Star Quality: Why WWE is Losing Stars from its Roster | Smark Out Moment

Star Quality: Why WWE is Losing Stars from its Roster

Posted by Steph Maxwell-Kavanagh Thursday, June 2, 2016
WWE has been having one hell of a year so far in 2016. They lost Daniel Bryan and Sting to permanent retirement and they've had a number of their top stars out with injuries that have taken quite a while to rehab. We've had to cope with Raw and SmackDown without John Cena, Seth Rollins, and Nikki Bella to name but a few. As viewers, we understand that wrestling is a physical event, and something that means performers take risks and can get hurt. No one begrudges the wrestler for getting injured, even if they sometimes begrudge the company for keeping wrestlers working through injuries or not giving their talent enough time off. While having a star out injured, or retired due to injury is frustrating for fans, it's an easy one to understand. No one plans for that to happen.

Wrestling Star Retires Due To Injurt
I don't think I've cried so much in one night of wrestling. Ever.
What's frustrating for fans is when WWE doesn't use what it does have, instead choosing to gather around one star and give them a meteoric push while refusing to consider other alternatives. WWE storytelling isn't the best even when it's okay, and they seem to struggle with developing more than one story at a time. With this, and Vince's well-known backstage preferences and politics playing a part in which guys get pushed and which guys fade into the background, it can be a difficult task for someone who isn't the McMahon ideal of a champion to get ahead.

WWE Champion Still Can't Get Over With Fans
Local "Wrestler" Ruins Everything
Recently, we saw two WWE releases that had the fans upset. The first was Wade Barrett, who had asked for his release some time ago due to feelings that he was not being utilized properly. Barrett had been a crowd-pleaser as Bad News Barrett, but once he got the King of the Ring title, he kept dropping further and further down the card, eventually ending up as part of the League of Nations with Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio and Rusev. It was a stable that smacked of desperation and not knowing what to do with certain people. Barrett has said he's taking a break from wrestling, but that he plans to be back eventually, after pursuing other avenues. Having worked his way to wrestling overseas, you can understand why Barrett was frustrated to be sidelined from ring work, being seen as too injury-prone to be allowed ring time with the rest of his stable, and being forced into a terrible gimmick as well.

WWE Lets English Wrestler Go
I'll miss you, fellow countryman.

Damien Sandow didn't even ask for his release, and while he hasn't spoken out against the company or seemed angry about being let go, the fans certainly have been. Sandow tirelessly worked every gimmick and every angle he was given and had the sort of charismatic personality that meant he got himself over, no matter how stupid the company's plan had seemed at first. He'll be a loss to wrestling if he gives it up, but a gain to any profession lucky enough to have him.

WWE Fan Favorite Let Go
You're welcome.

The worst loss for WWE, however, has to be that of Cody Rhodes—son of late WWE legend Dusty Rhodes. Cody asked for his release because he felt the company refused to listen to him, and that after he'd put in the time and energy with them, that there should be some respect for his work. Instead, he was saddled with the Stardust gimmick—which, to be fair to him, he made his own—but that he quickly felt he had outgrown, He wanted larger roles, bigger parts; he wanted to be part of something more than a WrestleMania ladder match again and again. This release, more than any others, speaks of WWE's failure to understand their roster, and worse, a failure to care about them. For the child of a company legend to ask for his release and demand better treatment suggests that WWE doesn't understand company loyalty or how to reward hard work.

WWE Stardust Released From Contract
Legacy kids leaving? Poor form, WWE.

Having left the company, Cody is now booked for his first match outside of WWE, and it's going to be against former WWF Champion and gold medal Olympian Kurt Angle. That's a hell of a first match to walk into straight out of quitting the company who are supposed to be the big time, and that's the danger. If WWE keeps misusing strong talent and refusing to push smaller guys (or those that don't meet Vince's specifications), they're going to lose them to other promotions, and they'll gain a worse reputation than they already have. They'll cease to be seen as the big time. Despite all the money and the fame in WWE, no one's dream involves being a bit-player for a decade and watching your money dwindle before being unceremoniously fired because the company grew tired of having you around. WWE needs to be careful with its talent or risk losing all of it to other, better opportunities.

Steph Maxwell-Kavanagh is an English wrestling fan and writer with too many opinions. She is the owner and writer for Rasslin Rehash. You can follow her on Tumblr and Twitter.


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