With the WWE performance center on the rise and the nXt program helping shape up the new generation of WWE, the youth movement seems to be in full swing. Each day, reports and speculation of WWE’s next recruit begin circling the internet. With talented former independent wrestlers such as CM Punk and Daniel Bryan having paved a new road for self made talent as opposed to WWE’s tradition of “homegrown” superstars, the WWE now has a wider roster than ever before. While the roster continues to grow, it seems as though the same top stars are still in the spotlight. WWE may be under-utilizing a lot of talent. Certainly there are some potential huge stars hidden in the company’s undercard and developmental roster.
When WWE began its ECW brand, the show began to shift from the stars who made the original ECW promotion a success to younger developmental talent. Stars like CM Punk, Evan Bourne, Kofi Kingston and John Morrison began to rise on the brand. While Morrison and Punk are seemingly gone from WWE and Bourne being constantly injured or facing legal issues, Kofi is the only young athlete of the four who is still on the main talent roster. Kingston impressed the WWE fans with his agility and fun high flying moves. It seemed that Kingston would eventually rise to the top of the roster. This was not the case. Other than one feud with Randy Orton that was cut short, Kofi hasn’t had much of a chance to cross paths with the WWE title picture. Each year, speculation begins as to how Kofi will creatively dodge elimination in the Royal Rumble. Other than that, Kingston seems to be a floundering piece of WWE’s midcard roster.
While WWE ignoring its midcard is nothing new, the fans often scratch their heads over the decision to not push great talent from that level. When Drew McIntyre was titled “The Chosen One” by WWE Chairman, Vince McMahon, a rise to glory seemed imminent. Flash forward to 2014 and McIntyre is one-third of a comedy trio in WWE’s undercard. McIntyre has mostly been used as enhancement talent to put over bigger stars. McIntyre’s current run is less than stellar for a guy who was handpicked by the boss.
As 2010 began, WWE introduced its nXT brand. The show was to be a mixture of reality television and WWE entertainment. The show was to feature stars from WWE’s developmental territory, FCW, as the young guns competed for a chance on the WWE main roster. Many stars emerged from the show but one talent never seemed to break the glass ceiling. Justin Gabriel had the look of a star and an impressive move-set. Having come from South Africa, Gabriel was a second generation wrestler who dazzled audiences with his signature 450 Splash finishing maneuver. Gabriel would go on to become a member of The Nexus where he found tag team championship success. However, as the faction faded, Gabriel was left in the WWE undercard and has been rarely used on television since. Gabriel’s athleticism and movie star good looks have been wasted since his arrival.
When a company employs as many athletes as WWE, there are sure to be some oversights on the roster. These young talents have been almost completely ignored by the WWE. As WWE continues to expand its developmental roster, is it possible that even more young stars will be overlooked? Could WWE be recruiting too many new stars to ever properly use the talent they already have in reserve? As 2014 continues, the WWE fans will be eager to see if these talented athletes will ever get the chance they deserve.