DFW: Top 5 Underused Talents in WWE/AEW Submitted by Damn Fine Wrestling on 12/16/2020 at 05:43 PM
In the same week where it was reported that Keith Lee was sent back to the Performance Center, McMahon allegedly asked writers to shoot names of underused talents that can "shine". Why McMahon would trust the word of literally anyone else but himself (as history as shown) is quite puzzling.
But let's play along.
Named in the report was Angel Garza, Peyton Royce, Carmella, Chad Gable, and Cesaro -- as if McMahon forgot that Cesaro been with WWE in some form for nearly a decade now. Now while I don't tend to watch wrestling on Mondays and Fridays, it's not hard to follow the product through various news sites and podcasts. So let's have fun with this -- my top 5 underused talents in the top two promotions right now: (WWE/AEW)
1. Dakota Kai
-I look at the women's talent on Raw and Smackdown, and color me unimpressed. While you have your staples in the Four Horsewomen, not much else really stands out.
In a world of borespots like Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler and Mandy Rose, a talent like Dakota Kai stands out to me. Her transformation into a angsty heel has done wonders for her character development, and her in-ring ability has improved greatly since her debut in NXT. She is dripping charisma and is a star in the making. As a Shimmer alumni, I'm a little biased, but I don't see why Dakota Kai isn't on the main roster challenging for a title.
2. Aleister Black
-This is obvious, right? from a writer's perspective, how do you screw this up that badly? A feud with Black with more than half the roster writes itself, and instead we get...this...what is this? This is not Tommy End, nor Aleister Black. He's a shell of his former self.
3. Ruby Riott
-Again with the Shimmer bias, and yes, Dakota and Ruby used to team in Shimmer when she was known as "Evie" and Ruby called herself "Heidi Lovelace".
But sometimes, it's obvious when a star is a star. Ruby not only has the in-ring skill, but one hell of a look to her that just about anyone in the punk/metal culture can immediately identity with. Teaming with Liv Morgan is doing her no favors here. Why not team her back up with Kai? Either way, with some polish on the mic, Riott has all the pieces -- if the writers knew what to do with them...
4. Samoa Joe
-I know Joe is enjoying his time behind the announcer's table, but it's a tragedy that this man has not held a major WWE Championship beyond NXT. He is easily one of the best promos in the industry, and can work and make just about anyone look like a million bucks. Unfortunately, it seems as if Joe has slowly faded into the background, and his chances of capturing world championship gold are numbered, or simply just over.
-So Retribution is an awful stable. It's not anyone in the stable's fault, either. They have been directionless since they arrived, and quite frankly, Ali deserves better that to be the leader of a laughing stock. Everyone suspected of him as the "hacker" from months back, and that had potential -- but it's the WWE. Ali has the ability to be a major star in the company, but when you can't even decide on a name for the talent (because Mustafa Ali is too difficult to get behind, I guess), it doesn't bode well for the future.
1. Anna Jay
-While still very young, and with less than two years in the business, Anna Jay simply commands a wrestling ring and commands the camera like a future hall-of-famer. We know by now that the Dark Order is a parodied comedic cult, but that doesn't make them any less entertaining. Anna Jay deserves a slightly bigger role in the group, and beyond random appearances on AEW Dark. I would love to see a seasoned veteran like Serena Deeb in a program with her to get some experience under her belt. Either way, Anna Jay is a name wrestling fans should come to know sooner than later.
2. Jungle Boy
-You can argue that Jurassic Express as a whole is being underused right now, and I wouldn't be bothered the slightest if they were the ones to eventually dethrone the Young Bucks. But a bigger star in the making is Jack Perry, also known as Jungle Boy. Son of famous actor Luke Perry, Jungle Boy has the look, an exciting moveset, and the raw charisma to create some Wednesday magic.
-Formerly known as Cherry Bomb in Shimmer, and The Bunny in Impact (and now in AEW again), Allie has endless potential that isn't being tapped into. Not only is the "bunny" gimmick something to work into future storylines, but he has solid in-ring ability and presence. I'm glad her short-lived run as Brandi's partner timed out, as it simply wasn't working. Allie is gold, and deserves more than to be in the background of the Butcher and the Blade.
4. Scorpio Sky
-Scorpio Sky has big match - main event material written all over him. While he is in a program with Shawn Spears, it's basically fluff compared to other current AEW storylines. This is a man who deserves to be on a bigger stage and bigger program than where he's currently at. However, at 37 years of age, I hope they see it while he's still in his prime.
5. Leva Bates
-Leva Bates as a nerdy librarian who plays video games would be over like rover on Dynamite -- but she usually scantly appears on Dark now. I get that the roster is big, but Leva can be considered a veteran in the industry, and while she may not be able to keep up in-ring with the likes of Shida, Rosa, or Baker -- she has a lot to contribute with her character and on-screen presence. More Leva Bates on Wednesdays, please.
With such a huge roster and only 2 hours a week, a lot of AEW talent is falling through the cracks, unfortunately. While I enjoy and value the product, I could write a separate article entirely on underused talents in Jacksonville. Big Swole, Shanna, Tay Conti, Red Velvet, Private Party, Lance Archer, Colt Cobana, John Silver, and even Brandon Cutler can all make their own cases on how they're being sort of underutilized when it comes to AEW Dynamite. Sure, there's AEW Dark, which I do watch and enjoy every week, but as a developmental show, it's hard to compare it to Dynamite.
While a second AEW show is all but approved for 2021, my hope is that these talents, and many more, will be the focal point of a new show.
But what do you think? What are some underused talents on any wrestling roster that I may have missed? Follow me at @BYSuckerPunch and yell at me for a bit!