The year is coming to and end and the road to WrestleMania starts with the next PPV, The Royal Rumble. This time of year is used as a transitional period as well as a litmus test for those who Vince thinks may be ready to move up.
Unfortunately for some, the next few months are also when WWE does most of its cost cutting when it comes to wrestlers. Notoriously, there are always a set of releases after WrestleMania.
Here I will take a look at five superstars who are close to being released and give a couple possibilities on how they can save their careers.
The one-time surfer dude from ECW is drowning in WWE's undercard and is in danger of being released. Frankly, I am surprised WWE has kept him around this long without releasing him.
Reks has the right look to be successful, but on a skill level he is not there yet. That is not to say he couldn't get there, but he needs to do a lot in order to get noticed.
I give Reks a lot of credit for trying a few things to get the same result Ryder did with his YouTube show. Reks has had two different YouTube shows, one of which was him playing Halo against other people.
These have not worked to get him over in the way he would have liked, but he is doing what he can. WWE has used him mostly as a jobber along with his tag team partner, Curt Hawkins, over the last year.
If Reks can come up with a good storyline idea, which would put him on SmackDown, then he could help save himself, but coming up with the idea is the hard part.
Anyone can pitch the idea of "How about I play a heel who beat everyone up," but coming up with the right execution is the tricky part.
It took Mark Henry 15 years to be taken seriously as a monster heel, and now he is on the best run of his life. Reks needs to sit down with creative and work out a plan or risk getting added to the list of those who we classify as "former WWE superstar."
Speaking of Hawkins, the former Major brother is in danger of being released, just like his buddy, Reks.
These two guys have been a tag team for awhile, and they have been used primarily to job to other teams like Air Boom and The Usos.
Hawkins was at one point part of La Familia with Ryder, Edge, Chave and Vickie, and he was center stage on SmackDown every week.
Once he and Ryder split, he tried his hand at singles competition but found little success. His biggest problem is a lack of a character.
"Who is Curt Hawkins?" "He is just some guy in WWE." This is probably how any discussion of his role in WWE takes place amongst fans.
We know that Ryder is a Long Island party animal, CM Punk is the anti-establishment spokesperson and Dolph Ziggler is the showoff.
Each guy has a gimmick of sorts; Hawkins is just a wrestler. He needs to come up with a way to stand out against the back drop of WWE.
Many of WWE's top guys got started with a really crappy gimmick that did nothing more than get them noticed by fans, then they evolved and moved past it.
Look at Ziggler as a cheerleader, Triple H as the Connecticut blue blood and Kane as Isaac Yenkem. These guys had awful gimmicks that allowed WWE to see what they had to offer beyond the character.
Eventually, these guys got better on the mic and in the ring and it allowed them to move up the ladder. Hawkins needs a gimmick, plain and simple. If he does not stand out, then he may get booted out.
He has the potential, now he just needs an idea.
I hate to say this because I think he is the most underused wrestler in WWE, but former Hart Dynasty member Tyson Kidd may find himself on the receiving end of a pink slip sooner than later.
Ever since WWE broke him up with DH Smith, he has had nothing to do. They were popular as a tag team and seemed to want to bring credibility back to the tag titles.
If WWE wants to use this kid the right way, they need to bring back Smith and pair them up to jump into this newly-revived tag team division.
The Usos, The Colons and Air Boom have brought a bit of attention back to the division, but three teams can only have so many match combinations.
The Hart Dynasty would have been perfect for this because like the Usos and Colons, they have ties to legends in the business, which helps the older fans relate to them.
Tyson Kidd could also have a great singles career if WWE ever gave him the chance to shine. Guys like Bryan, Ziggler and Rhodes could have amazing matches with Kidd.
I am hoping he either finds a niche soon or WWE puts him back in a tag team, because I would hate to see this ultra-talented wrestler have to waste his talents in TNA.
The one-time Dude Buster is someone who I have always been intrigued by. He seems to have potential just flowing out of him, but he cannot focus it into anything that will bring him a push.
He has the ability to wrestle on the mat and fly from the ropes, but he has never had a standout moment in terms of promos or post-match interactions.
He has suffered the same fate as the others on this list; he is either exclusively on Superstars or used as a jobber.
It seemed like he and McIntyre were going to enter a feud over the affections of Kelly Kelly, but that was cut short and he was sent back to WWE's undercard.
I think that, given the right partner, he could be a great asset to the tag team division. He is a high-energy performer who would fit right in with The Colons, The Usos and Air Boom.
Maybe he and Kidd could form a team since WWE released both their partners. I know he did not win the match I used in the video, but he had a good showing during the encounter.
Another tag team specialist whose team was needlessly broken up is JTG. He and Shad Gaspard were a good team who could have become much better if given the time to grow.
Like the other on the list, JTG is without a current program or direction to take him to the top of WWE. I have the same suggestion I have had for some of the others on the list: go back to tag team wrestling.
Right now WWE is trying to put a little more effort behind their tag teams and they have a ton of guys who would love a few minutes in the spotlight, even if it meant forming a team they did not intend on forming.
The biggest complaint I have about JTG is that he has not tried to develop his character beyond the one he started with.
If he were to take some time to evaluate what he is best at and focus on that, along with getting with the creative team and mapping out a program for him and someone else, then I think JTG has a chance of being successful.
I hope WWE comes to their senses and stops splitting up tag teams at the height of their popularity.
Thanks for reading, and as a little treat, I will leave you with a video of the first appearance of Long Island Iced Z after he made the change to his character.
I wonder how many superstars are jealous of how successful he has become all on his own.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and additions to the list below, and take a moment to check out some of my other recent articles.