Over the weekend, WWE revealed a list of who they believe will lead the company towards a bright future, so I thought I would do my take. I agree with a lot of who they have listed, which is a somewhat surprising thing, but the people working for WWE.com really seem to know what they’re doing; after all, they jumped on the Seth Rollins bandwagon immediately following his betrayal of The Shield, while most of the WWE Universe was pissed off and worried he wouldn’t amount to anything.
Who was on WWE’s list?
Who’s on mine? (in no particular order)
Rollins is by far the top heel in the company right now and for good reason, he has all the tools. When The Shield was riding strong, nearly everyone believed he would be the odd man out when the faction broke, but after the split, it appears Rollins has gained the most. Rollins will astonish crowds for at least a decade and when the right time comes around, the former Architect will once again piece The Shield back together for another run of dominance.
Ambrose is easily the former Shield member we all thought would end up as a heel and surprisingly, he’s the number 2 face in the company right now; whether that’s the case in a few months is another story, but Ambrose has Stone Cold Steve Austin level potential within him, all WWE has to do is tap into it. The crowds are always firmly behind The Lunatic Fringe and that doesn’t seem to be letting up, which means a huge push is in line for Ambrose, when the WWE gets a clue and decides to pull the trigger. Ambrose could either be anything the WWE needs at any time, with the capability to be a face, be a tweener or even to be a full on heel; Ambrose himself has often said he’s shocked by his current position, because he always envisioned himself as a heel. When the WWE Universe looks forward, Ambrose will be in their sights for many years to come.
Reigns is the WWE’s golden boy, their chosen one and the guy they want to shoulder the load moving forward; all of that has been known for quite some time, the only problem they’re running into right now –other than his injury,– is the crowds don’t want to accept it. When Reigns’ cousin, The Rock was introduced, he was a face character that was being shoved down everyone’s throats and he failed miserably in that role; it’s pretty evident that was starting to happen with Reigns as well. When they bring him back, they need to progress him more naturally, having him in tune up matches and a big match here and there, but don’t immediately involve him in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship picture, because it will undo him instantaneously. He’s going to win the Royal Rumble, but if he’s got a slightly slow build leading up to that moment, it would go a long way towards helping the fans accept that as an appreciated reality. Even if they don’t book him well now, it won’t matter long term, because Reigns has absolutely everything Vince McMahon could possibly want in a superstar and he’s improving his mic skills as we speak, so moving forward it won’t be a shocking thing to see Reigns as the undisputed guy in the WWE in a decade.
I stick to my prediction that Corbin is The Next Big Thing, because this guy looks incredible, has undeniable energy and is loaded with potential. I sincerely hope he starts getting longer matches, so he isn’t locked in as a guy that finishes all of his matches in under a minute; but while he’s building himself up, leading to an inevitable NXT Championship match, that’s more than okay. When he reaches the main roster, he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with, someone that will steal the hearts of every woman in the room and spread jealousy among the men. Corbin is a thoroughbred that’s in desperate need of true competition and he’ll get it soon enough; when it does finally happen, the lights will be shining brighter than ever and we’ll see the dawning of a new age. If Reigns is the face moving forward in the now, Corbin will be next in line, all he has to do is develop the tools it seems he genuinely has and the rest will be history.
I can’t tell you how excited I was to see Bálor included on WWE’s list, because I truly believe in this man. I’m not sure if and when his signature body paint is going to make an appearance, but I think it’s likely to be brought in once he reaches the main roster. The WWE has been looking for guys who can steal the show, who can electrify a crowd by putting on the best match, night in and night out; Bálor is easily one of the men coming out of NXT who will accomplish that feat. While I can’t picture him being the true face of the WWE, he will hold several championships and will be in contention for a main event slot at a future WrestleMania. If you need someone to lean on and believe in when looking towards the future, Bálor is your guy.
Speaking of guys who can steal the show and put on the best match on a card: Sami Zayn. If you haven’t been watching NXT, please just go to the WWE Network and type in Sami Zayn in the search. He’s arguably the most inventive guy in the WWE right now, pulling moves out of thin air like he’s a magician of legend. The only thing Zayn needs is a justifiable character moving forward, someone that isn’t just simply a great wrestler who’s down on his luck –like Daniel Bryan;– not because he isn’t good enough, but because we’ve seen how long it takes for the WWE to fully utilize guys like that. Zayn doesn’t need to go to the main roster and then job out to guys, he needs to be in the main event, he needs to be holding or at the very least going for gold nearly all the time. Zayn is a work horse, someone that you can bet your house on and he’ll deliver every single time; it’s about time someone like that gets called up and is pushed to the moon and I think Zayn will be that guy.
Neville is an interesting case, someone that never seemed fully comfortable or particularly good on the mic, but was one hell of a wrestler. Now though? Neville looks like the ring is his home, he’s gotten infinitely better on the mic and has the look –even if he’s a little shorter– that Vince & co always look for. The guy has the potential to be the actual successor to Cena –mainly based on appearance and stamina,– where he can go out there every single night, tear the place down and put on an hour long match at any moment. When you’re looking for someone to carry your company, you want a guy who can be a Cena or a Shawn Michaels, where they can put on a match for as long as you need and make them entertaining, regardless of length. Neville has the power of Cena, while possessing the speed and acrobatics of RVD; the biggest difference is, he may surpass both of those men in their own strengths. Neville is nowhere near Cena’s level on the mic, but that’s not something he couldn’t approach in the future; for now, Neville is one of the top guys going and he will be long into the future.
WWE picked Charlotte to be their Diva of the future, but I still think it’s Paige. When she first arrived, it was to sheer and utter excitement, shocking the world when she took the Diva’s Championship away from Aj during her debut; flash forward 7+ months later and she’s been a 2 time champion and is joining Total Diva’s. I’m nervous about the latter fact, but I still think when Paige’s career is over, she’ll have held the title at least 5 times and will hold the record for the longest reign in Diva’s history.
Owens –or Steen— isn’t your ideal looking wrestler, but the guy owns the ring every time he gets into it. If the WWE has been looking for a true replacement for CM Punk, Owens is the best candidate. When he gets in the ring, he’s creative, exciting and rarely slows down, making sure the crowd is always paying attention, always listening and always watching; because they never know when something may surprise them. Those qualities and so many others, are why Owens will be a WWE household name in the very near future and for many years to come.
Uhaa Nation (or if it has to be someone signed, Braun Stowman)
Alright, so WWE hasn’t signed him yet –which is why I have a backup,– but Uhaa Nation is a guy that we will all be paying attention to very soon. You want strength? Check. You want speed? Check. You want endurance? Check. The list goes on and on and that’s why it won’t take the WWE long to sign this guy and bump him up to TV very shortly after. If the WWE has ever been serious about wanting a minority to be the face of their company, this guy is the first place they should be looking. He’s got every tool imaginable and continues to work on them every single day, so if they want a man who could take the reigns from Cena and lead the company to the promised land, Uhaa wouldn’t be a choice to scoff at. When this guy signs his contract, the whole of the WWE will take notice.
If my last one absolutely has to be someone on the current roster, then Braun is my choice. The WWE opted for Luke Harper, saying he would be the monster the WWE needs and will use far into the future, but I think Braun has a better chance at taking that role and running with it. He’s bigger than Harper, he’s stronger than Harper and he’s just far more imposing; I will say that Harper has mic skills that could carry him further, but that’s something Braun could work on for even a couple years, join the main roster and then decimate Harper on his journey to becoming the companies top monster. I like Harper and think he will succeed, but if we’re talking about the next decade, give me a guy who could tear a wall down to get to his opponent, who could take a spear from Reigns or a curb stomp from Rollins and get up from it like he had just been hit by a flea. You want a true monster of a man? Braun is the one you should fear.
I know one of the atrocities of my list is that Bray Wyatt is nowhere to be found; this isn’t a knock against him, I just don’t think we’ll still see him around in 10 years, which is also why I didn’t have Itami on my list either. Bray’s character is one that won’t work forever –unless he takes a ton of notes from Jake The Snake and evolves like crazy,– so picturing him still messing with the heads of his opponents in a decade, just seems unlikely to me, even if I do really like him. As far as Itami goes, I just can’t imagine him being around as a 43 year old, considering his style; so him being around in a decade, seems like a stretch to me, unless he changes his style from a lot of aerial attacks and high knees, to a ground game and superkicks.
This is truly a matter of opinion, but for me, it’s a justified opinion; each of these wrestlers have shown at the very least a glimpse of the potential to lead the WWE to a bright future.
Who makes your list?
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