WWE's Reliance on Heavy Gimmickry Puts Glass Ceiling on Potential Stars

Aaron BowerFeatured ColumnistJuly 29, 2014

Credit: WWE.com

In some ways, this should be one of the most exciting rosters the WWE has had in years and years. It's a delightful sprinkling of experienced, older heads (some part-time, some full-time), who complement the younger ones perfectly.

With NXT solidifying itself as a credible strand of WWE's makeup in recent years too (the production line has really heated up with the emergence of the likes of The Wyatt Family and Fergal Devitt signing up to the brand), there seems to be a steady stream of midcard stars who have the potential to move up the card. In professional wrestling and the world of natural progression, that can only be a good thing.

Unfortunately, the WWE is treating a lot of its up-and-coming stars with such disdain and mismanagement that they are becoming limited in what they can do. And that is all based around the one thing the company appears to have become obsessed with: gimmicks.

This isn't a protest against the WWE dropping gimmicks—far from it, in fact. Some of them work very well, as we've seen throughout the whole of our lives watching professional wrestling. But in WWE in 2014, the addiction to gimmicks is simply ruining a fair few careers.

Where do you possibly start? Well, probably with one of the most recent graduates of NXT, Adam Rose. Make no mistake about it: Rose's gimmick is the thing that got him onto the main roster. But it has been pushed to the extent where his wrestling hasn't just become a secondary point of interest; it's become a complete afterthought.

Week after week, Rose is either cutting insidiously bad promos or wrestling for less than a couple of minutes before dancing into the back with his entourage. Sure, the gimmick is decent enough, but without any real development in his wrestling, he's just going to drift back to NXT.

And it's ironic Rose's name is mentioned at this point, because his most recent opponent is another wrestler suffering from heavy gimmickry. And the case of Damien Sandow is arguably much more upsetting than that of Rose, because Sandow had actually become a well-respected wrestler by doing just that: wrestling.

Who on Earth decided that Sandow should come out in fancy dress each week before effectively being squashed? This is a guy who formed one half of a pretty interesting tag team (at a time when the tag division was on its haunches) before wrestling John Cena for the World Heavyweight Championship. There will be those who felt he was in the right place to beat Cena, but that point is almost moot.

If Sandow had lost that match but continued to stick around at the top end (or even the middle) of the card, it would have been more than acceptable. But the current state of his career has meant he'll almost certainly never get back to the point he was once at.

Sandow's former tag team partner is enduring the same misfortune, as Cody Rhodes, sorry, Stardust, is drifting into an area where he is becoming increasingly irrelevant. It was interesting when the WWE changed his gimmick at first, but without competing, it's all becoming a bit pointless.

Sure, the WWE can't be slated for trying something different, but this is just too far. Clearly the mindset is that, by giving these young bucks outrageous gimmicks, they will stand out. That's the wrong approach, because having guys who can wrestle and entertain the crowd with their skills is what gets you over.

You don't need me to tell you there are plenty of examples of that in WWE right now (even if some of them are injured) or in the recent past.