Antonio Cesaro & 7 WWE Superstars Who Need a Real Opportunity
Whether a pro wrestler succeeds or not depends largely upon his talent, but often, it depends more on luck and opportunity.
A WWE superstar can have all the talent in the world, and yet, if he doesn't get to showcase it, then it ultimately won't mean much. Similarly, a guy can have very little talent but wind up getting chance after chance to make it big.
Is that unfair? Of course, but no one ever said pro wrestling is an easy business. In fact, it's one of the hardest businesses out there.
Uber-talented guys often get placed on the back burner because of BS politics or other reasons that we, the fans, can't really fathom. No matter what, though, that's going to continue to happen as long as pro wrestling sticks around.
Deserving stars, like Antonio Cesaro, won't get much of an opportunity when just about everyone can see that they clearly deserve one.
So, which current WWE stars deserve more chances than they've been getting? Let's take a look.
Here are seven superstars who need a real opportunity to succeed in the WWE.
7. Curt Hawkins
When was the last time the WWE used Curt Hawkins in an angle that actually mattered?
Hawkins hasn't really had a major role on TV since his time alongside Zack Ryder in "La Familia" several years ago, and really, he hasn't done anything of note since his short-lived "Magic Mike" gimmick alongside Tyler Reks last year.
Beyond that, Hawkins has essentially been a ghost on WWE TV. The only times we've really seen him over the last couple of years were to either job to Ryback or pop up in random segments here and there.
That seems like such a monumental waste of talent, too.
Although Hawkins may not be someone who would ever carry the company or challenge for World titles, he could add a lot of value to the midcard as either a heel or face. He's charismatic, he can wrestle and for someone who gets next to zero TV time, he's actually got a pretty sizable fanbase.
The WWE has struggled mightily to make its midcard or tag team division mean anything recently. Hawkins is a guy who could easily bring something to either scene. At the very least, it couldn't hurt to try.
Hawkins is still very young (28), and he's got all the time in the world to make an impact in the WWE. He just needs to get the chance first, or else he'll probably end up being released within the next year or so.
6. Michael McGillicutty
When longtime WWE announcer Jim Ross was recently asked on Twitter who the "most underrated" superstar in the WWE is, here's what he wrote on his blog on JRsBarBQ.com:
I mentioned that an argument could be made for more than one but off the top of my head I'd go with @WWEMcGillicutty. The son of the late Curt Hennig is the complete package and is only getting better. Some of his bouts in NXT have been excellent. I like the kid a great deal and hope that he sticks with the goal of achieving his dream to follow in his dad's footsteps and to create his own legacy.
Good Ol' JR was, of course, referring to Michael McGillicutty, and he essentially summed up my thoughts on the third-generation superstar: He's great all-around talent.
We haven't seen McGillicutty on TV (other than NXT) for quite some time now, and it's baffling because he's made some tremendous improvements from the last time we saw him on either Raw or SmackDown.
McGillicutty is better in every facet of the game these days. Yet, he hasn't done anything important since, well, I don't even know when. You gotta wonder why.
After all, Triple H is reportedly a big fan of McGillicutty. That's gotta mean something, right?
If Triple H really is a supporter of McGillicutty, a good push should come at some point, and McGillicutty should finally get the chance to succeed that he's been longing for.
5. Kofi Kingston
Yeah, Kofi Kingston has won the Tag Team, United States and Intercontinental Championships, and yeah, he's won each of those titles multiple times.
But other than his late 2009 feud with Randy Orton, has he ever really been given the opportunity to succeed? No, not really.
Kingston's career has basically been stuck in neutral since it started. He's in the exact some position on the card today that he was in four years ago, and over the course of that span, he's had absolutely no character development whatsoever.
Part of the problem is that Kingston is such a reliable midcard babyface that, almost like John Cena, the WWE doesn't want to change things up for him and risk ruining what it thinks is a good thing. Ultimately, though, that's greatly stifled Kingston's career.
All he does is float around the midcard, pop up in the secondary title picture from time to time, win the belt and then get a "push" to make it appear as if the WWE cares about him. However, the company has clearly given up on putting any effort into advancing his career at all, and that's a shame.
Kingston is a fantastic, reliable talent who almost always delivers good matches, and oddly enough, that may be what is actually preventing him from getting a real opportunity to succeed in the WWE.
4. Justin Gabriel
One of the biggest complaints you'll hear from WWE fans is that all the company's superstars are "cookie-cutter" ones who look, talk and act alike.
That's not really true at all (at least in most cases), especially when you look at a guy like Justin Gabriel.
He's a unique guy all the way around. He looks different than anyone on the roster, he sounds different (he's from South Africa), and most importantly, his style of wrestling is different, too.
What makes guys like Evan Bourne and Rey Mysterio, when they're around, stand out from the pack is that they are incredibly agile and athletic in the ring. That makes them capable of doing things that no one else can.
So can Gabriel.
With Bourne still injured and Mysterio constantly injured as well, Gabriel is in the argument with Kofi Kingston as the WWE's greatest high-flyer, and yet, we hardly ever see him on TV. And when we do, it's usually so he can job to whatever midcard heel is being pushed at the time.
Gabriel is in all likelihood another one of those guys who isn't a future main eventer, but an upper midcarder? I could definitely see that.
Not if he never gets the chance to become one, though.
3. Tyson Kidd
Tyson Kidd may be rehabbing his knee injury, but if and when he comes back, it's about damn time to get the ball rolling on what should be a great WWE career.
Then again, that may never happen.
Kidd signed with the WWE way back in 2006 and has been on the main roster since 2009. Nevertheless, beyond a couple of tag team title reigns and some brief start-and-stop pushes, he's never really gotten a fair crack at making his mark in the company.
That's a borderline travesty, too, because anyone who watches the WWE on a consistent basis will tell you that Kidd is one of the absolute best wrestlers on the roster, hands down. The problem with Kidd, though, is that he's never been able to stand out as an overly charismatic or larger-than-life superstar.
Still, you never really know what Kidd could do if he were ever given a legitimate chance of succeeding because, just like Daniel Bryan did, he might surprise us all by proving to be a breakout star once he gets the opportunity to show it.
When it comes to Kidd, his in-ring ability has never been questioned. Perhaps if the WWE decides to let him showcase those tremendous skills, the rest might end up falling in place.
Come on, WWE. You know it's worth a try to see if Kidd can finally make a substantial impact in the WWE after years of being overlooked.
2. Antonio Cesaro
Antonio Cesaro just held the United States Championship for 241 days, but that's an incredibly misleading and unimportant number.
Cesaro's title reign was a very lackluster one that featured virtually no major rivalries (other than perhaps his one against The Miz) and was plagued by the creative team's horrible booking, which turned him into what was essentially a jobber.
Ultimately, Cesaro's lengthy US Championship run did absolutely nothing for him, and now, he's stuck with a ridiculous yodeling gimmick that has only continued his losing ways. Mind-boggling, huh?
It's pretty much the consensus that Cesaro is one of the best all-around talents or, at the very least, one of the best in-ring talents in the WWE. Yet, he's been booked more poorly than just about anyone who is on TV on a weekly basis.
Why? Here's the reported reason for Cesaro's recent burial (according to WrestlingNewsWorld.com), but that's just too ridiculous for me to even address again.
The bottom line is that Cesaro is a great talent, and for whatever reason, the WWE has turned him into a joke.
He needs more than an opportunity. He needs a minor miracle to get out of the hell he's been in over the last several months.
1. Wade Barrett
Like Antonio Cesaro, Wade Barrett has been a victim of the WWE's creative team.
Creative's philosophy that it can consistently book its babyface midcarders to beat its heel midcard champions in non-title matches has backfired in a big way.
Exhibit A: Cesaro. Exhibit B: Barrett.
Barrett has held the Intercontinental Championship twice (and is still holding it) over the past five months, but we don't remember his title reigns for great matches or epic feuds. Rather, we remember them for Barrett losing what seems like 90 percent of his matches.
He hardly generates any reaction these days, and it's not because he's not a very talented superstar. He is. It's because he's been booked to lose so much that no one cares about his matches because we always expect him to lose now.
Now, Barrett is the Intercontinental champion again, and much to the surprise of no one, he continues to hear crickets when he enters the arena.
You can put the blame for that squarely on the shoulders of the creative team, too.
Barrett is a great wrestler and performer who can do all the things a top-tier superstar should do. Stemming back to his time with The Nexus in late 2010, he's actually proven that he can be one.
But as long as he's suffering at the hands of the often awful creative team, the odds of Barrett ever getting another chance to succeed will remain very, very low.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!