Brock Lesnar and 9 WWE Stars Who Are in Desperate Need of a New Gimmick
Once an act grows stale in WWE, there are diminishing returns on the Superstar while they cling on to that gimmick and try to milk it for every last bit of relevance.
Sooner or later, they become a shell of their former selves, and fans either pity them or forget to bother paying them any attention at all, even in a negative sense.
Superstars like The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Triple H and other legends have managed to switch up their characters enough to keep them fresh, and even Daniel Bryan has reinvented himself recently to become "The New Daniel Bryan" and not rehash the Yes Movement story until it's dead.
But there are still plenty of wrestlers in WWE who are in desperate need of a retooling, as they've become stagnant and their characters are no longer getting the job done.
Let's take a look at some of the Superstars who could use a new gimmick.
It's been long enough since Baron Corbin lost his position of power on Monday Night Raw that it's already been called to attention how he needs to stop wearing the business clothes for his in-ring performances.
The bald head works for him, so he shouldn't just revert back to the Lone Wolf of old by trying to grow that hair back, but he equally can't keep sporting formal attire while wrestling when his character is no longer an authoritarian.
Corbin is an avid collector of creepy trinkets like shrunken heads, skulls and horrifying macabre he finds fascinating but most people would find strange. Why not incorporate that somehow into his persona?
Maybe Corbin's lack of a leadership ruling position can go to his head and he can start to lose himself in his more morbid curiosities with his downtime. He can take inspiration from his grisly interests and apply them to a more fearsome persona.
In early February, he revealed on Chris Van Vliet's YouTube channel that he wants to get a tattoo on his head in a similar fashion to how Bam Bam Bigelow had flames on his cranium, so whatever design Corbin wants to get should be the first step in reinventing his image.
The clothes and attitude changes can follow, as Constable Corbin is over and shouldn't limp on any longer.
There's no denying Brock Lesnar is one of the biggest names in WWE today and has remained a top focal point for years, even when he isn't showing up.
But therein lies the problem, as his gimmick has become that of "the guy who is a big deal and never shows up."
Two times leading into WrestleMania alone with Roman Reigns, the main story has been that Lesnar needs to go away and his challenger has to save the championship from his annoying lack of a title reign, or else he'll continue to wrestle short matches of two moves and disappear for a few more months.
This WrestleMania feud with Seth Rollins absolutely cannot follow that exact same structure, although it seems that's what WWE has planned, as he's already done the obligatory segment where he destroys his opponent to reiterate how they are the underdog.
Paul Heyman has cut the same basic promo every single time he has spoken since before Lesnar beat The Undertaker's streak. It's like a mad libs game where the only difference is changing which name of his opponent is filled in the blank—but even that is usually the same few people!
The Beast Incarnate has so much more potential than is ever tapped into with this purposefully boring character that is bland for the sake of getting fans upset, not as a means to entertain people.
WWE needs to stop annoying people with Lesnar and let him be an actual performer, instead of a prop that exists just to do nothing and make the company look bad.
This story of him holding the belt hostage was old news in 2017, and two years later, it's beyond frustrating to see it continue.
In many ways, Dolph Ziggler is the boy who cried wolf and is simultaneously stuck on a broken record.
For the past few years, every single promo The Showoff has cut has revolved around him cockily saying he's the best, and that he's underrated, underappreciated and nobody can touch his level of performance.
He's left multiple times with the idea being that he was making a statement about being too frustrated to stick around, only to show up soon after to lesser and lesser buzz each time.
Most recently, his absence ended at Royal Rumble, and when he made his return, people weren't going wild like they would have several years back.
He's tried to play the part of the bitter guy who deserves to be treated better and will leave if things don't change long enough that fans don't buy into the idea that he's actually going anywhere, so it has lost all credibility.
Ziggler either needs to find a new character to portray rather than this disgruntled veteran with untapped talent or he has to actually leave for a considerable enough time to call the bluff and let his absence make our hearts grow fonder.
Bobby Roode and Chad Gable
When Bobby Roode came into NXT, his song was instantly over with the crowd as one of the best parts of any show he appeared.
For some reason, WWE took that as meaning Roode's one and only thing he can ever do is refer back to that song, with every promo being just a sentence or two about how he'll make something glorious.
This has been the case for two years, if not longer, so it has run its course.
Unfortunately, instead of giving him more to work with, all that has happened is he's dragged Chad Gable into the mix, who has been infected by the same plague of only cutting promos around that word with no other substance to it.
Gable even has a replica robe to further drive home the point that he's sacrificed his identity to be Roode Jr., which is a character the WWE Universe doesn't seem to embrace at all.
Both Roode and Gable are beyond talented and capable of doing so much more than this, which makes it heartbreaking to see them struggle so much and take down the Raw tag team division even more pegs after the horrible year it's been through.
These two need to split, no longer associate with each other, and both need to find new ways to connect to the audience that don't involve robes or the saying "glorious."
Heath Slater and Rhyno
The idea of Heath Slater being a comedic jobber hasn't lost all of its value, but it certainly doesn't hit the same way it used to.
His three peaks were when he was being decimated by legends on Raw, when he was the leader of 3MB and when he had to fight for a job in order to feed his kids when neither brand wanted him in the most recent draft.
Since teaming with Rhyno, though, Slater has existed as just a generic loser who does nothing but drop rare matches on Main Event, at best.
That tag team lost all of its momentum and purpose soon after winning the tag titles and haven't done anything of value in years.
The most interesting thing that has happened to either of them was the short storyline of Slater becoming a referee and Rhyno being fired, which ended as quickly as it began.
They should split up as a team, Slater should try to find a new way to entertain by tweaking his character to be something more and Rhyno should either step aside entirely or restore his credibility to what it used to be.
If not, they might as well collect paychecks waiting for their obligatory quick loss in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania, as that will be the most noteworthy thing they do in 2019.
Husky Harris was an awful name, and the idea of him being a tank with a Ferrari engine could only take him so far, so when he shifted to the Bray Wyatt character, it was amazing.
There were several good years where The Wyatt Family was an entertaining stable that could dive into mysticism, the occult, brainwashing, holograms, spiritualism and all sorts of wacky ideas, but it didn't have the staying power of The Undertaker.
When last we saw Wyatt, he was teaming with Matt Hardy as the failed duo of The Deleters of Worlds, which never quite worked out and had to end with Hardy's injury, rendering Wyatt with nothing to do for the past several months.
The timeframe of his return has yet to be revealed, although it could happen at any moment, as there aren't any injuries preventing him from stepping in the ring.
When he does come back into the fold, Wyatt needs to be something more than just a rehash of his character we've seen since 2012, as seven years with this gimmick has been long enough.
There are no certainties as to what the best course of action for a new gimmick would be, as it's impossible to know what will connect with the WWE Universe without trying things out, but at this point, almost anything that is different will at least be a breath of fresh air.
Reverting back to teaming with Harper and cutting nonsensical promos about Sister Abigail will feel like it's old news we've already seen a thousand times, instead of something to look forward to the next chapter in.
Rounding out this list is Bayley, who has been stuck with only two character traits for the majority of her WWE career: as someone who enjoys hugs and is friends with Sasha Banks and, to a lesser extent, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch.
Taking away her Four Horsewomen association would be a mistake, as there's still money to be made not just in a match between those four and Ronda Rousey, Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir, but in the partnership of Bayley and Banks for the Women's Tag Team Championship.
But when all Bayley ever does is smile and hug until she loses, temporarily pouts and then picks herself back up, there isn't much growth to get invested in.
Sadly, WWE's only answer to this has been to sometimes have her get upset that Banks or someone else isn't as cheerful as she can be, but that incessant optimism is just as bland.
She's lacking an edge, and if Bayley were to add some more dimensions to her character, she might be better off, instead of the lowest ranked of the Four Horsewomen right now.
Flair is The Queen with multiple title reigns and a history of dominance and poor attitude problems related to her ego to be the best.
Lynch has become The Man—a symbol for the WWE Universe to latch on to as someone who talks tough and is up for a fight to back up her words.
Even Banks, who in her own right is still just The Boss and could use a little boost, too, is still taken more seriously, whereas Bayley is just there to be bubbly and fill in some gaps, rather than make a true impression.
She doesn't need to stop hugging people or smiling, but Bayley desperately needs to add another layer to her character, as she's too one-dimensional right now to survive at the top much longer.
What other Superstars do you think could use a change in character? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section to keep the discussion going!
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.