Ricochet and WWE Stars Trending in Wrong Direction on Road to WrestleMania 36

Anthony Mango@@ToeKneeManGoFeatured ColumnistMarch 11, 2020

Ricochet and WWE Stars Trending in Wrong Direction on Road to WrestleMania 36

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    Credit: WWE.com

    WrestleMania 36 is starting to take shape, with major players such as Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, Becky Lynch and John Cena already on the card.

    Some Superstars like Drew McIntyre and Shayna Baszler are gearing up for the biggest moment of their careers, while legends like Goldberg and Edge will step back in the ring as a special treat.

    Not everyone on the roster is so lucky, though, and some wrestlers are losing momentum on The Road to WrestleMania rather than gaining it.

    Let's take a look at some of those who aren't looking so hot right now.

All the Likely Battle Royal Competitors

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Since WrestleMania 30, the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal has been the go-to match to shove as many names as possible onto the card.

    Over the past two years, there has also been a women's Battle Royal to do the same for that division.

    Some Superstars are so insignificant in the grand scheme of things that they are perpetually in these matches; thinking they'd go in any other direction this year is foolish.

    For instance, The B-Team has done nothing in months, nor is there much chance Tamina gets the spotlight with three weeks to go until WrestleMania. They will all likely be in the battle royals, if they're lucky.

    No matter how talented someone like Cedric Alexander or Zack Ryder is, they seem doomed to be in this role forever or doing nothing at all.


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    Credit: WWE.com

    One of the biggest disappointments in the past few weeks has been how poorly WWE has treated Ricochet.

    Many fans agree he's among the most gifted in-ring talents on the roster, but that hasn't mattered lately.

    Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar barely mentioned him in the build to Super ShowDown; when they did, he was scoffed at for not remotely standing a chance.

    Meanwhile, instead of proving to the WWE Universe that he had what it takes to stand up to The Beast Incarnate, Ricochet was booked to struggle against Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows.

    The One and Only didn't get a single move in on Lesnar, who easily beat him in just over one minute in Saudi Arabia.

    Losing to The Beast is not career-ending, but being set up to be barely a momentary pest was embarrassing. Even worse, WWE didn't follow it up with any attempts to rehab Ricochet's credibility.

    Instead, he jobbed to Riddick Moss in a 24/7 Championship match on the following episode of Raw and spent this week wrestling on Main Event—the show that WWE never seems to acknowledge exists.

    Ricochet will probably be just another name in the Battle Royal, which is a waste of his skills, when he could be at least fighting for the United States Championship, if not higher on the card if WWE wanted to push him.

Braun Strowman

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Someone in WWE must think Braun Strowman shouldn't have title reigns. Every time he wins a belt, he seems to lose it in his first defense.

    Sadly, that was the case again with the Intercontinental Championship, when The Monster Among Men lost his IC title to Sami Zayn in a 3-on-1 Handicap match at Sunday's Elimination Chamber.

    Dropping the belt in a match where he was protected and lost due to the numbers being against him may not sound the death knell for Strowman's WrestleMania 36 spot, but it's not a positive trend.

    At best, he'll challenge Zayn in a rematch; at worst, he will be thrown into the Battle Royal for the third time.

The Entire SmackDown Women's Division

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Bayley has beaten every babyface on the blue brand since winning the SmackDown Women's Championship to the point where there's no viable option to face her at WrestleMania 36.

    Lacey Evans hinted at an Elimination Chamber match to determine the next No. 1 contender, but WWE swept that under the rug. Bayley even cut a promo about giving the whole roster the night off because of how pointless it would be for any of them to get another shot, since they've all come up short.

    No rematches will be big enough to look important for the biggest show of the year, which means this whole division is in shambles.

    The only interesting match would have been Sasha Banks, but it's too late for that. WWE cannot split up their friendship, turn The Boss babyface and adequately give that feud enough time in the next few weeks.

    Here's hoping Paige's segment on Friday's SmackDown features her in-ring return or she brings in someone fresh to the roster like Nia Jax or Ronda Rousey, who can make up for the rest of the roster being on a one-way path to the Women's Battle Royal.

Bobby Lashley and Rusev

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Sometimes, WWE does a storyline so silly that it catches on with the audience, like the love triangle between Otis, Mandy Rose and Dolph Ziggler.

    Other times, WWE spends months beating something like the Rusev, Lana and Bobby Lashley storyline into the ground and doesn't get the hint that it's been awful from the start.

    Since September 30, the idea of Lana being with Lashley, and Rusev trying to get between them has been some of the worst creative even before WWE ruined Liv Morgan's return and had to pivot her away into a generic Riott Squad feud.

    Now, what does WWE have to show for it? Lana is away filming a movie, Lashley was brought back after a few weeks of absence to just beat Zack Ryder in a match no one cared about and Rusev is still away and in a contract dispute.

    There has been no resolution, let alone a conclusion good enough to have made this all worthwhile.

    Like many others, Lashley is going to be a Battle Royal competitor while Rusev will either do the same or sit at home. All of those months eating up main event time on Raw and pay-per-views, and all for nothing.

Erick Rowan

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    Credit: WWE.com

    One of WWE Creative's games is to set up a mystery, drag it out for a while, and then underwhelm with the reveal.

    In typical fashion, this is what has happened to Erick Rowan and his cage.

    Week after week, Big Red teased he was carrying around something horrific that would terrify others. Then, for the big reveal, he pulled out a lame toy spider.

    WWE must have realized how bad of a reaction this got, and McIntyre killed both the spider itself and the angle by smashing the cage with the steel ring steps the following week.

    There's no way Rowan capitalizes on this by feuding with McIntyre, as the Scot is busy with Lesnar. He'll just have to eat the loss and move on to something else.

    Since there are only three episodes of Raw left before WrestleMania, that isn't enough time to give him a new opponent and storyline that will make a dent on the card. Instead, he'll be another Battle Royal participant.

    A few months ago, he pinned Roman Reigns, but now Rowan is mourning the loss of a fake pet that everyone laughed at.

Samoa Joe

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Samoa Joe is currently serving a 30-day suspension after violating the Wellness Policy in some fashion. WWE doesn't reveal the details of those failures, so it's anyone's guess what that situation is about.

    That suspension will be up before WrestleMania, but he still may not be eligible to compete.

    Joe also recently suffered some injuries—the latest being a concussion in February—and could well be medically disqualified from competing at The Show of Shows.

    This wouldn't be the first time he missed WrestleMania, though. In fact, he has notoriously bad luck around this time of the year.

    WWE opted not to book him at WrestleMania 33, despite how he had transitioned to the main roster by that point. The next year, Joe was injured and came back the Raw after WrestleMania 34.

    Even last year, Joe's United States title defense was 60 seconds long, but this time, it was Mysterio who was injured, not Joe.

    Perhaps Joe can return in time to pick up where he left off in helping Kevin Owens fight Seth Rollins and his disciples. Realistically, though, he's either going to miss this show entirely or just be a supporting character.

Sheamus, Apollo Crews and Shorty G

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    Credit: WWE.com

    After many months dealing with injuries that could have ended his career, Sheamus made his return in January to Brogue Kick Shorty G.

    Since then, he's beaten both Shorty G and Apollo Crews multiple times in an effort to rid SmackDown of the so-called "little rats" on the roster.

    It seemed this was a finished feud when The Celtic Warrior said he would enter the Elimination Chamber, but that didn't happen. Instead, Crews lost to Sheamus again and this just keeps rolling on.

    There's no way this feud gets a spot on the WrestleMania 36 card. Sheamus has already beaten them enough times on their own and in a handicap match.

    A rematch would be meaningless as the angle isn't hot enough for fans to get invested. Either The Celtic Warrior will win again or Shorty G and Crews finally get one over on him, but it'll be a trivial win.

    Instead, all three seem poised to be Battle Royal fodder with only Sheamus as a contender to win, but history has shown that WWE doesn't bother to push the winner in any significant way, so even getting that trophy has become insignificant.


    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.