10 WWE Stars in Danger of Being Buried After Latest NXT Debuts

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2019

10 WWE Stars in Danger of Being Buried After Latest NXT Debuts

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    Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano on SmackDown.
    Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano on SmackDown.Credit: WWE.com

    WWE fans were recently delighted to find out NXT standouts Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Ricochet and Aleister Black were being brought up to the main roster, but with an already overcrowded locker room, more Superstars are in danger of being buried.

    This is an unfortunate fact of life for Superstars. Despite WWE producing three hours of Raw, two hours of SmackDown and two combined hours for 205 Live and Main Event, there isn't enough screen time for everyone to go around.

    The main roster has more than 100 active wrestlers. A few of them are part-timers, but a vast majority travel with the company every week.

    With the four recent call-ups being well-received by the WWE Universe, we will likely see their respective pushes continue ahead of WrestleMania 35 on April 7.

    Let's take a look at which Superstars have to worry about being buried to make room for the new recruits.

Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins

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    Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins recently reunited after spending several years working as singles wrestlers. At first, it seemed like the company was going to push for the former Edgeheads.

    Unfortunately for Hawkins and everyone's favorite Broski, management decided to continue Hawkins' losing streak.

    Their most recent match came on the February 18 episode of Raw. It was a losing effort against Lucha House Party, and Hawkins looked inconsolable after it was over.

    The tag team division is one of the more crowded areas in the company. With teams such as The Revival, LHP, Chad Gable and Bobby Roode and Heavy Machinery all looking for a title shot, Ryder and Hawkins seem destined to be left behind again.

    Hopefully WWE has a grand plan for the real-life best friends because they are popular and talented in the ring.

Mickie James

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    This one is painful to admit, but Mickie James has become less relevant over the past year. However, that's through no fault of her own.

    James is the most experienced woman on the roster and one of the most respected performers in the history of the division, so it's shocking to see her being used so sparingly.

    Her alliance with Alexa Bliss is in a constant state of flux, and WWE has made no effort to give her any kind of feud since she was moved from SmackDown to Raw during the 2017 Superstar Shake-up.

    She is one of the only veterans in her division and should be competing for the Raw women's title, but she is in danger of being used even less if the company keeps prioritizing new stars over existing ones.

Jinder Mahal

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    Jinder Mahal has had one of the biggest roller-coaster rides of any Superstar over the past two years. At this time in 2017, The Maharaja was little more than a jobber on Raw.

    After being moved to SmackDown during the Superstar Shake-up following his second-placed finish in the WrestleMania 32 Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, things began to pick up.

    Management inserted him into the WWE Championship hunt, and at Backlash 2017, Mahal defeated Randy Orton to become the 50th WWE champion in history and the first of Indian descent. 

    After losing the belt to AJ Styles in November, he won the United States Championship, so it looked like his push would continue into 2018.

    However, after being moved to Raw during the 2018 Superstar Shake-up, his push quickly came to a halt, and he returned to being a midcard player with little or no direction.

    He still pops up on Raw every now and then, but he has failed to regain the momentum he had on the blue brand.

    If WWE keeps calling up people without letting anyone go, Mahal is going to be another Superstar who ends up sitting on the bench most weeks.

Mojo Rawley

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    Mojo Rawley has a lot of great qualities, especially when it comes to his mic skills. But for some reason, WWE has failed to find a way to use him properly.

    He tried being the energetic babyface, and he tried being the jealous heel. Neither gimmick was a good fit for him, but a few recent video packages indicated he was in line for a big push.

    For the past couple of months, Rawley has been talking into a mirror during backstage segments. It sounds stupid on paper, but his intensity sold those promos and made him look dangerous.

    Then WWE brought up four new guys from NXT. Rawley hasn't recorded a video since February 4, and the company has made no mention of him on television.

    His push may have ended before it began, and it's a shame since it looked like we were going to get a character we could get behind. The former Green Bay Packer has all the potential in the world, but management might feel someone else deserves the available opportunities more than he does.

The B-Team

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    Did you know The B-Team has only had one televised match in 2019? It happened on February 4 in a Fatal 4-Way tag team bout for a shot at the Raw Tag Team Championships.

    Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel have been teaming together since the formation of The Social Outcasts in January 2016.

    They are both second-generation wrestlers with good technical skills and a funny gimmick. They were getting over with the B-Team concept after they won the Raw tag titles at Extreme Rules 2018, but their reign came to an end a few months later at the hands of Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre.

    They aren't irrelevant, but if WWE continues to keep them off television for months at a time, they will be forgotten by the WWE Universe.

    The sad part is Dallas and Axel are good at what they do. Based on the way things have been going with the two tag team divisions, they might have better luck on SmackDown.

Shelton Benjamin

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    Shelton Benjamin is simultaneously one of the best technical wrestlers and one of the most underrated talents in WWE history.

    When he returned to the company in 2017 as Chad Gable's new tag team partner, The Gold Standard seemed like a shoo-in for another run with the tag titles.

    Their amateur wrestling backgrounds made them ideal partners, and Benjamin brought a level of veteran experience the younger Gable could have benefited from.

    Unfortunately, they never won any gold before Gable was moved to Raw in April 2018. Benjamin was thus left out in the cold. He has had some great singles matches since, but he always seems to come out on the losing end of things.

    With more and more new faces arriving in recent months, it doesn't look like Kurt Angle's former protege will be used as anything more than a stepping stone for other Superstars.

    Out of all the people on this list, Benjamin is the most deserving of a renewed singles push. All it takes is one awesome performance to get the WWE Universe back on his side, so there is still hope he can turn things around.

Apollo Crews

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    Apollo Crews seemed in line for a push at the start of 2019 when he won a Battle Royal to earn a shot at the Intercontinental Championship that was then held by Dean Ambrose.

    He was unsuccessful in capturing the belt, but two solid performances in the same night looked like they would lead to something greater. Then WWE abandoned anything it had planned for him.

    Crews' poor use has been one of the most baffling things the company has done in recent years. This is a guy with every attribute you could want in a WWE Superstar, but management keeps failing to see how to properly use him.

    With new recruits showing up in December and February, Crews appears to be lost in the shuffle once again, and if more faces show up after WrestleMania as usual, it's going to be even harder for him to get any attention.

    WWE called him up too early, and Crews has been paying the price for the company's mistake ever since. He deserves better.

Dana Brooke

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    Dana Brooke has both acrobatic and bodybuilding experience, so you would think WWE would have found a better way to use her by now.

    For some reason, she has been unable to gain any momentum since being called up to the main roster in May 2016, and it has led to her being used sparingly—especially in recent months.

    With new faces such as Nikki Cross and Lacey Evans arriving on the scene and more future call-ups to come, it's become harder for everyone in the women's division to get screen time.

    Brooke needs some work on the mic, but her athleticism has never been in question. With the women's division finally having a set of tag titles, her best hope to avoid being buried is to find a partner who complements her skills.