I’ve been pondering over the past couple of weeks the monotony that is WWE programming, and a huge issue that is related to some characters that we the audience are programmed to respond to. They are simply given a role and they have to play the same thing week after week, and it’s time to freshen things up a bit, I think. Here are 10 certain offenders that could benefit from some much-needed change.
10. Dean Ambrose
Dean Ambrose has been out of action with an injury since the fall of last year and he’s due to return around this summer barring any setbacks. Dean Ambrose is one of WWE’s most accomplished superstars, being a Grand Slam Champion, and he does have talent. But the dude frustrated me to no end when I last saw him. His Lunatic Fringe gimmick as a face just didn’t work and he just became borderline frustrating to watch at times. He was far too cartoony, far too lackadaisical and had it not been for The Shield reunion storyline that encompassed the latter half of 2017 for him, I’d shudder to think where he’d be now.
If you ask me, we need to experiment with a Dean Ambrose heel turn. Have him come back from injury and turn on Seth Rollins. Then he can start cutting promos similar to what he was doing back in his CZW days. Love or hate Dean Ambrose, he’s an asset to the company if he’s motivated to do so. We were all rooting for him back in 2014 when his solo act became the best part of Raw every Monday Night when he sought to kill Seth Rollins at every turn. But if there’s nothing of substance for him to get engaged in, he will simply go through the motions. His match with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 32 was supposed to be a fight to the death, but instead, what we got is an extended squash. Lose the silly smile, the goofy moveset and everything in between, and make him be a guy that kicks ass and takes names.
9. Finn Bálor
Finn Bálor is who he is and that’s all I can say about him these days. The first-ever Universal Champion has accomplished a grand total of nothing since returning from his shoulder injury last year. You’d think one of NXT’s premiere champions would thrive as soon as he got on the main roster. Admittedly, his injury did derail his momentum a great deal and seeing as how he was getting the push for his life, circumstance changed matters and now he’s at the back of the line for the title that he never lost. And hey, if Finn never got injured, who knows? Maybe Brock Lesnar wouldn’t have gotten his hands on the title based on a sequence of events that would alter because of him not getting hurt. Sadly, Finn Bálor cannot focus on “what could have been” and instead should focus on what is, and right now, he’s just a guy who comes out his trunks and extends his arms to the heavens twice during his entrance and slingblades till he can’t slingblade no more.
I could be forgetting a situation, but the last time I recall seeing Finn Bálor in his demon alter ego was at TLC last year. What Finn Bálor really needs is something to spruce up his character. I mean, what kind of gimmick is being an ordinary man that can do extraordinary things? Exactly what does he do that is extravagant or is something that can’t be done by Seth Rollins, AJ Styles or basically anyone on the roster? His entrance isn’t that hard to replicate. His matches are practically identical and follow the same formula. The issue is that we are supposed to believe he’s extraordinary when there’s nothing extraordinary about him. We should fix that, though I admit I can’t tell you what the answer to that is. Maybe a heel turn?
8. Sasha Banks and Bayley
I’m counting these two as one simply because it appears that in WWE reality, one cannot exist without the other. Sasha Banks and Bayley had one killer of a rivalry in NXT back in 2015, but you can always count on WWE to let it grow ever so cumbersome to watch. It seems like Sasha Banks and Bayley have been unconsciously feuding for years now and there hasn’t been a definitive beef between the two until around last week. But who’s to say that after their backstage scuffle last week, they just don’t kiss and make up and continue to be part-friend, part-rival for the next few months until they decide to hate each other again. Basically, all you need to know is that Bayley is supposed to be Sasha Banks’ friend, but Sasha Banks is getting tired of Bayley’s stupidity and ineptitude and Bayley wants Sasha Banks to forgive her but is mad that she isn’t getting through to her.
I thought the feud between these two should have happened right after SummerSlam last year. Remember when Bayley defeated Sasha Banks to become the number 1 contender to Alexa Bliss’ Raw Women’s Championship, but Bayley couldn’t compete due to injury so Sasha Banks took her place and had the title for a week? That would have been an ideal place to have them feud. But instead, they just put these two on-screen week after passive-aggressively pretending like they are cool with each other. This past week was a step in the right direction, I suppose, but we have also seen them fight backstage before and it didn’t amount to anything for the next few months. Hopefully, we’ll get an establish babyface and a heel, and based on what we saw in NXT, that’s an easy question to answer.
7. Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn won’t have to be worried about stinking it up on Raw every Monday night for a while after it has been revealed that he will need surgery to fix two broken rotator cuffs and he’ll be out of commission until WrestleMania season next year. But regardless, it goes without saying that Sami Zayn’s 2018 campaign, well, let’s face it, his main-roster call-up has been a complete and utter failure. His feud with Kevin Owens in 2016 was electric and brought out the best in both men, and one would think that would place him into a higher place of importance in WWE programming. However, he’s simply meandered around and has acted as Kevin Owens’ backup or simply something for Bobby Lashley to toy with.
What he is right now is simply not working, and I think I can speak for everyone when I say Sami Zayn is a natural babyface. Him being a heel was interesting for a time, but once they shoved that feud with AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon down our throats, he became borderline irritating for a time. WWE only topped themselves by simply embarrassing him in one of the worst feuds in WWE history in the past couple of months with Bobby Lashley. Upon his return, he needs a shape-up in more ways than one.