Hi folks! Today, we’re looking at 5 WWE Superstars who are killing it with their characters. Please know that this is a highly subjective list and everyone has their preferences. This isn’t about who has the best wrestling skills, or measuring popularity, but the creativity and execution of characters the superstars bring to television. Naturally, I will not be including Bray Wyatt because he hasn’t been back long enough. Here are some honorable mentions likely to fit into anyone’s top 5.
Brock Lesnar: The sheer volume of charisma oozing from the man we once hated for holding titles hostage has become one of WWE’s most entertaining characters. It speaks to his natural ability and experience that he can switch from a “beast” to a “fun-loving cowboy” at the flick of a switch. His only downfall is the infrequency of his appearances, otherwise I’m positive that cowboy Brock would be a smash hit every week for WWE.
Rhea Ripley: I recently quizzed our social media followers on who they thought the best characters are in the women’s division’s of WWE’s main roster. I did this purposely because, while looking through its roster, I struggled to find any standouts.
For whatever reason, WWE has developed no intriguing characters for women outside of NXT. Two names sprung up more than others, and the top heel was Rhea Ripley. Since joining Judgment Day, she has probably been the focus of the group. I can’t imagine the stable without her, and even more so with including the dynamic with Dominik Mysterio.
Bianca Belair: While some babyface champions struggle to maintain support, Bianca Belair has done this, not only with her match performances, but by being herself. She retains much of what got her through the NXT ranks, but is doing so with a calm confidence that resonates with many. There’s more to Belair, though, and I know this, having seen what she can do as a heel. For now, she is a tame character doing what she has to, but someday she could be unleashed if WWE pushes her to the limit.
Jey Uso: I remember a time when Jey was the cool one, while Jimmy was the hothead. This has flipped recently, with Roman Reigns establishing him as one since childhood. However, this didn’t come about until a certain ‘Honorary Uce’ got into The Bloodline mix. The dynamic has made for some intriguing, longer term storytelling transcending Vince McMahon’s creative direction into Triple H’s. Could he cross the line and be punished by The Bloodline? Or possibly even kicked out?
Roman Reigns: I found it difficult to place the ‘Head Of The Table’ in the top 5, purely because of his inactivity and tendency to palm promos off on others. Whatever you think of him, though, he has come a long way since the days of “Sufferin’ Succotash”. And yes, many are sick of him being champion, but that’s what heels do. You’re not supposed to enjoy his title reign. Fingers crossed that he one day puts someone over, so all the wins and character development doesn’t go to waste.
#5. Kevin Owens
The moment Triple H took over as the head of creative, the real Kevin Owens returned. Funny. Intense. Passionate. Motivated. These are just a few words to describe the greatness of Kevin Owens when he’s let loose with a microphone. It doesn’t matter if he’s playing a babyface or heel, he makes you feel something.
I especially enjoyed when he cut a promo on Austin Theory about proving himself. It reminded me of the days when Mick Foley would reach deep down within himself to cut scathing promos on those serving injustice. There are few guys in WWE who can go to the level Kevin Owens can, so now that he’s being allowed to be the character we know he can be, his career is rejuvenated. We all benefit whether or not you like him.
#4. Chad Gable
“Shoosh” isn’t what got him here alone. It’s his newfound confidence. Back in NXT, and even more so during his early years on the main roster, we knew Chad Gable as nothing more than a great technical wrestler. If you wanted a solid match, send Gable. That’s all he was good for, but there are many guys who can do that. What few achieve in their careers is playing a character that buries itself so under the skin of the masses.
Gable has found something that is getting him over more so than any of his matches have. That’s the nature of the business. Fans want to connect to characters. Shorty G was a massive flop, and it took a long time to get back any semblance of confidence. I’m happy for him, because his wrestling skills should be seen, and I was worried that WWE would release him a couple of years ago. That’s never happening now. Gable is a lifer because of this character.
#3. Seth Rollins
I cannot stand the ‘Freakin’ nickname, but the character Seth Rollins crafted can be stacked up against anyone in the business. I love the laugh, and his voice is like someone scratching their nails on a chalkboard (showing my age here). What he’s getting into more, since Triple H took over, is going the extra mile to get heat. With Matt Riddle, for example, he referenced the real-life issues he has with his family. The personal touch is something Rollins is getting right, and it makes his feuds more dimensional than others.
Having him win the United States title shows he’s still a valuable player, although he doesn’t really need it to be a success. His character stands well enough on its own that adding a title to the mix is a bonus. A long time ago, Rollins was all about winning championships. That’s what defined him. There wasn’t much to him other than that. Now, he has become more to where he compliments the titles, and not the other way around. We should recognize that Seth Rollins’ character work and match performances makes him arguably the best heel in WWE.
#2. The Miz
I remember his debut and early years. As somebody who cared so little for The Miz for many years, it pleases me to say that he is finally Hall of Fame worthy. Many would have said it years ago, but for me, I needed him to put the pieces together. Now, even as a notorious heel, he makes entertaining television with anybody WWE puts him against. Take Dexter Lumis, for example. Had he stalked anybody other than the Miz, would it have been as effective? I doubt it. It’s The Miz’s selling that has gotten Lumis over since his main roster debut.
Add in Maryse, and you’ve got a boatload of envious fans wishing they were him. I particularly enjoy self deprecating gimmicks that encourage ridicule, like The Miz having “massive balls”. It’s a rare delight. And The Miz has become a unique performer with outstanding range. I still don’t care for his performances in the ring, but at least he more than makes up for it outside. It has taken me sixteen years to admit… but The Miz is awesome. Yeah, I’m not feeling well now.
#1. Sami Zayn
Does anyone remember what he was like in NXT? Or how bland he was upon arriving on the main roster back in 2015? Is he even the same guy? I’m struggling to put them together. I’d gladly erase my memory of what he was before. It took a while, but this character gradually took root. He did this by being persistently professional with whatever he was given by WWE. He was obnoxious and certified deluded, but he made it his own. There was always something conspiring against him, although it was usually in his head.
Something clicked during the Johnny Knoxville feud, leading into WrestleMania. Sami Zayn figured out what he needs to do to get over. He’s expressive. He knows what to say to make you feel. Not only that, but he brings more out of everyone he works with. Take his brief partnership with Brock Lesnar, for example. He wanted so much to be friends, while knowing how much of a beast Lesnar is. Few could stand toe to toe with Brock without getting nervous. He reveled in the opportunity to work with him, and I could tell that they both enjoyed it.
And it’s a similar deal with The Bloodline. Normally, a character like Sami’s wouldn’t fit in a stable like this, but he’s found a way in. He’s making it work, and the fans appreciate the effort. They reward him by popping anytime he looks to share his opinion. He turned a stable full of gold and seriousness into one that accepts those outside The Bloodline. Does he seriously believe he is part of the family now? Has he infiltrated the group to destroy it from within? Has Jey Uso seen what he’s doing before the rest? Or is he being deadly serious? Has Sami Zayn officially found his true calling? A family who can accept him for who he is. Through his positives and faults, Sami’s character development is unmatched in WWE. Everyone else take notes… this 20-year veteran is leading the way.
As I said earlier, this is a highly subjective list. Please share your top 3 (or more if you like) in the comments below. Before I round this up, I want to point out that nobody in SmackDown’s women’s division caught my eye. WWE has a lot of work to do there! I’m hoping somebody steps up under Triple H’s creative direction. Thanks for reading!