Chad Gable and 10 Under-the-Radar WWE Superstars to Watch for the Rest of 2018
Some fans seem to think if a Superstar is not being pushed throughout the entire year it's because management is ignoring them. That sentiment couldn't be further from the truth.
The storytelling process in pro wrestling is fluid and ever-changing. Many big angles are planned as far as a year in advance, but most get decided a few weeks or months before they are implemented.
Even though the company occupies over five hours of weekly programming between Raw and SmackDown, there is only so much time to allocate to the Superstars who deserve it.
The big names will obviously be in regular rotation in the biggest storylines, but the rest of the roster has to go through what appears to be start-and-stop pushes.
Sometimes WWE needs to have someone who is doing well step aside so someone else can flourish, but management usually has a plan in place for someone to regain their momentum eventually.
This leads to several Superstars appearing to have no direction only to end up pushed again, seemingly out of nowhere. In many cases, though, that was likely the plan all along.
Since we are approaching the halfway point in 2018, it seems appropriate to look at which wrestlers might begin seeing more screen time during the back half of the year.
Baron Corbin is one of those Superstars who always seems to be on the cusp of something great just before the rug gets pulled out from under him.
His move to Raw from SmackDown didn't lead to a major push right away, but he was recently made Stephanie McMahon's eyes and ears on the red brand.
Being paired up with the McMahon family is good news because it means Corbin is guaranteed to be involved in high-profile storylines.
A role as a corporate lackey might not sound appealing to most, but it has already put The Lone Wolf in a better position than he was two months ago. With any luck, he will be rewarded for his service with a title shot of some kind before the end of the year.
The Revival had a lot of hype when they were called up to the main roster the night after WrestleMania 33, but a couple of injuries stalled the progress significantly.
Nowadays we are lucky if we even get to see Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder on Raw, let alone win a match.
However, they are old-school wrestlers with a great grasp of tag team wrestling psychology and an exciting arsenal of offensive maneuvers.
The tag team division is experiencing a bit of an overhaul on both brands, so it's safe to assume we will begin to see some of the teams who have been struggling in the first half of the year be given more opportunities.
WWE has to shake up the title scene to keep things fresh, which is why Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson suddenly find themselves in the hunt for the belts against The Bludgeon Brothers on SmackDown after floundering on Raw.
The Revival will have its time on the main roster. In fact, it would be the perfect team to eventually dethrone The Deleters of Worlds as tag team champions once Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy's storyline heads in a new direction.
Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas spent a long time serving as The Miz's entourage, but they never actually won a match as a tag team until they had to go it alone.
They aren't full babyfaces yet, but The B-Team has been winning over the WWE Universe. Axel and Dallas have been so underappreciated for so long, and fans love seeing talented, passionate wrestlers finally get a chance to shine, especially if those Superstars were being kept down for no apparent reason.
Axel and Dallas are experiencing the same kind of push Heath Slater and Rhyno received when they joined forces as a team, which means a run with the tag titles may come sooner than later.
WWE has put Ember Moon in a few big matches since bringing her up from NXT, but she hasn't had her breakout moment on the main roster yet.
This doesn't mean WWE doesn't have plans for her, it just means there are other things on the table to deal with first. Ronda Rousey has challenged for the title, while Alexa Bliss won Money in the Bank and cashed in to become champion in the same night.
Moon is a unique talent with a lot to offer, and her performance at Money in the Bank proved she can handle dangerous matches just like the rest of the division.
The War Goddess needs one or two more individual feuds before she gets pushed into the hunt for the belt, but once she has a chance to connect with the audience a little more, Moon will be an unstoppable force on Raw.
Drew McIntyre may seem to be the enforcer in his partnership with Dolph Ziggler, but it feels like WWE has something bigger planned for the Scottish Superstar.
McIntyre had a great run in NXT, where he established his dominant persona and showed the WWE Universe how much he had grown during his time away from the company.
Putting him into a tag team seemed a strange choice at first, but with Ziggler now the intercontinental champion, the plan seems to be for them to pursue individual accomplishments together.
Once Brock Lesnar finally drops the universal title to Braun Strowman, which seems to be the plan now that The Monster Among Men has the MITB briefcase, McIntyre is one of the few stars on the roster big enough to pose a real threat to his reign.
Chad Gable hasn't done much since he was drafted to Raw during the Superstar Shake-up, but WWE could be waiting for Jason Jordan to be cleared to return from injury.
The former American Alpha teammates may reunite, but a better option would be to have them engage in a singles feud of some kind.
Jordan was getting monster heat before he was injured and it would be easier to capitalize on that than to stick him back in the same tag team he was part of in NXT.
Both men have great technical skills, and a few matches would help them win over the WWE Universe with their athleticism.
Andrade 'Cien' Almas
After producing several show-stealing performances as NXT champion, Andrade "Cien" Almas seemed primed for a big push on the main roster.
WWE called up him up in April and gave him the video-package treatment, but it has done nothing with him since. A feud with Sin Cara was teased, but it hasn't led to anything substantial.
Almas is a special talent who is capable of working a great match against any kind of opponent. With Zelina Vega by his side, there is no reason why he shouldn't be in the hunt for the United States Championship already.
This may simply be a case of WWE not wanting to waste him in NXT but having little room to spare on the main roster to give him a proper introduction.
While this is not ideal, we have seen this kind of thing before. Once WWE comes up with the right storyline and opponent, Almas is going to show why he is one of the greatest technical wrestlers working today.
Aside from a few fun matches against Daniel Bryan, Jeff Hardy and Shinsuke Nakamura, Shelton Benjamin has been left out in the cold on SmackDown.
He was brought in to be Gable's tag team partner, and they meshed well during their time together. For some reason, management ditched those plans and moved Gable to Raw.
Benjamin may never be the main eventer he deserves to be, but his skill and experience make him a great utility player for WWE.
He can be used to put other people over or even inserted into the chase for any singles title and feel like a real threat. Not being used regularly is something Benjamin has dealt with before, and he has always found a way to bounce back. This time should be no different.
Which Superstars do you think have the best chance of success in the second half of 2018?