Now, nobody is really going to miss the likes of Adam Rose, Cameron and Hornswoggle. But many have cried foul over the departures of Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett and Damien Sandow, arguing that they have more talent and potential than others who still had a place on the roster. While I would agree with that perspective, this isn’t the goal of this article.
Frankly, no matter your opinion on the recent releases, none of them could be considered massive losses. They were all just cogs in the WWE machine that will easily be replaced by other talented superstars. Yet, there are some cogs that have been faulty for a long time, and being replaced could not only keep everything functional, but actively improve the company.
With that said, here are five names currently employed by WWE that richly deserve their future endeavors.
While I recognize that many will not agree with the choices included in this list. But, I am confident that we can universally agree that the commentary team on RAW has been terrible for far too long. I think fans have been spoiled by the quality of Jim Ross as a play-by-play man as, although he was prone to the odd flub, he was a master at heightening the work of those performing in the ring. The current line-up flourishes at the exact opposite.
They are more concerned with plugging the WWE Network or advertising brands and trading lame insults than narrating the story being told in the ring. Michael Cole is simply a ventriloquist dummy, who has always had Vince McMahon’s hand up his backside commanding him to plug the latest episode of Total Divas. JBL is obnoxious and doesn’t have the nuance of a true heel commentator (Bobby Heenan, Paul Heyman) and Byron Saxton is a charisma vacuum, sucking out any of the chemistry JBL and Cole once had.
It’s about time the announcers had a revamp. Mauro Ranallo is very loud, but it’s clear he’s enthusiastic about the action going on rather than telling lame jokes. Corey Graves has demonstrated both personality and insight in NXT without taking away from the wrestlers, and even Tom Phillips has been standing out as the straight man to Graves’ sarcastic persona.
This choice comes with a heavy heart, but as the giant would probably profess himself, The Big Show’s allure has been steadily decimated by WWE creative. There’s just not a place for the World’s Largest Athlete in today’s full-time schedule, and should take his rightful legends status of the likes of Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels.
Big Show has turned more times in his career than a rocket-propelled roundabout, and that has wreaked havoc on his consistency. I disagree with the majority of fans calling for his retirement, as their reasons are he’s too slow and been around too long. My issue with Big Show is that in spite of his ability to effortlessly switch between babyface and heel, he’s done it too much to make it meaningful again.
He’s been with WWE since 1999 and has switched between the light and dark side over 20 times. Even half that amount would be considered overkill. It has ruined his character, and now only has the value of a nostalgic pop. Despite the Hall of Fame-worthy career he has had, he could and should have been much more. Unfortunately, none of WWE’s creative teams throughout Big Show’s tenure have known what to do with him.
WWE has a phenomenal team of film editors that produce amazing video packages hyping PPVs and accentuating the importance of feuds. Nine times out of ten their results are outstanding, which is why it astonishes me how substandard the live television feed comes across. That is the responsibility of one Kevin Dunn, one of Vince McMahon’s longest-serving cronies, not that he has done much to earn such standing.
Compared to other wrestling promotions like Lucha Underground and NJPW, and even their own developmental territory NXT, WWE’s production values become amateur by comparison. Far too many zooms into the action rather than letting the television audience witness all of the action, cutting away from significant moments and inadvertently allowing fans to see how scripted matches are equals a poorly produced show.
Many have speculated that as soon as Vince McMahon hands the reins of WWE to Stephanie, Shane and Triple H, Dunn will be one of the first on the chopping block. And I don’t think many fans will be too disappointed to the backside of his beaver teeth once and for all.
Okay, now to start getting a little controversial, but I have passionately believe Brock Lesnar has done more harm than good since he returned to WWE in 2012. Like everyone else, I popped hugely for his return and loved his work from 2002-2004. But, he lost steam with defeats to John Cena and Triple H, before WWE rushed to rehab him by essentially placing him on a pedestal above all other superstars.
Lesnar (in a kayfabe sense) took away the biggest prize in WWE, The Undertaker’s Streak, and has really done nothing with it. In the age of the WWE Network, he is not required to bolster PPV buyrates. No current mainstays have benefited from being in feuds with the Beast Incarnate because he has essentially wiped the floor with any member of the roster. Which is fine as long as in the end the monster is finally conquered by a new main event star, like a Roman Reigns or Kevin Owens.
That was until Lesnar signed up to fight Mark Hunt at UFC 200, a match at least from my standpoint he is very likely to lose. Which, in effect, demonstrates that UFC fighters are true athletes, and diminishing everyone that Lesnar has defeated on his way. Realistically, this decision by Lesnar demonstrates that he has never been in business for WWE, professional wrestling or the fans - Lesnar only cares about himself, and the WWE would be much better off released from the vice grip he has on Vince McMahon’s grapefruits.
Really attacking the summit now. Stephanie McMahon has been head of creative in undoubtedly one of the most creatively stifled periods in its long history. If her father was not in control of the company, she would have been replaced by now - that I have no doubt. The business may be in her blood, but that blood must not be making its way to her head.
Which isn’t surprising considering how big it clearly is. No matter how big a stadium WWE ever invades, it will not be large enough to contain her ego. Every single time her character appears on screen it is all about her, and everyone else becomes secondary. Now this was the same with Vince McMahon, but he was willing to get his ass kicked consistently by the good guys in the end. In today’s PG WWE, Stephanie cannot be subject to such retribution, despite the fact she metaphorically castrates every superstar she interacts with.
Look at her backstage segment with Charlotte a few weeks ago, where she essentially had the Women’s Champion, the standard bearer of their proud division, whimpering at her feet. Stephanie is a strong character and charismatic, but she sets the example that to get noticed you have to be the biggest bitch. And, both in front of and behind the camera, WWE would be better off if the Queendom came crashing down.