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WWE: The Underutilized Wrestler Paradox

It’s easy to say that WWE has some of the best talents in the world.
There are plenty of men and women who fans tune in to see week after week. On SmackDown, you have names like Roman Reigns, Sasha Banks, and Kevin Owens. For RAW, it’s talent like Drew McIntyre, Charlotte Flair, and Randy Orton. You also can’t forget NXT, which has Adam Cole, Finn Bálor, and Io Shirai.

However, there are several superstars who aren’t being used to their full potential. So, without further ado, here are five wrestlers who are underutilized in WWE.

1. Cesaro

Let’s start things off with an obvious choice.

Cesaro is, without a doubt, one of the most athletic wrestlers in WWE today. He has plenty of charisma, as well as the talent to back it up in the ring. But in his almost decade-long career with the company, he still hasn’t received a WWE Championship shot.

That’s not to say his career to date has been a bust. Since signing with WWE, he has won plenty of gold. He is a former United States Champion, as well as a five-time RAW and a two-time SmackDown Tag Team Champion.

Even when he’s not in a title picture, he puts on quality matches with everyone he wrestles. His feud with Sheamus in 2016 was perhaps some of his best work. The two competed in a best of seven series until they formed The Bar.

Despite all that success, he still has yet to reach the top of the mountain. It’s a head-scratching decision because he could easily be the face of either RAW or SmackDown. Just watch his promo from Talking Smack a few weeks ago and you can tell how passionate he is about this business.

Hopefully, Cesaro’s current feud with Seth Rollins is a step in the right direction. If his WWE career ends without a single major title run, a missed opportunity will be an understatement.

2. The Riott Squad

Now we look at two women who are great separately, but even better as a team.

When the Riott Squad reunited last summer, it felt like they were going to capture gold sooner rather than later. They moved over to SmackDown and started picking up win after win. This gave them a ton of momentum, and where did it lead? To a comedy storyline with Billie Kay.

The fact that these two haven’t held the Women’s Tag Team Championships yet is absolutely criminal. Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan are two of the hardest workers on the roster; they consistently put the work in to hone their craft and get better.

Their chemistry as a team is also incredible, as it has always been. They deserve more than useless feuds with Tamina, Natalya, and Kay.

Unfortunately, we rarely see the tag titles on SmackDown. To me, this shows how little they think of the teams on the blue brand. It’s a shame because the Riott Squad is one of the best women’s teams in the company.

Maybe someday they will get a legitimate title shot instead of one-off throwaway title matches. They could have a great reign, on par with the likes of Sasha Banks and Bayley. Let’s just hope WWE doesn’t break them up again, because there just might be a riot if they do.

3. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott

Up next is someone from the black-and-yellow brand.

Swerve’s charisma is off the charts and has the talent in the ring to match. Which makes it even more surprising that he has yet to hold any gold in WWE.

Since his debut in 2019, he has had several chances to capture the Cruiserweight Championship. The first came at Worlds Collide on January 25, 2020, in a fatal four-way match. Then the next time came in August against Santos Escobar. His last opportunity came at NXT TakeOver: 31 but again couldn’t beat Escobar.

During that feud, it felt like it was finally Swerve’s time to win the title. But for some reason, they just couldn’t pull the trigger.

Recently, he has undergone a drastic change in attitude. He officially turned heel several weeks ago on NXT, attacking Leon Ruff after losing to him. Swerve stated that Ruff has had all these opportunities handed to him. Those kinds of opportunities, he claims, are the ones that he has to scratch and claw for.

Perhaps this new-found aggression is the key to Swerve capturing some gold. He would be a great Cruiserweight or North American Champion. Hopefully sooner rather than later he can etch his name into the history books. But until then, he can continue to prove why this is indeed Swerve’s House.

4. Shayna Baszler

You’re probably asking, “Shalene, why did you include Shayna Baszler in this? She’s a two-time and current Women’s Tag Team Champion on the main roster.” Well, loyal reader, that’s a great question. Let me break it down for you.

Baszler had one of the best careers in NXT, hands down. Week after week, she consistently proved why she was one of the most dominant competitors in the company. She was the first two-time NXT Women’s Champion and had the second-longest reign in NXT history at 416 days.

That success continued once she debuted on the main roster. She immediately found herself in a feud with then-RAW Women’s Champion, Becky Lynch. She earned a shot at the title at WrestleMania 36 after winning the women’s Elimination Chamber match. Baszler also made history that night, becoming the first person ever to eliminate the entire field in the chamber.

But then things started to go downhill. Baszler lost to Lynch at Mania in a downright shocking decision. After that, she lost the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match and went on a two-month hiatus.

Not long after she returned, she ended up winning the tag titles at Payback with frenemy, Nia Jax. Since then, however, her time on the main roster just hasn’t felt right.

She is the kind of competitor who should almost always be around the title picture. Whoever is champion at the time should see her as a constant threat to their reign. Hell, people have begged for a match between her and RAW Women’s Champion, Asuka, but no, we get this instead.

Baszler doesn’t need a tag partner; she is more than capable of holding her own against anyone. I desperately want them to let her be the badass killer that she was in NXT. Once they lose the titles again, she should go nuts on Jax and break the team up.

Just let her absolutely demolish her former partner and send the women’s division a clear message.

Plain and simple, the main roster needs a reminder of just how dangerous The Queen of Spades truly is.

5. Aleister Black

Finally, we come to the man who I think is the most underutilized wrestler in WWE. Why? Because he isn’t being used at all.

Black was a cornerstone of NXT during his time there. In 2017, he won the NXT Year-End Award for Male Competitor of the Year, Breakout Star of the Year, and Rivalry of the Year with Velveteen Dream. In 2019, he and Ricochet won the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. He also had fantastic feuds with the likes of Adam Cole, Andrade, and Johnny Gargano.

This momentum carried over to RAW and SmackDown. He put on great matches with Cesaro, Murphy, and AJ Styles. His first pinfall loss on the main roster didn’t come until about a year after he moved up.

After that, he entered a feud with Seth Rollins and Murphy. He was a big part of the pandemic era of WWE until he wasn’t.

In July, Rollins and Murphy drove his eye through the steel steps, putting him on the shelf for a month. But once he returned, he turned heel and started a feud with Kevin Owens. The two feuded for several months, with Owens beating him three times. Black moved to SmackDown during the 2020 Draft, and we haven’t seen him since.

The fact that creative cannot seem to find anything for Black is baffling. You make something for a guy like him. He has a look that sets him apart from the rest of the roster. It also helps that he is technically sound in the ring. He’s got all the qualities of someone that could be a star in WWE.

For some strange reason, though, they just don’t see it. It’s frustrating and infuriating that a guy of his calibre is wasting away in the back. His work last summer on RAW shows that he can shine in high profile storylines. But alas, it doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing him anytime soon.

It shouldn’t matter if this has anything to do with his wife’s release. He deserves better than what he’s dealing with right now.

Maybe I just jinxed it and he will be back on TV soon. But if he doesn’t, hopefully, he will eventually get to go somewhere where his talent will be appreciated.

Who do you think are some underutilized wrestlers in WWE today? Let us know in the comments!

Shalene Hixon
Shalene Hixon
“We prefer to be the freaks, we prefer to be the geeks, we prefer to be the weirdos, the misfits, the oddballs. And most of all, we prefer being the ones who aren’t afraid to be themselves.” - Paige
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