A wrestler can’t have a great year every year.
Even the all-time greats can be mediocre from time to time.
Hulk Hogan had a couple of lousy years before he turned into “Hollywood,” and Steve Austin had some uninspired ones after his peak too.
The year of 2012 was no exception for the WWE roster.
Some guys didn’t live up to their potential, and a few saw their popularity begin to fall. Others just suffered from horribly booking, which had them spinning their wheels for months.
This is a list of the 10 most disappointing WWE wrestlers of the year, and here’s hoping they each have a better 2013.
Cody has a lot of confidence, a good look and is solid in the ring.
Unfortunately, WWE just doesn’t know what to do with him.
As WrestleMania approached, Rhodes held the Intercontinental title and was set to face The Big Show.
With so much of the biggest show of the year focusing on the past (The Rock, Undertaker, HHH), it could have been a great time to make a star. Besides, The Big Show’s babyface run was underwhelming at best.
Instead of going over, Rhodes lost in a completely forgettable five minute match.
Ever since then, it’s been downhill for him. The Big Show dominated him in every following encounter (except for Rhodes' fluky win in a tables match, which did nothing for him).
Rhodes feuded briefly with Sin Cara over trying to demask him, and then joined up with Damien Sandow to form The Rhodes Scholars.
The two were good as a tag team, but putting them together just meant a delay for a singles push for either one. Rhodes then suffered a shoulder injury which put him out of action for over a month.
When he returned, he spiced things up with a mustache.
Will it be enough to make next year better? Or will "Cody's mustache" become one of the most disappointing acts of 2013?
How many more years does Dolph Ziggler have to wait before his time will come?
For years, Dolph has been the best pure athlete in the company. There’s no one else on the roster who is in his league when it comes to selling.
In 2012, he finally started to find his character, but WWE never went all in on him.
He spent most of the year stuck in a lousy tag team with Jack Swagger, and at one point was jobbing to Brodus Clay.
Out of nowhere, he captured the Money in the Bank briefcase and seemed set to finally get his shot.
It never happened, he faced off against Sheamus and Cena multiple times and lost cleanly every time. He was the last man standing at Survivor Series, but it was forgotten by the next night.
To top it off, Cena got the best of him repeatedly in their feud. The only way he can beat a top name is by a fluky finish.
At 32, Dolph has been labeled a midcarder for over six years now. They’re doing long term damage to his character by not getting serious about him.
This past month of the year, it looks like WWE may finally be investing in him. That doesn't mean that the first 11 months weren't disappointing.
I’d like to think that 2013 will be better, but I thought the thing same for 2012, 2011, 2010…
Layla never found her footing in the WWE, until she turned heel and was one half of LayCool.
After an injury, she returned to the company as a babyface.
No one seemed to care.
With no explanation, she was good now. Fans were supposed to cheer her. But without any reason, it didn’t work.
She captured the Divas Title on her first match back, but spent most of her matches thereafter smiling and/or hitting her opponent in the face with her butt.
After losing the title, she became a virtual non-factor in the company.
At the age of 35, which is quite old for a woman on WWE's roster (sadly this can be the prime years for a male wrestler), she may not make it all the way through 2013.
Somebody better call Brodus Clay’s momma, and tell him to get a new gimmick!
Clay had an interesting (to say the least) reintroduction on TV. Instead of dominating babyfaces, he was dancing.
For a few weeks, it was a popular act.
Fans were popping when his music began to play.
Once the bell rang, he was also one of the toughest guys in the ring. Next to Ryback, he was the most unstoppable wrestler on the roster.
The crowd then started to grow tired of Clay when we saw the same act every week. Just insert a new jobber, and repeat the whole shtick again.
WWE also seemed to lose interest, and began to job out the Funkasauras.
While few expected the act to become popular at all, it's disappointing that WWE had no next step for the character.
WWE finally came to its senses and realized that rebuilding Jack Swagger would be impossible, unless he went away.
Much like Ziggler and The Miz, Swagger spent most of 2012 losing.
He was fodder for everyone, including guys like Ryback and Brodus Clay.
He has the size, the look and a legitimate amateur background, but WWE seemed to be satisfied with him as more of a jobber than an actual threat.
The upcoming year could be a make-or-break one for Swagger.
Will he rise back up into the main events? Or will he be labeled a midcarder for life?
It’s pretty obvious that Mysterio is hiding something.
No wrestler wears a shirt every week unless they don’t want fans to see their body.
Not only did Mysterio pack on a few pounds, but he slowed down a few steps after returning from injury. To top if off, WWE seems to have lost its faith in him.
Kids look up to Mysterio, but he has two wellness policy violations. It would be embarrassing for everyone involved if he was caught again.
Mysterio also has a long history of injuries, and this year was no exception. He spent most of the year on the sidelines, and was then placed in a tag team with Sin Cara upon his return.
Mysterio is now relied on less to carry the workload, but his new team probably signals the end for any more WWE Championship runs.
Hopefully Mysterio can end his career on a high note.
But with injuries stacking up, multiple wellness violations and some noticeable weight gain, 2013 could be an ugly year.
It only took a few weeks, but Miz TV is already old.
The same can be said for Miz's babyface turn.
After WrestleMania, 2011 was a bad year for The Miz. 2012 was somehow worse. He spent quite a bit of time being nothing but a jobber.
After his separation from R-Truth, WWE creative seemed to have lost all hope in him.
Finally, he disappeared to film The Marine 3. A break is exactly what we needed from him.
It was time for Miz to freshen up the act.
Then, he came back before we could miss him, and the only thing different was some slightly visible facial hair.
Miz quickly won the Intercontinental title, but lost nearly every non-title match he was in.
The last hope to get his career back on track was a babyface turn. WWE barely put any thought into though, and we were supposed to cheer him even though he was the obnoxious, loudmouth he'd always been.
Maybe he can still get his babyface run on track, otherwise 2013 will be another disappointing year for a former WrestleMania main-eventer.
Two weeks into 2012, Air Boom lost the Tag Team Championship at a house show.
Losing a title at a house show is an odd event, and the next day we found out why: Evan Bourne had his second strike on the wellness policy.
This infraction came only two months after his first one.
To top it off, he broke his foot in March, and hasn't been back on TV since.
The once potential star will probably have to settle for the midcard for the rest of his career when he returns. Any dreams of rising to the level of a Rey Mysterio are most likely gone.
Next year is almost sure to get better for Bourne, as it can't get much worse.
Next to John Cena, Randy Orton was the No. 2 star in the company for a few years.
At 32, he's in great shape and is improving as a performer. He could have a good decade or more in front of him as a top star.
But WWE seems content to have him do essentially nothing.
When is the last time Orton had a meaningful feud with anyone?
It’s understandable not to trust him as their top guy because of his two strikes on the wellness policy, but you think they’d find something interesting for him to do.
At this point in his career, Orton is a guy that has matches, but not feuds.
He seems to show up sporadically, with nothing new to say. While he’s doing some good work in the ring, he just isn’t going anywhere.
In 2012, CM Punk, Sheamus and Ryback have all surpassed Orton in the pecking order.
Hopefully, if he avoids striking out on the wellness policy, maybe WWE will trust him more next year. Otherwise we may have to keep waiting for Orton to do something interesting again.
Brock can still wrestle, he can still talk, but two of his dream feuds in WWE fell flat.
WWE didn’t have anywhere near enough time to set up Cena vs. Lesnar. Because of this, the buyrate suffered.
If that’s not a disappointment, I don’t know what is.
Sure, SummerSlam and Extreme Rules were up from the prior year, but it wasn’t a remarkable success.
I wouldn’t blame either show on Brock, as WWE creative dropped the ball on both feuds. His exits also left something to be desired.
The first time he quit was because he said he accomplished what he had set out to do (lose to John Cena?). The second time, he touted his departure.
Using their new-fangled social media platform was beneath Lesnar, but so has his entire push so far.
Without the desire to work a full time schedule, and with the same creative team in place, don't expect Lesnar to have much more impact in 2013.
Agree? Disagree? Who was your most disappointing wrestler of the year? Sound off below!