WWE is in the midst of a talent shortage.
Long gone is the talent depth once seen during the Attitude Era. The shortage resulted from the retirements and departures of stars like Shawn Michaels, Bastista, Chris Jericho and Edge. Presently, there are only a number of true main event stars in the company.
The WWE currently employs many talented wrestlers, who due to an absence of a push, haven't lived up to their potential. Over the last few years there have been superstars successfully pushed to the main event. Superstars such as The Miz and Alberto Del Rio have all risen to main event status because of the faith the WWE had in them.
It's arguable that the stars on this list should have already been given an opportunity to run with the likes of John Cena and Randy Orton. With the current talent shortage, it's only a matter of time before the WWE gives these stars the pushes they deserve.
Kofi Kingston debuted in the WWE in January 2008. Since then he has proven his in-ring skill and ability to work great matches. Early on, it appeared as though he may have been ascending through the ranks of the WWE. He had debuted on ECW and moved on to both RAW and SmackDown.
During the last three years he has won the United States, Intercontinental and Tag Team Championships, feuding with the likes of Shelton Benjamin, Randy Orton and Dolph Ziggler. Speaking of Randy Orton, it looked as if Kingston was going to become a main event star in late 2009, feuding with Orton for months.
Infamously, the feud suddenly ended after a match wherein Orton audibly shouted his frustration at Kingston after he had allegedly made the imminent RKO too obvious.
By this point in his career Kofi should be a main event star and possibly a world champion. He posses excellent in-ring skills, and on the few chances he gets, delivers on the mic.
Kingston has been stuck in mid-card hell for over a year, and needs a serious push to get him out of it.
Evan Bourne made his WWE debut in June 2008. Before his WWE career he had spent time in TNA and ROH. Bourne is one of the most talented wrestlers on the roster, illustrating his skill through his finishing move, the shooting star press.
In his three years in the WWE, his most notable feuds have been against Chris Jericho and Jack Swagger. Evan has not yet lived up to his potential, but then again, he has never truly been given a push.
His primary role in the last three years has been as an enhancement talent. He takes losses from bigger stars and works great matches in the process. Not a complete jobber, he often pulls off shock victories; defeating Jericho and Swagger in both feuds.
Bourne could serve a much greater purpose had the cruiserweight championship not been vacated in 2007. He has the potential to lead a resurrection of the cruiserweight division should the WWE ever decide to bring it back.
Justin Gabriel made his WWE debut as part of the first season of NXT, with Matt Hardy as his mentor. Gabriel possesses a similar skill set as that of Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston. He displays flashy in-ring skills, decent mic skills and an awesome finisher, the 450 splash.
Throughout his year in the WWE, Gabriel hasn't been given many opportunities to shine in singles competition. He was part of the groundbreaking Nexus faction, defected into The Corre, and only recently became a singles competitor.
As part of the Nexus he was clearly one of the top members of the faction, with great potential. He is already a three-time WWE tag team champion with Heath Slater.
Given a serious push, Gabriel could be a stand out in the mid card, and if good enough, could rise even further than that.
Brodus Clay burst on to the WWE scene as part of NXT season four. He showed great potential on the show and cut a fantastic promo when he was eliminated from the show.
He quickly made his debut on SmackDown as Alberto Del Rio's bodyguard. Clay showed that despite his size, he can work quality matches, looking impressive against both Edge and Christian.
While only being on the WWE roster for less than a year, Clay has shown his potential as a superstar. He recently returned after filming a movie, and hopefully he returns to SmackDown sometime soon.
This may be a bias pick, however, I see unlimited potential in Brodus as a monster heel. He displays a great look, decent in-ring skills, and above-average mic skills. I believe Brodus Clay deserves a push, if only to see if he can hang with the big stars of the WWE.
Son of the legendary Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase Sr., Ted DiBiase debuted on WWE's RAW in 2008. Along with Cody Rhodes, DiBiase went on to win multiple tag team championships, and he was a member of Randy Orton's Legacy.
When Legacy split, it looked as if DiBiase would be the more successful than Cody Rhodes. Unfortunately, due to a lack of storyline creativity, and the rehashing of his fathers gimmick, Ted DiBiase had a lacklustre 2010.
Although possessing average mic skills, DiBiase can work good matches and could be a solid staple in the mid card if given the right opportunities. Sadly, he has regressed to playing second fiddle, however, instead of Randy Orton, he is the lackey of his former partner Cody Rhodes.
Hopefully, he can break away from Rhodes, embrace a unique character, and with a serious push could provide a fresh face in the mid card on SmackDown.
Michael McGillicutty debuted as part of NXT season two. Confusingly, the WWE thought it would be better to call him Michael McGillicutty rather than Joe Hennig. Yes, he is the son of "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig.
Hennig is the reigning WWE tag team champion with David Otunga. He has been diminished in both the Nexus and New Nexus and hasn't been given a chance to go solo. His mic skills definitely need improvement, however, he has inherited the in-ring skills of his father.
Even with a push, Michael McGillicutty won't make it far with such a stupid name. The WWE should get it over with and gimmick change him into Joe Hennig. It'd be greatly beneficial, and it would give him a good chance of making it far in the WWE.
Tyler Reks debuted on SmackDown in mid 2010 with great potential, however, he soon faded into the abyss of Superstars. Reks has a menacing look and dominant in-ring skills. Perhaps the only thing holding Reks back is his mediocre mic skills.
The WWE should pay more attention to Reks, as he could be a welcomed edition in the SmackDown main event scene. His appearance keeps him as a standout from all others.
WWE should get Reks a manager and treat him as a monster, Brock Lesnar style.
Tyson Kidd is yet another superstar that could be integral in a cruiserweight division. For a long time he was part of The Hart Dynasty with David Hart Smith until the WWE broke them up. Kidd was given a small push that was abandoned early on.
Kidd is a fantastic wrestler, as showcased in his recent match with Daniel Bryan, and his mic skills aren't half bad either. Like Evan Bourne, it could be his stature that is holding him back.
Kidd is too talented a wrestler to be wasted the way he has been for most of 2011. He could be a major player in the mid card if the WWE pushes him with enough intent. It's just sad that many of the stars on this list would be so much better off if the cruiserweight division was still intact.
Dolph Ziggler in only a year and a half in the WWE has developed greatly and provided many fantastic matches. Although he was Nicky in the Spirit Squad a few years ago, he was never able to push past that terrible gimmick.
ZIggler has won both the Intercontinental and United States championship, and he feuded with Daniel Bryan, Kofi Kingston, and, most recently, Alex Riley.
It appeared as though Ziggler was going to become a main event star, when earlier this year he engaged in a feud against Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship. He has taken a step back since then, and the WWE kept him with Vicki Guerrero for far too long.
Ziggler has decent mic skills and could easily strike out on his own. The WWE had a chance to make Ziggler a star, and possibly due to the looming WrestleMania, wasn't the right time.
The WWE hasn't followed up on Ziggler post-WrestleMania, and he has fallen back into his role as United States Champion on RAW.
The Usos debuted in the WWE in mid 2010, ambushing the Hart Dynasty. It seemed as if the WWE may have been trying to reignite the tag team division. Unfortunately, no such thing happened.
The Usos are a tremendously talented team. Recently they have also added the Haka to their entrance for an awesome sight. If the WWE were looking to bring tag team wrestling back to the forefront (which it seems they are with the signing of the KOW), then The Usos are a good start.
The Usos bring the famous Samoan energy in the ring once seen in The Rock and have delivered many great matches, while noticeably less talented wrestlers such as David Otunga and Heath Slater are given the tag team championships.
Hopefully, the WWE can hold off on breaking up another tag team while we wait for the Kings of Wrestling to debut. Until then, The Usos should be given a significant push to legitimise them as the alpha dogs of the WWE tag team division.
What more can be said about Zack Ryder? He has made himself popular without WWE exposure, on his Internet series Z!True Long Island Story. He displayed charisma no one knew he possessed, all while honing his in-ring skills on Superstars.
Many WWE fans have been calling for a Ryder push for months now, and it seems his luck may have been changing when he was became Teddy Long's assistant on SmackDown. Three weeks later it appears his role has already been diminished.
It is widely acknowledged that Ryder would benefit further from an in-ring push. He has the charisma to engage in a compelling mid-card feud, and will no doubt keep it entertaining.
The WWE needs to either use him more in his current position or give him a serious in-ring push, as Ryder is arguably being wasted in his current SmackDown role.
Like Gabriel, Wade Barrett also debuted in NXT season one in early 2010. Barrett proved to be the standout of the show, and hence went on to lead both the Nexus and The Corre. Unlike many young superstars, Wade Barrett has tremendous mic skills, utilising the ability as the mouthpiece for both factions.
Barrett is a one time Intercontinental champion, defeating Kofi Kingston before losing it to Ezekiel Jackson. In his rookie year, Barrett has engaged in feuds against John Cena, Big Show and most recently Daniel Bryan.
While he has been getting more exposure recently on SmackDown, Barrett should be one of the focal points on the show. He is arguably has the most main event potential of any superstar to come from NXT.
Given a serious push, Wade Barrett could be the main attraction of the SmackDown brand, and should be feuding with the likes of Randy Orton and Sheamus.