WWE: The Most Improved Stars of 2011
by, 12-17-2011 at 01:56 PM (3653 Views)
As usual I always like to take a different route with my blogs. Since everyone else is talking about Kane, John Cena, TLC, Top Heels and World Champs, I thought I would focus on a more 'traditional' topic:
As a disclaimer focus on the 'most improved' part, some great stars might be lower on this list or omitted because they we're already good to begin with and didn't improve much on it.
#10 - CM Punk
You might think I'm a bit harsh putting Punk at only #10 given the year he's had, but since this is improvement list, it's hard to put him much higher because his skills we're already among the top of the class. His ring work and chemistry are as strong as they always are, and while his promo skills have always been good, he has increased his ability to work the crowd and utilize them better than he ever did in his previous face run, and even his SES days have landed him a spot on this list. Again, the only reason he's not higher was because he was good to begin with.
#9 - Kelly Kelly and the Divas of Doom
I'll be honest, I couldn't really separate these because of this ridiculously drawn out feud between Eve and K2 vs the Divas of Doom. Of those in the feud, 3 of the 4 have greatly improved. Kelly Kelly's ring skills and development of character almost make her look like a completely different diva than a year or two back, and the promo work of Natalya and Beth Phoenix have improved right along side her. You know there's improvement when even many of the IWC smarks aren't as vocal. Eve however, hasn't really improved much compared to the others despite some new music and a few new moves.
#8 – Big Show
“Big.... what?” Hear me out. Big Show, like Kane is one of those guys who just goes with the flow, whatever the WWE needs, he's there for. However this year he took a more proactive role instead of being the “fill in the super star” guy. He stared off as the “fill in the blank” guy for the Nexus, went on to help win a match at Wrestlemania, then stay I the spotlight trying to recover the Tag Division with Kane, got involved with Del Rio (trying to keep his push alive) and then went on to what I have to admit has been a pretty interesting feud with Mark Henry and his first real main event push (with multiple title matches) since probably 2002.
#7 – Dolph Ziggler/Cody Rhodes
It's almost ironic that these two we're in a stalemate on Raw this past week during their Slammy match, they both have tried to bring Prestige to their respected titles, both have had amazing evolutions of their gimmicks, Cody's in ring work has improved at the same rate that Dolph's promo skills have, and it's very easy to say that when both of these guys get their next main event push, they are going to stay at that level. The only reasons they are not higher is because of their skills being high to start with.
#6 – Christian
I wrote an article about Christian awhile back saying if he didn't earn a WHC or WWEC in 2011, he probably never would and I broke it down into math somewhat. Obviously no one knew that Edge would be retiring due to injuries. However, Christian has taken full advantage of his friend's absence. 2 WHC reigns, some great matches, return of the annoying heel he's good at doing and he started Smackdown down this road of not just 'Yeah Smackdown has better wrestling usually' to, 'Not going to lie, Smackdown is better than Raw every week, period!' I don't know if it's just him or not, but he brought the entire morale of the roster up by the looks of it. It sucks that's he's injured I was looking forward to a feud with him and Sheamus
#5 – Sheamus
Speaking of Sheamus, he is another star who improved greatly. He wasn't terrible as a heel, and career wise, it's hard to beat 2 reigns as a WWE Champion. However, he was hollow. (Think Alberto Del Rio, right now) He wasn't over with the fans anymore, people weren't really reacting well, and it's a pattern many stars have been driven into before, and it wouldn't have been shocking for him to stay in the mid-card for years. However, when you turn him face against the first real monster heel in years, with a character that people were wanting to like... and you have Sheamus in 2011. He has regained his main event level stardom and is going to be a complete force in 2012.
#4 – Kaitlyn
“Wait..... no... shut up. She was in the worst Diva's Match in history last year!” Exactly my point, she was horrific and abysmal last year. There is no argument there I'm going to ignore the whole 'winning NXT' thing because that's a joke. The truth is she's not bad now and up until a few weeks ago she was going to be paired up with Natalya and Beth Phoenix. Compare 2010 to 2011. I rest my case.
#3 – R-Truth
“I don't need Little Jimmy!” R-Truth is down right amazing in this new heel persona. I'll be honest if he comes back a face I'm not going to be optimistic due to the WWE Creative screwing it up. I hope he can prove me wrong, because I am absolutely loving this crazy/delusional gimmick he's got going on. Combine that with the main event match with John Cena, some of the best promos of the year in the WWE and some solid ring work all add up to this spot, at #3.
#2 – Zack Ryder
Something like 38 weeks ago I wrote a blog about Zack Ryder saying that Z!TLIS was either going to be the thing that makes him, or gets him fired. I'm glad it was the first one. Coming from completely nothing to, what looks to be (as of this writing) his first Title since the Edge-Head days and sells more merchandise than anyone would have ever thought of is pretty impressive. Combine that with his development and character and mildly increased ring chemistry and you have a greatly improved star. He would be my #1 if it wasn't for...
#1 – Mark Henry
Raise your hand if you would thought in 2010 that in 2011 Mark Henry would not only be a World Heavyweight Champion but would actually be doing a pretty good job with it? Put your hand down and stop lying. No one honestly believed that. Everyone believed that Henry was well past his prime and would be lucky to even hold a Tag Team Title in 2011 much less a World Title, and a few believed he might be 'Future Endeavored'. His ring skills have improved from slow and meh, to “Bah Gawd King He broke him in half!” Is he a master in the ring? No, he's not, but he has greatly increased his promo ability, and he has redefined the term 'monster heel' for the PG Generation. Without a doubt Mark Henry is the most improved star of 2011.
Booker T (as a commentator), Daniel Bryan, Wade Barrett