The many underutilized elements of 2017 in a WWE

December 20, 2017 - WWE

Well, 2017 was a furious year in a universe of veteran wrestling, yet it’s finally sketch to a close.

Over a march of 12 months, a WWE on ESPN staff has watched hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of wrestling programming, and we’ve seen a best (and worst) of it all. In approval of a biggest achievements inside of a squared round in 2017, we’ve gotten together to make a picks in 10 opposite categories, covering sold performances, teams, rivalries and shows.

Our “Best of 2017” continues with a demeanour during some of a many underutilized elements in a universe of wrestling in 2017 — a performers, titles and even an whole uncover that has not been used to a full intensity over a final 12 months


Hey, remember when Rusev rode a tank into WrestleMania? Remember when he was totally widespread and a ultimate heel? Remember when his persona was so heartless that boos rang by each arena, each night?

Looking behind during 2017: The many softened wrestlers of a year

WWE on ESPN’s ‘Best of 2017’ retrospective continues with a demeanour during a many softened performers of a year in veteran wrestling.

  • Best wrestling debuts of 2017

    WWE on ESPN’s “Best of 2017” retrospective kicks off with a demeanour during a best in-ring debuts of a year in veteran wrestling.

  • WWE announces initial ever women’s Royal Rumble match

    WWE announced on “Monday Night Raw that a initial ever women’s Royal Rumble compare will take place during January’s pay-per-view. Chief rand officer and on-screen commissioner Stephanie McMahon reflects on a latest step brazen in WWE’s “women’s evolution.”

  • Ahhh, good times.

    Unfortunately, during this unequivocally moment, it’s distant from Rusev Day. While a new pull might have customarily begun as partial of his bizarre pairing with Aiden English, Rusev’s 2017 has been mostly forgettable.

    His compare opposite Randy Orton during SummerSlam didn’t even peculiarity for a popcorn mangle as it lasted all of a few seconds, and his Flag Match during Battleground opposite John Cena simply didn’t broach after a long, plodding tour to an unavoidable end.

    The WWE has an chosen talent who has proven he has a glamour to make any shred great. The fame is a heartless finisher and Rusev needs to get behind to being a indignant luminary that brought him to glory.

    Now greatfully Rusev, go machka something. (Andrew Feldman)

    Tye Dillinger

    The “Perfect 10” gimmick, ordinary on a surface, was truly brought to life by Tye Dillinger by his glamour and ability to bond with an audience. More than 10 years after he sealed his initial WWE contract, Dillinger hold glow towards a finish of his NXT run progressing in a year and had an sparkling categorical register entrance as a 10th entrant in a 2017 Royal Rumble match, yet after his central pierce to a SmackDown Live roster, he has nonetheless to be put in a position to unequivocally take off. Sure, he’s had some good matches, many particularly when fighting for a United States championship opposite AJ Styles and Baron Corbin, yet he hasn’t had to eventuality to truly penetrate his teeth into anything substantial.

    It’s puzzling, as Dillinger has all a collection to attain on a categorical roster. He is a plain worker, he can talk, he has a gimmick that has hold on and many importantly, crowds are receptive towards him. He seems like a ideal claimant for a United States championship run, and maybe that’s nonetheless to come, yet to this point, it simply hasn’t happened yet. (Sean Coyle)

    Dolph Ziggler

    If WWE on ESPN had existed for a final decade and handed out such an endowment as “most underutilized”, it substantially would’ve belonged to Cesaro for many of that widen — yet Dolph Ziggler would’ve burst a tip 3 on mixed occasions. With Cesaro assisting to lift a complicated bucket as one of a cornerstones of a Raw tab group division, he’s not authorised this time around — yet even if he was, he’d have substantially mislaid out on this [theoretical] endowment anyways. Since debuting in 2008 (and no, we’re not articulate about being a caddy or a member of a Spirit Squad), Ziggler has shown all of a intensity in a world, all of a tools, and gotten unequivocally small certainty from a “powers that be” during any indicate during that run.

    He’s done everybody he’s stepped into a ring with improved over a final 9 years, and knocked on a doorway of a categorical eventuality many times during that stretch. Ziggler coming a initial time with Vickie Guerrero as his manager, when he hold a World Heavyweight Championship for reduction than dual hours in 2011 before losing it behind to Edge a same night on SmackDown, yet that sold adversary cemented his standing among plausible universe pretension contenders.

    He gained a cult following after winning a Money in a Bank briefcase in 2012 and fasten adult with Big E and AJ Lee, yet he mislaid on a sincerely unchanging basement and even had to urge his briefcase in a ladder compare opposite John Cena. He finally cashed in Money in a Bank in one of a many noted day-after-WrestleMania Raw moments ever to turn World Heavyweight Champion for a second time, yet a concussion derailed his second and, to this point, final universe pretension power — that finished after customarily one defense. In successive years, he challenged for and won several midcard titles while flapping solemnly down a ranks, yet seemed to be in a midst of a career rebirth after a career-altering promo and a stirring Intercontinental championship adversary in 2016 — yet even that’s left by a wayside in 2017.

    He’s turn a favoured gatekeeper for new debuts from NXT to go from rookies to a categorical eventuality in a hurry, with faceoffs opposite guys like Shinsuke Nakamura and Bobby Roode, yet he mislaid many of his believability as a hazard or leader in many of his matches and rivalries. As he forked out during a new coming on a EC Pod of Awesomeness, and talk with a unequivocally possess Matt Wilansky, it does small good for younger guys to kick him no matter how many he bumps around for them (and he can still do that with a best of them) when a throng can see how a matches and rivalries are going to go from a mile away.

    Ziggler even hinted to Edge and Christian than he’s impending a crossroads in his wrestling career. For a male as jaunty as he is during age 37, who can cut promos, strike like he’s been strike by a hardest strikes possible and bond with a throng when given even a smallest spirit of a earnest storyline. Even with his startle United States championship win during Clash of Champions, that impulse of success was followed by a promo on Tuesday where he laid that pretension in a center of a ring and walked behind adult a ramp. If Ziggler indeed walks divided from a WWE for a prolonged widen or for good, it would be tough not to demeanour during a guarantee of his career and not be left wondering “what if?” for a male that underneath opposite resources could have been this generation’s Shawn Michaels. (Tim Fiorvanti)

    Apollo Crews

    Apologies to Neville, Cesaro and Luke Harper, yet Apollo Crews has been underutilized for a prolonged time, even before 2017. Crews was a highly-touted awaiting and treated as such when he done his entrance during NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn in 2015. Crews looked like a bona fide star with his robust physique, imaginary athleticism in a ring and income smile. Unfortunately, that night finished adult being a rise of his NXT career.

    Crews was called adult unexpected a day after WrestleMania 32, abruptly finale his NXT run before he could unequivocally settle himself. His customarily other TakeOver compare was a detriment to Baron Corbin in London. The brief run didn’t concede Crews to turn good famous to NXT fans, let alone WWE fans, or concede him to wholly adjust to a WWE style. For that reason he fast found himself wrestling reduce on a label on Raw and, some-more mostly than not, being kept off TV entirely. Titus Worldwide seemed like Crews’ possibility to finally turn a star he was unfailing to be, yet a twin customarily still tends to customarily remove in discerning matches whenever they’re propitious adequate to be on Raw in any given week. There’s no reason an other-worldly talent like Crews should be used so sparingly.

    Yes, Crews struggles on a mic, yet so do many other WWE superstars. He’ll customarily get improved with reps, that he hasn’t been given in possibly NXT or WWE. Crews should during a unequivocally slightest be putting his in-ring skills to good use, unequivocally many in a same approach Cesaro does each week. He’s legitimately one of a best workers in a company, yet fans would customarily know that by saying his work outward WWE. Crews, during 6-foot-1 and 240 pounds, is able of doing many anything anyone can do on 205 Live. Hopefully in 2018 Crews finally gets a eventuality to uncover it. (Michael Wonsover)

    The cruiserweights

    In 2016, WWE hold the Cruiserweight Classic, a much-anticipated contest that distant exceeded expectations. Immediately thereafter, it introduced a cruiserweight championship, determined a cruiserweight multiplication and launched 205 Live to showcase a multiplication that had prisoner a imagination and fad of a WWE Universe. The association seemed to be heavily invested in a success of a cruiserweights, yet that was a year ago.

    In 2017, this multiplication has been treated like a finish afterthought, notwithstanding extensive matches and rivalries involving energetic stars like Austin Aries and Neville; a former is already gone, and a latter is in limbo after final appearing on WWE TV in late September. WWE even announced a new show, Mixed Match Challenge, scheduled to atmosphere live in a same accurate time container as 205 Live now airs, so design this trend to continue into 2018.

    It’s unfortunate, given some of a best wrestlers in a company’s story have been cruiserweights, and some of a best wrestlers on a stream register are cruiserweights. While a wrestlers will shoulder many of a blame, a multiplication is not struggling due to miss of talent. Ultimately, a association is responsible. (Greg Hyde)

    WWE Universal championship

    There are several WWE talents who could righteously be deliberate “underutilized” (Cesaro, Samoa Joe, and Rusev come to mind), yet zero has been some-more underutilized in a WWE this year than a Universal championship. Ever given Kevin Owens mislaid a pretension to Goldberg during Fastlane behind in March, a Universal Championship has been mostly MIA on week-to-week television; conjunction Goldberg nor Brock Lesnar, who eventually beat Goldberg for that pretension during WrestleMania 33, wrestled a singular televised compare on Monday Night Raw in 2017.

    While carrying legends like Goldberg and Lesnar as champions assistance rouse a status of a newly-created Universal championship, their part-time statuses also banish a pretension to something we customarily see once each other month or so. Since Lesnar won a championship from Goldberg in April, he has customarily shielded it 3 times — roughly once each 3 months — and it seems wholly doubtful he’ll combat again in 2017. While it becomes a large understanding whenever Lesnar does seem and his fights always have a big-fight feel to them, we trust a Universal championship’s deficiency hurts Raw’s week-to-week product. (Nick Irving)

    Finn Balor

    After apropos a initial Universal champion, Finn Balor had to give adult his pretension a following night after pang a poignant shoulder damage during his compare with Seth Rollins during SummerSlam in 2016. He was good on his approach to apropos a face of a new epoch in WWE, with a singular multiple of speed, lively and ingenuity, carrying fast picked adult vital wins opposite a biggest names on Monday Night Raw.

    In 2017, Finn returned a day after WrestleMania on Raw and it seemed he was set to collect adult where he left off. Well, it turns out, not so much. The former NXT and Universal champion could never utterly get behind to that turn (though he did take partial in a Fatal Five-way compare to establish a No. 1 contender to Brock Lesnar’s pretension during Extreme Rules) and meandered his approach by forgettable feuds with Elias and Bray Wyatt along a way.

    WWE tries to put him over by job him “extraordinary” any possibility they get, as good as reminding us all he was a FIRST Universal champion each time he walks to a ring, yet his use has seen a pointy decrease given June. The fans still adore him, yet we customarily have to consternation if WWE still does. (Pete Ferlazo)

    Luke Harper

    Luke Harper could have had a mark on this list for a final few years, yet this year felt like a closest we’ve gotten to a dermatitis for Harper and his graduation from such a indeterminate recognition. As we drew nearer to WrestleMania, Harper seemed staid to join a Randy Orton-Bray Wyatt WWE championship matchup, and with good reason. Harper’s character, mostly a wordless supporter of Wyatt during his run, had gained shade and depth. He was sceptical of how tighten Orton and Wyatt had grown, and protecting of his mentor, as he didn’t trust Orton, and righteously so. Just as importantly, he was carrying a kind of long, considerable matches he’s always been able of yet never got to showcase underneath a WWE banner.

    Harper scarcely warranted a universe pretension possibility with a conflict stately victory, yet a pull with AJ Styles led to a 1-on-1 match, that he lost. He was inexplicably left out of a WWE championship compare during WrestleMania that he would’ve positively done better, and a outcome was a start of one of a many unsatisfactory and underachieving stretches in a careers of both Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt. Instead, Harper was a bit actor in a Andre a Giant Memorial Battle Royal, off TV for a prolonged stretch, and now finds himself perplexing to benefit balance behind as he’s once again reunited with Erick Rowan as one half of a Bludgeon Brothers. Harper’s in-ring ability sets him detached — he’s a large male with a ability to fly, and has a accumulation of considerable descent moves in his arsenal. He customarily needs a shot, and, during this point, a extreme gimmick change if he’s ever going to spot a WWE championship again. (Matt Willis)

    Samoa Joe

    After a clever two-year run in NXT, where he was champion twice, Samoa Joe has had problem creation an impact on a categorical roster. Since his entrance on Monday Night Raw on Jan. 30, Samoa Joe has gotten mislaid in a shuffle. He’s left 3-3 in pay-per-view matches this year; customarily one of those wins came in a one-on-one match. Less important still was his many new “win” as a member of Team Raw in this year’s Survivor Series; Joe was a initial member of Team Raw separated that night and was incompetent to discharge any members of Team SmackDown. Considering his work in a past, Samoa Joe should be a bigger hazard in a Universal pretension picture. (Meghan Tobin)

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