5 Underused Main Roster WWE Talents – October 2015 Edition
At any given time, the WWE main roster is made up of at least fifty or more wrestlers with only about half to two-thirds of them receiving featured television time. Considering the main roster has five hours of prime time television to fill each week, it seems strange that some of the low card and mid card talent can exist without any major angles or barely receive any television time at all. Today I’m going to look at five main roster talents that are underused and try to suggest possible ways they could be used better.
Bear in mind, I watched the “Attitude Era” as it happened, and that was probably one of the best times for every level of talent on the roster having their own feuds and story lines.
Agree? Disagree? Think someone else is underused? Fire off in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Honorable Mention – Natalya
I originally had Natalya on this list, but due to the recent developments with the Paige heel turn (?) on Team PCB, Nattie has been getting some screen time on Raw and SmackDown. While I’m not wild about the way she’s being used, at least she’s back on TV in a wrestling capacity. She had languished for some time as Cesaro and Tyson Kidd’s valet and after Kidd’s injury earlier this year, more or less disappeared from WWE TV.
How She Could Be Used More Effectively: I still think the most effective way to use her, Paige, and Emma would be to team them up as Team Disillusionment. Paige’s character is clearly cast as being offended by the NXT call-ups overshadowing her. Emma could be cast as a past NXT call-up that got herself in trouble and demoted back down to developmental after a terrible gimmick on the main roster. Natalya’s motivations could be that she’s been there for years and hasn’t been given the same chances as Charlotte, Becky, Sasha, etc. and also got looked over during the Total Divas era of the division. Obvious, and somewhat likely based on real life motivations for a team. Natalya can clearly go in the ring as her match versus Charlotte at NXT was a past benchmark for a great women’s wrestling match before Sasha and Bayley raised that bar this summer. There’s no real good reason for her to not be a major part of the “Diva revolution”.
5. Bo Dallas
Bo Dallas was the second longest reigning NXT champion to date. While his gimmick in developmental was quite ridiculous, I caught the tail end of his reign on NXT and he was a legit-looking champion. Imagine my shock when I see him being used on the main roster as a comedy jobber. I get that the “BO-lieve” gimmick is ridiculous and can see why it wouldn’t be taken seriously on the main roster, but it seems to be a waste of otherwise good talent. Bo showed in NXT that he can go in the ring and, when not restricted to an over-the-top “positive guy gimmick” he can hold his own on the mic as well.
How He Could Be Used More Effectively: So, what would I like to see WWE do with him? Well, if you’re going to stick with the sarcastic “positivity” gimmick, make him associated with the New Day in some capacity. That alignment has been teased a few times on TV, but the trigger was never really pulled on him being permanently aligned with them.
Of course, the elephant in the room is that Bo is the real life brother of Bray Wyatt. Have Bo take some time off TV to grow some facial hair and reintroduce him as a new Wyatt Family member. He’s strong enough on the mic to rival his brother’s rantings and I feel that is something that could really work to reinvent Bo Dallas as a TV character. I thought they might be baby-stepping in this direction when Bo grew facial hair and then got decimated by Brock Lesnar and “snapped” as a result, but like most things on the undercard, it’s never been followed up on.
4. The Ascension
This is another head scratcher for me. The Ascension were booked as a force of nature in NXT during their tag team title run. Hardly anyone got in anything edge-wise on them there and they were unstoppable. They were then promoted to the main roster and instantly treated as a complete joke. They were buried by the announce team and failed to gain any traction in a relatively sparse tag team division. I don’t understand the logic of building these guys up as monsters in developmental and then debuting them by “upgrading” their look to be more ridiculous and have them do nothing of any significance but become fixtures on WWE Main Event or WWE Superstars.
How They Could Be Used More Effectively: Well, if WWE insists on keeping them booked with the face paint gimmick, hooking them up with Stardust was a step in the right direction. However, they really need to do *something* notable with Stardust other than just be his heaters in a never-ending feud with Neville and the Lucha Dragons. Clearly The Ascension were over with the NXT crowd and they could be a power tag team, ala Demolition, etc. if used correctly. Konnor and Viktor have tagged together long enough they actually have decent in-ring chemistry. I’d say, take them off of TV whenever the Stardust alliance peters out and reintroduce them without the “Legion of Doom 2015” look as just two strong guys who can be an effective tag team. It couldn’t fare any worse with the fans than a vaguely Illuminati-inspired tag team who spout off vague references to the Mad Max cinematic universe.
3. Wade Barrett
Wade Barrett’s current run as “King Barrett” has done him no favors. Barrett is a guy who debuted on the main roster as part of the Nexus faction and looked like he had a bright future ahead of him. His “Bad News” Barrett gimmick had started to get him over with the fans when a poorly timed shoulder injury took him out of action. He came back but the “so ridiculous it was amazing” elevated podium and most of his “Bad News” persona was gone. He did win the cursed Intercontinental title, but immediately got wrapped up in a ridiculous story line where the contenders all kept stealing his belt from each other. He was forced into a multiple wrestler ladder match at WrestleMania, instead of a one on one match, which was won by Daniel Bryan. Bryan promptly got injured and Barrett’s scheduled one on one match for Fastlane 2015 was canceled and he was demoted to a match with Neville on the pre-show. Barrett followed this up by winning the hastily thrown together “King of the Ring” tournament, but for whatever reason the tournament winner was booked into a comedy role. Barrett feuded with R Truth, who wore a Burger King crown and carried a toilet plunger as a scepter, and it was awful. Now known as “King” Barrett, he inexplicably formed an alliance with Stardust to face Neville and actor Stephen Amell at SummerSlam – which his team lost. Barrett was reintroduced a few weeks ago with a slightly more toned down “King” gimmick but so far no real direction has been given to his character.
How He Could Be Used More Effectively: Obviously, some of the dark times Barrett has seen on the main roster were due to bad timing or injury – neither things he or the writers could control. If anything, his King of the Ring victory should have been used more like Steve Austin’s victory; a talking point to show that he won a tournament and has been elevated a bit in the WWE power rankings. I don’t think using the King of the Ring tournament as a comedy gimmick is something that really works to anyone’s benefit. At the very least, it definitely didn’t help Barrett get back over with the crowd. Also, it would help him a lot to not lose nearly every match he has on TV. I get why fifty-fifty booking is bad, but Barrett’s losing streak in 2015 was getting pretty comical at times. He’s talented in the ring and, as his “Bad News” gimmick showed, given the right material can be an effective talker.
Adrian Neville was the longest reigning NXT champion. His gimmick on NXT consisted of “guy who can do all sorts of crazy high-flying moves and doesn’t talk much”. For some reason, when promoted to the main roster, he dropped the “Adrian”, gained a cape, and became a superhero. Because… I have no idea. Since then he’s had some decent showings; most notably a U.S. Title match with John Cena and making it to the finals of the aforementioned King of the Ring tournament. But, since then he’s been in a holding pattern, mainly wasting away on the pre-shows of Pay Per Views and getting a token appearance (usually with the Lucha Dragons) on Raw or SmackDown. Neville was never the strongest guy on the mic in NXT, but he’s had almost zero mic time since being on the main roster. The handful of times I can remember him talking were on Raw and SmackDown “fallout” videos posted on WWE.com.
How He Could Be Used More Effectively: I think he could easily factor into the United States title hunt since his match with Cena was not bad. Or, Hell, have him challenge Kevin Owens for the Intercontinental title. Even with zero build, I’d much rather watch Owens and Neville in a seventeen minute match than see the “rematch” of Owens and Ryback we’re getting in a few weeks. If they’re reluctant to pull the trigger on Neville due to his mic skills, I’m not sure how they expect him to improve by giving him no talking segments. Sending him back to NXT is another option, but if they go that route it’s imperative that when he hits the main roster again the cape and superhero gimmick have to go. The superhero thing has exactly zero legs post-Stardust and is a gimmick that would likely destroy any steam his in-ring work could build for him.
1. Adam Rose
Talk about a guy that cannot catch a break. I missed his run on NXT as Leo Kruger but picked up right around the time that the Adam Rose character debuted. The character got over huge at NXT but did not translate well to the main roster. Instead of tweaking it or trying to figure out why, they just let Rose sort of stagnate. The character then became a jerk and lost his entourage. Then randomly was only around to make out with Rosa Mendes for no reason. Now, Rose is back as a “party pooper” which means he just says “poop” a lot and has only appeared on TV a few times in, basically, cameo spots.
How He Could Be Used More Effectively: Kill the Adam Rose gimmick. Give him either a more “real life” gimmick or bring back a version of the Kruger character. After his appearance on the ESPN 60 thing you had a total “good guy” babyface just waiting to happen. People *wanted* to root for the guy after seeing that, but it was another missed opportunity. I saw an internet rumor a while back saying he was going to join the Wyatts in a version of his Kruger character. Even that would be better than the “party pooper”. He’s clearly a talented guy that has tried his best to make lemonade out of the lemons the WWE has saddled him with, but, he seems like the most wasted talent on the roster right now as far as I’m concerned.