10 WWE Wrestlers Who Need Gimmick Makeovers to Succeed
Not all professional wrestlers have gimmicks per say, but every single one of them needs to have some sort of character if they're going to succeed.
You can't just be Joe Blow and expect the fans to react to you when you enter the arena.
You need to have something, anything that sets you apart from the other wrestlers on the roster and makes you stick out like a sore thumb.
That being said, there are plenty of wrestlers who have distinguishable gimmicks, yet aren't exactly in a great position in the WWE. It's all about finding that perfect balance and having a gimmick that gets you over with the crowd.
There are plenty of wrestlers in the WWE, however, who haven't found that.
Here are 10 WWE stars who need gimmick makeovers if they're going to succeed.
10. Heath Slater
What exactly is Heath Slater's gimmick? Is he still the "One Man Rock Band?"
Whatever he goes by these days, Slater desperately needs to change things up.
I know plenty of people give the guy a ton of hate, but he's actually a pretty solid wrestler, someone who I think could stick around for a while as a mid-carder if given the right opportunities. However, that's never going to happen with his current character.
Slater is just another guy at this point, a redhead who only stands out because he has an eery resemblance to the chick from Wendy's.
He needs to do something with his character, or I could see him being one of the next stars to get "future endeavored" in early 2012.
9. Alex Riley
The cocky jock character has been done about a thousand times, and Alex Riley doesn't make it any more special.
He was actually pretty solid in that role on NXT, but he lost sight of it when paired with The Miz on Monday Night Raw and hasn't been able to establish much of a gimmick since turning baby face over the summer.
Yeah, Riley's pretty lost at the moment.
I find him more inclined to be a heel than a face, but he's lost any and all momentum since his feud with The Miz ended. He's not good enough in the ring to simply get by on his wrestling ability, so he would be best served coming up with another gimmick.
And, no, reverting back to the arrogant athlete won't work.
8. Jack Swagger
Jack Swagger's All-American American gimmick has officially run its course.
Much like Alex Riley, the boastful jock persona can only take someone so far, and I think that Swagger's already beyond that point. That's a shame because he's one of the best big men on the WWE roster.
He just needs to find a character that is more than a goofy-grinning, push-up-doing former amateur wrestler who brags about all his accomplishments while at Oklahoma University.
I still maintain that Swagger would be a perfect fit for a baby face turn—even if he sticks with the All-American American gimmick—but if he's going to stay heel, then we need to see something new from him.
His current shtick is nothing out of the ordinary and won't get him back to the main event level anytime soon.
7. Tyler Reks
I think the WWE is missing the boat big-time on Tyler Reks.
You wouldn't know it by watching Raw or SmackDown, but Reks is actually rather charismatic and pretty good in the ring. Just tune into Superstars or NXT when you get a chance, and you'll see what I'm talking about.
The problem is that the creative team essentially gave up on him when he was on SmackDown before he ever got rolling, and now, he's just another guy with no gimmick and no direction.
I mean, just look at Reks and tell me what he should be. A monster heel, right?
His size and look make him unique enough that the creative team should be, um, creative enough to come up with something for him that makes him a huge player in the mid-card scene.
6. Tyson Kidd
The most underrated superstar in all of the WWE, in my opinion, is Tyson Kidd.
As far as in-ring skills go, he's arguably one of the top five pure wrestlers in the entire company. He just has the same problem that plagues so many other mid and lower-card workers: no gimmick.
Kidd at least had somewhat of one when paired with David Hart Smith in the Hart Dynasty, but now, he's just some small guy who happens to be a really good wrestler.
Of course, that doesn't matter too much in the WWE. It's all about the character.
Personally, I'd push Kidd as a mid-card baby face mostly because of his in-ring abilities—a la Daniel Bryan—and then see if the fans can get behind him. Kidd's offensive style and aerial attacks make him much more suited for a baby face role, so that's where I'd start with him.
5. Alberto Del Rio
I know what you're thinking: How can Alberto Del Rio be considered unsuccessful when he won the Royal Rumble, Raw's Money in the Bank match and two WWE Championships within roughly 16 months of his debut?
While that certainly looks good on paper, I just think that Del Rio was a major flop after all of those big accomplishments. He lost when he used his guaranteed title shot at WrestleMania 27, his WWE Championship feud with John Cena was awful and both of his WWE title reigns were short and crappy.
Why? Because the basis of Del Rio's character was "his destiny," and whenever he's on top of the WWE, he's already fulfilled his destiny. Therefore, the essence of his character goes right out the window.
If ADR wants to avoid becoming a full-time mid-carder, then it is absolutely essential for him to tweak his character so that it doesn't completely fail when he's involved in main event angles.
He can start by never mentioning the word "destiny" again.
4. Kofi Kingston
By all measures, Kofi Kingston has had more success in his career than most wrestlers can ever dream of.
He's won the Intercontinental, United States and WWE Tag Team Championships, and he's had a stable spot as an upper mid-carder for most of his run with the WWE.
Yet, there seems to be something missing there with Kingston.
His current happy-go-lucky gimmick is fine for a mid-carder or tag team competitor, but he's never going to become a full-time main eventer or a World title contender until he drops that reggae music and starts taking things more seriously.
Kingston showed flashes of main event potential in his 2009 feud with Randy Orton, and I truly think he needs to get back to the intensity he showed during that rivalry if he wants to take a step up the WWE ladder.
3. Ezekiel Jackson
Ezekiel Jackson likely will never be an above average wrestler, but we all know that Vince McMahon thinks there is big money to be made in guys who look like Jackson.
The thing is, money isn't going to come from Jackson being booked like your every day baby face.
For starters, he should always be heel. Secondly, he needs a manager to do his talking for him. Thirdly, he needs to show a vicious mean streak where he simply destroys anyone in his path.
Think Mark Henry's current character, only with a manager.
You simply can't portray Jackson as a lovable baby face when he lacks charisma and is the size of a garbage truck.
It doesn't work.
2. Michael McGillicutty
Michael McGillicutty was doomed pretty much from the moment that he was given that awful ring name.
I think a lot of his problems in the WWE have stemmed from the fact that he's gone by McGillicutty rather than by his birth name, Joe Hennig.
I guess we can't blame everything that's gone wrong on that McGillicutty name—because he's not exactly oozing with charisma—but a good start for a gimmick change would be branding him as Joe Hennig and recognizing that he's the son of Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig.
"The Perfect Son," perhaps?
It seems like the WWE is on this kick of letting second or third generation stars carve their own paths, but in the cases of Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, they at least got to carry their family name.
Let McGillicutty do the same, and then see where he goes from there.
1. Mason Ryan
I cannot take Mason Ryan seriously as a baby face, and judging by the lackluster reactions he receives, I don't think most other fans can, either.
I mean, you can't just have him grow his hair out, get a spray tan, jack Chris Masters' finisher and then expect us all to get behind him.
Ryan is an absolute freak of nature, a monster who is hard to support as a face.
It's not believable for us to see Ryan get his ass kicked, but that's what baby faces generally do. And we're never going to have that baby face sympathy for a 300-pound man who looks like he's sculpted out of granite and should be able to beat the holy hell out of everyone on the WWE roster.
There's no way Ryan will ever succeed in his current role as a smiling, happy big man. He's gotta develop some sort of mean streak, and he's gotta do it soon.