WWE Royal Rumble: 10 Midcarders Who Need to Make an Impression
With the Royal Rumble just around the corner, all of the Superstars selected to take part will be readying themselves for their role in one of the biggest nights on the wrestling calendar.
One thing which makes the Royal Rumble special is that it offers a mix of Superstars from both the main event and the midcard. For some it could be a chance to slingshot themselves from midcard mediocrity into the main event scene—this opportunity is not always reserved for the winner.
A couple of great spots, or pure dominance in the Royal Rumble match could really win a Superstar over with the fans.
Let's take a look at the midcard stars who will be looking to make an impact on this year's Rumble match.
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Ted DiBiase - An injured wrist is likely to keep him out of the Rumble match.
Michael McGillicutty - I'm not convinced that he'll be appearing in the Rumble.
Trent Barreta - WWE really doesn't seem to care about him. He's easily one of the biggest jobbers in the WWE today.
Santino Marella - He will never be taken seriously in the WWE, so it's probably not even worth trying.
Yoshi Tatsu - Who?
2011 was a long year for Mason Ryan. In his debut on January 17th, he was portrayed as the powerhouse of the stable known as The New Nexus. However a face turn later, and he finds himself in midcard mediocrity.
Creative could obviously capitalize on his size by having him eliminate four or five guys in one fell swoop, or failing that, taking out one of the bigger guys in the ring. Last year he eliminated the Great Khali and Booker T, but will he have a strong showing this year?
He's in desperate need of a feud, and this could be a great time to find one.
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In my opinion, Ezekiel Jackson cannot be that far from his future endeavors. I'd say the only thing that has kept him in the WWE is Vinny-Mac's big man fetish. Jackson is in a very similar situation to Mason Ryan.
Realistically, the Royal Rumble is the perfect opportunity for Jackson to assert his dominance. During his time in the Corre he was billed as their powerhouse, underlining this by suplexing the Big Show. Surely, shouldn't he be eliminating four or five guys if he is as dominant as he has been billed?
Following his botch-filled feud with Sin Cara, Hunico has emerged as a good young talent on Friday Night Smackdown. Unfortunately, Creative still haven't really decided what they're doing with him. They've given him Camacho—or Donny Marlow to those FCW fans—to escort him down to the ring, but they haven't really built on it at all.
Hunico has great in-ring ability and could no doubt offer us a spot or two at the Rumble. With Evan Bourne likely to be leaving the company in the near future, there is definitely a spot on the roster for resident highflyer.
Speaking of the vacancy of resident highflyer, we have Justin Gabriel. Gabriel came in at number three in last year's Rumble, however he lasted a mere 58 seconds before Daniel Bryan eliminated him.
Gabriel has had no real direction since the Corre disbanded, however he recently teased a feud with Cody Rhodes. Could these two have a little confrontation during the Rumble to kick start a rivalry?
Failing that, a wicked cool springboard 450 splash would probably suffice.
I had high hopes for Jinder Mahal when he first burst on the scene in April last year. Even after his first couple of weeks he was getting immense heat, but since then it seems to have died down.
Recently, he has been in a somewhat peculiar feud with Sheamus, but isn't over with the fans at all. His in-ring work has been continually improving since his debut, however his inability to string two wins together and difficulty in provoking reaction from the crowd has really held him back.
The WWE could do with stripping away some of the stereotypes—really. The turban and the camel clutch would be a start, cheap heat from things like these isn't cool, for several reasons.
Taking out a big face would be good to earn him some real heat. I would have said Zack Ryder prior to his kayfabe injury on Monday, maybe now, someone like R-Truth or Brodus Clay would be more likely.
Despite being a fantastic wrestler, he was relegated to NXT and Superstars for the majority of 2011, barring a couple of matches with Sin Cara.
Unfortunately for Kidd, he was born ten years too late. He would have been a great talent in the Cruiserweight division of yesteryear, and would have seen a lot of TV time.
But we can't dwell on what might have been, Tyson needs to focus on getting noticed this Sunday. Some highflying spots would be great, or maybe even something which would lead to a face turn.
In an interview with the Toronto Sun, Kidd stated that he liked tag wrestling, so maybe we could see him make an unlikely ally during the Rumble?
OK, so no one really wants him there (feel free to dispute that in the comments section), but we all know that Heath Slater will somehow end up in the Royal Rumble.
The problem with this, is that he could eliminate someone like Randy Orton or Wade Barrett, but still wouldn't gain any credibility with the fans.
He would really need to give a decent 10 to 15 minute showing where he showcased excellent wrestling ability, eliminating two or three opponents in the process.
Rumble aside, Slater has so much work to do if he is ever going to get over with the WWE Universe.
Alex Riley seemed like he was going to become one of the main players on Raw in the middle of 2011, following his face turn and feud with the Miz. However, A-Ry has found himself as a Superstars main eventer, rather than the Raw main eventer he would have hoped to be.
In last year's Rumble, A-Ry's night was marred by a monumental botch which resulted in his elimination.
I could see him entering somewhere between five and ten. With the Miz in at number one, maybe we could see a little something between these two at some point, that is before Truth shows up.
Drew McIntyre has been booked so badly recently that it's almost forced a face turn. Despite his current losing streak, I think that he'll somehow find his way into the Rumble.
I think Creative will make either have him eliminated quickly, or in a controversial fashion, but he needs to be demonstrating his in-ring skills. Drew's a great wrestler, but has been pretty much forced off of our screens in the past year. Remember how good he was at Elimination Chamber last year?
He needs to be a regular fixture on WWE TV.
Brodus Clay's face turn has yielded a fairly mixed response from the IWC. Some think it has been brilliantly entertaining, while others have seen it as a mistake on the part of WWE Creative.
While making a good showing over the last few weeks in a number of squashes, The WWE Universe still hasn't seen a lot from the Funkasaurus. His matches in the last month have mostly comprised of his signature move - the "Sheaaplex" and his finishing maneuver which has been named the "Ah Funk It."
So what will we see of him at the Rumble? I'd imagine that it will start something like Ernest "The Cat" Miller's 2004 Rumble appearance, possibly followed by a couple of quick eliminations of the lower card wrestlers.