Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The 10 Brightest Futures in the WWE

For the first time in a long time, it seems the WWE has an influx of young talent making their way up the ranks. This is exciting in that all wrestlers eventually become stale. Of course, in the WWE, if you remove those old talents for a while, the staleness reverses and it becomes super exciting to see them again. This is why I am very excited about the possibility of Hulk Hogan back in the WWE. Although he appears to be an awful human being, he's got nostalgia on his side. Still, the WWE cannot depend on Hogan, Rock, and Undertaker comebacks to help them forever.

Notes:
1. Now, whether these guys are actually young is not important, but I did want to pick guys who have not quite established themselves. Fandango is Fandango forever, so he's not on the list. Antonio Cesaro is unlikely to be a Real American in a year so he is on the list.

2. I only included the top two guys on the NXT roster in terms of their place in NXT and not their future. This means I was unable to write about guys like Alexander Rusev, Aiden English, and Tyler Breeze.

Now onto the list:

10. Erick Rowan - He is a big bruiser, and the WWE can always use guys like that. He's a future tag champion, and has a shot at a lower-tier singles title. Still, he's kind of a poor man's version of the next guy on this list.

9. Luke Harper - Don't underestimate how awesome Luke Harper is in the ring. He's a large human being who does a great job at making what he does look like it hurts...a lot. His match a couple weeks ago on NXT against Kassius Ohno was tremendous, and it was so different than what the WWE usually produces in their matches. Since he brings something different than others in the WWE, I think he can definitely be a bruising singles champion down the line after a run with the tag titles.

8. Antonio Cesaro - I am an unabashed mark for Antonio Cesaro. I never fast forward through any of his matches, because he's so good that he can make any match entertaining. Pound for pound, there is nobody close to as strong as he is, which means he can toss around smaller guys and easily pick up the bigger guys. I hate putting him this low, but can he ever rise to the top tier? He has two things that oppose each other, and that is that he is foreign but awesome. I recognized early on that he was awesome, but now everybody is starting to come around on that front with The Giant Swing. He's getting cheered despite being a heel. And when was the last time a foreigner got a real push as a face? Sheamus is the closest thing they've done, and even he is from an English speaking country. The odds are stacked against him, but let us never forget this wonderful moment.

7. Bo Dallas - I love Bo Dallas in NXT. I am a huge BOliever. That being said, I can't believe I'm putting him higher than Cesaro. He's going to get a huge push when he gets up to the main show, and I'm guessing that he will win a Money in the Bank match in the next two years. Because of that, I wouldn't be surprised if he wasn't the first person on this list to hold a top tier title, but I only see his ceiling as the World Heavyweight Champion (not too shabby).

6. Bray Wyatt - Wyatt can be a poor man's Kane. He doesn't have that size, but he's a monster, and he can sell himself being a monster to an audience. He's going to laugh at pain, and that makes him a legitimate challenger to anyone.

5. Dean Ambrose - Probably my most controversial ranking. When The Shield came in, Ambrose seemed to be the guy with the brightest future of the trio, and I think he's going to be great. I could see him having a CM Punk like career, but I don't know if it's likely. This is still really good, as if I made him eligible, I think Dolph Ziggler would be right around this range.

4. Seth Rollins - Maybe a homer pick, but one of my thoughts while making this list is whether this guy could beat Cena. Out of the guys below Rollins on this list, I think Cesaro has the best chance, and that would be in a non-title match, because I do think Cena recognizes really great wrestling and wants to help out those guys who stand out. Rollins can beat Cena, because he brings something very different to the table in his offense. Another thing that helps him is that any moment that he and Daniel Bryan are in the ring together is absolutely awesome.

3. Big E Langston - He just got the Intercontinental Title, but bigger things are ahead for him. He used to do a five count in NXT where he pinned his opponents for five seconds instead of three, and it was awesome. Since they don't care about the IC title as much anymore, isn't this the perfect time to let Big E defend his title by pinning guys for five seconds? This gives the WWE a good guy who is a beast, and if he's pinning guys for five seconds for six months, it legitimizes a run at the top titles. Also on his side is that he is actually entertaining on Twitter, and he has shown his charisma in bursts. He might have the highest ceiling of anybody on this list.

2. Roman Reigns - He came in with the least hype out of any member from The Shield, but he has gotten so much better in such a short time that it's hard not to see his sky-high potential. He's the new Batista, and I don't see any way that he doesn't fulfill that role with the company. He's going to be a multiple time WWE Champion, and I don't see anybody else on this list that you can definitely say that about. He may not have the highest ceiling, but he is the surest bet to be a dominant top tier champion.

1. Sami Zayn - Before you shout me down for trying to be too much of a smark about this list, hear me out. Zayn can be the WWE's most valuable asset in that he can be a babyface that even the internet wrestling community loves. Everybody sees Cena as the new Hogan, but Cena's gimmick is what Hogan did in low level feuds. He makes dick jokes and calls people gay. Hogan loved to call people gay, but in real feuds, Hogan was just super positive about how Hulkamania could conquer all. That's what Zayn brings to the table. He just states things matter-of-factly, and he believes that he's going to overcome everything. He reminds me of GSP in that he is just a super polite dude who is incredibly talented at what he does. Usually, the internet wrestling community would hate something like this, but he's so good in the ring that it's impossible to not get behind him. The WWE has always focused on large muscular guys as their lead dogs, but they may finally be ready to change that. The UFC's biggest star is GSP, and boxing's stars are Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. You no longer need the larger than life guys to carry the sport, and I think Zayn has what it takes to rise to the top. He's going to be a star, and if done correctly, he could be the face of the WWE.

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