WrestleLamia Wishes Them Well on Their Future Endeavors
Spring is that time when a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love, but it’s also the time when McMahon’s fancy turns to thoughts of who he can trim from the WWE payroll now that WrestleMania has passed. Here are ten Superstars the WWE is likely to future endeavor in 2022.
Rhea Ripley’s heel turn on Morgan looks like it will be the final step in Morgan’s exit from the WWE. At 27, Morgan isn’t washed up, but she’s shown a substantial lack of improvement during her eight years in the WWE which can’t be doing her any favors in terms of how management perceives her. Her program with Becky Lynch for the RAW Women’s Championship showed the fans are willing to get behind her, but as history has repeatedly shown, the fans can only get behind someone so much when they’re constantly counting the lights. Rhea Ripley’s recent heel turn on Morgan and the fans’ thunderous response shows that nobody like a perennial loser besides Detroit Lions fans.
Speaking of perennial losers, the WWE Universe is still scratching its head over Nikki ASH’s remarkable rise to the top and equally remarkable fall. Nikki has always been a breath of fresh air in the WWE as she’s more than a looker with some good moves. Cross’ non-traditional persona resonated with fans, especially during her unlikely tag team with Alexa Bliss. match. While the Bliss/Cross/Applesauce alliance ended far too soon, the WWE gave Nikki a surprisingly satisfactory makeover as Nikki ASH (aka Almost a Superhero). The odd blend of the Hurricane and Mighty Molly should have failed, but Nikki made it work and the WWE’s decision to push her was well-received, as was her 2021 Money in the Bank Ladder Match win and successful cash-in. Regrettably, the WWE then booked her as a fluke champion, with ASH portrayed as a failure and further buried when she snapped, turning on tag partner Rhea Ripley. At this point, it’s difficult to think of any reason to keep her around unless the WWE has more weddings where it needs obscure wrestlers to fill the ring.
Speaking of wrestling weddings, Dana Brooke’s recent wedding to Akira Tozawa was a reminder that Brooke can work any role in the WWE yet fail to get over. Her association with the 24/7 Championship (rarely a good omen for a wrestler’s future unless they happen to be R-Truth) is ironic because it’s the most exposure she’s had in the WWE of late (other than her wardrobe malfunction at WrestleMania XXXVII). Brooke’s work ethic can’t be denied but it’s obvious the bodybuilder turned wrestler is living on borrowed time. The WWE has never seen fit to get behind her as more than a supporting player. Indeed, Brooke is the WWE equivalent of the body detectives find in act two of a police procedural. With injured female talent returning such as Asuka and Bayley, look for the WWE to dump her in the river and Brooke to wash up in AEW.
The Viking Raiders
Whether you feel the Viking Raiders are a victim of the injury bug, bad booking, or both, this formidable team has been on the WWE back burner so long that it’s remarkable they weren’t released in 2021. The WWE has certainly worked hard to bury them, as seen by their so-called comedic feud with the Street Profits, a program that was likely designed to showcase Erik and Ivar’s funny side, but which ultimately made them look like goofs as nothing further came about. At one point the Viking Raiders were a powerhouse tag team but that longship sailed a long time ago.
Mustafa Ali’s luck must be all bad because it’s difficult to recall a Superstar with so much talent who has seen one opportunity after another go sideways. Whether it was the 2019 injury that sidelined him from that year’s Elimination Chamber (an absence filled by Kofi Kingston that led to Kofi-Mania), the WWE dropping the promising SmackDown hacker storyline, or the equally promising Retribution storyline fizzling out, Ali can’t catch a break (unless it’s a limb). Ali has wanted to leave the WWE for some time but Vince McMahon has been playing cat to Ali’s mouse, toying with him for months just because he can. 2022 looks to be the year Mr. McMahon looks for a new toy to play with.
Humberto showed plenty of promise as a babyface on RAW, combining good looks, youth, and the fast-paced style that keeps viewers glued to their sets. While it would be wrong to say he floundered on RAW (he was a regular visitor to the red brand, even if it was in the cheap seats), the WWE didn’t push him as more than enhancement talent. His subsequent heel turn and alliance with former rival Angel Garza as Los Lotharios seemed like a good step for both Superstars as the real-life cousins have a good chemistry and added some freshness to SmackDown’s tag team scene. Like many WWE teams, Los Lotharios were put together because the WWE didn’t know what to do with either Superstar as singles performers. Regrettably for both talents, the WWE’s decision to split them up is bad news as creative realizes they don’t know how to book them as a tag team either.
Drew Gulak is a wrestler who falls into the category of someone you always forget is still working in the WWE. His recent appearance on SmackDown as an interviewer was one such moment as fans everywhere had to be saying “Wait, isn’t that Drew Gulak?” Gulak’s humiliating beatdown at the hands of Charlotte Flair has some Drew diehards thinking it could be an angle to bring him back but most fans think it’s the obligatory humiliation Vince McMahon puts someone through before wishing them well on their future endeavors.
Xia Li is another NXT star who started strong only for creative to seemingly forget about her. It wouldn’t be the first time a new star has idled in catering (Toni Storm comes to mind), and while there’s no reason to think Li has done anything to justify a release, she seems like the type of wrestler who equally lacks any reason for keeping around.
Former U.S. and Intercontinental Champion Apollo Crews is a clutch player who can work with any type of opponent, play a babyface or heel, and who seemed to be on his way to a solid run on SmackDown as the “Nigerian Prince,” a heel who embraced his ancestry. On paper, Crews’ move to the three-hour RAW should have created more opportunities to carve out a niche but he hasn’t been able to catch a break. Crews has lots to offer, even as a mid-carder, but his banishment to the WWE’s Phantom Zone (aka Main Event) suggests he’s on his way out.
Big man Commander Azeez is a wrestler who is ideal for a role as a bodyguard and occasionally wrestler. The fact that Azeez survived a run on RAW Underground would normally be a good sign but Azeez ran afoul of Omos at a time when the WWE was looking to have everyone and anyone put the big man over. That’s understandable as Omos’ 7’3” size makes him look like a sure bet but that doesn’t mean Azeez needs to be dismissed as a plus-sized jobber to the stars. While stranger things have happened, an Apollo exit all but guarantees Azeez will join him.
The good news for many of these Superstars is that Tony Khan seems more willing than ever to break open the checkbook, especially if he oversaturates Ring of Honor’s roster as he’s done with AEW.
Do you agree with our forecast for future endeavors? Let us know in the comments below.
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