Rikki's Fave 5: Underused Superstars in the WWE Today
Inspired by Booker T's Fave Five, I bring you my weekly Fave Five. The idea is to start with a topic (relevant or not so relevant) and then present to you my favourite five examples in that category.
Of course, the most important part comes after the article is written. The key idea of these articles will be to stir up some debate here on Bleacher Report.
I know full and well that there will only be a tiny minority that agree with my choices and ordering of those choices (if anyone), so this is where you come in. Get your Fave Five down in the comments section (and maybe a little expansion on your choices), and hopefully we can get some good discussions going.
Of course, feel free to give me some heat for my choices if you don't like them, and I will happily argue my case.
Without any further ado, let's move on to this week's topic; underused wrestlers in the WWE today.
Now when I say underused, I'm not going to include appearances on the C-Shows like Superstars or NXT—although sometimes the better wrestling is found on these shows.
One last side note before we start, if you particularly want to see a certain topic covered in the coming weeks then just write it down in the comments section or on my B/R bulletin board and I will give it my best shot.
Remember these could range from Fave Five Challengers For the US Title (relevant) to Fave Five Hilarious Mic Workers or Fave Five Tag Team Matches of All Time (not quite as relevant)—I'm sure some of you guys can get creative with this.
Right, let's get going.
5. Heath Slater
That's right, I said it.
The magic of Heath Slater is that he could not have any less credibility with the WWE Universe. I know that sounds like a bad thing, but hear me out.
Look at the way Brodus Clay was written off of WWE TV when he got injured at Extreme Rules—at the time he wasn't popular amongst the fans or really relevant to any ongoing storyline. Seven months later he turned up again, completely repackaged in what may be described as a ridiculous gimmick, but he's over with the fans, and he has become a use-able asset to the WWE (How long before WWEshop.com starts selling Funkasaurus tracksuits?).
Heath Slater could be repackaged in a similar way. I've seen a couple of ideas across B/R—I saw one writer suggest using him as an American Luchadore, and another suggested that he could be some throw back to the eighties who turns up on a motorcycle wearing a leather jacket.
Here's a fun exercise—think of the most ridiculous and out there gimmick, and put Heath Slater's face on it. Then decide if he could possibly lose any credibility from trying that gimmick. I'll tell you right now that the answer is no.
You could add him into Drew McIntyre's new sexually promiscuous arrogant playboy gimmick, and make Slater the Billy to McIntyre's Chuck if you so wish—like I said, he hasn't really got anything to lose.
Contrary to popular belief, he's not too bad in the ring either. He's certainly on a par with the likes of Justin Gabriel and Ted DiBiase—if you disagree, actually watch a few of his matches with a neutral eye rather than a pessimistic one, it makes a world of difference.
4. Michael McGillicutty
You have the son of WWE Hall of Famer Mr. Perfect and you label him with the name Michael McGillicutty? #Areyouseriousbro?
Trivial aspects aside, McGillicutty could be a massive asset to the WWE. Being repackaged as "Perfect" Joe Hennig could be the start of great things for him—there's nothing wrong with recognising your history, WWE!
Something that intrigued me about McGillicutty's run with the Tag Titles is that he was paired with David Otunga over fellow New Nexus member Husky Harris. My reason being that Hennig's father Mr. Perfect once held the WCW Tag Team Titles with Husky Harris' uncle Barry Windham.
OK, the reign lasted for three weeks, but it would have been a starting point right?
Did you know (I do know that this is fairly common knowledge) that Dolph Ziggler was handed the gimmick which was meant for McGillcutty? Alright, Ziggler has made an awesome job of the "perfection" gimmick, but realistically it would have made a lot more logical sense if McGillicutty had actually used it.
Another link that could have been made was to the Intercontinental Championship. McGillicutty's father held the title for a combined 406 days. Do you know who finally took it off of him? Bret Hart (link to Tyson Kidd)—COME ON WWE, this like shooting fish out of a barrel.
Use your history to your advantage and get some of these second and third generation stars onto WWE TV instead of ramming recaps down our throats. On which note, did you guys know that *Spoiler Alert* John Cena is facing the Rock at WrestleMania? The WWE seems convinced that not everyone is aware yet.
OK so here's an idea—a face version of Legacy. The likes of Michael McGillicutty, Richie Steamboat, Ted DiBiase, Husky Harris, Bo Rotundo and maybe even Natalya and Tamina (pick three or four names out of that, I'm just spitting out second and third generation wrestlers) would be in the stable.
The stable's cause would be to restore the prestige to the WWE that their fathers built, mostly targeting the likes of Johnny Ace, who they believe to be ruining the business. Alright it's just a starting point, but I'm sure you catch my drift.
Bottom line: Get McGillicutty on WWE TV.
3. Justin Gabriel
Even when he was a part of the Nexus and the always set to fail Corre, I liked Justin Gabriel, but then again I'm a sucker for a high-flying move.
Over the past couple of months he has had a few random appearances in matches on WWE TV, and even somehow managed a PPV appearance without a storyline, but the truth is that the Justin Gabriel character has absolutely no direction.
The WWE has teased possible feuds with the likes of Hunico and Cody Rhodes, but still he's got nothing. Personally, I would have been happy to see him facing Cody Rhodes for the Intercontinental Title rather than the Big Show.
I'm kind of expecting him to get thrown into the Money in the Bank Ladder match at WrestleMania (if that is still the plan) as he'd likely be the spot monkey that Kofi Kingston has been in many of the previous MITB matches. Despite this, I'd put money on him still coming out without a feud.
I'm not going to babble on about how he'd be perfect for a Cruiserweight division if the WWE ever brought it back—because I think we all know that that is more fantasy than reality, but WWE seriously need to find something creative to do with him.
A Hunico/Gabriel feud would have really appealed to me, the mic work may be a bit painful but the in-ring work would be fantastic. When Sin Cara gracefully put himself out of action for nine months, it opened up a spot for resident high-flyer, in which Gabriel should have been slotted straight in.
2. Alex Riley
Following his awesome face turn and split from the Miz mid-2011 (Is there a pun in there?), I expected big things from Alex Riley, however, since then he hasn't really had a great deal to do on WWE TV.
His feud with the Miz started brilliantly—the circumstances were perfect and the crowd quickly got on board the A-Ry train. After his original attack on the Miz, he also took some anger out on Michael Cole, which really solidified him as a face.
However the feud went down like the proverbial lead balloon. An uninteresting match and end to the feud came at Capitol Punishment (worst PPV of 2011?). After that, A-Ry made some sporadic appearances as the sixth member of six-man tag team matches and of course was randomly injected into the Raw Money in the Bank ladder match and a Fatal Four Way match at Night of Champions.
Numerous appearances on NXT and Superstars later he was placed in a squash match with Brodus Clay, (because they'd obviously ran out of heel jobbers) which like every recent Brodus Clay match, lasted less than a minute after all of the dancing shenanigans.
With Jack Swagger doing absolutely nothing with his US Title, why has Alex Riley not been nudged into the limelight to challenge him for it. I remember back in 2011 he had a great little segment with Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero—he's potentially got great mic skills, but he won't ever be able to develop them if he doesn't get any TV time.
Do us all a favour, get rid of The Vault on SmackDown and the copious recaps on Raw and give us some A-Ry.
1. Tyson Kidd
There is no doubt in my mind that Tyson Kidd is the most underused wrestler on the entire roster.
He is the last graduate of the Hart Family Dungeon—a wrestling school which boasts alumni such as Davey Boy Smith, "Flyin" Brian Pillman, Chris Jericho and Chris "Dare-I-Say-His-Name-In-The-Same-Sentence-As-The-WWE" Benoit.
In terms of technique he is a fantastic wrestler and anyone that disputes that is, quite frankly, wrong. On top of this he is in a real life relationship with Natalya Neidhart who could easily be used as his manager to develop a heel persona, or alternatively he could align himself with Bret Hart to head in a face direction.
The last time that I can recall seeing Kidd on WWE TV, he was jobbing to the "Funkasaurus" Brodus Clay, when really, wrestling ability would dictate that it should have been the other way around.
Since the last time that the majority of you will have seen him, he has begun to grow his hair out, so he doesn't look as ridiculous—could we be seeing more of the Canadian star on television? I for one hope so.