WWE: 5 Superstars That Never Really Got a Chance (But Should Have)
The WWE is all about opportunity.
Getting to the company is hard enough in the first place, but getting there, staying there and actually succeeding there involves a lot of hard work and perhaps even more luck.
Some wrestlers get chance after chance to make it to the top of the WWE, but others—for whatever reason—get passed over, often in favor of guys with less talent.
It's a rough part of the business, but it's a part of it nonetheless.
Sometimes, talent and looks alone aren't enough. It's about being in the right place at the right time and/or having the support of the right people.
Unfortunately, for some, that never happens.
Here are five former WWE superstars who never really got a chance to succeed but should have.
5. Vance Archer
In April 2009, former TNA star Lance Hoyt announced he had signed with WWE, and in November of that year, he debuted on ECW as "Vance Archer."
Coming over from TNA—where he was a solid star, but not a household name—Archer wasn't expected to make a huge impact in the WWE, but I don't think anyone could have predicted that his run in the company would end so quickly.
After first getting a sizable push on ECW by defeating local jobbers and going on a rather lengthy winning streak, Archer's streak was ended by Shelton Benjamin in early 2010, and it was all downhill from there.
The ECW brand was disbanded, and it left Archer without any sense of direction.
His show was gone, so was his push, and after a short storyline with Curt Hawkins on SmackDown, he was released by the WWE almost exactly a year after his debut.
This was yet another classic case of "creative has nothing for you."
Archer debuted the same way that so many other WWE stars debut (by squashing unknown jobbers and going on a winning streak), and nothing was done to make him truly stand out.
Then, when ECW folded, he was moved to a crowded SmackDown brand, making it almost inevitable that his time on the show would be limited.
Of course, it was, as creative quickly ran out of ideas for Archer and let him go before he could make any sort of substantial mark in the company.
While I don't think Archer would have ever made it into world title contention or anything like that, the dissolving of ECW forced the WWE's hand, leaving Archer without much of a chance to succeed when he should have been given one.
4. Kenny Dykstra
Kenny Dykstra made his WWE debut in January 2006 as simply "Kenny," a member of the all-male cheerleader group known as "The Spirit Squad."
While this allowed Dykstra to work with some of the biggest names in the business at just 19 years old, this obviously wasn't the ideal way that any WWE star would like to get on TV.
The Spirit Squad would eventually split up, but Kenny—now "Kenny Dykstra"—would remain on TV, trying to get a spot in Rated RKO and even forming a brief tag team with Johnny Nitro.
Unfortunately for Dykstra, however, the opportunities would stop there.
Trying to branch out on his own as a singles competitor, Dykstra became lost in the shuffle, essentially developing into a glorified jobber on SmackDown after debuting on the brand in July 2007.
He lost most of his matches, and beyond a brief on-screen relationship with Victoria, he never found himself involved in a substantial storyline.
Dykstra then found himself off of TV for the first half of 2008 before ultimately being released in November of that year.
So, don't get me wrong: Dykstra was lucky enough to get on TV before he turned 20 and even luckier to get to work with some of the WWE's top names,
But the WWE all but gave up on him as a singles competitor before he could even make make any noise in that role, releasing him when he was only 22 years old.
It's crazy to think that Dykstra is still just 26 years old, which is one of the main reasons why he should have never been released.
Send him back to developmental, repackage him, or do something with him. Do anything but release such a bright young star with a great future ahead of him.
Kaval, a.k.a. Low Ki, was a high-profile TNA-to-WWE signing who made his debut with the latter company in June 2010 as a "rookie" on the second season of NXT.
Unsurprisingly, Kaval would go on to win that season and the guaranteed title shot that came along with it.
But Kaval's hot start didn't last very long, and his WWE career didn't exactly play out the way that most expected it to.
Kaval debuted on SmackDown in September 2010, but it wasn't with a push. It was with a loss to Drew McIntyre, and the losses continued to pile up.
He lost his spot on SmackDown's Bragging Rights team in a match against Tyler Reks, lost an Intercontinental Championship match to Dolph Ziggler at Survivor Series, lost another big SmackDown match to McIntyre and then was released just two days later.
So, this is how you book a guy who won a show to earn a spot on the main roster and got himself pretty over in the process?
You always had to question the WWE's willingness to push Kaval because of his lack of size in the first place, but I don't think anyone saw his quick and easy demise coming.
To put it simply, Kaval was booked like a jobber when he should have been getting a push.
Was I surprised by this? No.
But do I think Kaval should have been given a better chance to succeed on SmackDown? Absolutely.
The NXT Season 1 winner Wade Barrett received a massive push right out of the gate. I just don't get why (other than his size) that didn't happen for Kaval, too.
2. Elijah Burke
Elijah Burke wasn't always overlooked.
After debuting in the WWE in July 2006 and having a rather forgettable stint with Sylvester Terkay, Burke made some noise when he jumped over to ECW and become a part of "The New Breed," which had a notable feud with the ECW Originals.
Burke became a staple of sorts on ECW as part of The New Breed, but once that group disbanded, his WWE career began slowly falling apart.
He would become the No. 1 contender for CM Punk's ECW Championship in July 2007, but other than that, he didn't do much. His storylines/feuds were few and far between, and shortly after WrestleMania 24, he wrestled his last match on WWE TV.
That wasn't Burke's last match in a WWE ring, though.
Prior to his release in November 2008, Burke wrestled a number of dark matches with his new "Black Pope" gimmick, which obviously never made it to TV.
Of course, Burke went on to debut in TNA in 2009 under the "Black Pope" gimmick (as "D'Angelo Dinero") where he would quickly make noise for the No. 2 wrestling promotion in the world.
In hindsight, it's very disappointing that the WWE let Burke go before he could get a legitimate opportunity to break out outside of ECW.
Burke was a big part of ECW during his tenure there, but the WWE seemed to give up on him once he was moved to SmackDown and missed a big opportunity by failing to utilize his "Black Pope" gimmick.
No one will ever know how far Burke could have gone in the WWE, but after some early success in the company, I'm surprised that the company didn't give him a little more time to grow beyond that show.
Although Burke isn't exactly main-eventing in TNA, I still maintain that he could have been a crucial part of the SmackDown brand beyond 2008.
1. Scotty Goldman
The WWE called him "Scotty Goldman," but you know him as Colt Cabana.
Cabana signed with the WWE in April 2007, and in August 2008, he made his TV debut under the Goldman name.
That's about as far as his WWE career would go.
After appearing on SmackDown less than a handful of times, Goldman found himself off of TV altogether for more than five months, and when he finally returned, he wrestled just two matches, lost them both and then got released.
The poor use of Cabana as "Scotty Goldman" was perhaps the biggest waste of talent in recent WWE history.
Cabana has developed a reputation on the independent scene as one of the most well-rounded wrestlers in the country, a guy with some great in-ring skills, loads of charisma and a great sense of humor.
But the WWE failed to utilize any of Cabana's strengths, instead almost immediately putting him into a role as a jobber.
As a result, Cabana had one of the most forgettable WWE runs of all-time, and the WWE completely screwed over one of the best talents in the business.
What a waste.
Cabana could have made huge contributions to the WWE, but from the moment he stepped into a WWE ring as Scotty Goldman, he was set up to fail.