For the longest time WWE was content in using its homegrown talents like John Cena, Randy Orton, Batista, and Attitude Era stars to sell its product. However, it soon became clear that sticking to this formula could only go so far as they had to revolve the product around a select few. It got stale, so many fans grew resentment towards these stars as they’d predictably end up on top more often than not.
Nowadays it’s a completely different story. How many wrestlers has WWE taken from Impact? ROH? New Japan? Other indy promotions? A ton in the past few years .. starting with Hideo Itami; so much so it feels like an invasion. Wherever you look there are guys and girls who many fans assumed would never get a shot in WWE. Not only that, but WWE made brand new divisions in NXT, 205 Live, the UK Division, and one-off tournaments like the Mae Young Classic. On every show there are talents fighting hard for higher spots.
It’s exactly what I was asking for last decade. Imagine if AJ Styles or Bobby Roode made the jump in 2009? Many talents made it to WWE late in their careers because the company flat-out said they had no interest in signing them. So what changed? Times changed. Perspectives changed. Triple H’s NXT showed Vince you can take a guy like a Samoa Joe, a Kevin Owens, a Finn Balor, or even a Japanese star like Shinsuke Nakamura and make them the focal point of your product. It can work if you give them a chance, but Vince wasn’t willing to risk it on Raw or Smackdown in front of the mainstream casual audience.
It’s been a bit crazy lately .. don’t you agree? There’s a lot going on. Whether it be quick call ups from NXT, Cena becoming a free agent, or titles changing hands all the time .. there’s so much going on it can be tough to keep up with. Isn’t it good though? That WWE is willing to be risky in its decision-making? But why is WWE trying so hard? Why is so much going on in 2017?
The reason is WWE has been in panic mode the last few years. They know they can’t rely on The Undertaker, The Rock, Triple H, John Cena, or even guys like Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton forever. They need to make new stars, and they need to do it now. Guys like AJ Styles and Bobby Roode .. they ain’t young. At over 40-years-old they need the spotlight before they start slowing down, and this is why they’ve enjoyed immediate pushes. Expect Bobby Roode to become WWE Champion by the end of 2017.
WWE has thrown everything at the wall to see who sticks. Who will get over? Who will run with the ball .. score a touchdown, and quickly intercept the ball again? WWE wants young talent like Baron Corbin to break through, but if they don’t have the skills and/or experience it’s not happening. Some young talent have enjoyed big pushes as they were given the opportunity to prove themselves. Corbin didn’t .. he stuck to it for a few months, but fell off and WWE’s not willing to throw him back for a while. What about guys like Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman? Crowd reactions ensure they stick so firmly they’ll probably be stuck forever. In my opinion, Reigns, Strowman, and AJ Styles are the only three who have done this on the main roster.
Expect more of it in the coming months. There will be plenty of stop-start pushes. We will see jobbers like Jinder Mahal winning championships out of nowhere. And while some will see it as WWE not knowing what they’re doing, I see it as WWE trying new things and being brave enough to risk themselves for the sake of creating new stars. They need it. The fans need it. The talent need it the most as it gives them chances to break through the glass ceiling and become stars overnight. This doesn’t mean Ziggler, Cesaro, or Sami Zayn are going to become WWE Champions in the next year .. but if there’s ever a time for them to break through it’s now.
What do you think? Who is sticking to the wall? Who did WWE throw at the wall who you believe should never have had the opportunity? Are any of the women getting over as much as the men? Do you think WWE management is concerned over the lack of main event superstars? Will Braun Strowman become a bigger star than Brock Lesnar? There’s so many questions I could be here all day. See this piece as a starting point to a discussion on WWE’s current rosters, and how they could change drastically in the next year. Who would you throw at the wall? And would they have a good chance of becoming legends? I’d like to hear from you on this subject. See you again! Thanks for reading.