last few months and has became one of the top stars on Raw. Some call it a sign that Riley is destined for greatness and that he's a good superstar, I'm going to call it like I see it. I see Riley only being pushed the way he is, getting a feud with former WWE Champion and one of the top heels in the company, the Miz, followed by a United States Championship shot ONLY because there is a lack of stars on the WWE roster and now WWE is trying to push guys like Riley fast towards the top so they can make up for it. The potential is there with Riley and by no means am I saying that I have a problem with the way they're pushing him. In fact, I think he's a solid midcard talent and would make a good United States Champion. But the fact that he's seen as a top 5 babyface on Raw is a shame. It shows the lack of depth that WWE suffers from. Kofi is much like Morrison. He's able to captivate fans (though, not as many fans as Morrison can) with his flashy and unorthodox in-ring style. However, he doesn't have what it takes to be a WWE Champion. In Kofi's case, I was almost convinced that he may get a shot at some sort of brief world title reign back when he was in that feud with Randy Orton. That was when he first started talking on the mic and had a decent little program with Orton there. But the key word in the last few sentences is almost. Kofi's chance has come and gone, and at this point he's destined to be a low-midcard guy for the rest of his career. He's not a big guy, doesn't have a good character and not that good on the mic. In other words, he's pretty much condemned from ever getting a world title shot. But you could tell from the start that he was never going to be used as the type of guy that you'd see headline Wrestlemania. And that's my whole point here.. WWE lacks that type of guy and they need to start building those types of superstars. John Cena and Randy Orton aren't going to last forever. The Rock isn't gonna make an appearance at every Wrestlemania to draw more attention to it. They NEED to begin work on their next huge superstars and right now I just can't see who's going to step up.
Top heels: CM Punk, Alberto Del Rio, The Miz, R-Truth, Dolph Ziggler
I'll admit, the heel side of things looks a lot better than the face side. The reason for that is pretty simple. It's easier to create an interesting heel character, the type of guy that fans love to hate than it is to create an interesting face character. The evidence? R-Truth. His rapping face gimmick was popular with the fans, but he was more of a fun type of babyface. Not a guy that the fans could take seriously. Once his heel turn came along, he became a guy that fans could boo. He attacked the oh so loveable John Morrison, took a puff of a cigarette and the heel turn was an instant success. See how easy that was? R-Truth was elevated from being trapped in the midcard, not to mention the fact that it was the SMACKDOWN midcard and he was taken all the way to a WWE Championship match, main eventing a PPV just with a simple heel turn. I'm not knocking these heels. They all play their roles pretty well. But could you see R-Truth main eventing Wrestlemania? I sure can't. And he won't main event Wrestlemania. Dolph Ziggler has potential to be a big star, not doubting that. Alberto Del Rio certainly has the potential too. Do I even have to mention CM Punk, who is the talk of the entire business right now? The Raw roster is pretty solid on the heel side. All of these guys are pretty good and with a good push I can honestly see any one of them headline a PPV as big as Wrestlemania with the exception of R-Truth and maybe Ziggler (too early to tell how big he'll be, plus he has a stupid name that's hard to take seriously), but it's because of what I said before. It's easier to get behind a heel than it is to get behind a face.
Top babyfaces: Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, Ezekiel Jackson, Sin Cara, Sheamus (Undertaker too, but he's not an active superstar)
As I said earlier, guys like Randy Orton and John Cena aren't going to last forever. So over on the blue brand, it's up to Daniel Bryan, Ezekiel Jackson, Sin Cara and Sheamus to step it up and become the next top babyfaces in the WWE. Daniel Bryan is doing a pretty awesome job. Despite worries that he would flop in WWE, he has had a great beginning to his career. I can see him headlining Wrestlemania and/or being a face of WWE due to his fine wrestling skills, and because he seems like he has everyone pulling for him, which pretty much defines the word "babyface". I see a lot of Chris Benoit in Daniel Bryan. The aggression, the skill, it's all there. Benoit didn't need a good character to make it to the top. He didn't need to be great on the mic like most do. He made it to the top based on his skill in the ring, and that's what Daniel Bryan is doing right now. With Ezekiel Jackson, I'm going to be frank. He's terrible. Awful in the ring, awful on the mic and has an absent character. The only thing he has going for him is a pretty cool entrance theme, I guess. Now, Sin Cara. I thought Sin Cara would go places, but it seems he has messed up his career. I'm not sure if Hunico portraying Sin Cara will go over as well as Mistico playing the character and it will hurt the character's development. There's talk of firing Mistico, which would hurt the Sin Cara character especially in Mexico, where he's looked at as a celebrity. So we're talking about an entire country souring on the character before they even give it a second chance. But I'm trying to find the next generation of Wrestlemania headliners. Even WITHOUT all this controversy surrounding Sin Cara, I think he MAY have had a few World Championship reigns throughout his career, but I wouldn't see him as the type of guy who could headline a Wrestlemania card. Sheamus, however, is a guy I might be able to see do that. He's got the size, he has a unique look, he's good on the microphone and has the support of Triple H, who is taking on a larger role in WWE now. That's evidence enough that he'll most likely become a big player in WWE's future.
Top heels: Christian, Mark Henry, Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett.. and, uh... Ted Dibiase Jr. I guess?
Christian is already 37 years old. Mark Henry is 40. That leaves the future of Smackdown's heel side up to Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett and Ted Dibiase Jr. All three of these guys are question marks. I can see each of them going places, but not fast enough. Not as fast as WWE needs them to get there. I do see a future World Champion in Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett. But I can't see either of them main eventing Wrestlemania as soon as a few years from now. But they need headliners for the near future.
The Bottom Line
So really, the only guys that can headline Wrestlemania NOW are John Cena, CM Punk, The Miz, Randy Orton and maybe Christian? MAYBE Albertio Del Rio or Daniel Bryan? That doesn't sound too bad, but after Wrestlemania 28, 29 and 30 are all in the past, who's in the position of John Cena? Who will put on matches like we've seen at past Wrestlemania events like John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho vs. Edge, Triple H vs. Randy Orton.. The only guys on the roster right now who I can see rising to that point are Alberto Del Rio, Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, Wade Barrett and maybe a few others.. Maybe. But will these guys REALLY be as iconic as Shawn Michaels, Triple H, the Undertaker and John Cena? Who are our next legends? I may just be acting too negative about all of this and I may just be too in love with my childhood heroes, but I just don't see the next generation of WWE being as great as the generation that is starting to die out, sadly. I know that I'll probably be wrong and that WWE will certainly find a way to make it work. But that's my say for tonight, fellas. Hope you enjoyed reading.
Yours truly, the WrestlingNerd