WWE: 10 Superstars Who Could Be the Next Big Thing
WWE has always been known to have a top man, the "carrier" of the company. We've had Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold, The Rock, Kurt Angle (coincidentally the only heel of the lot), Shawn Michaels/Triple H and now John Cena. These men have all had somebody to play second fiddle to them; to be the big man on the opposite end. Angle had Undertaker, Stone Cold had The Rock (and vice versa), Cena had Edge and now has Randy Orton. All of these wrestlers started somewhere, whether obscure beginnings or humble starts. Did anybody expect the "Doctor of Thuganomics" to become a multi-time World Champion? Did anybody really think that the flamboyant Rocky Maivia would become the "Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment" and, later on, "All Entertainment"?
There are several current roster members who have the potential to be stars, whether the greatest heel of the era or the No. 1 face of the decade. It doesn't matter, because each of the following wrestlers has the opportunity to become the greatest thing to happen to the WWE.
Cody Rhodes, son of WWE legend Dusty Rhodes and brother of icon Goldust, has been in the company for a few years now. He started off simple with a "common man" gimmick, similar to his father (without the insanity that followed him) before transitioning to an arrogant one, teaming with Orton and Ted DiBiase Jr., all 3 being "Fortunate Sons".
Wrestling ran through their veins, but so did viciousness, as the trio wrecked havoc on the roster for a couple of years before splitting. DiBiase was widely acclaimed to be the break-out star, although while he has been lingering on the lower depths of the card, Rhodes has escalated to the upper region with superb speed.
He spent several months with a "dashing" gimmick, which was the origin of his push, although upon a kayfabe injury did he become the star he is now. Donning a mask and a personality similar to what Kane and Mankind's love child would have, Rhodes is now dubbed one of the hottest prospects.
It doesn't stop there. Not only does Cody possess great in-ring skills, but he is gold on the microphone and has an interesting gimmick. His potential is still incredibly high and he could definitely become a World Champion within the next year. Rey Mysterio, one of the top dogs in the company, has labeled him a huge asset. Watch this space, because before you know it, Cody Rhodes could very well be the next icon.
Unsurprisingly, IWC darling Zack Ryder makes this list. Some of you may ask, "why is he?" He's only a jobber right now, after all.
Let's look at him in detail. He is buddies with John Cena and Dolph Ziggler and has been touted as having a bright future by Steve Austin. Ryder has a great gimmick and strong mic skills accompanying it. His in-ring ability competes with some of the greatest in the company and his popularity is higher than the likes of Morrison or pre-heel R-Truth, all of whom were immensely over with the crowd.
Ryder gets giant pops of cheers in most arenas he participates in, and few actually dislike the man. His internet webshow gathers plenty of hits, rivaling that of Superstars itself. He has taken the gimmick placed upon him and made it his own, becoming one of the biggest characters in the company.
Some may say he is already on a push right now. He's appearing frequently on RAW, doing backstage segments with the aforementioned current WWE Champion, John Cena. He had a rather good, albeit short match with Kofi Kingston last week and is expected to have another match tonight in Long Island. He has an in-character bodyguard, a locally famous Big O. Furthermore, he is pretty much in an alliance with Primo and Curt Hawkins and is plugged often by WWE commentator and host Scott Stanford, who also is a sports reporter on several TV stations.
Ryder has all the tools required to be a top star, including the backing of Triple H. All he needs now is confirmation from Vince McMahon.
There are doubts as to whether or not Bourne can reach the dizzying heights of the main event, although fairly few have a word against his talent. He is fast, small and athletic, much akin to an early-days Rey Mysterio. He has taken elements of his wrestling from not only American techniques, but from Mexican and Japanese techniques too. He was one of the biggest stars on the independent circuit and could repeat that success within the WWE.
He isn't the best on the microphone, though he isn't terrible. He has the ability to garner interest but hasn't been given the perfect opportunity. However, he is one of those exceptions to the talking barrier as he can most defiantly wow crowds in the ring. The height he can achieve with his "Airbourne" (Shooting Star Press) is substantial, the move set with which he is equipped is vast and flashy and, as a bonus, he is gradually getting more and more over with the fans.
Bourne has yet to win an accolade within the WWE, although rumours were circulating that he was due for a push following the Rumble. It is not certain when this push will occur, but he appears to be getting included in a program with former World Heavyweight Champion, the All-American American, Jack Swagger. This could elevate both men to the main event (a return for Swagger), especially as the five-time WCW Champion Booker T has appeared within this feud a couple of times too.
Kidd is probably in the same boat as Bourne, although he probably has a better chance at success. Why is that? Tyson was the last graduate from the highly-successful Hart Dungeon. His girlfriend, Natalya Neidhart, has relations with greats such as Jim Neidhart, British Bulldog and Bret Hart. Additionally, Kidd's real-life best friend, Harry Smith (known in WWE as David Hart Smith), is the nephew of the Hitman and son of Bulldog. The tiny Canadian star is also on good terms with most of the influential members of WWE alumni, and if politics get you anywhere, Kidd is definitely at the top of the food chain.
But, let's not forget the skills in Kidd's inventory. He is a technician and a high-flier. He is swiftly adapting his submission talents to a top standard and is gradually improving his microphone skills. He has a unique look (thanks to his bizarre haircut) and can pull off some amazing faces within the ring. Kidd can tell a dozen stories with the emotions he can portray and also appears to be going through a push currently, acquiring a couple of managers during his Superstars tenure.
He was a member of one of the last great Tag Teams of this era, the Hart Dynasty, winning several tag Championships with DH Smith. The powerful Natalya accompanied the duo during matches, although he faded away from the pair during the team's split. Smith and Kidd looked set to begin a rivalry, but alas, that hasn't occurred and Smith has merely been toiling dangerously near the Future Endeavours club. Kidd, however, looks ready to rise up the card and could soon be challenging for a secondary title within the company.
Brodus Clay hasn't got the look of an average superstar. He is a heavy competitor with a set of tattoos, not to forget his hairstyle, which looks like an upgrade to that of Tyson Kidd's. However, Clay is one of the most talented mid-card wrestlers on the roster with a heap of potential, and could very well live up to the hype.
He was, in real life, Snoop Dogg's body guard, accompanying him in the most high-profile areas. He remains in contact with the rapper, which as far as celebrity connections go, may propel him to being a top player in the WWE. Relations aside, Clay is dexterous and technically sound—a perfect skill set for a Champion. Not only that, but he is incredibly fast and agile for his size and could definitely compete with some of the smaller wrestlers in a race. His stamina is miles better than that of other large superstars like the Great Khali and Big Show.
Clay was also involved in most of Alberto Del Rio's later activities on Smackdown, such as battling with WWE legend Edge and former World Champion Christian. Clay played the role of a bodyguard to Del Rio, similar to his prior job. His success depends upon whether or not he can entertain, a chance he hasn't yet been given. Hopefully, Clay can step up to the platter.
Mason Ryan, the gigantic Welshman. He is a favourite of Vince McMahon, as evidenced by his instant inclusion in the Nexus, annihilation of John Cena and possible upcoming feud with CM Punk. Ryan is a large, powerful man, a structure which VKM is reportedly a fan of. Accompanying this is his undoubted in-ring ability, which is greater than that of the average "large man".
He has been dubbed "Batistwo" by some smarks and received a Batista cheer from one awesome crowd. His début was one to remember, as he floored Punk before assaulting Cena, and proceeded to join the Nexus. He cut a promo with the rest of the group, showing he has some talent on the stick and once again differentiating himself from the other huge competitors.
Some argue that he has only been brought in to replace the "hole" left by Batista's depature; however, I believe Ryan could be an icon on his own terms. He is a former FCW Champion—a distinction held also by two-time WWE Champion Sheamus as well as several other notable figures such as Wade Barrett.
Out of all the Nexus, Ryan has the brightest future and may very well win a World Title before the year is over.
Mahal is probably destined to be a heel for his entire career. Boasting the gimmick of not only a rich man but a rich foreigner is always a heat magnet. He has the massive Great Khali as his protection and client, but he can also stand on his own.
He is talented within the ring and has mic skills similar to those of Muhammad Hassan, another Middle Asian wrestler who was believed to be a future icon. The only thing that impeded Hassan was an impromptu terrorist attack on London which created further controversy around his already controversial character.
However, Mahal doesn't have to worry about offending sponsors, fans, et cetera, as his gimmick doesn't actually wish to avoid labels of terrorism. Thus, no terrorist attack would create worry around Jinder or his gimmick, meaning that WWE have the ability to turn this man into what Hassan couldn't become.
Another factor in Mahal's potential success is his nationality. Jinder is a real-life Indian (unlike Hassan who was an Italian-American of Jordanian descent portraying an Arab), which comes into play with the marketing scheme. Indians are among WWE's largest demographics, beaten only by Americans (which comes as no surprise). It is a large pond with many small fish, although WWE has picked out a baby shark: powerful, mighty, and growing into a force to be reckoned with. Khali was kept around for so long due to the Indian market, and Mahal is sure to receive the same treatment.
This entrant is another unsurprising inclusion. Riley is a former contestant on NXT, as well as The Miz's ex-lackey. He has battled with John Cena, Randy Orton and now The Miz, along with stepping toe-to-toe with The Rock. Some have compared him to a younger Cena due to the talent and potential they both possessed early in their careers. Riley also is in favour with the higher-ups in the WWE, which could be instrumental in his future.
Riley originally was a talented wrestler with no face and very few microphone skills. However, his fairly large frame gave him the perfect role as a bodyguard and assistant to then-WWE Champion The Miz. Under the tutelage of this arrogant wrestler, Riley's mic ability improved by leaps and bounds. His charisma eventually rivaled that of Miz, or CM Punk, or maybe even Cena.
Riley is a mixed bag; a little bit of everything. He's fast, agile, strong, technical, smart and charismatic. He is a bona fide star, and will almost definitely reach the upper echelons of the WWE.
Expect a WWE Championship for Riley within 12 months.
McIntyre is one of the best young mid-carders in the company right now, and is also Vince McMahon's "Chosen One". Drew has talent. The only thing he lacks is charisma. Also, he isn't too over with the fans and this alone could stop him from fulfilling his potential.
Last year, he was in the midst of a push towards the main event, and a dispute with his then-wife Tiffany (real name Taryn Terrell) was likely the reason for its sudden halt. The two have since divorced, although McIntyre still remains on "Jobbers Central", Superstars.
This is unfortunate, as McIntyre had a great reign as the Intercontinental Champion as well as holding the Tag Team Championship with Cody Rhodes. If McMahon's word is anything to go by, however, McIntyre will win the World Heavyweight Championship, as the chairman claimed the Scotsman to be a "future World Champion".
If McIntyre works on his microphone skills, the expectations laid down by Vince will certainly be met with time.
Gabriel is known for being a talented superstar with little mic time to display his speaking skills. Frankly, from what he has shown thus far, it's best to avoid the stick. He's not terrible, although he is pipped to the absolute average spot by John Morrison.
The South African star was a member of Nexus during it's most successful time, ruled by Wade Barrett. The spotlight, however, was on Barrett himself more than on the rest of the members, who were merely portrayed as servants as the Englishman was hitting the main event more than a boxer does his adversary. When Barrett needed something done, you could count on Gabriel to swoop in and do it. When an error needed correcting, Gabriel was the man for the job.
He still managed to prove his worth against several major competitors, including Cena. He also demonstrated his ability to work with the top stars, which will be vital as Gabriel's career goes on.
Much like McIntyre, if Gabriel improves his microphone ability, he will be a future top star.
This final compilation features a set of wrestlers who could merit a place, but for whatever reason were not given one.
Kharma: Not included due to her pregnancy. She will probably be rusty upon return, and her novelty may have worn off.
Wade Barrett: He has already experienced enough of the main event to be considered a top player, despite his current mid-card status.
Jack Swagger: On a similar boat as Barrett, although he is a former World Champion too.
Dolph Ziggler: Already considered one of the main heels in the WWE, and could also be called a main eventer without nary an argument.
Kofi Kingston: Due to backstage politics, Kingston is unlikely to be a permanent stay at the top.
Sheamus: Whilst still early in his career, he has already had his Lesnar-esque impact. As a main eventer and a two-time World Champion, he cannot still be considered a "potential" star.
Husky Harris: He is similar to Brodus Clay, although not as talented. Harris is unlikely to make an impact and, while he does have potential, he does not have enough to become an icon.
John Morrison: He has been in the company for too long and is already close to the main event. His relationship with the unpopular Melina could also prevent him from reaching the next level.
Curt Hawkins and Primo: While they may be "Zack Packers" and gradually getting over with the fans, neither competitor will reach the main event. Both of them will have careers similar to that of Primo's brother, Carlito, lingering in mid-card anonymity for the majority of their time with an occasional peek in both the main event and jobber regions.
Ezekiel Jackson: He is already on a dominating roll, as well as a major push. Branded a major star since the beginning has basically kept him off the main list.
Daniel Bryan: He may be the best wrestler in the world, but unless things change for him drastically, he is only going to miss out on a lengthy stay at the top.