Examining Mojo Rawley's Strengths, Weaknesses and Long-Term Potential

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
Examining Mojo Rawley's Strengths, Weaknesses and Long-Term Potential
Credit: WWE.com

Mojo Rawley is powered by a seemingly tireless motor that will allow him to surge to the top of NXT and beyond.

An overstock of energy, stellar athleticism and charm make him one of the top prospects despite not coming from a wrestling background and only being in WWE developmental for a short time. How he's able to channel those qualities will determine his ceiling, one that is already rather high.

Rawley is getting noteworthy opportunities with NXT.

He challenged then-NXT champ Bo Dallas earlier this year and dominated CJ Parker at NXT: Arrival. Those are signs of WWE's growing confidence in the man who was once NFL teammates with Baron Corbin.

Officials are clearly seeing Rawley's many gifts. As his career continues, more and more fans will see them too.

 

Strengths

For Rawley, his catchphrase is not just a saying but the perfect description of who he is as a Superstar.

He says that "he doesn't get hyped, he stays hyped." That's immediately obvious when he sprints into the ring, shouts excitedly into the camera or springs between the ropes like he runs on batteries.

That energy has gotten him noticed quickly and had fans chanting for him at his NXT debut match.

Mojo Rawley promo clip and debut match on NXT

The former Arizona Cardinal not only has an impressive build but agility and speed not often seen from a man his size. At 6'4'', 290 pounds, per WWE.com, one would expect him to lumber around the ring and rely mostly on his power.

Instead, he leaps into the corner, lifting high into the air after running with seemingly little effort. It must have been skills like these that wowed Green Bay Packers officials enough to sign him in 2009, per Yardbarker.com.

Defensive linemen with feet as quick as his have been highly successful in WWE as evidenced by the rises of Roman Reigns and Big E.

Like those two men, Rawley looks the part of a WWE Superstar: muscular, massive and intimidating. Beyond his physical ability and marketable look, the hyped man's biggest strength is being likable.

Even in short bursts, Rawley comes off as a guy one can't help but root for. When Renee Young interviewed after his win at NXT: Arrival, he was charming and genuine. 

Renee Young interviews Mojo Rawley

His smile, his passion and his powerful delivery will all serve him well on the main roster.

He possesses two qualities one is simply either born with or not: elite athletic ability and "it factor." Those traits will afford him major opportunities early and have WWE officials willing to overlook more of his weaknesses.

 

Weaknesses

Rawley is understandably still raw in the ring.

While his athleticism crackles onscreen, his ring work is not as fluid as it will need to be eventually. He wrestles like a point guard who barrels out of control into the paint, but it won't be long before he sheds that weakness.

Experience will funnel his physical prowess.

In a house show match against Sami Zayn, Rawley's inexperience showed. There were a few instances of sloppy moves or awkward transitions.

For example, Zayn's tornado DDT to end the match doesn't look quite right, likely due to Rawley not rolling properly with the move.

Sami Zayn and Mojo Rawley in action at an NXT house show

This bout was as far from as smooth and seamless as Zayn's work against Cesaro or Adrian Neville. One can't help but blame Rawley's greenness for that.

Still, with as little wrestling as he has on his resume, he's already impressive between the ropes. In time, trainers can streamline his offense.

His repertoire will need to expand, though.

For now, Rawley's move set is made up of mostly shoulder tackles, punches and splashes. He won't be expected to start hitting moonsaults, but he will have to add weapons to make his matches more compelling. His current bouts, like his character, are one-dimensional.

Rawley's personality and energy is infectious, but he'll need character depth to reach his full potential.

He is a one-note song at the moment, only displaying his frenetic energy. In a rehearsal for a promo with Solomon Crowe, he showed off both the fun of his act and how limited it is.

Mojo Rawley and Solomon Crowe rehearse a segment.

He comes off a bit like a caricature given his single emotion. This will be sufficient to get him to the main roster and get a fanbase behind him, but it will not be complex enough for him to earn a marquee feud.

He'll have to prove that he can engage an audience even when his foot is not pressing the gas pedal to the floor.

Should he succeed there, develop a more well-rounded offense and become capable of delivering longer, multi-layered matches, WWE gold won't just be something he dreams aboutit will be what he types onto his resume.

 

Long-Term Potential

Depending on how he progresses, Rawley is either this generation's version of "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan or the babyface Superstar capable of challenging John Cena for his lofty spot with the company.

To achieve the latter, he'll have to start producing matches worthy of a main event, something his peers Zayn and Neville are already doing. He's already shown that he has a great stage presence and plenty of charisma, but his mic work will have to improve as well.

Success in those areas will push him up to world title level.

For now, though, Rawley is a case of having more promise than results. What if he isn't able to get much better in the ring or develop a more complex character? 

Mojo Rawley reacts after his NXT debut. Can he add depth to this character?

In that case, Rawley will be a fun addition to the main roster but mirror Duggan's position on the card more than Cena's. Duggan was extremely popular, especially with kids, but he worked in filler bouts (as he did at WrestleMania V) while Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan earned the biggest spotlight.

Like Duggan, Rawley employs a straight-ahead style and has an easy-to-remember catchphrase.

Duggan is in the WWE Hall of Fame, so there's certainly no shame in having a similar career. But as gifted as Rawley is physically, he's capable of even more. His hyped approach to wrestling can be the route he takes to be the latest football player to become a WWE all-time great.

 

Be sure to check out previous installments in this ongoing series:   

Load More Stories

Out of Bounds

WWE

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.