The following is a new feature here at eWrestlingNews.com, “Top 10.” . Every week we will choose a topic, such as today’s topic, “Misused Talents In WWE Today,” and count them down from ten to one. If any readers would like to contribute ideas for future Top 10 lists, simply submit them in the “Comments” section at the bottom of the article.
Without further ado, here are the eWrestlingNews.com selections for the top 10 misused talents in WWE today:
#10. CM Punk
While many view CM Punk as a top WWE Superstar already, one could argue that he is still being misused by the company. Punk arguably established himself as a top act with his now infamous “pipe bomb” promo on WWE RAW back in June of 2011. At the time, that five-or-six minutes of microphone-work garnered interest among fans who hadn’t viewed the product in ages. Simply put, Punk brought back a generation of fans who had given up on the PG-based product, and gave them a reason to tune back in to the USA Network every Monday night. Personally, I know every Monday night, on a three-hour show, the one thing I look forward to the most is CM Punk standing in the middle of the ring with a microphone in his hand. Now that Paul Heyman is back and doing his thing, there are two things I look forward to every Monday night. With Heyman seemingly out of the picture at the moment, I’m back to one. Regardless, the initial pipe-bomb is now over two years old. Can you honestly say that the company got behind CM Punk at a level equivalent to the interest he received for finding a way to be cutting edge in the kid-friendly WWE environment? Punk is a top star, no doubt, but one could make a strong argument that CM Punk should be the primary focus of WWE instead of John Cena. So while Punk isn’t misused as terribly as others, he still makes the list. The only real question in my mind, is should he be higher on this list?
#9. Titus O’Neil
Here’s a guy who should be making “millions of dollars, millions of dollars.” Unfortunately, like you’ll see with many on this list, he’s stuck in an act that has a small ceiling for success. The Prime Time Players can only go so far. Better yet, tag-teams in general can only go so far. And within the tag-team ranks in WWE these days, which is almost non-existent, the act that he is a part of isn’t even near the top of the list. However, when I see The Prime Time Players work, I’m drawn to O’Neil. Back in the Attitude Era, when the Nation Of Domination would come to the ring, you would always say, “that guy!” when seeing The Rock standing out next to a group of talented performers. Now don’t get me wrong. O’Neil is no Dwayne Johnson. Not even close. But the guy has the tools to be a breakout performer in the company. He’s got the size, which they love. He’s got the look, which is another thing they love. And in the ring, simply put, the guy can work. Especially for a big guy. It will be very interesting to see if O’Neil ever gets a chance to “run with the ball” on any level. First things first, he needs to break away from the tag-team division. Whether or not WWE ever gives him that opportunity, remains to be seen. One would think it’s inevitable, but many things that seem obvious in WWE never come to fruition.
#8. Wade Barrett
Once again, he’s got the size and the look, but where the hell is he? Sure, he’s been plagued by visa issues and things that are out of his control. However, when he is around, where’s his shot? For a while, many reports surfaced that claimed WWE was going to get behind the original NXT star. From where I’m sitting, that never really happened. Considering the amount of overseas tours WWE has every calendar year, one would think they would want a top act that has ties to the United Kingdom. One that isn’t named Sheamus, and only really pushed because he’s buddies with the boss’s son in law, and the COO of WWE. Wade Barrett has star written all over him. In addition to the size and the look, he can cut a good promo. His work in the ring is snug, and easy to enjoy. Yet you’d be hard-pressed to tell me the last time Barrett got a legitimate top-tier opportunity from the company. His aforementioned U.K. counter-part, Sheamus, has received more opportunities than I can count on two hands. Example: when was the last time Wade Barrett won a WWE Championship in under a minute at a WrestleMania pay-per-view?
#7. Damien Sandow
Who doesn’t love Damien Sandow? It’s somewhat rare to have a cheesy gimmick and get over in spite of it. And usually when you do, you are rewarded by being offered additional opportunities. Anyone remember the original Hunter Hearst Helmsley? Almost the same gimmick. Over-privileged, better-than-you, snob-type. Sandow is basically the same thing. And he’s over like rover with the die-hard fans. He has Mick Foley singing his praises on a regular basis. It seemed as though winning the Money In The Bank briefcase was going to be Sandow’s opportunity to become a World Champion, and rise to that “next level” in WWE. Instead, as we all witnessed on Monday night, that was simply used as a building block to once again point out how John Cena can overcome the odds. Basically, it did nothing for Cena, and didn’t do anything but hurt Sandow. There was a time when a Damien Sandow vs. Cody Rhodes grudge match on pay-per-view could have been a great thing. That was squandered as well. Let’s hope Sandow’s future in WWE doesn’t suffer the same fate.
#6. Brodus Clay
What really needs to be said here? We’ll go with the obvious. The vignettes building up the debut of this guy made him out to be the next killing machine coming into WWE. Within weeks, he was reduced to goofy ass dancing, pointless cheerleaders by his side, and an equally ruined gimmick downgraded into his tag-team partner, the four of which make up “Tons Of Funk.” More like tons of wasted potential. The guy is a monster, yet he’s being used in a role where he’s basically supposed to make an ass out of himself for the amusement of little kids. Hey, that’s the climate in WWE these days, what is one to do? Make the best of it, cash your paycheck, and head to the next town, all-the-while keeping your mouth shut. Hopefully Clay is doing just that, so that one day maybe we’ll get to see what could have been.
#5. Kofi Kingston
There was one point in time where Kofi Kingston was being groomed for a top spot in the company. That seems like light years ago today, when in all actuality, it wasn’t that long ago. Other than slipping on a car one time, I can’t really figure out what the guy did wrong to be shoved back down the card so far. You never know what goes on behind-the-scenes in WWE, but in the scenes that play out on television every week, Kingston manages to get a mega-reaction every time his music hits, and can out-perform all but a few wrestlers on the current roster. This is all basically in spite of the way he is used on television, as I can’t even remember the last time WWE has done anything to feature this guy, or advance his character in any way. It seems as though his role in the company is to get a big pop when he comes out, have great matches, and be a stepping-stone for acts that are being shoved to the top of the card. The guy does a good job of that, without question, but with such a light main event roster in the company these days, what could it hurt to give this guy another crack at the big time?
#4. Zack Ryder
How many people can you name in WWE that have gotten themselves over more on their own, with nothing given to them, than Zack Ryder? One could argue Ryder single-handedly started the “social media revolution” that WWE boasts on a regular basis. His old YouTube series was viewed by tons of fans. His Twitter account has as many, or more, followers than main event acts currently in WWE right now. According to past reports, his merchandise is among the top 5 most-sold in the company. To borrow a phrase from The Great One, “what in the blue hell” does Ryder have to do to get a legitimate opportunity from WWE? He’s got a ton of over-catchphrases, when the bell rings, he can get it done, and he has the always important “look.” I’m not sure what’s missing, and I bet if WWE management were asked the same question, they would have a hard time answering it. Well, at least with a straight-face.
#3. Antonio Cesaro
Can anyone tell me what the hell this guy is still doing in a heel act? Can you name someone in the company, outside of Daniel Bryan and the “Yes!” chant (more on that later), that has a bigger babyface gimmick than Antonio Cesaro and the “giant swing?” That one spot alone should have shown WWE that the guy should not be in a heel tag-team anymore. The guy can speak a zillion different languages, he’s probably pound-for-pound the strongest wrestler in the company (sorry Mark Henry, rule of thumb: heavyweights rarely make pound-for-pound lists, let-alone super-heavyweights), and I can’t count how many times I’ve received live event reports that stated Cesaro had by-far the best match on the card. He doesn’t have the greatest look in the world, but he has all of the other ingredients that is required of a top performer, yet he’s stuck in a gimmick-based tag-team with a mouth-piece. Fortunately for Cesaro, I can’t fathom WWE not capitalizing on the giant swing and breaking him apart from The Real Americans, although he might be in danger of being labeled a comedy act because of it. That’s just assuming WWE decides to base everything about Antonio Cesaro around that one move. In the end, will it do more good or bad for the bilingual brawler?
#2. Dolph Ziggler
It’s shocking to me that a guy as talented as Dolph Ziggler is positioned where he is in modern day WWE. Ziggler is arguably the best worker in the company, and certainly one of the most impressive bump-takers. When he finally won the World Heavyweight Championship, it was one of the most passion-filled crowd responses I’d heard in a long time in WWE. However, all of that meant nothing because he made a couple of comments in an interview, and rubs a few people the wrong way in the company. John Cena rubs millions of people the wrong-way, yet he has been force-fed down the throats of WWE fans for years. CM Punk speaks his mind in interviews all of the time, and rubs many the wrong way as well, yet he is so talented, he can’t be denied. I guess Ziggler needs to find a way to scare WWE into doing something with him, the same way Punk did in mid-2011. Otherwise, I don’t know what else he can do that he isn’t already doing, or hasn’t already done, to get a shot as a top act in the company.
#1. Daniel Bryan
Yes. Yes. Yes, I went with the obvious. I went with the current guy who is being screwed the most by WWE. You know a guy is being misused when he got over on his own, managed to become the hottest act in the company without much assistance, and is rewarded by being booked basically in a way to try and get him back in the middle. Don’t give me any of this crap about getting the fans to rally behind the underdog. Because they did. In droves. And they still went with Randy Orton on top. He took a single three-letter word used by a crazy UFC veteran and turned it into a global phenomenon. He made “Yes!” the modern day version of Steve Austin’s “What?” and was still booked in a manner that told fans what they want doesn’t matter. It’s 2013, and Vince McMahon still “knows what we want more than we do.” Or so he thinks. Unfortunately, the company did everything in their power to point out Bryan’s flaws, while putting over his talent, and tried to convince fans that they were only chanting “Yes!” because it’s fun. They were only cheering for Bryan because there was nobody else to cheer for. Obviously that is total b.s. Bryan has been as hot the last few months as any top babyface in recent memory. And that’s saying a lot. Yet, WWE doesn’t like him. At least not as the “face of the company.” Remember boys and girls with dreams of becoming a future WWE Champion, don’t worry about your in-ring work, your microphone work, or your passion for the business. Try and work on having a good looking face, a nice tan, and big muscles. It’s 1980 all over again. WWE learned nothing from the 1990s, or CM Punk and Daniel Bryan would probably be the top two acts in the company. Instead, we’ve got another several years of the Eminem of pro wrestling to look forward to. Word life.
What do you, the fans of eWrestlingNews.com think of the aforementioned list? Share your thoughts, and your own lists in the “Comments” section directly below.