The Raw/Smackdown brand split that WWE have announced this week brings with it plenty of speculation about who will be drafted to which brand, what belts will be on which show and so on. Current rumours say that WWE will be bolstering both rosters with talent from NXT, though who exactly that will be probably won’t be revealed until the Draft episode of Raw.
Regardless of how much talent the company has waiting in the wings, more will always be needed, and who doesn’t enjoy imagining their favourite from elsewhere competing on the biggest stage of all? Here are five wrestlers that WWE would definitely benefit from having on their books.
If for nothing else than WWE has been looking for someone to fill Rey Mysterio’s shoes for years, Lucha Underground’s Pentagon Jr. should be at the top of any list.
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A luchador with an edgy gimmick that leans on the supernatural elements that usually do well in New York (see The Undertaker, Kane, Finn Balor), replete with both mask and face-paint (you know, for the kids), Pentagon is a great worker in addition to his great look. Able to work as a face or heel, his gimmick is malleable enough to translate to the PG WWE, whilst remaining unique and exotic.
Ricochet is a bit of an odd one in that he was turned down at the last WWE tryout that he attended, but then so was AJ styles when he left TNA.
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Since he was given his rejection notice Ricochet has honed his craft yet further in New Japan Pro Wrestling alongside tag partner Matt Sydal (who you may remember as Evan Bourne), Lucha Underground as Prince Puma, and the UK’s Rev Pro Wrestling, EVOLVE, Pro wrestling Guerrilla and more as he moulds himself into a better all-rounder than perhaps he was at the time of his tryout.
An innovator of offence, his double rotation moonsault and 630 degree-sensation have to be seen to be believed, but there’s more to his act than just high spots.
WWE seems to make a habit of signing Bullet Club leaders (both AJ Styles and Finn Balor have led the faction), so NJPW’s Kenny Omega is probably on their radar. As somewhat of a regular on Xavier Woods’ UpUpDownDown gaming channel, Omega certainly has an in with the company and has been in the news more than once for issuing grandstand challenges to The New Day.
With a similar fusion technique to AJ Styles, ‘The Cleaner’ would soon adapt to the WWE way of working, and has a unique look with his curly mop of grey hair, with the all-important mic skills to boot. Since WWE appears intent on playing off Styles, Gallows, and Anderson’s Bullet Club history, NJPW’s Intercontinental Champion would be a great fit on the roster.
Although Vince McMahon has dabbled with characters who have homosexual, or other, preferences, there’s never been anybody quite like Dalton Castle on WWE screens. The Ring of Honor favorite has been plying his trade since 2009, it was only in 2013 that he really broke through as someone to watch.
Though never explicitly stated, the character’s entrance with fan wielding ‘boys’ to a version of Queen’s ‘I Want It All’ is certainly provocative for all the right reasons. Add in the pencil mustache and Liberace-like jumpsuit, and wrestling’s ‘Peacock’ is clearly signified as being gay when all the pieces are put together.
Yet despite wrestling, and wrestling fans’, reputation for caveman masculinity, Castle is a firm fan favorite and accomplished inside the squared circle. His match for the ROH TV Title against Jay Lethal from last year is worth a look for newcomers.
This one would probably live and die on the schedule being offered. Jeff Hardy had a troubled few years post-WWE to say the least: indicted on drug trafficking charges, held down in a pin by Sting at Victory Road 2011 when he was too intoxicated to wrestle safely, and conviction for conspiracy to distribute narcotics all followed in rapid order.
Since then Jeff has managed to sort his life out in quite an inspirational way, which can partly be attributed to the shorter schedule he works for TNA. He was at the height of his popularity in his feud with CM Punk before leaving WWE, and I think he could pick up pretty much where he left off if the powers that be would give him a reduced schedule ala Shawn Michaels. The man’s still a draw, still a great worker, and is worth shelling out for.
There are plenty more that would be a great fit for WWE’s ‘New Era’, but the above five would slot in very easily on the main roster in my view. Who would you like to see when WWE splits the brands once again?