Benjamin Trecroci, Earl Marx and Craig Wilson
The post-WrestleMania season traditionally signals a new ‘season’ of WWE TV. With that in mind, and ahead of the superstar shake-up, in today’s Top Five we look across both rosters and discuss what performers are most due a change in fortune.
5. Dana Brooke: She’s not the best in the ring, but feel like she could have a strong relationship with the crowd. They seem to want to cheer her. The women’s division on Raw is real lean after the foursome at WrestleMania and she could add something to the fray.
3. Sami Zayn: They keep having him as the “Almost There Guy,” well he either needs to start winning big matches or snap and turn into a nasty heel. He’s too good to be a B+ player.
2. Rusev: This injury might be the best thing for him because when he returns needs to be pushed as a main guy. I could almost see him as a face at this point but hopefully not in a comedy role. Rusev vs. KO could be money, especially for the US championship.
1. Samoa Joe: He came in on fire and seemed to be in line with KO and Triple H but then last night he’s nowhere to be found. Needs to be seen as a main event player right now! Pair him against Reigns or tease something with Lesnar. No time to be wasting with Joe.
5. Bray Wyatt: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. He just lost at Mania you say? He was featured in a top spot you say? That is true, but the ‘E has a history of cooling off people very quickly and I fear this could be the case with Bray. They shot him to the moon, but he held the belt until the Golden Boy got another reign. Let’s hope Bray’s post-Mania is stronger than his Mania lead-in.
4. Dean Ambrose: Whoa. I might be striking a chord here with some people. Yes, Dean is IC champ. Why do I feel like he’s just a guy with the belt and not a “champion”? Maybe I’d like to see a little more fire from Dean. Something that will draw my attention more than this “I’m a lunatic. Look at me” thing he’s got going. If I were truly booking, I’d go for a heel turn by the summer or fall. Not sure what is the solution, but let’s hope post-Mania does Dean well.
3. The New Day: Yep. I said it. It’s not to say they aren’t hot, but let’s be honest – have they been involved in anything since losing the tag titles? Not anything significant. It’s going on a few months now. I am actually hoping they can get traded or sent to Smackdown Live where they can mix it up with the heel Usos.
2. Rusev: Post-Mania deserves to shine on Handsome Rusev. I am not sure what happened, but once he lost the US title to Roman Reigns, his career has just lingered. I guess Jinder Mahal has him to thank for it, but rewind a few years back…Rusev seemed to be groomed to be a top name. Seemed like we were there, then we stopped. Let’s hope that once he returns, he can be featured a little more prominently.
1. Sami Zayn: I mean, you saw this one coming, right? My biggest fear with Sami Zayn is that he is on the path to becoming Dolph Ziggler. A victim of so many stop and starts that he decides to stop caring. I think Sami is a viable midcarder now. The fact that he remains allergic to a serious title feud is astounding. I hope that post-Mania will see either a trade or a twist of fate for Sami that works out in his favor.
5. Heath Slater: I hope he’s managed to save up money to look after his kids and pay off the pool as the winner’s cheques have dried up in recent months. Initially, the personification of the ‘land of opportunity’ which Smackdown initially appeared as, Slater’s recent months haven’t been quite as solid for him. An act that the WWE have called on at various points, and one that appears to have never let the company down, he is a popular act well due another turn.
4. Becky Lynch: I’m a big fan of Becky Lynch and she made perfect sense as the inaugural Smackdown Live women’s champion. However, since initially dropping the gold, and failing to regain it when Naomi vacated it, she’s been lost somewhat in the shuffle. As a very good worker who the crowd easily gets behind isn’t something you can say about every talent on the roster and it won’t take much to build her back up after a couple of loses.
3. New Day: Yeah, I know, longest reigning tag team champions ever in the WWE but since dropping the gold, they have done nothing. A side-effect of being so successful so long is that you have swept away many of the available opponents. With the superstar shakeup imminent, perhaps a shift of brand could re-energise the trio. Alternatively, a split-up but there does seem some gas left in the New Day tank.
2. American Alpha: After their NXT run, I was hugely encouraged by the push they got once they debuted on the main roster. But since then, it’s been poor. Their reign with the Smackdown titles was flat – as has The Usos but that’s a different story – and since then they’ve hardly featured, being relegated to the Andre the Giant battle royal at WrestleMania. The new season of WWE action proves an opportunity for them as does the forthcoming superstar shakeup. What’s not deniable is that these two are a hugely talented set of performers. Here’s hoping a change of fortune is forthcoming for them.
1. Sami Zayn: When Zayn began standing up to Braun Strowman, I thought it signalled a rejuvenation in him and a display that the WWE had big plans for him. Prior to WrestleMania, though, I wrote about the tragedy of such a popular act being left off the card only for him to then be placed, as a somewhat token gesture, into the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. Monday past saw him cut a promo to Kurt Angle asking for a chance. Here’s hoping that the new Raw GM grants him one.
You can read all previous ‘Top Five’ pieces here.