King Corbin, Jungle Boy and 8 WWE and AEW Stars in Need of a Reboot
Reboots are needed in professional wrestling. The sport is constantly evolving, and characters will grow stale without regular change.
WWE is constantly trying to tell fans that the brand is moving forward. However, so many characters often get stuck in roles that do not suit them, which can be bad for wrestlers' careers as well as fans convinced to watch the same shtick every week.
Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins may be two of the greatest wrestlers of the modern era, but both recently had overhauls to right their direction for the future. Talent like King Corbin, The Miz and John Morrison may have a regular spotlight on SmackDown, but they need a fresh start to truly shine.
All Elite Wrestling is still relatively new, but there are certain performers who are in a less-than-ideal position in the company. They may just need a fresh perspective to become household names.
Kenny Omega recently became AEW world champion after turning to a cockier persona, while Lance Archer has found his rhythm by embracing his hatred of Eddie Kingston to become a face. Santana and Ortiz could use a break from The Inner Circle, and Jungle Boy is a solo opportunity away from stardom.
Wrestling is constantly evolving, and some of the best in the business just need the right opportunities. The following performers need the right opportunity to truly shine.
Drew Gulak is one of the best in-ring performers in WWE, and the company has shown trust in his talent by having him work as a trainer at its Performance Center. At some point, though, he deserves credit for his work training the next top stars.
However, Gulak's current position is almost non-existent. He appears on television occasionally to go after the 24/7 Championship and then loses to wrestlers in need of a quick victory.
What the talented technician needs more than anything is an established character. In 205 Live, he made a name for himself as the man who advocated for the brand as a No Fly Zone before becoming the dangerous submission expert when he won the Cruiserweight Championship.
Neither character fully translated to SmackDown or Raw beyond the brief use of his PowerPoint presentations, but Gulak's charisma and character work differentiate him from other well-known technical wizards.
Whether he is a comedy character WWE commits to or a serious competitor in the ring who makes everyone tap, Gulak needs a clear perspective that keeps him on television.
When talking about AEW, Joey Janela's name only comes up when discussing underrated talent. While he may be fine with this as he has many different promotions he wrestles for, he is better than the company has let him be.
He started out as the hardcore risk-taker of AEW, a role he has always played. At every turn, that role has cost him. He has faced top competition in big matches including against Kenny Omega several times and Jon Moxley, but he always loses.
He and Sonny Kiss seemed to have found a fresh dynamic as a tag team, but they have also struggled to pick up victories against established teams. At this point, The Bad Boy has a 17-23 record with most of his wins coming on AEW Dark.
With Janela's talent and charisma, it makes no sense for him to be an afterthought. He has shined in various spots. Since he and Kiss have been established as a lesser team in a stacked division, just giving them some wins will not change anything.
Janela needs a reboot in AEW. He needs a character that can make him feel like a threat to even the best in the company. That likely starts with a heel turn.
Few wrestlers have had a rockier road to the spotlight than Peyton Royce. The former member of The IIconics was often heralded as the more talented member of the team, but Billie Kay's unique brand of humor defined the team.
Royce and Kay were treated as a comedy duo until they were erroneously broken up in August 2020. This should have been a chance for Royce to stand out on her own, but instead she was immediately paired with Lacey Evans.
This team has been underused for months, but Evans found a spotlight again with a new story alongside Ric Flair. This leaves Royce even more on the outside in a team that already didn't make sense. Nothing is working out for the Australian.
However, she can change everything by establishing a new persona. This is the time to figure out who Royce is. With The Sassy Southern Belle preoccupied, she can step away and come back with the kind of renewed energy Carmella has displayed lately.
Royce has serious potential in the ring and on the mic, but she needs a clear focus. When she gets that, fans will get a proper chance to see just how far she can go.
Nyla Rose was the AEW women's champion not so long ago, holding the championship for 101 days in 2020. Since she lost the title in May, she has remained dominant but lacked direction. Something has been missing to keep her relevant outside the title picture.
AEW seemed to realize it as well, bringing in Vickie Guerrero as her manager. This was not necessary to protect the monster of the women's division from speaking; it was purely to keep things fresh for Rose.
However, the dynamic has not worked yet. Guerrero seems more like a hindrance than a help for her. This is because remains the dominant heel with just one foil, Hikaru Shida. In order to evolve, she needs a fresh perspective and a worthy rival.
This can begin by more clearly establishing the dynamic between Rose and her manager. The two need characters that can work together. There are a variety of ways to sell this, but if nothing is done, Rose will disappear into the background entirely.
After that, it will be down to AEW finding the proper foil to Rose to elevate both women, hopefully emphasizing the former champion.
The Miz and John Morrison
The Miz and John Morrison could be considered the highest-profile names on this list, yet their position is also the most tenuous. It will likely not take long for the team to disappear from TV entirely at the current rate.
The A-Lister and The Shaman of Sexy are two of the most charismatic talents in the business. WWE relies on them whether it is in big matches on Raw or Miz TV. Miz even won Money in the Bank just to keep it a relevant gimmick through the start of 2021.
However, despite the ridiculous athleticism of Morrison and the championship pedigree of Miz, neither feels like a contender to anything. No matter when The A-Lister cashes in a second time on WWE champion Drew McIntyre, no one will believe he can win.
Miz has played primarily two roles in WWE: a reality TV star and a movie star, both driven by arrogance. In both roles, he has improved with time until he felt like a true top star, but he has lost steam because WWE never seems comfortable treating him like a world championship contender.
Morrison has similarly gotten some speed in moments in WWE, but only companies outside McMahonland have made him a world champion. He returned to the company a year ago with focus and potential, but he has only briefly gotten a chance to carry tag team gold.
Both need a fresh start and a chance to not be seen as jokes. They should drop their roles as "Hollywood actors" entirely. This can begin with turning on one another. Morrison can become the highlight-reel face he once was, and Miz can return to relevance as a top heel who could steal the WWE Championship.
Santana and Ortiz
When Santana and Ortiz signed with AEW, the team was considered one of the best in the business. It is hard to believe it now as Proud and Powerful have taken a backseat to everyone else in The Inner Circle. One of the best tag teams in the world are not even the primary tag team in the stable.
That is a waste of two great performers who have serious potential individually and as a team. This is an unfortunate problem with AEW's stacked tag team division. Talent falls through the cracks easily. Anywhere else in the world would have them as champions.
Much like the recent resurgence of The Lucha Brothers, there is always time for evolution, but it needs to begin quickly. The Inner Circle is falling apart due to the recent addition of MJF. Santana and Ortiz explicitly called out feeling left out in the group.
What Proud and Powerful need is to break away from Chris Jericho. Santana and Ortiz should not be lackeys. They have a unique chaotic energy that is missing in the tag team division. Those guys briefly showed up in the feud with Best Friends, especially in the fantastic Parking Lot Brawl in 2020.
The two can work on their own or find a manager who will actually promote them. Eddie Kingston already has history with Santana and Ortiz, and Jake Roberts could use more clients. Either would do more for them than the charismatic overload of Jericho and MJF.
Since debuting in NXT in 2012, King Corbin has been a consistent presence on WWE television. However, he has just one WWE title to his name alongside winning Money in the Bank and King of the Ring. He even won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal in 2016, but he has rarely won gold in his career.
That is a surprise considering how WWE has put so much stock in his talent. He has feuded with John Cena, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and more. Despite it all, though, this hated heel cannot seem to find a story and character that puts it all together.
While some may be glad for Corbin to just disappear from TV entirely, his safe work in the ring has made him easy to work with for many wrestlers. He also knows well how to incite a crowd. All he needs is the right character that can benefit him.
Playing the generic King of the Ring gimmick has lost its verve. Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler could be good foils to him, but they are not "knights" of his "kingdom." Their gimmicks should adjust with Corbin to finally test whether The Lone Wolf can become a lasting champion.
At some point, Corbin could play an interesting face, but this is still not the right time. Instead, a reboot is needed where he can be the dominant heel without resorting to cheating like far too many of WWE's villains.
Last year started with Jungle Boy hinting at a singles run. He had challenged Chris Jericho, the then-AEW world champion, and embarrassed him. However, the year was not so kind to Jack Perry, who barely wrestled one-on-one.
Some of this could be attributed to AEW adjusting to the pandemic. Jungle Boy is so popular that AEW wanted to build him only with a crowd to watch. However, the same argument could be made with the current TNT champion Darby Allin.
Jurassic Express feels like a hindrance rather than a help to Perry. He is held back by working in a tag team that still cannot seem to catch a break. He and Luchasaurus are fantastic together. Marko Stunt is also talented, but Jungle Boy and he serve a similar role in the tag team.
If the plan is for Jurassic Express to remain outside the title picture, it is time for Jungle Boy to work on his own. He can reboot himself as the underdog who refuses to give up, picking up a series of victories that put him in the title picture.
Perry is a potential moneymaker for AEW. The company cannot even use the pandemic as an excuse anymore. Socially distanced crowds can cheer for the rise of the talented young star. He just needs to break away from the shadow of Luchasaurus.