Ranking the Five Most Underrated and Underused Superstars in WWE

Philip LindseyContributor ISeptember 22, 2020

Ranking the Five Most Underrated and Underused Superstars in WWE

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    Photo credit: WWE.com

    WWE currently has the deepest pool of talent in the history of the company. The roster is incredibly diverse, and there are more dynamic in-ring competitors available than ever before. That is a blessing and a curse as WWE just doesn't have the time to make some of their wrestlers look as special as they were at other promotions. 

    The company has a storied history of picking up the biggest stars from their competition like Ring of Honor, IMPACT and New Japan Pro-Wrestling. This tactic has worked masterfully in the past, but WWE may have gone to the well too many times.

    There are several wrestlers, such as Kofi Kingston, who have earned a better standing but were unceremoniously demoted back to the midcard later. It would be hard to call the first African-born WWE grand slam champion undervalued, but he isn't utilized to the best of his ability. Several other lesser-known superstars haven't achieved as much and, even worse, they are inexplicably booked as perennial losers.

    These men and women have a tougher uphill battle. Here are five of the most underrated and underused WWE Superstars right now.

5. Drew Gulak

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    Earlier this year, Drew Gulak looked like he had finally turned a corner with WWE. In March, he and Daniel Bryan put on a clinic in the opening match of the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view.

    Afterward, Gulak and Bryan formed an entertaining pairing that had so much potential, but it never really went anywhere. The former NXT cruiserweight champion had another excellent match with Cesaro on the kickoff show of the first night of WrestleMania 36. However, he reportedly decided not to renew his contract after another loss to Bryan on the May 15 episode of SmackDown.

    Then, Gulak surprisingly returned and signed a multiyear deal with WWE two weeks later. One would have to assume he re-signed because they had something planned for him, right? It seemed like that was the case when he pulled off an upset to defeat AJ Styles in June to earn a shot at the Intercontinental Championship. Unfortunately, Styles retained and he and Bryan haven't been sorely missed on the blue brand. 

    Gulak isn't the only cruiserweight who hasn't been used well on Raw and SmackDown. Still, he's unique in the sense that he was consistently one of the best characters on 205 Live. He was a phenomenal and versatile heel and even proved he could work as a dopey underdog alongside Enzo Amore. Moreover, Gulak is a fantastic mat-based wrestler, so it's hard to understand why WWE can't find something for him to do other than getting squashed by Braun Strowman.

4. Bianca Belair

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    Bianca Belair has proved several times that she has all of the tools to become WWE's newest big homegrown star. She is an electric character who cuts great promos and successfully worked her own catchphrases like iconic wrestlers of old.

    More importantly, The EST of WWE can go. The former CrossFit competitor is the most athletic woman on the roster. She's strong, agile and has a distinct move set. So why hasn't she won a women's title yet?

    Belair was on the cusp of a big win more than once on the black-and-gold brand, but she never captured the NXT Women's Championship. In January, she had a record-setting performance in the women's Royal Rumble match, racking up eight eliminations. In the following weeks, she stole the show during Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley's WrestleMania feud.

    However, she didn't take part in a big match at The Showcase of the Immortals and she didn't even compete in the women's Money in the Bank ladder match. In fact, she hasn't competed in a high-profile pay-per-view since NXT TakeOver: Portland.

    Belair is undefeated since her move to Raw. That's right, she's "un-de-fea-ted," but Zelina Vega is challenging Asuka for the Raw Women's Championship at Clash of Champions instead. To make this even more confounding, Belair just beat Vega on Aug. 3. Shouldn't The EST be in line for a title match by now?

3. Chad Gable

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    Chad Gable, a former Olympian and amateur wrestler, is an impressive technician with a great look. So it's baffling that WWE saddled him with such a silly nickname and a gimmick that just doesn't work.

    Gable could very easily be this generation's Kurt Angle. All of the similarities are there: He's an accomplished wrestler with a well-rounded background and he can excel with the same kind of storylines. He's also similar to Owen Hart and seemed like the perfect choice to win the 2019 King of the Ring tournament. After all, that's an accomplishment that put both Hart and Angle on the map.

    Instead, Gable was on the receiving end of incessant short jokes throughout the tournament. He eventually lost in the finals to Baron Corbin and embraced his stature, changing his name to Shorty G. Under the new moniker, Gable initially picked up some solid wins and cut a few inspirational promos. However, it wasn't enough to make this unimaginative character work because there wasn't enough a payoff. 

    There are so many ways WWE could use Gable. He looked motivated and dominant in a handful of appearances on 205 Live and he's a proven tag team specialist on a roster lacking consistent pairing. Frankly, anything would be better than watching him continue to languish on SmackDown.

2. Ricochet

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    WWE has managed to take the best high-flyer in the world, a performer who oozes charisma, and make him completely uninteresting. That's quite a feat.

    The Future of Flight hasn't won a match on Raw in weeks, and he looks like any other midcarder as opposed to the hot free agent who soared on NXT. Who would've guessed that "The One And Only" Ricochet would end up on WWE Main Event after his acclaimed TakeOver matches with The Velveteen Dream, Johnny Gargano and Adam Cole? 

    At this point, Ricochet's struggles to adapt to WWE's homogenized promo segments are well documented. He's not a gifted talker, but he has the most crowd-pleasing move sets and can execute some unbelievable acrobatic maneuvers. When someone is that good of a wrestler, they don't need to cut long, scripted promos.

    Fans who have never seen his work with NXT, NJPW, PWG or Lucha Underground would rightfully think Ricochet is just some other guy. That couldn't be further from the truth.

1. Mustafa Ali

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    Mustafa Ali isn't just a top-notch superstar and an accomplished high-flyer; he's also a role model. He carries himself like a consummate professional, he has a big heart and he always says the right thing. 

    He's like a real-life superhero, and that is precisely the kind of guy anyone should want to make the face of their company. Ali has unmatched in-ring abilities and he can cut engaging promos, but neither of those gifts are what makes him truly special.

    The Light, as his nickname suggests, can give people something to believe in and inspire change. That's what makes him stand out among all of the larger-than-life characters on the WWE roster. He is one of the few babyfaces in the company to come off like a genuinely altruistic person and it never feel like an act. 

    A star like that doesn't come along every day, and Ali has the potential to transcend the wrestling world. Furthermore, the industry could use more positive representation for Muslim fans, as it has a history showcasing xenophobic and Islamophobic characters. Making Mustafa Ali a WWE champion is a moment that could change professional wrestling for the better. Unfortunately, the Chicago native has never so much as held the NXT Cruiserweight Championship, and that's a shame.

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