WWE is home to some of the most talented performers in the world of wrestling. However, talent unfortunately doesn’t always mean success. Sometimes, even the best grapplers get swept under the ring, kept backstage, or are put a position on the card they simply don’t deserve to be in. It’s happened all too often over the years, and it’s sadly still going on today. But which WWE personnel’s skills are most going to waste? Here are my Top 10 Most Underutilised Talents in WWE.
For this list, I’ll be ranking performers based on how much I believe they have to offer WWE in comparison to how well the company is actually using them.
I’ve decided not to include any members of the NXT roster, as it is hard to judge developmental talents whilst they are still learning and trying to find their character, and measuring how much somebody is being utilised on NXT compared to the main roster can be difficult due to the fact that not even the yellow brand’s biggest stars (e.g. Shinsuke Nakamura) appear on a weekly basis. Also, I have not included anybody who is currently injured as they cannot be utilised at all.
10. Renee Young
Renee Young is easily one of the best members of the WWE announce team: she’s charming; injects her personality into her work whilst still remaining professional; very well liked; and one of the most proficient talkers. Admittedly, Renee does have a very admirable role in WWE, hosting both Raw and Smackdown’s post-shows, as well as every PPVs pre and post-shows, however, Young’s place in the company is definitely on the main show, not before or after it. Anybody who has listened to her brief run as an NXT commentator back in 2013, or her time commentating Superstars in 2014 will know that she’s so at home and full of character behind that announce table. Frankly, it’s baffling to think that her talents are being wasted slightly whilst the likes of David Otunga still somehow manage to keep their commentary headsets on. I’m sure Renee is more than happy with her current job role in WWE, and who wouldn’t be, yet in time, I hope we get to see her sit behind that announce table once again.
9. The Ascension
There was a time when The Ascension were actually good. Remember that? Before the face paint, the Road Warrior insults, and before they got addicted to jobbing, The Ascension were booked as the most dominant force in NXT. No gimmicks, no silly facial drawings, no feuds with The New Age Outlaws, they just went to the ring and destroyed everything in their path. They were arguably at one point the most popular team on the brand, but none of that mattered when they eventually debuted for the main roster where they instantly lost all credibility, spouting out insults from 30 years ago, and sporting face paint from the same era too. The Ascension are well in line for a future endeavouring if WWE don’t strip away the ridiculous gimmicks, and have them return to the brutal, no-nonsense force they once were.
8. Drew Gulak
I was originally considering including the entire cruiserweight division on here, as so far they’ve not been given quite the amount of in-ring time that they deserve, however I decided against it due to the recent announcement of 205 Live, a brand new cruiserweight exclusive WWE Network show that will no doubt greatly help display the in-ring abilities of this incredible talent pool. Instead, I’ve chosen to focus on one particular cruiserweight that has had a lot of exposure so far on Raw, NXT, and in the CWC, yet hasn’t been given the time or opportunity to exhibit his true capabilities.
Drew Gulak is one of the most technically sound wrestlers in the world – his knowledge and execution of submissions is world class (he’s even innovated a couple in his time), and his transitions are seamless. Gulak is able trap his opponent in a Gory Special, then also lock in a tight sleeper whilst still bending his opponents spine, and then converting it into a variation on the Boston Crab – it is one of the most painfully beautiful series of moves I have ever witnessed.
If Gulak was given a one-on-one match on Monday Night Raw, even if it was just for five minutes, he would be guaranteed to show the WWE Universe something they’ve never seen before. If possible, I urge you track down one of Gulak’s independent matches, you will not be disappointed. He shouldn’t be seen as an afterthought in the cruiserweight division, or just simply that guy who teams with Tony Nese sometimes; he should be a technically sound heel that destroys the most beloved cruiserweights, using vicious strikes, underhanded tactics, and his lethal Dragon Sleeper. Hopefully, 205 Live will give Drew the chance to show the world what he can do, and in time, his talents will earn him that gorgeous Cruiserweight Championship.
One of the best things to happen as a result of the brand extension this year is the increased time and exposure available to some of WWE’s lesser-used talents. Whilst people like Heath Slater, Naomi, and Bo Dallas are benefiting from the separate shows, some are still being denied the screen time they rightly deserve. Case in point – Breezango.
Now, I’m not expecting this duo to suddenly embark on a record-breaking tag team title run, or reinvent the art of tag team wrestling, all I expect from them is to be entertaining, something which they are basically guaranteed to do, if only they were given a chance. Tyler Breeze’s abilities have been severely wasted ever since he stepped foot on the main roster, and although Fandango has never really quite gotten any momentum going since he debuted (apart from when Fandangoing was a thing for literally one week), his chemistry with Prince Pretty is undeniable. As we saw in his days in NXT, Tyler Breeze is capable of putting on one hell of a match, and I’m sure his skills would easily translate to the world of tag team wrestling. It’s baffling why with quite a limited roster size, Smackdown are still refusing to use two talents that have some of the most potential on the whole brand.
Hopefully, their new fashion police gimmick, and having a place in a match at Survivor Series, will lead to bigger and better things for the duo. I’m positive if given the opportunity, they could easily be one of the most entertaining parts of Smackdown, or WWE in general, and their tickets for crimes against fashion could easily become SD Live’s equivalent of The List of Jericho. Besides, I need more super-good looking guys dressed in multi-coloured fur on my TV screen.
6. Gallows and Anderson
When Gallows and Anderson made their WWE debut earlier this year, it was monumental news. Two of New Japan’s biggest stars defecting to Vinny Mac’s House of Graps despite their huge success as part of The Bullet Club. The fact Gallows and Anderson debuted immediately on the main roster, kayfabe last names intact, by destroying arguably one of WWE’s biggest tag teams was a sure-fire sign that the company had big plans for The Good Brothers. Surely with the amount of hype, excitement, and name value they brought with them to WWE, it was only a matter of time before the two would destroy the entire tag division, and be the ones to finally dethrone The New Day…right?…
Well, not so much. To many fans disappoint, WWE’s hottest new tag team has ran into a bit of a cold patch as of late, stringing up an unfortunate series of losses. It must be pointed out that Gallows and Anderson have always been in a rivalry since they made their debut back in April, they have appeared on every single PPV since then, and they were made to look dominant throughout the majority of their feud with the current tag team champions, so their exposure and place in the division is nothing to be sniffed at. However, it can’t be denied that Gallows and Anderson deserve to be booked as monster heels that can mow down everything in their path, rather than jobbing to Enzo Amore in a Trick or Street Fight.
Even if the present for this team isn’t as bright as their former Bullet Club days, we all must remain optimistic, and I’m sure in time, once Demolition’s tag team championship record has been broken, we will see gold around Gallows and Anderson’s waists once again.
Cesaro is considered so underrated at this point that it’s hard to even say he’s underrated anymore. It’s been said numerous times how incredible Cesaro is in the ring. His technical wrestling skills, athletic ability, and unbelievable strength are all contenders for best in the world. Simply put, it would not surprise me if it turned out that the Swiss Superman isn’t actually human. What’s more, a part of Cesaro’s expansive bag of tricks that genuinely is underrated is his global appeal. Being able to put on a great match will always get you fans, after all, in-ring talent can be understood in any language, yet luckily for Cesaro, he also speaks five of them. WWE’s bookers may not think Cesaro has much of a wide appeal, yet I can’t think of a more globally captivating figure than a man who can cut an entertaining promo in multiple languages, and then step between the ropes and steal the show.
Unlike some people on this list, Cesaro has been given multiple mid-card and tag team title opportunities and victories over the years, and it is rare that we don’t see him on our TV screens. His position in the company is something many would crave to have, thus he can’t be placed too highly on the list. Regardless though, Cesaro is still one of the best wrestlers in the world, and one of the most deserving world champions in WWE in my opinion.
4. Bray Wyatt
The fact Bray Wyatt has never had a one-on-one world title match is a crime, or any one-on-one title match at all for that matter. Despite his lack of championship opportunities, and his appalling habit of losing matches, it can’t be denied that Wyatt has been involved in some monumental rivalries and moments in his time, with the likes of The Rock, Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Daniel Bryan, and Randy Orton. So for somebody who has been booked in such high profile events with some of the biggest names in the business to still be considered underutilised clearly shows how talented Bray is and how much more he has to offer this company. He manages to effortlessly blend together a fantastic moveset, surprising athleticism, and captivating theatre every time that bell rings, yet he is still being denied the huge push he truly deserves.
WWE have the new Undertaker on their hands, but unfortunately, they seem to be too fixated on burying him alive.
3. Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn is a future world champion. He has everything it takes to be one of the company’s biggest stars, if WWE decide to take advantage of what he has to offer that is, something which they are definitely not doing at the moment.
Yes, he has had a high profile, fantastic, compelling feud with Kevin Owens that is bound to carry on and go down in the wrestling history books as one of the best of all time, but what else? What else has Sami been given? One feud doesn’t make an entire career. Even when Sami had the briefest of quarrels with Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens was still the central reason for the entire thing. And whilst Kevin Owens has deservedly risen to the top of the mountain, Sami has unfortunately slipped down quite a few feet.
Apart from his upcoming intercontinental title match at Survivor Series, Sami hasn’t really been given much to work with over the last few months, and on occasion, he hasn’t been used at all. From time to time, WWE will rely on Sami to put on show-stealing matches, such as his battles with Cesaro and his match of the year candidate with Nakamura, yet it doesn’t seem like they can rely on him to be a champion any time soon. Even though he only made his permanent transition to the main roster this year, with his likeability, popularity, and wrestling ability, Sami Zayn is primed and ready for a run with that big red belt, or at least be involved in the title picture. There’s still time for WWE to take advantage of the talent they have on their hands, which I’m positive they will at some point, yet for now, Sami remains one of the most underutilised performers in the company.
Neville is one of the most gifted athletes in all of wrestling, yet seeing him on our TV screens is a rare sight these days. Despite his surprising inhuman strength, capability of putting on a damn-good match with anyone, and his ability to defy gravity, Neville ironically cannot get his feet off the ground. This incredible high-flyer hasn’t had one major one-on-one feud since his days in NXT, back when everything seemed bright for this potential star. Unfortunately, his main roster run has been disappointing at best, filled with losses and little all else. Considering he’s one of the most gifted competitors in WWE, Neville should be on his way to a world title run, so his position at the bottom of the card is bewildering. Even if he was added to the budding cruiserweight division to give it a little more established star power, at least it would be something. Even if gold isn’t in the man from Newcastle’s future, the least WWE can do is actually start putting him on television regularly again where he belongs. Frankly, having a man who is capable of doing something as captivating as the Red Arrow being kept off TV doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.
The Man That Gravity Forgot? More like The Man That WWE Creative Forgot.
- Luke Harper
Luke Harper is one of the most unique performers in WWE, and in my opinion, the most underutilised. Even Big Match John himself has gone on record to say that he believes Harper is one of the most underrated stars in the place that his face runs. The reason why he tops my list is because the possibility of a world title run is still a visible sight in the futures of the likes of Sami and Bray, yet there currently seems to be no chance for this Wyatt Family member to break from his leader’s shackles, and rise to the top. With his impressive size, unexpected athletic ability, in-ring work, and distinctive look, Harper has everything it takes to be one of the most dominant, destructive forces in WWE.
Picture the scene: the Wyatt Family has grown back to four members, and its leader, Bray Wyatt, is world champion. He has been unstoppable for months due to his followers protecting him, when suddenly, one of his sheep leaves the flock. From out of nowhere, Luke Harper turns on his former-leader, challenges him for the title, and beats him in convincing fashion to become the champion, and the new leader of the family. This monstrous cult leader rains down terror upon WWE, decimating everyone in his path with his over-bearing size, brutality, and supporters.
No matter how he does it, Luke Harper must at some point break out away from Bray in order to become the dominating behemoth that he is clearly capable of being. At the very least, WWE needs to give him more chances to put on tremendous matches that we all know he is able to do (as seen with his ladder match against Dolph Ziggler, and his parts in the Wyatts vs The Shield), rather than simply jobbing him out to all of Bray’s rivals.
At this point, it really doesn’t seem like Harper is ever going to ascend from the mid-card, or emerge from Bray’s overbearing shadow, but if WWE realised the potential monster they have on their hands, they could create one of the biggest heels in the company.
Follow me on Twitter for more wrestling – @hairywrestling