4 WWE Stars Who Aren't Living Up to the Hype Right Now
Every WWE Superstar is subjected to a certain level of hype just by being part of the biggest professional wrestling promotion in the world, but there are some who receive extra attention for a variety of reasons.
Some are major attractions, who are recognized around the world. They are presented as the top in the industry, but sometimes the hype around them is not reflected in their performance or availability.
Others are world-class in-ring performers who have everything about them stripped away in the name of sports entertainment, leaving what fans see as a significant downgrade.
However, others have benefited from significant screen time and storylines but have not shown the necessary advancement between the ropes.
These are the four competitors currently struggling to meet the hype surrounding them for one reason or another.
4. 'The Nigerian Giant' Omos
Omos has benefited from significant television time over the last year with top stars such as AJ Styles, Randy Orton and Bobby Lashley, and he is now sitting under the learning tree of manager MVP.
Despite being given every opportunity to succeed, the argument can be made that The Nigerian Giant has not improved as an in-ring performer nearly enough to justify the hype WWE has provided him.
The recipient of major pushes since WrestleMania 37, when he partnered with Styles to defeat The New Day, he has gotten down the presentation of his enormous badass persona but not backed it up with any semblance of in-ring evolution.
Sure, a character like Omos is not asked to do much, but having a competent match with future Hall of Famers feels like the bare minimum that should be expected. While he has performed up to the level of his competition on occasion, it has not been nearly consistent enough to warrant the hoopla surrounding him.
We are starting to see that WWE officials may believe as much, too, given the conclusion of his rivalry with Lashley and the uncertainty of where the character goes from there.
3. Butch (The Brawling Brutes)
Poor Pete Dunne.
The 28-year-old spent years in both the UK and the U.S. as part of NXT establishing himself as a star of the future, only to get the main roster call and undergo a transformation that included a physical makeover and name change that left fans seething—and with good reason.
Gone was the star who recorded a historic reign as NXT UK champion, was one of the pillars of the U.S. version of the brand and a top in-ring performer regardless of location. In its place came an unhinged Newsie named Butch whose outbursts had Michael Cole labeling him a "spoiled brat" more than once on Friday nights.
WWE took the idea of not fixing what is not broken and blew it up, bringing Butch to SmackDown as the third wheel of an uninteresting Brawling Brutes trio and failed to do anything with him that would indicate its idea was better than just letting Dunne be Dunne.
The Englishman's failure to live up to the hype created by his performances elsewhere is by no means his fault, but it does need to be recognized here, if for no other reason than to shine a light on how much subpar booking can adversely affect even the best of performers.
Can Dunne break out a five-star classic on the main roster? Absolutely. Has WWE made it more unlikely that happens by burdening him with an unnatural character? Oh, yes.
2. Roman Reigns
Make no mistake about it: Roman Reigns is great. He is the biggest star of this generation, the top draw for WWE and a fantastic wrestler whose ability to mesh theatricality and athleticism has made for some of the best main events of the last five years.
So why is a guy of his stature on a list of Superstars failing to live up to the hype?
Well, when you unify the WWE and Universal titles in the main event of WrestleMania 38 and then fail to defend them in the three months since, there will be a certain level of disappointment surrounding you—even if a vacation is well-deserved.
So much hype and effort were put into establishing Reigns as the undisputed top dog of WWE and accomplishing his goal of unifying the titles. To have him disappear from television with no championship for the stars of Raw and SmackDown to compete for and no real reason for his absence only breeds dismay.
His return on Friday's SmackDown for a rare televised defense against Riddle will help but the fact that it's the first time he has put his title on the line since April 3 only highlights why a performer as great as The Tribal Chief makes a list with negative connotations like this one.
1. Ronda Rousey
The version of Ronda Rousey that returned to WWE in January is not the same as the one that took the wrestling world by storm in 2018 by amassing one of the greatest rookie years in company history.
This Rousey comes across as uncomfortable and lacks the confidence she had then. Her promos are among the worst in the company, and her in-ring work—although improving every week—is a far cry from what fans were treated to in her first run.
Simply put: She's just not as good as she was during that initial stint with WWE. There are a number of reasons why that might be, not the least of which is lackluster material to work with, but there is no denying the hype behind the SmackDown women's champion does not reflect the level of performance out of Rousey to this point.
There is reason to be cautiously optimistic, like recent matches against Raquel Rodriguez and Shotzi that were both better than expected, but until there is a consistency out of Rousey (and better creative to help support her), she is going to land on this list.
Some may argue it's not fair given the lofty expectations from that historic first run, but that is the case when you are so good so early on.