30th Jun2014

The WWE Main Roster Report: Part 1 – The Big Boys

by Chris Cummings

wwe

The WWE main roster is always changing, some wrestlers leave for whatever reason happens to cause their departure, some wrestlers move up the card because management wants to give them a push and some wrestlers move downwards, or stay still, sometimes merely because the creative team has a lack of ideas for their television character.

The last twelve months have been memorable and a lot has happened to the main WWE roster since June of 2013. So, let’s take a look at the main superstars who are on the main stage of WWE, rate them, and look at how their future in WWE looks at this moment.

The grading system is as follows:

A+ – Is/Should be one of the main faces of WWE. A true star.

A – Should be/Is in the main event scene and has the talent to stay there.

B – Should be being pushed as a future top contender. Needs some spark.
C – In their current role they’re not meeting their potential. Should be used better.

D – Needs work and help from creative. Highly lacking as a worker.

F – Why is this person here? No amount of booking magic can help.

The Big Boys

John Cena

John Cena has been on the top of the WWE heap for over a decade, he is booked in such a way what even if he loses, he looks like a winner, and he shifts more merchandise than anyone else in the company, bringing in a lot of revenue and cementing his spot above anyone else. Still, in many views the Cena shtick is tired and he is in dire need of shaking things up with his character. His selling of opponents’ moves and promos is often offensively bad, and his babyface run has resulted in much of the audience willing for him to try something new. A heel turn has been spoken of by fans for years but it is unlikely that it will occur as long as WWE feel like a turn would result in a loss in merchandise revenue. Cena has been terrible in 2014 in his feuds with Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt. He needs to change things up, or give back to some younger talents, because it is stale and frustrating to see what he is doing. He has had some fine matches, but the results, most of the time, leave much to be desired. Grade: C

Daniel Bryan

Daniel Bryan was the “chosen one” in the eyes of the WWE audience over the past couple of years, but this went to a whole new level at the beginning of 2014 when Bryan didn’t enter and win the Royal Rumble match. The venomous and angry fan reaction not only caused WWE to rethink their WrestleMania plans, but resulted in Bryan heading to ‘Mania, defeating Triple H, Randy Orton and Batista in one night, and becoming the WWE World Champion. Gets massive fan reactions and often puts on the best match of the night, Bryan suffered an injury in May of this year and required surgery on his neck. As it stands now we don’t know how long Bryan will be out, he might be back at the Money in the Bank show, or he might be out for a while longer. Whatever happens, Bryan is one of the only guys that has gone from being a mid-card worker to being a top tier star in the past few years, and he will be back on top eventually. One of the best in WWE and the wrestling business in general. Grade: A+

Triple H

One half of WWE’s on-screen “Authority” and real-life talent relations sergeant, Trips has been doing a commendable job in his real-life work in developmental and NXT. He has also provided some top notch promos and angles on television, but sometimes forgets that he needs to put over the other guy in the ring. His burial of Daniel Bryan last year was a little too much and resulted in poor buy rates for many of 2013’s autumn shows. His match with Bryan in the opening of WrestleMania this year was excellent and his matches against The Shield, alongside his Evolution team-mates, have been absolutely fantastic. A top class worker, Triple H has proven that he still has plenty left in the tank, and he has gone out of his way to lose cleanly to The Shield and Daniel Bryan in 2014. A true WWE superstar, WWE television would suffer if Triple H wasn’t a part of it. He is obviously taking a step back and working less frequently, but when he does climb into the ring it is a treat. Grade: A

Randy Orton

“The Viper” ended 2013 in matches with Big Show, Daniel Bryan and John Cena, and began 2014 in the Cena feud which the fans reacted negatively to. It wasn’t the best start to the year from one of WWE’s best workers. Orton lost the WWE World Title to Bryan at WrestleMania in the main event triple threat match and went into a feud, along with Batista and Triple H, with The Shield. These six-man matches were excellent, heated and exciting for sure. Orton knows the ring and knows how to psychologically work a match. He has been rejuvenated by his SummerSlam 2013 heel turn and entered some top class matches over the past year. It will be interesting to see where the career of this talented veteran goes during the remainder of 2014. Grade: A

Batista

Returning to WWE in January of this year, Batista was greeted with indifference initially followed by angry boos when he won the 2014 Royal Rumble match. A victim of the fans wanting to see Daniel Bryan get his just desserts, WWE were forced into turning “Big Dave” heel. This was a good decision. Bats, as an arrogant, egomaniacal and antagonistic “bad-guy” was much more tolerable and enjoyable in that role, and following a clean and commendable loss at WrestleMania to Bryan, he entered the Evolution/Shield feud which resulted in some top class outings. Batista has put over opponents cleanly, sold to younger workers and embraced his heel persona, turning what initially looked like a disastrous run into a successful one. Dave left WWE television following the Payback show, but apparently should be back in the summer, hopefully as a heel again. Grade: B

The Shield:

Roman Reigns

The “main event” potential of The Shield, it has become increasingly obvious that WWE see big-time potential in the handsome and popular Samoan. Working with veterans Ambrose and Rollins has helped Reigns massively and allowed him to hide his weaknesses in the dozens of high profile and high card matches that The Shield have had since debuting at the end of 2012. Reigns dominated at Survivor Series in an elimination match in which he destroyed the opposition, and has since been booked as the “leader” of WWE’s premier faction. Turning babyface alongside his teammates in early 2014, Reigns has entered some great battles with the likes of The Wyatt Family, The New Age Outlaws and Evolution. The Shield’s matches with The Wyatt Family in early 2014 were modern-classics and the fans reacted ballistically to the energetic and exciting exchanges between the six talented new stars. With Rollins turning on his Shield brethren following Payback, it will be intriguing to see what this means for The Shield, and where Reigns, the future main event player, goes next. Talented, young and super-over, the sky is the limit for this, dare I say it, “blue-chipper”. Grade: A-

Seth Rollins

The “architect” of The Shield, Seth Rollins has been the guy to count on in the faction since they debuted. His in-ring work is often flawless and his selling is the best in WWE currently. A young veteran, Rollins has entered some magnificent singles and tag matches over the past year with some of the best that WWE has to offer. Matches with The Wyatt Family, The Uso’s and Evolution were brilliant and Rollins was usually the one to have the most ring-time. A high-flyer, technical worker and hard hitting brawler, Rollins’ fantastic ring work is undeniable. He has improved on the microphone since he started out and continued to get better and appear more comfortable. Turning heel on Reigns and Ambrose following Payback, Rollins sided with Orton and Triple H. It is a big deal for Rollins and it will be exciting to see what this spells for this mega-talent. Grade: A

Dean Ambrose

The “lunatic fringe” of The Shield. The guy who unleashes assaults on his opponents with flailing arms and extremely weird facial expressions, Ambrose is the standout in terms of individual style and it will be very nice to see him go out on his own once The Shield fully split. Like a combination of “The Loose Cannon” Brian Pillman and Jake Roberts, Ambrose has potential to be a big main event heel, especially if he is allowed to embrace his dark side. It took Ambrose a little longer than his brethren to standout and find his niche in the group. A good worker with a top look, Ambrose appeared more comfortable as a heel than he does as a face, but regardless he has, along with his two allies, entered some amazing contests in 2014. The matches with Evolution and The Wyatt Family are some of the best matches in WWE this year. I can’t wait to see where Ambrose head next. Grade: A-

Bray Wyatt

After following the beginning of the Bray Wyatt character in the development system and NXT, it was interesting to see Bray, along with his “family” of Harper and Rowan, debut on the main roster in 2013. It was a slow start for the group and Bray entered a fairly uninteresting feud with Kane. Following a slow start though, things picked up for The Wyatt Family. Bray had a show stealing match with Daniel Bryan at the Royal Rumble of this year, picking up a victory over the super-over bearded dazzler. Entered a feud, alongside his “family” with The Shield and had some of the best matches of the year in the process. His wild style and unusual theatrics during matches have helped Wyatt stand out. The fans have begun to react to Wyatt kindly, often giving him a loud pop when he hits the ring. This is pure acknowledgement of this talented worker’s entertaining character and ring work. Bray entered a feud with John Cena and worked a big match with him at WrestleMania, which sadly he lost. He entered a winning rematch at Extreme Rules in a cage but was made to look much too lucky by the booking squad, and he lost again to Cena at Payback. A harmful feud, I hope we see Wyatt step away from Cena and enter into a creatively exciting feud with someone new who he can get a win over. Popular backstage and with the fans, the bizarre Wyatt could be a main event player if he were given half the chance. Let’s hope that he is. Grade: A

Brock Lesnar

Part time WWE employee and Full time Ass-kicker, Brock Lesnar comes back to WWE now and then and enters into high profile feuds. He feuded last year with CM Punk and Triple H, and started 2014 off by demolishing The Big Show in a quick squash match at Royal Rumble. With Paul Heyman beside him, bringing much-needed heat, Lesnar was booked in a match with The Undertaker at WrestleMania and presented as the newest superstar who would attempt to break The Undertaker’s much-prophesized “winning streak” of 21 – 0. Shockingly, and strangely, he beat The Undertaker, ending the streak and causing wrestling fans all over the world to put their palms against their open mouths in unison. A moment that is memorable because of how shocking it was, the end of the streak at the hands of a part time veteran who can’t reap the benefits of such a victory is mind-blowingly silly to many people, but it happened, and it should result in a big money match when Lesnar returns to television around SummerSlam time. Grade: B-

Kane

The veteran and one of the longest contracted performers in WWE today, Kane has remained a reliable worker in the past year like he has for many years. Once his popular and fun pairing with Daniel Bryan in “Team Hell-No” ended, Kane entered a mediocre feud with Bray Wyatt which didn’t really go anywhere. Took off his mask and joined up with Stephanie McMahon and Triple H as their “Chief-of-staff”. The Corporate Kane got booed and such but never really did much except for the odd run-in. Put his mask back on after WrestleMania and entered into a feud with his former partner and new WWE World Champion Daniel Bryan. The two had a great street fight at Extreme Rules in which Bryan won. The feud was due to continue after the show but Bryan suffered a neck injury. Kane has since been awaiting news on what happens next, depending on whether or not Bryan will be back at the next PPV show. Kane can be hit and miss in the ring, but often outdoes himself and reinvents himself in order to remain relevant to the current product. A veteran who unselfishly puts over young talent by the boat-load, Kane is one of those veterans that is needed around to help the new kids on the block. It is likely that he is reaching the end of his run though, and what a successful run it has been. Sixteen years on and the Kane character is still taking names and burning turnbuckles. Grade: B

The Undertaker

The “Phenom” of WWE has had a quiet twelve months really. After defeating CM Punk at WrestleMania 29 and having a couple of matches with The Shield on the week following the event, ‘Taker disappeared until March of 2014, taking his annual big-break. He returned to screens to start a feud with Brock Lesnar that culminated in a match between the two at WrestleMania 30. The feud wasn’t built particularly well and most people expected ‘Taker to beat Lesnar and make his winning streak into 22 – 0, before disappearing for another year. Lesnar pinned ‘Taker at the big event though, shocking fans and ending the massive winning streak that had been active for 23 years. He hasn’t been seen since the event and there are rumours once again that perhaps we have seen The Undertaker’s final match. We will find out, once and for all, when WrestleMania season arrives again in 2015. Grade: Un-gradable
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Enjoyed Part One? Well come back tomorrow for the second of our five part look at the WWE Main Roster…

 

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