The WWE’s roster may appear to be a little thin at times, but the truth is that the company's got a deep reservoir of untapped talent.
Stars like Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler are ready to explode onto the main event scene and not look back, but let’s not forget about WWE’s midcard, even if the WWE itself seems to at times.
With three hours of Raw, two hours of SmackDown and one hour of Main Event every week, the WWE has plenty of TV time to build a solid midcard, but just can’t seem to do it.
Maybe the creative team is too busy trying to scramble for new main event stars, or maybe its burnt out from the extra hour that was added to Raw back in July of last year. Either way, the midcard scene needs some help.
These are six performers who can provide that assistance.
Honorable Mention: Tyson Kidd
Kidd is right up the top of the list of people who deserve a push, but he'll be out for a lot of the year due to injury, making him ineligible for this list.
Since the Nexus and Corre stables ran their respective courses, WWE has flirted with the idea of a singles run for Justin Gabriel many times, most recently with a TV feud with Antonio Cesaro that saw Gabriel pick up a non-title win over the U.S. champion.
Unfortunately, all of these singles pushes have been killed before the South African high-flyer could gain any real momentum.
It’s like the creative team realizes he’s exciting to watch, but then it collectively forgets he exists two weeks later.
His one-off matches on Raw elicit good “ooh and aah” reactions from the crowd, and with a sustained push and some exposure, it wouldn’t take long for crowds to start chanting his name.
Gabriel doesn’t have much in the way of promo presence, or at least not from what we’ve seen, but he’s got an interesting style and can deliver in the ring.
His lack of personality will keep him away from the main event, but his ring work is definitely strong enough to grant him a consistent midcard position, similar to what we see with Kofi Kingston.
Derrick Bateman has a characteristic that is extremely valuable and that so few in the WWE possess: hH’s legitimately funny.
Not “funny for a wrestler,” just funny, full stop.
Derrick Bateman has genuine comedic talent, as has been displayed in his various segments with Daniel Bryan during his stint in NXT Season 4 and his “USA Guy” vignettes.
While the Funkasaraus does his tiresome dance and Sheamus consistently fails to land a successful punch line, Bateman sits on the sidelines.
The USA Guy’s ring skills could use some polishing, but his original sense of humour and strong comedic timing are enough to earn Bateman a regular TV spot.
Hunico was essentially hired to feud with Sin Cara to help ingratiate him with the WWE style of wrestling, as the two knew each other well from their matches in Mexico.
He debuted as Sin Cara Negro, but once the feud was over, his character shifted from an impostor Sin Cara to a Mexican dude that rides a bike to the ring.
His new character didn’t really evolve past that, unfortunately.
Regardless, Hunico proved to be a similarly talented luchador to Cara, so it’s a little strange that WWE just abruptly gave up on him.
Perhaps with Mysterio, Cara and Del Rio, the roster has met its quota of Mexican stars, but Hunico’s thuggish character is different than those performers, so it shouldn’t be a problem.
As eluded to, the character is a little stereotypical and generic at the moment, but it could flourish if given the chance to grow.
Evan Bourne was headed in the right direction with his partnership with Kofi Kingston and their run as Air Boom, but he’s since been derailed by wellness violations and injury.
If WWE decides that it doesn't want to invest in a young star that already has two strikes against him, that’s fair enough, but if Bourne can earn the trust of WWE brass, there’s no reason he shouldn’t thrive in the midcard.
Bourne has a great look for a smaller guy and has already proven he can put on great performances; his short feud with Chris Jericho back in 2010 featured some terrific matches.
Bourne also gives Dolph Ziggler a strong competitor for “best seller,” as he can make average moves look devastating.
Bourne has managed to accrue some impressive moments in his career with the likes of John Cena, Jericho and Kofi Kingston. Let’s hope he gets back on track upon his return this year.
Yes, this old hand.
It’s become clichéd to say that Zack Ryder deserves a push, but damn it, Zack Ryder deserves a push.
He, like Bateman, could be sharper in the ring. But the fact is that for a long time, Zack Ryder was one of the hottest things in the WWE and he wasn’t even on television. Think about that, because it’s mind-boggling.
He managed to get himself massively over using creativity and originality, but his only reward was a brief U.S. Championship reign and a push that was killed for no good reason.
I don’t complain about Ryback’s push because wrestling and character depth deficiencies aside, he’s over with fans. Similarly, the simple truth is that arenas around America chanted “We want Ryder,” so Ryder is what they should get.
Why WWE didn’t provide the fans with their Ryder Revolution is seriously puzzling, and he’s lost a lot of heat as a result, but with some support from the WWE machine, the Long Island Iced Z could become hot again.
You’ll notice Big Show is unlike everyone else on this list, as a midcard spot would mean a step down rather than a step up.
It was moderately interesting to see Big Show get a decent World Heavyweight Championship run, and his matches with Sheamus were surprisingly good, but the novelty has worn off and his presence in the title picture has become a little exhausting.
With Big Show’s continued abuse of Ricardo Rodriguez on Raw and SmackDown, it seems that his feud with Del Rio is far from over, even if the thought of Big Show being in another World Heavyweight Championship match is yawn-inducing.
Big Show still has plenty of value as a performer, but the main event isn’t his place anymore. His heel persona is stale and he’s limited in the ring, so there’s really no reason for him to stay on top.
In 2013, Big Show should regress to the midcard and stay there.