Hi everyone! Every year I like to look back and go over the best & worst it had to offer. You can check out my top ten breakout stars list here. Today, I’ll be looking at (the least) 15 WWE stars; with one exception encompassing an entire show. These talents may have spent much of 2017 struggling to get airtime, or didn’t get loud enough fan reactions/pushes. Your rankings will differ and I respect that. It’s difficult to rank something which looks at negatives, so I put them in alphabetical order except for the last one.
The curse of being promoted to the main roster too soon in 2016 continues on in Apollo Crews. While others like Tyler Breeze and Baron Corbin have found some success, Crews joining Titus Worldwide has done him no favours. To put it further into context, Akira Tozawa joined the Titus Brand months after Apollo and has won a championship .. while Apollo barely gets any airtime on Raw. If you really want to see him, you’ll only find him working shows like Main Event.
She was way too good for NXT, but the problem she faced on the main roster was that her character wasn’t properly reintroduced. What made her great in NXT was it took her years to be taken seriously as a challenger for the title. It felt deserving when she did eventually win the NXT Women’s title, but the same can’t be said for when she beat Charlotte for the Raw Women’s title. She had a decent run with it, but officials noticed she wasn’t as over as they’d hoped and was soon relegated so Alexa Bliss could take over.
As a former NXT Tag Team Champion, it goes to show how low his career got since losing Alexa Bliss to the main roster. He’s literally only been seen on TV once or twice in 2017, spending most of his time working live events as a tag team with Steve Cutler.
When he & Jordan were tearing it up as American Alpha in NXT, I predicted great things for their team. I could only see them becoming one of the best tag teams in recent memory .. til Jordan showed up on Raw and announced he was Angle’s son. And while Daniel Bryan brought Shelton Benjamin in to team with Gable, they feel like an afterthought on Smackdown Live. While Gable & Benjamin struggle to get airtime, Jordan is throwing guys like Roman Reigns around. I don’t get it .. was I the only one who thought Gable was the Shawn Michaels of American Alpha?
He just hasn’t had a great year for me. Yes, he had the IC title and tag belts, but he never came close to winning a Universal or WWE Champion like the years before. I think WWE officials have soured on the idea of making him a top main event star, instead using him to enhance guys like The Miz and Shield buddies Rollins & Reigns. He needs a heel turn so bad, and he’s somehow got to prove he’s not the weak link. Til he does, he’s never going to be the star many thought he would be.
The gimmick impersonations were a desperate act to get the crowd to care. I thought it had potential, but again it seems WWE has soured on pushing him as a serious contender. Could prove me wrong by winning the US title .. but I’m not betting on it. I just think anyone who is a fan of Ziggler needs to accept the fact he may never win a world title ever again.
The injury he sustained in the match where he won the Universal title may affect the rest of his career. It seems that when he returned, officials felt like the momentum he took from NXT had long gone, so many fans couldn’t accept him as a main event star. Since returning in February he’s had several feuds, but nothings stuck out and grabbed everyone’s imagination. Even his feud with Bray Wyatt didn’t do it for me. And for months fans have asked why he hasn’t had his Universal title rematch yet .. but I got to say, based off his work this year I can see why Vince thinks he isn’t ready for Brock Lesnar.
His whole WWE career has been plagued with injuries and lackluster fan reaction. He’s one of the best, technically gifted wrestlers in all of WWE .. but it amounts to nothing if the fans don’t care. And how can anyone care when they don’t let him be heel? That’s what he’s best at. And now WWE are going to stick him on 205 Live when he couldn’t even win the NXT title? Feels like they’ve given up.
Much like his former tag team partner Blake, Murphy has spent much of 2017 struggling to get on NXT. It wasn’t til recently did he manage to find something, when he was offered to join a new stable working live events; a group consisting of Donovan Dijak, Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel. Remains to be seen if this group will find their way on to NXT TV.
For a woman of her size .. you’d expect her to have a won a title by now. She’s been with WWE three years, and despite being The Rock’s cousin, officials haven’t given her any preferential treatment. They could’ve easily put a belt on her .. but she’s not ready. And I’m not sure when she’ll ever be ready, she might end up being another Tamina Snuka at this rate. I’m not sure what needs to change for her to be taken seriously as a women’s title contender, but the longer it goes, the harder it is to believe she’s a monster in any women’s division.
No Way Jose
Last year it seemed like No Way Jose had a job for life, but in 2017 he’s been virtually unseen. He was feuding with Sanity, but was eventually replaced by Kassius Ohno. I can’t say much else .. I don’t know what happened to him.
It’s just been another one of those lackluster years. He’s been relegated to a glorified enhancement talent, having to put over Jinder Mahal several times over. He was WWE Champion, but it wasn’t well-received and didn’t hang on to it for very long. He had a brief feud with Rusev after that, for no particular reason. He was in Survivor Series, but was eliminated by Braun Strowman. It feels like Randy’s career is winding down so WWE can push the next generation.
Rusev & Lana
Umm .. yeah. So Jinder Mahal got his big push as Rusev got injured, and upon returning he refused to show up on Smackdown unless he got a WWE title shot. He was never given a title shot and showed up anyways .. to lose to Randy Orton in 10 seconds. On the other side, Lana had been separated from her husband on television. She suddenly wanted to wrestle, and soon enough she got a title shot against Naomi despite her very clear lack of ability. Not sure why WWE continues to embarrass them, but 2017 shows nothing else. I guess Rusev got his own day .. which is literally the only good thing to come out of it.
Way to go WWE .. you killed the perfect 10. Vince clearly didn’t like all the “10” chants, so he promoted Dillinger and made sure to feature him rarely so the buzz around his gimmick could die down. He was one of the most popular guys in NXT .. and his entrance in the Royal Rumble was fantastic. But what’s he done since then? Jack squat. You can only give his year a 1 out of 10.
All Of 205 Live
It’s just been one huge clusterfuck after another. Let’s just run through the roster quick ..
- Akira Tozawa – Is actually liked by the WWE Universe .. and won the title, but lost it immediately afterwards and I can’t see him recovering soon.
- Ariya Daivari – His feud with Jack Gallagher was awesome, but since then he’s been a lackey and is deserving of more.
- Brian Kendrick – He’s been one of the better workers since 205 Live was created. He did a great job with Tozawa (which should have meant Akira held the belt for a while), and is doing his best with Gallagher, but it feels like it’s not enough when WWE doesn’t use the talent he enhances properly.
- Cedric Alexander – No character, annoying entrance music, and I much preferred him in ROH. It’s like WWE took all the fire out of him.
- Drew Gulak – For a while he had nothing going for him, but he’s done good lately and deserves more than to be Enzo’s lackey.
- Gran Metalik/Lince Dorado/Kalisto – Again it shows WWE has no clue how to book luchadors not named Rey Mysterio. All of them are amazing wrestlers, but we know WWE wants promos which don’t need a translator. Kalisto can get away with it, but as much as he tributes Eddie Guerrero .. he doesn’t come anywhere near his status.
- Neville – You build a guy up for so many months as the King Of The Cruiserweights .. then have him lose the title to Enzo? It just made the entire division look weak. I don’t blame him for wanting out of contract.
- Noam Dar – Alicia Foooooooooox! That’s what he brought to 205 Live, a sleazy guy who will cheat and lie his way in to getting things. And after he & Fox split, it’s been all downhill.
- Rich Swann – Sigh .. well we all know his career is down the plug hole.
- TJP – I enjoyed his work in TNA (Manik) and in the cruiserweight classic, but as soon as he got settled in to 205 Live he wasn’t given time to show his strength, which is putting on amazing cruiserweight matches. And how many times did we have to watch Swann vs. Perkins? It felt like I was watching a repeat every week.
- Tony Nese – Huge fan of his work, and I think if anyone should be champion it should be him. 205 Live should be about pushing the best, young “athletes” in the world. Just his physique is enough to sell that, but it’s true he isn’t quite over yet.
Most impressed by Ariya Daivari and Tony Nese. The Enzo storyline is already played out, and I just want to see characters flourish without being held back by the “zo train”. Which still makes no sense .. Enzo came to 205 Live and the whole roster hated him, and then for no reason the heels offered their services? I guess he gave them a lot of money? But why would they take it if they could just take the belt off him and make more anyways?
There’s some good reasons why 205 Live has sucked all year. It’s not as much to do with the talent than it is with who writes it, and who they showcase the talent in front of. The 205 Live audience couldn’t give a flying pig who is in the ring, and if they don’t care .. why should anyone watching at home? Last week I heard a “boring” and “delete” chant for pete’s sake. It’s difficult to watch, and I don’t think Hideo Itami is going to make it much more watchable as long as they keep the show like it is. I have hope .. but it’s running out quick. Thanks for reading everyone!