We are all a little resistant to change, but it is almost always a very positive and very necessary thing. Dolph Ziggler broke away from Vickie Guerrero and Jack Swagger to find success by pairing with AJ Lee and Big E Langston. As Mr. Money In The Bank, he went on to have a highly celebrated moment on a post-Wrestlemania Raw, winning the World Heavyweight Championship. Primo and Epico became Los Matadores, a silly gimmick for sure but it’s made the younger crowd happy and has allowed them to showcase moves I didn’t think they had. Cesaro has become a Paul Heyman guy, leaving Zeb Colter and Swagger behind and looking ahead towards bigger and better things as our resident Swing King. Bray Wyatt was once Husky Harris, which is as awful as it sounds and nowhere near as successful as the Wyatt Family. Evolution is back and gunning for the recently face-turned Shield. Change can bring popularity, success, and at the very least it can get us paying attention. Here are eight Superstars who are desperately in need of a change.
8. Yoshi Tatsu – If your first thought was “who?” then you understand the problem already. His last televised victory was on a February 2012 episode of Superstars in a match against the man we now know as Fandango. Since then, he has lost every match on Raw, Smackdown, and even NXT. We saw him briefly at Wrestlemania during the Battle Royal where he was eliminated by The Great Khali. If not for the bright streak in his long black hair, I doubt I would have even noticed him at all in that match. Any time I see him, I think to myself “I didn’t realize he was still around.” He’s a throwaway, an afterthought, and a space filler. I assume he was signed to the WWE for a reason, I just wonder if we’ll ever see what that reason was.
7. Tyson Kidd – After being out for almost a year due to injury, Kidd is doing a whole lot of not very much. His spectacular return to action following his recovery was to wrestle on Smackdown as part of the masked Los Locales tag team with El Local (Ricardo Rodriguez), only to lose to Los Matadores. He’s teamed with wife Natalya on Raw for one match, sans mask thankfully, and he was part of the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at Wrestlemania 30. Other than some NXT appearances that the average fan won’t see, those three matches are all we’ve seen of Tyson Kidd lately. Total Divas fans know him fairly well, as he appears on the show regularly, and this must be taken advantage of. Whether he’s in mixed tag matches with Natalya or in a singles match with his wife cheering ringside, there are plenty of opportunities to showcase Kidd. He needs to be vocal about a goal or something he must overcome. The audience needs to see some personality, be it real or manufactured. The easiest way to do this is involve him in a feud alongside his wife, who could easily be pitted against Summer Rae. Whether or not he can take an opportunity and run with it remains to be seen.
6. Brodus Clay – Technically, Clay has gone through a drastic change. He abandoned Tensai/Sweet T and left Tons Of Funk and all that dancing behind. He proclaimed to be a “main event playa.” He eventually debuted with a new look and new song. He was finally becoming the monster heel he was meant to be. Unfortunately for Clay, he lost match after match while the Funkadactyls cheered and danced around victors Xavier Woods, R Truth, and Tensai. He vanished for a while, reappearing at the Battle Royal at Wrestlemania, but only competed for a short time before getting eliminated by Khali. If you want to catch a glimpse of Clay now, you have to tune in to NXT, where he currently has his eye on the NXT Championship. It’s a step in the right direction, but very unfortunate that this effort was put into showcasing Clay’s heel turn only to have him vanish without a trace from Raw and Smackdown. Hopefully they don’t let that work go to waste and properly debut Clay as a heel on one of their main shows in the near future.
5. Zack Ryder – Woo Woo Woo. You know it. I remember not too long ago when Ryder was everywhere. The audience Wooed along with him, supported him as United States Champion, and rallied behind him with impressive force. Those godawful spiky-haired wig-hats were everywhere. Ryder was able to help himself get pushed into the spotlight thanks to his Youtube series, Z! True Long Island Story, which no doubt helped him to earn a part in what was a major 2012 storyline with Eve, Kane, and John Cena. Success lasted until September 2012, where he lost a title shot against Cesaro and went on to spend most of 2013 either on the small Superstars stage or losing quick matches on Raw and Smackdown. His gear has changed and so has his attitude; he’s nowhere near as bubbly as he once was, although I can’t blame him for being less than enthused about his current role. I had fun watching Ryder back in 2012 and I wish I could have fun watching him again. Either revamp the Broski character, make him some sort of frat boy heel, or start from scratch. Anything is better than what is currently being done with Ryder: absolutely nothing.
4. Alberto Del Rio – Del Rio was a fantastic heel, driving into the arena in fancy expensive cars, using a Spanish-speaking personal ring announcer, and looking down his nose at everyone else on the roster. He’s had some fantastic feuds in recent history and even had a surprisingly successful face turn at TLC in 2012 after saving Ricardo Rodriguez from 3MB. He was a hero, ditching the fancy car and expressing appreciation for the audience. The World Heavyweight Championship fight with Dolph Ziggler turned Del Rio back to his heel status, where he remains today. Unfortunately, he is without the fancy cars and without the ring announcer, showing us all that Del Rio by himself leaves much to be desired. The feud with Sin Cara was a lazy choice, the feud with Batista was stale, and we’re left now wondering why we should stay invested in him. If Del Rio is to be a successful heel, he needs to fully embrace the role and give the fans a reason to either passionately boo or to venomously rally behind the bad guy.
3. Natalya – I’ve seen this woman do some impressive things. A former Divas champion, former Diva of Doom, and member of the Hart family, Natalya has proven she has skills that other divas should fear. In late 2012, Natalya’s skills were put to use by making her the girlfriend of The Great Khali. Yup. She would dance to the ring alongside the big man and Hornswoggle. The trio feuded with Primo, Epico and Rosa Mendes, which was stale and uninteresting. The launch of Total Divas brought on a feud with Natalya and the Bella twins, which eventually turned into Natalya and the Total Divas cast against the “real” divas. She eventually earned a title shot against AJ Lee, but lost, possibly due to an unreported facial injury. And now, as one of the strongest divas on the roster, she’s again out of the spotlight as new Divas champion Paige likely won’t be one of her rivals. I would love to see Natalya go back to her days as a heel. She’s a tough lady and could do very well either in a bodyguard role as Tamina Snuka did for AJ or simply as a tough, take-no-shit, strong woman who will stop at nothing to be champion once again.
2. Curtis Axel – Good ol’ Michael McGillicutty can’t catch a break. Changing his name was certainly an improvement, and returning to Raw with Paul Heyman as a manager should have been a move that guaranteed success. He debuted strong as Axel, destroying competitors and winning the Intercontinental Championship. However, even before losing the IC Title to Big E Langston, the fans had stopped caring. With Ryback at his side instead of Heyman, Axel has become a stale, boring competitor whose matches I’m happy to miss in favor of taking the dog for a walk. The team of Rybaxel simply doesn’t work, neither does that name. Axel is basically invisible in tag matches, leaving Ryback and the other tag team to pick up the dead weight and keep the crowd involved. I don’t know who Axel is supposed to be, and if I’m to care about what he’s doing, I need to know. Does he strive to replace Daniel Bryan at the top? Does he side with Evolution or favor The Shield? Is he serious about becoming Tag Team Champion or does he wish to ditch the big man and go solo? There’s royalty in his blood that he is not living up to. The blanks need to be filled in or Axel isn’t going to last much longer.
1. Kofi Kingston – I love watching Kingston fly around the ring, I’m always impressed at his creativity at the Royal Rumble, and I appreciate his high energy and enthusiasm. He repeated his Royal Rumble antics during the Wrestlemania Battle Royal, an applause-worthy moment for sure, but it’s not enough. He has recently held the Intercontinental Championship and the United States Championship, but has been unable to get his hands on a title since losing the US Title to Dean Ambrose at Extreme Rules in 2013. Kingston needs to be interesting again, especially since he has the skills to give us great matches. Even something as simple as picking a diva to accompany him to the ring would be a good start. A title run doesn’t seem logical at this point in time, unless Kingston can again become part of a tag team and battle The Usos, which I quite honestly would enjoy watching.