clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Why hasn't WWE been able to create more superstars?

via <a href=""></a>

Here's an interesting question: Who was the last true superstar that WWE has created?

Although he's as famous now as he's ever been, I don't think they get credit for CM Punk. He had a rather large presence before ever showing up in ECW and was actually buried repeatedly before finally breaking through thanks to a little help from Shawn Michaels.

Alberto Del Rio also doesn't quite qualify considering his history before signing with WWE.

Mark Henry is definitely well on his way to superstar status, if he's not there already. It took 15 years to get to this point, but it is finally starting to happen.

Still, an argument can be made that he's not quite there yet. Which means the last true superstars WWE actually groomed and created were Randy Orton and John Cena, who both came up roughly around the same time. Orton won his first world title in 2004, while Cena won his in 2005.

So what's the problem? Why has WWE been unable to create superstars to challenge these two men, who have ruled the roost for years on end?

In a recent interview with Busted Open Radio, former Intercontinental Champion Honky Tonk Man gave his take on the situation:

"I think because they don't give the young fellows enough time to develop. To take em' down, and say it's a minor league in Florida, and have em' down there for two years, and they're self-contained being somewhat brainwashed I guess to do just WWE style wrestling, and learn how to read a script, and practice reading a script, and memorizing it. That's not really how you become a Superstar or that's not how you learn this business. It's a hands-on type thing that you have to practice and do, day-after-day, night-after-night, different parts of the country, riding the cars with different guys. Learn different points-of-views, learn different styles. And then you put it all together and after about 5 years, you say, 'Gosh, I've been doing this all wrong,' and then you start to understand how to be a star. And that's the point I was trying to make, that these young fellas ... nothing against them, they're obviously good talents, and they could be Superstars, if given the right time and opportunity. Not just to be thrown in the ring, or thrown on the Raw or Smackdown show, and I would, myself personally, I would hate to have to try to start over the way the business is structured today. Because I don't know that I could do it. I don't know that..If they only gave me 1 shot at it, could I make it work or give me 2 Raw shows, and then cut me or send me back to the minors? That's a very difficult situation."

Essentially, Honky Tonk's argument is that WWE takes promising young guys, throws them down to Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) to learn how to work the WWE style, calls them up to the main roster to give them a short time to get themselves over (despite shit booking), and chews them up and spits them out when they bomb.

Apply, rinse, repeat.

It's hard to argue that considering what we've seen for so many years now. There will always be members of the roster that get more of a chance than others and simply don't measure up, WWE related or not (think Jack Swagger). But when Orton and Cena are in the main event of every pay-per-view for two years straight, which they were, it leaves little room for young guys to actually advance.

Another issue is situational. Henry, as previously noted, is finally breaking through the glass ceiling with his big run as world heavyweight champion. But he's doing so on Smackdown, a television show that Vince McMahon has almost nothing to do with. Everything came together at exactly the right time for Henry to get a big push and he took the ball and ran with it.

The problem is that that doesn't happen often enough.

Who is the next big WWE superstar on the roster right now? Guys like Dolph Ziggler, Wade Barrett and Daniel Bryan seem like solid candidates but will they ever find themselves in the right situation with the right people behind them giving them the right push at the right time?

We shall see.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats