Fifteen WWE Superstars To Look Out For In 2011
Every year, there's a new group of wrestlers to emerge within the ranks of WWE. In the past year, they have lost Shawn Michaels, Batista, and Chris Jericho, and who knows how many years guys like Kane, Undertaker, Triple H, Big Show, Rey Mysterio, etc. have left? Who will take their spots?
In 2010, we saw guys like Sheamus, Jack Swagger and The Miz rise to the top, with more waiting in the wings. This is the list of 15 wrestlers to look out for to break out to the next level in 2011. Expect a few from this list to become WWE or World Heavyweight Champion at some point next year.
As "American Dragon" Bryan Danielson, he didn't get the title of "best wrestler in the world" for nothing.
Anyone who knows anything about wrestling outside the world of WWE knows how good he is, that he has the rare level of in-ring talent that comes along once in a generation where he could get rise to the top based on ring ability to none.
He's been able to get over pretty well with the fans, and with his in-ring ability second to none, decent charisma and mic skills, the only thing that he has against him is his size.
But as Shawn Michaels and Rey Mysterio have proven before him, size isn't everything.
When the tag team of Miz and John Morrison broke up in 2009, everyone was expecting Morrison to rise to the top. But with Miz', shall I say "awesome" promo abilities, and Morrison's lack thereof, it was Miz.
However, Morrison has something that Miz, and everyone else in the WWE doesn't have, that amazing athleticism.
With Shelton Benjamin gone from WWE, he is easily the best athlete in the company and can do things in the ring that nobody else can do. A little refining of his technical abilities, and some improvement on the microphone, he should become a main eventer in no time.
Alberto Del Rio
Already a star in Mexico as Dos Caras Jr., the son of Dos Caras and nephew of legendary Mil Mascaras, Alberto Del Rio has already made waves in WWE.
With a gimmick similar to John Bradshaw Layfield, he is as good as a heel and great on the mic, he also has the in ring ability that JBL lacked.
I will be surprised if he doesn't become world champion at some point in 2011.
Honestly, it's a damn shame that he's never been a world champion in WWE. Perhaps it's because he's never been able to step out of Edge's shadow, or because he left for three years to wrestle in TNA, but for whatever the reason, that needs to change.
A really good worker in addition to being one of the most charismatic wrestlers in WWE. When he returns from his torn pectoral muscle in a month or so, they should begin his rise to the top, hopefully with a feud with his best friend former tag team partner Edge.
Five years ago, WWE took five promising superstars out of then developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling, and gave them the lame gimmick of male cheerleaders as members of the Spirit Squad.
They broke up near the end of 2006, with most of them getting sent back to developmental, with each one getting released one by one. By the time Nic "Nicky" Nemeth got called back up in late 2008 with a new gimmick, name, and hairstyle as Dolph Ziggler, he was the only one remaining with the company.
Since being drafted to SmackDown in 2009, Ziggler has engaged in solid feuds with stellar matches with the likes of Rey Mysterio, John Morrison, Kofi Kingston, Daniel Bryan and Kaval.
With a good combination of in ring wrestling ability, charisma, and an amateur wrestling background, as well as being accompanied by heat magnet Vickie Guerrero, he should rise to the top in no time.
Wade Barrett, Justin Gabriel, David Otunga
Possibly the top moment of 2010 was the debut of the Nexus following the end of NXT Season 1, and the compelling storyline that has followed. And while the feud with John Cena fizzled out after SummerSlam due to questionable booking, these three core members will continue to make an impact for awhile.
Gabriel is very similar to AJ Styles, in that he has amazing in-ring ability both on the mat and in the air, but lacks mic skills.
His 450 splash is one of the best executed top-rope finishers I have seen in a long time, with unmatched precision and crispness. He may very well have the in ring ability to be a major player for a long time despite his poor charisma.
Otunga is the opposite of Gabriel. He is very limited in the ring, but has the size, look, charisma and mic skills to be a major player in WWE. On top of that, being married to a Academy Award and Grammy winner works well to his advantage.
But it's Barrett who's the star of the group. He possesses both the in-ring ability and charisma to be a main eventer for a long time, having already main evented a couple pay per views in his first year in WWE. While he hasn't won a title yet, expect that to change really soon.
Since his debut in early 2008, Kingston has gone back and forth between getting solid pushes and getting lost in the shuffle.
Near the end of last year, he seemed on the edge of a main event push with his feud with Randy Orton, in which his team won the Survivor Series match when he eliminated Orton, and that memorable memorable moment at Madison Square Garden where he jumped off the rail putting Orton through a table.
But that all came crashing down when he jobbed to Orton at TLC and subsequently two more times on Raw in the following weeks.
Since then, aside from an Intercontinental title reign last summer, he found himself lost in the shuffle for most of 2010. But he is still over with the fans, and with his talent could easily regain that momentum he had a year ago.
I never thought Matt Sydal would have the success he's had in WWE. Sure, he had an abundance of talent, but with his size and lack of charisma, I wasn't expecting them to use him right.
Thankfully, I was wrong. He's heavily over with the fans, and with a backing from the likes of Triple H and John Cena, he should only move higher up on the ladder.
His flawless shooting star press and great in-ring performances will continue to catapult him into the hearts of fans the same way a young luchador in WCW named Rey Mysterio did in the 1990s.
From his debut in May 2008, Ted DiBiase Jr. seemed destined from stardom. Following the breakup of Legacy, he was in line for a huge singles push with his dad's million dollar championship and his own stable, the Fortunate Sons, alongside his brother Brett and Joe Hennig (now known as Michael McGillicutty).
However, shortly before this was to happen, Brett tore his ACL in late April and it never came to fruition. As a result, his push was scrapped and spent most of 2010 lost in the shuffle.
Now, with his brother still on the sidelines and McGillicutty doing his own thing in Nexus, it looks like we won't see this angle (however they could always replace McGillicutty with some other second generation wrestler such as Richie Steamboat), but at some point he will regain that steam and possibly do what his father never could: win a world championship.
When the Hart Dynasty formed, it seemed that David Hart Smith would be the star. Sure, Tyson Kidd was a little bit better in the ring considering he's a great technical wrestler and flyer, but with Smith's background, size, and agility, he seemed to have the brighter future.
However, Kidd showed much more charisma and mic skills, and as a singles star should have a successful 2011.
The biggest WWE signing of 2010 was in August when they signed ROH World Champion Tyler Black, debuting in FCW at the end of September as Seth Rollins. With the size (6-2), youth (24 years old), and incredible in-ring ability, the only thing lacking is his mic skills.
However, he has slowly improved, and with a little more time could develop enough charisma to became a strong force in WWE, following the footsteps of fellow Ring of Honor champions CM Punk and Daniel Bryan.
Drew McIntyre and Cody Rhodes
I'm lumping these two together because I'm not high on them, but WWE seems to be.
McIntyre's got enough talent, but I just find him to be boring. This could change however, and hopefully it does if they're going to continue to push him into 2011.
As for Rhodes, he's an average worker and talker, but being the son of the legendary Dusty Rhodes and being popular with the female fans will get you a long way.
Plus, he's got a good gimmick going and awesome entrance music. Just wear some damn knee pads.