Thursday, August 28, 2014

Top Ten Thursday: Future WWE Champions

Looking into the future, I figured I'd look at the current WWE roster, including NXT, and try to see who has the potential to be a future WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Now, let me point this out right off the bat; I'm not saying that all ten of these guys will be future champions. I'm saying that these guys have the most potential to do so of the WWE roster. Now, despite the high upside that KENTA, Kevin Steen and Prince Devitt have, I will not be including them since they have yet to debut.

10. Ryback

I still say that Ryback should have beaten the Big Show for the World Heavyweight Title at WrestleMania 29. He was WAY more over than both Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger at the time as "Feed Me More" was that year's "Yes!" movement. Now, this is currently a bit of a long shot since Ryback has fallen down the card hard. He's improved in the ring and as a character, as his team with Curtis Axel is highly entertaining. Many would say that there is no salvaging him, but the crowd in Las Vegas a few weeks ago proved that there is still hope, albeit slim hope, for Ryback.

9. Rusev

I'd like to point out that if other monster characters, mainly Umaga, never got a run as WWE Champion, then Rusev probably shouldn't. That being said, Rusev has grown on me lately. While his in ring work isn't on the level of Umaga, he is serviceable and he sells like it's his job. The key to him is Lana. Behind every great man is a great woman right? Lana is the key to everything Rusev related. She can draw heat like not many on the WWE roster and as long as she's by Rusev's side, he will get the reaction that the WWE wants.

8. Cesaro

Back after WrestleMania XXX, you might have had Cesaro number one with a bullet on this list. He had just won the "Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal" and split from The Real Americans. He was destined to be a big face. But the WWE decided to turn him heel and stick him with Paul Heyman. Heyman is normally good for one's career but not here. While Heyman spent a lot of time putting over Brock Lesnar, Cesaro's character could never get right. One week he wears a robe, the next a jacket. One week he has a towel on his head, the next he walks with his chest out. Regardless, if they can figure out something that works, the man's in ring ability will carry him to a WWE Championship one day.

7. Bad News Barrett

When he debuted with the Nexus in 2010, everybody pegged Wade Barrett as a World Champion within the year. The WWE fumbled the Nexus badly and went with The Miz as WWE Champion over Wade Barrett. After that, Barrett seemed to be stuck in the mid-card with no way out. Multiple Intercontinental Title reigns aren't a bad thing, but it seems like Barrett has the tools for more. He got the Bad News Barrett character and people said it had no chance. But, he made it work and won another Intercontinental Title. This reign was different though. He was more over than he's ever been, but once again was hit with the injury bug. Basically, if Wade Barrett can stay healthy, he could win a WWE Title down the line.

6. Cody Rhodes

Early on during his run with Legacy, I liked Cody Rhodes, but I felt that Ted Dibiase Jr. would be the breakout star. That obviously did not happen and Cody stood out. Give him a dashing character? He kills it. Undashing? Brilliant. Cocky Intercontinental Champion? Well done. Give him a stupid mustache? The crowd chants "Cody's mustache." Underdog face? He played it perfectly. Weird ass Stardust? He's making it work. No matter what you give Cody Rhodes, the guy does his very best with it. While some people feel that the Stardust character could be the end for Cody, I think he still has future WWE Champion written all over him.

5. Bray Wyatt

In the same vein as Cesaro, around the time of WrestleMania XXX, Bray Wyatt would be a shoe in for a top spot on this list. However, he was fed to the John Cena machine and that may have killed Bray. Losing at WrestleMania was one thing, but a terrible showing at Extreme Rules, followed by another loss at Payback really hurt this character. His feud with Chris Jericho was lackluster and there seems to be no direction for Bray. He should be a very protected gimmick but he's not being treated as so. If creative can get their head on straight, the sky is the limit for someone like Bray Wyatt.

4. Sami Zayn

I loved El Generico. I love Sami Zayn. You should love Sami Zayn. With Daniel Bryan on the shelf there is NO BETTER IN RING PERFORMER than Sami Zayn. Quote me on it. He's already had match of the year candidates from his bouts with Cesaro and he's the best thing about the best show in the WWE. They seem to be going for a slow burn with his character's road to the NXT Championship, similar to that of Daniel Bryan. I can see him having a Daniel Bryan type effect on the main roster. His in ring work should be able to get the crowd behind him no matter what and a Sami Zayn WWE Title run would be one of my favorite things of all time.

3. Dean Ambrose

Far and away the most interesting member of the Shield and the most entertaining guy on the WWE roster right now is Dean Ambrose. The WWE is extremely high on Roman Reigns and they want him to be the guy, but his reactions from the crowd aren't quite matching Ambrose's. I'm not badmouthing Roman Reigns here, but the WWE might not be able to derail the Ambrose train. He has a very special something about him and he is must see television. There is honestly not enough that I can say about Dean. He can go in the ring, he can brawl with the best and he has the best promos of anyone in the WWE. Yes, even ahead of Bray Wyatt. Even if they go the Roman route first, there should be no reason that Ambrose doesn't become a WWE Champion.

2. Roman Reigns

Speaking of Roman Reigns, the WWE's next big star comes in at number two here. He is also probably the safest bet since he seems destined to win the WWE Championship. While I find him to be the least entertaining of the Shield members, he still has a certain "it" factor to him. With a lot of the fans knowing that he's groomed as the next big thing, it could cause some fan backlash though. Regardless, after eliminating a record 12 Superstars in the 2014 Royal Rumble and being the runner up, he seems like a sure bet to win the 2015 version. That would allow him to main event WrestleMania 31 and maybe be the guy to beat Brock Lesnar. Whatever the plan is, he's a near guarantee to be Champion.

1. Seth Rollins

Quick, name the best thing going in the WWE today. If your answer was the rivalry between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, then you are correct. After being a huge Tyler Black fan during his Ring of Honor run, he got signed to the WWE and I worried. He was sent to FCW for a long time and I thought that this would not be good, but it turned out to be a wise choice. He was young enough that he had enough time and when he came to the main roster, he was part of the Shield. We all know how the Shield turned out as they're the top three on this list. I put him ahead of Reigns because I feel that he has more longevity than him and is a better character. Plus, he has the Money in the Bank briefcase, which seems to be a sure bet unless you're John Cena or Damien Sandow.