Analyzing Justin Gabriel's Worth to WWE
Justin Gabriel, a talented but replaceable high-flyer, can be a valuable cog in the WWE machine if used properly.
Like "Jumping" Jim Brunzell before him, Gabriel can be a solid addition to the midcard and tag team division. Gabriel's greatest attribute is his athleticism, but he offers little else.
Only in the rarest cases does WWE find a superstar as talented as The Rock or CM Punk. The rest of the roster can contribute, though.
You don't need a band full of frontmen anyway. Men like Gabriel are the bass players of the WWE, important and often underappreciated.
Gabriel's strength is providing entertaining matches. Like many of the cruiserweights did for WCW, Gabriel gives WWE a good match just about every night he's asked to perform.
For example, take his 2012 bout with Antonio Cesaro on Superstars.
Against Cesaro, he provides a burst of physical magic, flipping around the ring and over his opponent in exciting fashion. Gabriel's work is fast-paced. He's fluid, thrilling at times and one of WWE's best leapers.
WWE doesn't need to write this guy a story. There is no need for buildup. Those things would heighten these encounters, but Gabriel can entertain with just his legs.
The company needs matches like these, clashes that lead into the main event. WWE needs matches to fill its ever-growing programming schedule.
In that way, Gabriel is the chips and salsa before the fajitas arrive. You can't just eat chips for dinner, but they make the meal as a whole better.
Beyond his ring ability, his look probably appeals to the hipster teenage wrestling fan. Other than that, Gabriel can easily blend into the mass of men and women that is the WWE roster.
He doesn't have elite-level charisma or a stand-out character. In an interview about his WrestleMania 28 pre-show match, he doesn't provide anything memorable.
Tyson Kidd significantly outshines him. Kidd's passionate delivery makes him look like the clear star here. Gabriel catches less of our attention.
To utilize his strengths and cover his deficiencies, WWE should keep Gabriel as a regular member of the tag team division.
As Tyson Kidd's partner and as a member of Nexus, Gabriel was at his best. In this situation, there's no need to lean on him to provide star power, character or promo skills.
The way Jim Brunzell earned the bulk of his living as a member of The Killer Bees, Gabriel's success will largely depend on finding him the right partner.
As an upper-midcard performer or as a champion, Gabriel is of little value. He's just not well-rounded enough to pull off those positions.
When Kidd returns post-surgery, their team can be reunited. Otherwise Gabriel can be allied with someone new. This is how to make Gabriel a solid part of WWE's core.
Seth Rollins, Kofi Kingston and recent signee El Generico can all provide the acrobatics that Gabriel does. In a way, the South African is an interchangeable part.
Still, WWE needs men like Gabriel to fill Battle Royal slots, to give the company booking options and to provide variety. Gabriel can handle all of those duties.
In the right role, Gabriel can be a capable bass player while a guy like John Cena provides lead vocals.
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