So I'm feeling the urge to write something about pro wrestling, and I figured as long as I'm doing that, I might as well share it with everybody here, especially since it's a topic that's ripe for discussion and reader input. This piece was primarily inspired by one man, which I'll get into later, but I realized there were several other guys that fall into the same boat, and 5 is a nice round number. So that said...
Read my own version of the "Fave 5" after the jump...5. Drew McIntyre
I really wasn't sold on Drew until one match: the SmackDown Elimination Chamber at Elimination Chamber 2011. Anytime somebody doubts Drew's potential, I point them to that match. His performance in that match came out of nowhere, and it RULED. Seriously, he looked like an animal in that pod, and I figured when he finally came out, it'd be largely pedestrian, but no. When Drew came out of that pod, it was a fire that was so unlike anything I'd seen from him before that it felt like he was genuinely trying to make an impression, not just in character. Drew was absolutely WRECKING FOOLS, and it was remarkable. I thought they might try to garner him some face heat with him battling for his job awhile back and capitalize on it, but alas, no.
4. Cody Rhodes
The son of a son of a plumber has had an intensely interesting career, in retrospect. From coming in and tagging with Hardcore freaking Holly of all people to winning the tag titles from himself (it makes me laugh every time I think about it that way) to The Legacy (a group that was REALLY cool while it lasted but featured some of the most unfortunate cold feet I've ever seen WWE have in terms of not turning Ted or Cody face when they not only could have, they probably should have) to the cheesy awesomeness of "Dashing" Cody Rhodes, to "Undashing", to the current iteration, which seems to take the cockiness of the Dashing gimmick and mix it with the unhinged madness of the Undashing gimmick. Actually, one of my favorite things about Cody has been what I consider the perfect, almost artful progression of his theme songs. The original "Smoke and Mirrors" was slightly goofy, catchy, and instantly recognizable. "Only One Can Judge" was dark, heavy, and no-frills, and much like the character Cody plays, his current theme is a fascinating synergy of everywhere he's been up until now.
The point is, Cody is IMMENSELY talented, clearly versatile, and really puts all his thought and energy into what he does. A fun fact that I was actually made aware of by a WWE.com feature some time ago: during the "Undashing" phase, whenever Cody hooked the leg for a pin, it was always the one that, when raised, would cover his face. How friggin' cool is that? I'm hoping he lost the IC Title in order to elevate him further.
3. Dolph Ziggler
I don't think I need to sell anyone too hard on this one. The former World Heavyweight Champion (yes, I'm counting it)) has it all. He's got a unique look, charisma, a character, mic skills, and my god can he ever wrestle a match. Who on earth would've thought that Nicky from The Spirit Squad would be absolutely golden? Truthfully I'm not a huge fan of his finisher or of the "auctioneer" promo style he uses on the Z! True Long Island Story webshow, but yeah, push this man to the moon, thanks. The small program he had recently with CM Punk is all the evidence you need.
2. Daniel Bryan
Now you might be saying, "Rollin' Ronin, the man was the last World Heavyweight Champion! Isn't he already a superstar?" Well, more or less yes, and this is quite possibly the primary reason why he's not #1, but WWE should still do more. Daniel Bryan should now have a career path similar to the path that C.M. Punk has taken if WWE had absolutely any sense (which truthfully I'm not sure they do). D-Bry is one of the best wrestlers in the world, is young, is healthy, has been absolutely GOLD in his heel persona and also can easily be a face, "YES!" is the new "WHAT?!" (an initiative endorsed by the man Stone Cold himself on Twitter, for the record) and Bryan's star has exploded in a way that I'm positive WWE didn't plan on, but then again the greatest phenomenons usually don't happen because you plan for them to. They happen because of perfect storms.
So should WWE make Daniel Bryan into a major star over on SmackDown near the level of C.M. Punk? In short: YES! YES! YES!
1. Wade Barrett
I've been a MASSIVE fan of Wade's since NXT, and I knew he'd be a future main eventer the night of the finale when he verbally eviscerated David Otunga in what I'm pretty damn sure was an improvised promo. My feelings were further justified with Wade's spectacular work as the leader of The Nexus. As an aside, I really think WWE had a potential phenomenon on their hands with The Nexus had they let it keep the steam it had (ugh, Summerslam WHYYYY) but that's beside the point. It's remarkable how, in many ways, Wade literally garnered enough heat for 7+ men by himself during that angle, my goodness. I'm still mad WWE didn't put the title on Wade during that Cena feud. Sure Wade was green, but it would've been so good for everyone involved to establish Wade's legitimacy as a main eventer, let alone strengthen the Nexus angle. Had WWE done it, Wade would've been champion before the age of 30 (he's still just 31) and also, unless I'm mistaken, would've been the first British WWE Champion ever.
Wade's young, he's big, he's got a look, he's got a character, he's charismatic, and by god is the man ever golden on the microphone. His ring work, the only real weakness he has, has been undoubtedly improving, and there's no question that unless WWE execs are categorically insane, the former stable leader twice over will become his own star soon enough.
Of course, reports (and Wade's booking) would indicate that WWE was pushing Barrett anyway before his nasty and unfortunate elbow injury, and I want to talk about that. If anything, the way Wade's injury went down should be all the more reason to push him on his return. I was a fan of Wade the wrestler long before then, but on that night when he sacrificed his own body for another (coincidentally another man on this list, Dolph Ziggler) I gained further respect for Wade Barrett the man. I literally believe that Wade quite possibly saved Ziggler's career on that night, and Wade's immediate, instinctive choice to save another, his own health be damned, turned what I considered a sure thing into not only a sure thing, but the right thing.
I for one am all for The Barrett Barrage taking over the WWE. Speaking of, why on earth is Wade not on commentary while he heals?! Come on!
Thanks for reading, and comments are really appreciated. Leave your own top 5 underpushed superstars below, if you're so inclined!
Rollin' Ronin out.