With 2015 behind us, and the Royal Rumble has signalled the start of the yearly Wrestlemania season. While all the focus during this time of year will be on the likes of The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns and Triple H, this year is a make or break year for certain WWE stalwarts, who I feel are in very delicate positions regarding their future with the company. With a great influx of NXT talent (Kevin Owens, Charlotte and Adrian Neville) making great waves in the main roster, the arrival of the likes of AJ Styles, it has become a matter of perform, find a new angle or leave for some of our favourite mid carders.
Dolph Ziggler – While he finished the year battling Ambrose and Owens for the Intercontinental Title, 2015 was a pretty lean year for Ziggler, he started 2016 by being the wrestler to give Heath Slater’s new stable their first win. During 2015 Dolph battled in the MITB and Elimination Chamber, however never really looked like being the one to win. A terrible love triangle (or love square) with Rusuv, Lane and Summer Rae didn’t really do much for him during the latter part of the year.
What is a great concern for Ziggler is that he was the chosen one to help put over NXT graduate Tyler Breeze, as well as Heath Slater. This is a bad sign for Ziggler as he can very quickly join the likes of Mark Henry, and Kane as experienced wrestlers used only used for putting over others. While this is a great job for aging stars like Henry and Kane, at 35 years old Ziggler is in his prime as a wrestler and needs to be battling for titles.
A long overdue face turn maybe needed to freshen up Ziggler’s stale character, a character many fans have lost their love for.
Heath Slater – As mentioned above, Heath Slater has now formed a new stable ‘The Social Outcasts’ (along with Curtis Axel, Bo Dallas and Adam Rose). As we have seen with Heath Slater he does his best work as part of a team or stable. While part of The NEXUS, The CORR and 3MB Heat Slater shone as a member of these stables, and besides his legend jobbing he did in 2012, his single career has not risen above jobbing level.
His recent podcast about challenging John Cena during his US challenge were entertaining and showed that he was taking his career into his own hands, something that many fans notice.
A win over a former champion Ziggler is a great start for Slater and the Social Outcasts, but quick and embarrassing loss follow to the Big Show after this victory. If they do not watch out, then the social outcasts could very quickly be 3MB 2.0 for Slater.
Heath Slater and his Social Outcasts need to become a dominate fraction, not just comic relief. We have seen the likes of Edge and Christian be humorous backstage, but lethal in the ring, Heath Slater and his Social Outcasts need to follow this path.
Brie Bella – With the Diva division receiving an increase in new talent, Brie Bella finds herself in a very precarious position. With 2015 being Nikki’s year, Brie found herself stuck in Nikki’s shadow since the ending of their feud, and the constant changing between heel and face for the Bella’s didn’t help their relatability to fans. With Nikki’s injury, Brie has replaced Natalya as the go to Diva to push talent, very quickly racking up the losses.
The Bella’s represent the ‘Diva’ era of the WWE, and with many fans excited about the wrestling ability of the likes of Charlotte, Becky Lynch an Baylee, Brie must find a new was to connect with the fans otherwise she will soon become the forgotten Bella. The ongoing drama surrounding Daniel Bryan’s future also hasn’t helped Brie Bella stock in the locker room. Brie Bella needs a major overall to become relevant again in the women’s division of the WWE.
Randy Orton – Movies and injuries have left many wondering what can be done with Randy Orton upon his return. He will find himself well back in line for a WWE World Heavyweight Championship challenge, and may find himself in a similar role to John Cena in lifting profiles of the other championships.
Randy still gets a great reaction and is still relevant and has a strong bond with many fans (my son included), and may find himself moving into the ‘helping’ role that people such as Mark Henry and Kane find themselves, however at 35, still has some great years ahead of him if he can stay injury free and rebuild some momentum through great feuds and matches.
Further interruptions to his wrestling career through injuries and movies may find Randy Orton move into a legendary type role along the lines of Chris Jericho. Some big career decisions ahead for the legend killer.
The Miz – This former WWE champion now finds himself in more of a prop role (Miz TV) rather than a wrestler. A terrible face turn, followed by an awful ending to a great slow building feud with Damien Sandow (Mizdow) has hurt The Miz’s stock.
He now finds himself as an afterthought in the WWE creative and will need to do something on his own via youtube/internet( such as Heath Slater) to rebuild his career.
The Miz has the charisma and personality to reposition himself back at the pointy end of the WWE, and his arrogant movie star persona suits him well and we saw this during the Royal Rumble. The Miz, I feel in an excellent position to be a first major feud for the likes of AJ Styles, Finn Balor or others from the NXT roster.
Hooroo and see you next week