WWE Raw: 5 Superstars Ready to Step Up on Monday Nights
It's a brave new world for WWE Superstars looking to leave their mark on the company when it comes to Monday Night Raw, and luckily for the WWE, they have quite a few talented men and women ready to step up.
There is plenty of time to fill on Raw, and with the permanent move to three hours fast approaching, it's time to let the talent shine if there is any chance of the WWE establishing a positive trend in ratings outside of spiking them with big name returns like The Rock and Brock Lesnar.
It's too often that talented Superstars are left feeling more like filler in between the high points of Raw rather than exactly what the WWE brands them: Superstars.
With the right packaging and presentation, the WWE can let the fans know that a particular wrestler is important and why they should care enough to not change the channel.
There are five Superstars who stand out as capable of taking that push on the production side and convincing viewers that it's not just hype; they're worth tuning in to see.
First on our list is a veteran who recently returned with a surprising change of character.
Christian won the Intercontinental Championship in his recent return, taking the title off of Cody Rhodes.
For years, Christian has been one of the most underrated wrestlers in the WWE. He's rarely ever in a bad match, has a rich history with the company and can cut a promo.
He's picked up quite a fan base—his "Peeps"—but still struggles at times with the very large shadow his long-time friend Edge has cast over him for so long.
Christian feuding over the Intercontinental Championship is nothing but good news for any Superstar on the mid-card who wants to establish themselves as a wrestler who is ready and capable of higher-end matches and feuds.
There is no need for Christian to serve only as a stepping stone. He's more than capable of having a breakout moment that sees him rise up the card.
Put a live mic in his hand and let him talk about how far he's come and that his dream has always been to hold the WWE Championship. Throw in an Edge comment for good measure, and that promo could be baby face gold. Christian taking on a heel like Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship would be a championship-caliber match.
One way or another, Christian being healthy and back in action is great news, period.
Who to Feud With: Cody Rhodes
Speak of the devil!
When Cody Rhodes ditched his mask last year, he really started to shine. Bringing back the classic Intercontinental Championship, Rhodes began to open some eyes to his talent and potential.
He's a good heel, understands ring psychology and is a solid wrestler. He has done a good job of not being generic, and with his sights on Christian, he's got a great chance to show his versatility.
It's unlikely that we'll see Rhodes move beyond mid-card feuds this year, but 2012 can certainly be the year he makes his case to get a high-end push.
Who to Feud With: Christian or Santino Marella
Layla and Beth Phoenix are capable of putting on an above-average Divas match any day of the week, but the Divas division lacks a larger-than-life character—what professional wrestling is known for.
There is absolutely no doubt that Kharma is larger than life.
She's big, mean and most importantly, different. The lesser-known Divas—which means most of them—have done very little to separate themselves from the pack. When Kharma comes on the screen, she leaves a lasting impression.
Her look, attire and attitude is significantly different than anything the WWE has seen in quite some time.
Hopefully her return is sooner rather than later.
Who to Feud With: Every pretty little Diva on the roster.
What a difference a year makes. Dolph Ziggler has improved by leaps and bounds over the past two years.
His mic skills have improved, his in-ring abilities are on point and he bumps like Shawn Michaels.
Ziggler found himself around the time he was doing Zack Ryder's "Z! True Long Island Story," and that's the key ingredient. For so long, he was just some blonde jerk with the annoying manager.
Now he's Dolph Ziggler, Mr. Perfect 2.0, The Show-Off and so on. He's got a swagger all his own.
Of the younger stars featured on this list, I mark Ziggler as the one most ready to move towards the main-event scene.
Who to Feud With: Sheamus
Our last entry in this list of Superstars ready to step up on Monday nights is one who has yet to even debut on the main roster.
Dean Ambrose has not so quietly been making a name for himself in FCW. Shades of Brian Pillman and Roddy Piper can be seen in his promos, which are dark and spastic at times.
He's cool, calculated and scary. Ambrose has the kind of talent that leads me to believe he can have an immediate impact on the WWE.
A feud between Ambrose and Mick Foley has been brewing since WrestleMania, and I see no better way to introduce Ambrose to the company than with the Hardcore Legend.
Foley will play to Ambrose's strengths like no other on the roster can, allowing Ambrose to leave a first impression that few young stars get to make with viewers.
Who to Feud With: Mick Foley