2017 is here! A new year, new resolutions, and a new President (unfortunately). With all of this talk of new things, it got me thinking – which new stars will we see emerge in WWE in 2017? Who will grab Vinny Mac’s brass ring this year? We can never know for sure, but there are certainly some definite contenders. There are plenty of promising talents in WWE, but which of these future stars has the most potential? Here are my Top 10 Most Promising Talents in WWE.
For this list, I’ve decided to only include talents who are currently on NXT television or have been on the main roster for less than a year. Also, I’ve discarded anyone who has won a main roster championship as they have already fulfilled their promise to a certain degree.
- Tony Nese
Tony Nese has pretty much every tool that a wrestler could want: an unbelievable physique, a wide-variety of moves in his arsenal, impressive athleticism, precision aerial moves, a serious amount of strength in comparison to his weight, and of course, one hell of an ass (don’t act like you haven’t noticed).
With all of these qualities under his belt, WWE could potentially have a star on their hands, if they choose to use him correctly. At the very least, I’m certain we will see the premier athlete holding the Cruiserweight Championship at some point in 2017.
- Tye Dillinger
Considering I’ve already written a whole article about how much potential a main roster run for the Perfect 10 could have, it shouldn’t come as any surprise to loyal readers that he places on this list. As we’ve seen since summer 2015, Dillinger’s perfect 10 character is extremely entertaining, and if given the right spot on the main roster, the “10!” chant could be the next “Yes!” chant. By no means am I claiming that Dillinger will win a world championship at Wrestlemania or beat John Cena clean at Summerslam, but with his talent and character, Tye deserves a firm spot on the main roster mid-card – it’s all down to whether WWE want to take advantage of this promising perfect 10 or not.
The amount that Carmella has managed to improve in such a short space of time since transitioning to Smackdown is astonishing. She simply does not get enough credit for how far she has come since leaving NXT, and how she has developed into a convincing, entertaining, sassy heel. It wouldn’t surprise me if within the year, we saw some serious bling wrapped around the waist of the Princess of Staten Island – that’s how good she is. What’s more, at some point we are bound to see her reunite with her boys from NXT, Enzo and Cass, which is guaranteed to get her over like crazy.
Whether as a back-stabbing heel or as the hottest chick in the ring alongside the realest guys in the room, Carmella is definitely one of the most promising stars in WWE today.
- Cedric Alexander
Although the Cruiserweight Division may not be lighting the world on fire currently, there is clearly an unbelievable amount of talent within it. We’ve already seen the likes of Sin Cara and Neville transition from regular competition to the 205 weight class, but when will we see the first Cruiserweight competitor break out to ‘bigger’ things? (Pun intended). Well, it may be a while yet before it happens, but my money is certainly on Cedric Alexander.
Considering the amount of airtime he’s been given on Raw and 205 Live in the last few months, combined with the fact he’s already been paired with WWE mainstay Alicia Fox, and his bout with Kota Ibushi was ranked fifth in the company’s matches of the year list for 2016, it seems as though the higher-ups backstage are big fans of Alexander. Plus, as the commentators constantly mention how Cedric dropped twenty pounds to enter the CWC, he is clearly capable of bulking up if needed to in order to distinguish himself more from his former division if he does make the transition.
With the boundless amounts of talent he possesses, along with a great look and one of the best finishers in the whole company, Cedric Alexander is one of the most promising talents in not only the Cruiserweight Division, but in the entire company.
At first, pairing Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano together seemed strange to me due to how talented both men were individually, and how mismatched their characters seemed to be. However, after seeing the two compete against the likes of The Revival and Authors of Pain, it was clear that I was ridiculous to ever doubt these two. Their surprising chemistry makes for not only one of the most likeable teams in WWE, but some of the best tag team wrestlers in the world. In fact, their match at Takeover Toronto claimed the prestigious number one spot in WWE’s matches of 2016 list.
There’s no denying that both of these men are two of the best wrestlers currently signed to WWE, and in my opinion, Ciampa and Gargano deserve to be main-eventers, whether as a team or as solo stars, yet my only concern is that the company will be reluctant to give them the push they deserve. Sure, standards and practices have been changing dramatically in WWE, yet there are bound to still be talents that are denied the push they deserve because of their look, size, etc. Let’s just hope these promising stars get every ounce of success that they rightfully deserve.
- The Revival
In my opinion, The Revival are the best tag team wrestlers in the world. They transform two-on-two grappling into an art form, and it seems as though every single competitor in the world agrees with me. It’s impossible to listen to a wrestler being interviewed on a podcast these days without hearing them praise The Revival for how seamless they are between the ropes. They were responsible for some of the best tag team matches I have ever seen in 2016, so with tag team talent like that, they are bound to be a dominating force on the main roster. They may not be flashy, they may favour fists over flips, and you’ll certainly never see them wearing unicorn horns on their head, but with their undeniable abilities and incredible chemistry, The Revival are without doubt the most promising tag team in the world today.
- Jack Gallagher
Despite only having a few weeks of airtime at the time of writing, and even when the exhausted 205 Live and Raw crowds have been silent all show long, there is always a burst of excitement when Jack Gallagher appears in a WWE arena. The Extraordinary Gentleman lights up an arena with his charm, quirky ways, and marvellous scientific wrestling style.
Jack’s biggest advantage is that he is completely different to everyone else in WWE: his style, his moveset, his look, his personality, his voice, his vocabulary, his technique, he is a totally unique entity in the most extraordinary of ways. His gimmick is one that you either love straight away, or it really takes time to warm up to it, like Broken Matt Hardy or Martin Kirby, so even though he has already managed to garner a wealth of fans (myself included), I’m sure Gallagher’s promising character and technical talents will take him to the top of the Cruiserweight Division, the top of fans’ hearts, and beyond.
- Baron Corbin
One of the best things about watching NXT is being able to witness the birth and growth of a potential star.
A few years ago, Baron Corbin was just an oversized jobber, losing week after week to every other competitor on the yellow brand, until one Wednesday night, he suddenly emerged with an awesome, intimidating new entrance, and some fancy new motorcycle leathers. It seems as though his trip down to the Harley Davison shop instilled a new confidence in the Lone Wolf, as he suddenly embarked on a lengthy winning streak, squashing victim after victim in increasingly short fashion. After a while, Baron’s winning ways became slightly dull, and it seemed as though he couldn’t string together more than five moves. However, over time, it became obvious that the 6ft 8” behemoth was set for big things.
At the biggest Wrestlemania of all time, Corbin became the third ever winner of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal to the surprise of everyone, and in the process, debuted on the main roster in monumental style. Since then, we’ve seen him go from strength to strength, and if his recent showing in his first ever WWE Championship match is anything to go by, it seems as though the Lone Wolf is a perfect fit in the main event scene. WWE clearly has big plans for Baron Corbin, and he certainly has the potential to live up to them.
- Braun Strowman
When Braun Strowman debuted in 2015, it was a genuine shock – a complete unknown bypassing NXT television and going straight to main roster is unheard of in the last few years. In fact, as he revealed on Talk is Jericho, Strowman’s first main roster match at Night of Champions was only his fourth ever match overall. Given his inexperience, Braun barely had three moves in his arsenal, and not a single ounce of character in his gigantuan frame. Strowman was the epitome of old school wrestling values, Vince McMahon’s wet dream come to life – despite his lack of experience and ability, his size had guaranteed him a great spot on the card in an incredibly short period of time, which left fans around the globe groaning.
Luckily for us though, Strowman didn’t exactly shoot his way much further up the card, and somehow managed to hide his inhumanly sized body behind the rest of The Wyatt Family without showing any real signs of improve. However, in the 2016 brand split, Strowman was separated from his bearded brethren, sported a new haircut, and started displaying some of his new-found skills in weekly squash matches. Sure, initially he wasn’t setting the world on fire, but overtime, it was staggering how much the man mountain was improving. By November, Strowman had landed himself a place in the men’s 5-on-5 traditional Survivor Series match, and became the surprise star of the whole thing. He dominated his opponents in convincing fashion, and revealed that he is capable of physic-defining levels of speed for a man his size. Seriously, if I drove into a running Braun Strowman, I think my car would have to be written off.
Obviously Braun is still relatively inexperienced, but given his size, strength, and quickness, Strowman is pretty much a guaranteed main-eventer, and once he develops more in-ring psychology and promo ability, he could potentially be the full package. Mark my words, within a year’s time, we will see gold around Braun Strowman’s gigantic waist…if it can actually fit around it that is.
American Alpha – Considering the fact they beat the almost seemingly unstoppable New Wyatt Family, and defeated a twelve-time world champion clean to win their Smackdown Tag Team Championships, it seems that American Alpha are bound to be one of the biggest tag teams of the current decade, and deservedly so. With their unbelievable technical and tag team wrestling abilities, Gable and Jordan are undeniable stars in WWE, whether as a team or as individuals. If they hadn’t already reached the top of the mountain, this duo would probably have topped my list.
Alexa Bliss – Before TLC in December, Alexa Bliss would have placed near the top of this list because of her ever-improving in-ring work and heel characteristics, but now she’s the Smackdown Women’s Champion, so it seems she’s no longer just a promising talent in the women’s division, she rules it.
Enzo and Cass – Although they’ve only been on the main roster since April, it was impossible to put them on a “most promising” list considering they’re already one of the most popular acts in the whole of WWE.
Oney Lorcan – Hard hitting and great in the ring. By no means a future world champion, but could easily be a firm mid-carder.
Damo and Tommy End – I couldn’t include either of these talents as they are yet to make their in-ring television debuts, but based on their work before reaching Vinny Mac’s land of promise, I’m positive both of these men are destined for great things.
Apollo Crews – Athletically, Apollo Crews is an absolute freak of nature. With a bit of personality tweaking and the right booking, he could easily be a huge star.
Rich Swann – I think it’s actually impossible not to like Rich Swann. With his charm, charisma, and fantastic in-ring abilities, Swann deserves a long, memorable run in WWE. As he’s the current Cruiserweight Champion, I couldn’t place him on the list, but hopefully it won’t be one and done for the outlandish one.
Nia Jax – It’s only a matter of time before the strongest woman in WWE holds some gold.
- Ember Moon
I’ve said it before: Ember Moon deserves to be pushed to the same thing she is named after.
It’s rare that I see someone for the first time and immediately think they’re a star, but when I saw Ember Moon’s debut match at NXT Takeover Brooklyn, I wanted to put the yellow brand’s women’s championship on her immediately. And then when I saw her unbelievable finishing maneuver, I wanted to put every single belt ever made around her waist. Her Diving Corkscrew Stunner is devastatingly beautiful, and really is one of the best finishers in not only WWE, but the entire wrestling world right now.
With her unique look, impressive athleticism, and fantastic moveset, there is nobody else like her in WWE. The amount of promise she has shown thus far is staggering, and the world seems to be in agreement that Moon is destined for stardom.
Who do you think is the most promising talent in WWE today? Let me know in a comment below or tweet me @HairyWrestling.