I have read a few articles talking about which men will dominate the top of the card for years to come. Yet, when I read the feedback for most of these articles this is the general question I find. What about the young guys who aren't main eventers yet?
Well that's why I am writing this article, to address that very question. The WWE is chock full of great young talent but there is a big question mark as to who will be the next big thing. This list is a look at the 10 young guns who could break into the main event scene in the next five years.
1. MVP: There was a time when WWE was skyrocketing MVP to the top. Longest reigning US champ in Smackdown history. Highest paid athlete in WWE history.
But then MVP opened his mouth and politics sent him on a spiral. IF MVP can pick his way around backstage more carefully and maybe get a change of scenery (*cough* Raw *cough*) then MVP should find himself on the rise again.
MVP has a lot of charisma and a great character. People are slowly starting to side with his new face persona. If MVP can improve even more on his already better than average skills then WWE will have no choice but to make MVP once again "ballin."
2. John Morrison: John Morrison has drawn comparisons to a young Shawn Michaels—and for good reason. He oozes charisma and often delivers some of the funniest and most memorable moments on TV and on the WWE website.
His skills are already very high as he probably only needs to work on his crispness and selling. We already know he can work as a singles performer and you have to believe that a break with Miz is imminent.
A Change to Raw and a extended feud with the very man he has drawn comparisons too, Mr. HBK could do wonders for him. If he can find a way to shake the goofy persona that seems to hold him back from super stardom then Morrison might stop being the next Shawn Michaels and become the only John Morrison.
3. Mr. Kennedy: I think Kennedy rose so far so fast that eventually he couldn't keep up with his own success. Lack of a well defined character, injuries, and not particularly impressive backstage skills have plagued the self announcing superstar from the start.
Just when he seems to get some momentum BAM! Something hits him or WWE gets cold feet on his push. I think Kennedy needs to get down to the basics and go somewhere where he can re-establish himself; ECW.
Being a big fish in a small pond would be just what Mr. Kennedy needs. He's got the ring skills, he's most definitely got the mic skills, but Mr. Kennedy needs to be somewhere where he can stand out, gather a hardcore following, and be under the radar enough that WWE feels comfortable adding more dimensions to his character and pushing him to the moon.
Plus, a smaller stage means that Kennedy might not feel the anxiety and stress that could be contributing to his frequent injuries.
Put him on ECW for a few months and let him work from the bottom. He'll be ready for the top one day. And that day might be sooner than we think.
4. Jack Swagger: He already is making a big splash in ECW and you have to believe that it is only a matter of time before he makes a big splash on Smackdown or Raw. He is probably the fastest rising star in the WWE right now.
However, Swagger can't let what happened to Kennedy and MVP happen to him. He needs to stay focused and not get ahead of himself. Keeping healthy is key. Putting him with a mouthpiece at some point for "guidance" wouldn't hurt either.
If Swagger stays patient and doesn't fall into a sense of entitlement, then he will be swaggering into the big leagues soon. Of course, WWE might want to stop making fun of his speech impediment, too. Seriously. Enough.
5. CM Punk: Punk has already tasted big time gold before. And he made a fairly good top guy for a while, too. Location is key for Punk right now. Like Kennedy, Punk should move somewhere new and re-envision himself. Smackdown would be a great place to go.
Of course a simple move doesn't always breed success. I would love to see Punk turn into the character that made him a smashing success in the independents. The ignorant, slightly insane heel.
A feud between him and guys like Jeff hardy or John Cena would put Punk into the next stratosphere.
6. Evan Bourne: Evan "Air" Bourne. This guy can go, go ,go. WWE likes his attitude and loves his popularity. If you are looking for the next Rey Mysterio; a small guy who can win big gold, then look no further.
I'm not so sure Bourne is quite ready to test the waters on Raw or Smackdown yet but becoming the top man on ECW could be a nice position for him. IF WWE dedicates themselves to having him make the occasional experience on the other big shows.
This isn't always a guarantee but if they do, and Bourne's popularity continues to rise, don't be shocked if he wraps a world title around his waist in three or four years from now.
7. Ted DiBiase: The comparisons that can be drawn between Ted DiBiase at this stage of his career and Randy Orton during the same are scary. The body style, the mannerisms, even the hair are similar. He has a similar promo style and comparable ring skills.
This is both a good and bad thing for DiBiase. Good because WWE sees that and knows what it did for Randy so they obviously have high hopes for DiBiase. Bad because DiBiase is eventually going to have to distinguish himself.
I wouldn't mind seeing DiBiase start to mix a little Randy with a little of his old man. Some might say this is a little like JBL, but JBL won't be around forever. Give him a little seasoning and a distinct personality and opportunity will soon come knocking for young Ted DiBiase.
8. Shelton Benjamin: Seriously, we have been saying this for years now. Benjamin will break out. Benjamin will break out. Trust me he will. It is only a matter of time before the gold standard truly lives up to his nickname.
First and foremost Benjamin needs to stop putting to much pressure on himself. Relax Mr. Benjamin we already know that your one of the best wrestlers in the WWE right now. No need to kill yourself every night.
Benjamin needs to put all his focus right now on developing his mic skills and personality. That is his biggest road block because WWE doesn't want to push someone the fans aren't into. Finding a gimmick that sticks will pave the way to fame and fortune for this young athlete.
9. Mike Knox: No, really, hear me out. Mike Knox has "it." I cant really say what "it" is, but Knox has "it". Every time I see him on my television, I am drawn like a magnet because Mike Knox is slowly developing into one of the best big man wrestlers on the roster.
His mic skills need improvement you say? Well when was the last time Kane gave a five star promo. Oh wait, that's right...NEVER.
WWE has been trying to find a replacement for Kane for ages. They tried Snitsky, they tried Nathan Jones, they tried Matt Morgan and Heidenreich...no one has been able to stay. Now you have Mike Knox.
He is already at the threshold. All Mike Knox needs to do is stay the course and wait for his big break. Now, I am not saying he will ever be a main stay at the top of the card. But the occasional main event and a possible short title reign down the road are not out of the question.
10. Cody Rhodes: Cody is probably the long shot on this list. He's not overly impressive in the ring and his character doesn't exactly set the world on fire, but the guy still has potential.
Cody has shown flashes of talent in the ring and on the mic. But I don't know if he was quite ready for the position he's in now. Breaking out on his own and having some lower level feuds with some veterans might help.
William Regal, Finlay, Christian, and Rey Mysterio are some names that come to mind.
It will take a lot of dedication from Cody to make himself into a well rounded superstar. It definitely won't be easy but never say never in this business. At least he's got name value, good behavior, and solid backstage image to his credit. Those can be invaluable assets to have when maneuvering yourself into a favorable position on the card.
So there you go the Top 10 young guys to watch over the next five years. It's not safe to say that all these guys will become big names in that time period but they all have the potential.
It will take dedication from both the WWE and the superstars themselves to ensure success. However it's only a matter of time before the old guard steps down and the next generation steps up.
If there was ever a time that WWE needed to push their young talent it is NOW. The next few years could be very exciting for us the fans and for the business in general.