Crowdsourcing Picks for WWE and AEW's Best-Kept Secrets
Welcome to the Bleacher Report pro wrestling mailbag.
The B/R community has always been outspoken, especially when it comes to opinions on professional wrestling and its biggest stars.
We will answer your questions and react to your hot takes about WWE, All Elite Wrestling and the world of pro wrestling.
This week's question: Who is the best-kept secret in WWE or AEW? Most of the answers were names you would expect to see fans bring up as underused talents, especially in 2022, but one or two did make us think.
Check out what the B/R community thought.
"Ricky Starks." (@GrandaddyFunk, rthomp75)
When we first put out the call for readers to name the best-kept secrets in WWE and AEW, I knew Ricky Starks' name was going to end up being mentioned more than once.
The FTW champion has really found a niche for himself in AEW, but it would be nice to see him wrestle a bit more often. Hearing him on commentary during Rampage is fun, but it's time to start giving him that push he has needed for a little while.
Hook seems to be the priority for Team Taz at the moment, which makes sense because he is the shiny new toy, but Starks could legitimately be a top star for AEW if he was built up properly.
Even though he is naturally good at playing a heel, the 32-year-old has gotten some good babyface reactions that prove AEW could use him in either role based on the needs of the storyline.
The second half of 2022 should be known as "The Rise of Ricky," because he has everything needed to be a big star.
"Chad Gable 100%" (@Yuddyfromtheoak)
While I absolutely agree Chad Gable's name deserves to be on this list, I am not sure if we can classify his skills as a secret anymore.
At this point, everybody knows what the 36-year-old is capable of doing in the ring and on the mic. He is a fantastic performer who has proved he can do the comedy stuff and put on a five-star tag team match with a variety of partners and opponents.
His current team with Otis should be holding one of the sets of tag titles, but WWE seems obsessed with The Usos and RK-Bro for right now, so Alpha Academy have been relegated to filler segments for the last month or so.
Gable's size will always be a hurdle to overcome in the world of pro wrestling, but if you don't think you could build him up into an underdog on the same level as WWE did with Daniel Bryan, you haven't been paying attention to just how good the Olympian really is.
"It's John Silver. He's amazing." (@theiconpal3)
John Silver's name was mentioned a few times on the crowdsourcing post. This is a guy who came into AEW in a random tag team, so he probably never predicted where his career would take him.
Being with The Dark Order seemed like an odd fit when the group was going for a more seriously threatening aura, but as soon as it took on a more comedic role, he began to shine.
Silver has great comic instincts and timing, but he is also somebody who can have a fun match with just about any kind of opponent because he has a unique physical skill set.
The 30-year-old is as strong as they come, but he is a little on the short side at 5'4". That means he pairs well against both powerhouses and cruiserweights because he can match their energy in different ways. It puts him in a very unique position.
Silver might not be the kind of person AEW puts at the top of the ladder, but he is going to hold gold at some point. The TNT title would be great, but he and Alex Reynolds as tag team champions feels more likely.
"Dominik Dijakovic." (@jamesparrett)
We should probably call him T-Bar since that is what WWE still calls him on its website, but he needs to revert to Dominik Dijakovic at some point.
The fact that he was known for having killer matches in NXT with the likes of Keith Lee only to end up being used primarily for bouts on Main Event is one of the biggest failures on WWE's part since the start of the pandemic.
The 35-year-old was never known as the most charismatic talker, but his physical ability in the ring put him on a level few can reach. He is a big, muscular dude who can also dive over the top rope onto his opponents at a moment's notice.
Dijakovic could be a great addition to the midcard title scene, especially if he is repackaged as his original NXT character.
"Buddy Matthews." (@177013, @CMan9158)
The funny thing about seeing a few people mention Buddy Matthews is that his nickname in WWE for a time was "WWE's Best-Kept Secret."
The Australian has proved time and time again how good he is in the ring. At this point, I don't think anybody is denying he can have a show-stealing match any day of the week.
The area where the 33-year-old has never been able to establish himself is on the mic. He is either a quiet character or he is following behind somebody else who carries the weight during promos.
If Murphy can prove to everybody that he can deliver a great promo, there is no telling how successful he can be in this business. He has the look and the physical ability, but the charisma is what people need to see. Without that, he could easily fall through the cracks like so many other talented workers.
"Ricochet." (@Dantheman82, @AverageHoFr)
As great as it was to see Ricochet's name mentioned by a few people, I think the ship has sailed on classifying him as a best-kept secret.
The One and Only has been around for a while, so he has had time to establish a great career before he even joined the WWE roster. Before he showed up, people knew what he could do.
At this point, the only thing keeping the 33-year-old from being a huge star in WWE is management. He is one of the most exciting performers to lace up a pair of boots, but he has never been allowed to work the kind of match he is used to because the company doesn't seem to want that for some reason.
Instead, Ricochet is saddled with being limited to a couple of big moves in each match. Even though he is the intercontinental champion, it feels like he is still being underused. The way WWE has booked its midcard title scene in 2022 has been a head-scratcher.
Put him in the ring with somebody like Rey Mysterio or Seth Rollins for 15 minutes and he will still the show. This is not a prediction, it's a fact.