Brock Lesnar, Damien Sandow: The Most Disappointing Wrestlers of 2013
In professional wrestling, character is always in flux.
Some people have good years, others have bad years, and a few have downright awful ones.
Unfortunately, few people on the WWE roster this year seemed to gain much momentum. Sure, The Shield, Daniel Bryan and AJ Lee grew to new heights, but many others stagnated or were worse off by year's end.
The wrestlers listed here had a promising 2012 and fell flat in 2013, or they just continued to have another uninspired year altogether. Some of the men and women here are long time main event acts, while others continued toiling away in the midcard, hoping to finally get their shot. In many cases, their failure to become something more really wasn't their fault. Terrible storylines, and lack of confidence from management often got in the way and only hindered their growth.
Last year, I took on the most disappointing wrestlers of 2012, and sadly some of the names have remained the same. Let's hope for a better 2014 for them.
Now, let's take a look at the top 10 wrestlers in WWE who had the most disappointing 2013.
Lucky for the talent here, they just missed out on the top 10. While they each had some saving graces to keep them from being a total flop, you can't help but have hoped for a better year for all of them.
Yes, Daniel Bryan caught fire as an act this year, but he had the potential to be a true main event babyface. WWE constantly telling us that he’s short and weird looking, and his Pedigree from HHH at SummerSlam decisively ended any chance he had of being the face of the company.
The Rock may be The Great One, but his 2013 wasn’t so great at all (at least not in the world of wrestling). He may have been the biggest box office star on the planet the past year, but he also headlined WrestleMania 29, which did over 200,000 buys less than WrestleMania 28. His WWE title run was also underwhelming, due to him rarely being around. It’s always great to have The Rock back, but it was slightly less great in 2013.
The year 2012 was not kind to Wade Barrett, so there really wasn’t much hope that 2013 would be better. And it was not. By the end of the year, the former pay-per-view main-eventer was stuck with an awful gimmick that is destined to go nowhere. I have some bad news for Wade: “Expect 2014 to be lousy for you.”
Did you know that Sin Cara had his own comic book in Mexico? Well, you should by now, because Michael Cole tells us that every match he’s in! Ok, so no one was expecting big things for Sin Cara in 2013, but one would at least have expected to have Mistico still under the mask. Nope. He was re-cast with Hunico now playing the role. Ouch! Maybe next year Hornswoggle will get to do his own take on the Sin Cara character.
No. 10: Big Show
Another year, another babyface and heel turn for The Big Show.
He arguably had the worst main event babyface character in WWE history this past year. He was pushed as an undeserving crybaby who only received a title shot because he threatened to sue. Let's also not forget him punching a senior citizen, solely because he was foolish enough to lose all his money whil building a mini-mall, via a WWE storyline.
It's too bad, as he had a pretty good 2012. His iron-clad contract gimmick was over, and he was cutting some of the best promos of his career. By the end of 2013, he was literally wearing a diaper on TV. So much for his "all I have left is my dignity" promo.
Sure, people haven't come to expect much from a babyface Big Show, but 2013 was a new low.
No. 9: Kofi Kingston
Oh Kofi, will you ever do anything interesting? Ever? Please?
What did he do in 2013? Try to think back real hard.
2013 was pretty forgettable, just like 2012, 2011 and 2010 were for him. Well, he did capture the U.S. title for a whopping 35 days. Not that exciting? Ok, he also won some midcard matches, lost to a bunch of guys whom WWE was higher on and maybe received five minutes of promo time in the entire year.
Oh yeah, and he had that awful feud with The Miz where no one was sure who was the babyface and who was the heel.
If Kofi is ever going to become something more in his WWE career, time is rapidly running out. He's probably already doomed and forever labeled a midcarder. Despite his charisma and flashy wrestling moves, WWE has never figured out his character.
I'm sorry to say it, but expect his 2014, 2015 and 2016 to be as unmemorable as 2013.
No. 8: Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar topped the list of most disappointing wrestlers last year, and this year he had another underwhelming run. It's hard to blame him, though, as he was engaged in a pointless feud with Triple H that sucked away any of the remaining momentum he had.
He had a fantastic match with CM Punk at SummerSlam, but his mystique had already been badly damaged at that point. His presence at events no longer seems to affect pay-per-view buyrates.
Don't blame him, though (not that you would to his face). You can place the blame on WWE, as he was a huge box office attraction in the UFC and can still wrestle at a top-tier level in WWE.
Perhaps a WrestleMania match with Undertaker could get some buzz going for him again, but at this point it's safe to say that WWE messed up badly with The Beast.
No. 7: Kaitlyn
From WWE's Divas champion to falling off the face of the earth, Kaitlyn had a rough year.
Sure, she's no Trish Stratus or Lita, but she represented a rarity in WWE: an athletic-looking woman who really is an athlete. She actually looks like she could hold her own in a fight and is probably a better role model for young women than all of the models that WWE brings in.
Her failure to connect with the crowd can also be largely attributed to her push. She was mocked for being overweight and manly (which are ridiculous accusations). She continually lost to AJ Lee and devolved into a crying mess.
Who is going to cheer for that?
To top it off, she disappeared for months for no reason and then returned, and the announcers didn't even mention that she had been gone. She then teamed up with her archrival AJ at Survivor Series with no explanation!
Kaitlyn may have a better 2014 because it's hard to do any worse. But there's also no signs that WWE has any immediate plans for her.
No. 6: Damien Sandow
Just when you think WWE is going to finally give you your well-deserved big shot, it pulls the rug right out from under you and dresses you up as Santa Claus.
Damien Sandow has the talent, but WWE would rather have him as another midcard clown than a potential main event heel. He won the Money in the Bank contract on Jul. 14, and just like Dolph Ziggler before him, he continued to job like no one's business.
Most believed that history would repeat itself and that he'd at least be awarded with world heavyweight gold. It was not to be. He ended up losing, despite having one of the biggest advantages ever in a WWE match.
His opponent John Cena had just returned from surgery and then had his arm beaten repeatedly with a chair. Sandow should have won in seconds. Instead, Cena won after a back-and-forth match, despite having one arm.
Sandow then wrestled in gimmick matches against Ziggler and played Santa at year's end. Is this WWE's way of saying "you're welcome" for all his hard work?
No. 5: Alberto Del Rio
WWE had high hopes for Alberto Del Rio to be the company's next great Latino star.
On the surface, it seemed like a fair bet. He's good looking, confident and a solid in-ring wrestler who could fill the void that Rey Mysterio has left due to his injuries over the years.
So WWE turned Del Rio babyface, and he flopped spectacularly.
There's been some pandering (Sheamus), overbearing (The Miz) and unfunny (John Cena) babyfaces over the years, but have any been so unnaturally forced into a role that they clearly didn't fit in as Del Rio has?
You can't say the man didn't try. But that was the problem. He tried way too hard. He did comedy segments with Ricardo Rodriguez that were groan-inducing and just lame (to put it politely). He suddenly loved America after hating the country for years, and rightfully, no one bought it.
Thankfully, Del Rio was turned back after a few months, but any hopes of him being the next Latino hero are probably gone forever.
No. 4: Fandango
What exactly did Fandango do wrong?
He was getting over with the crowd and had a surprisingly entertaining character. He got a big win over Chris Jericho at WrestleMania, and then...nothing. He showed up, danced and jobbed. That was basically it for the rest of the year.
For a while, he felt like he could be the next Goldust, as a character who seems to have no chance of working and then somehow does. For some reason, Vince McMahon lost interest in him and moved onto The Wyatt Family and other acts.
Unlike some of the others on this list, Fandango has a chance to have a better 2014. Let's hope so; otherwise he may be Fandango'ing all the way to the unemployment line.
No. 3: Curtis Axel
There were flops this year in WWE, and then there was Curtis Axel.
While Axel was competing in NXT and in The Nexus, some felt he deserved better and just needed the opportunity. Well, he got that shot, and maybe WWE was right all along.
Axel re-debuted with Paul Heyman by his side. That's about a sure thing as you can get to becoming a star. Nope. Didn't happen.
To be fair, HHH didn't do him any favors by humiliating him on his first night, but Axel just didn't have the charisma to justify a top spot. His feud with CM Punk fell flat, and his tag team with Ryback was even worse.
As 2013 drew to a close, Axel was losing to everyone on the roster. That's far from perfect, if you ask me.
No. 2: Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler took the ninth spot on last year's list, but he jumped up a few more this year due to even worse booking.
For years, fans have been clamoring for WWE to finally give him his shot. The company finally caved and gave him the World Heavyweight Championship the night after WrestleMania.
It was one of the best moments of the year due to the raucous crowd. It felt like a star was born that night. All that hard work of making others look like a million bucks had paid off. It was now his time.
But now, that seems like a lifetime ago for his character.
After he won gold, WWE had Ziggler lose virtually every non-title match he was involved in and then had him drop the belt when he suffered a concussion. He was hastily turned babyface upon his return and seemed to lose his connection with the fans. The Show Off gimmick is fine for a heel but a bit hard to rally behind for a face.
Right now, he is back in placeholder mode, where maybe he'll get another shot if something pops up. Don't get your hopes up too high, though. By all indications, 2014 will be like 2013 for him, just without the landmark moments.
No. 1: Ryback
Whether you enjoy Ryback as a wrestler or not, you have to feel at least a little bad for him.
Yes, Ryback was Vince McMahon's latest pet project at one point, and he was continually forced upon the WWE audience. But for a time, he was actually getting over. The crowds were slowly catching onto his "feed me more" chant, and he was a far better in-ring performer than the muscle-bound monsters of wrestling past like Goldberg and The Ultimate Warrior.
But after seven straight pay-per-view losses from 2012 into 2013, his mystique was gone. He was forced into a top role months before he should have been, and the unstoppable monster kept losing. It killed his gimmick.
His heel turn was also rushed, and no one cared. His character just went from one confusing mess to the next, like hugging Vickie Guerrero one week and becoming a ripoff of TNA's Bully Ray the next. By the end of the year, he was jobbing in 90 seconds to The Big Show.
Let's hope 2014 is better for him; otherwise he may have nothing to eat at all.
Those are my picks for biggest disappointments in 2013. Who makes your list? Sound off below and thanks for reading!