WWE’s Youth Problem… or Lack of!

At the end of WCW, many wrestling insiders and writers wrote how the thing that killed the company was lack of new blood being pushed. How young talent was not getting over and that no stars were being developed. Even Triple H and Vince McMahon were crowing about that when the end came and how they were ahead of the curve.

Now 20 plus years later, WWE is facing the same issue, and nobody seems to have an answer.

Start off with the talent roster and let’s talk about the wrestlers under the age of 30 (male wrestlers as the women’s roster is a whole different story.) who are on TV and getting any kind of push.

Dominik Mysterio and Austin Theory. That’s it and the fact is that neither man is really being positioned to be a main event player or seen as one in the company based on how they are pushed.

Let’s look first at Austin Theory, who was given the green light by Vince McMahon of all people. Some will argue that he wasn’t ready and didn’t have the personality for the big push. And you’re right but he had the talent and we have seen in the past (i.e., Brock Lesnar with Paul Heyman) that you sometimes need to give guys help.

Instead, they have hung Theory out with bad storylines, no help and piped in crowd noise that has turned fans off. His recent dropping of the title to Rey Mysterio was evident that the company has lost faith in him.

Meanwhile Dominik Mysterio is often cast as the guy who is lucky to win and needs help from Rhea Ripley at every moment. It’s great for the immediate boost but there is no growth and creative seems to view him as a secondary piece.

And that is what WWE fans and investors should worry about; that within a few years the whole product could come crashing down.

Don’t believe me, just check out the talent roster and see the ages of the stars and you will get worried.

Nearly half of the main guys on TV are pushing 40 or over which even includes “newcomers” like L.A. Knight and Damian Priest. Rey Mysterio, Brock Lesnar, AJ Styles, Shinske Nakamura, Edge, Sheamus, Finn Balor and Bobby Lashley are all well over Forty years old. And even the big stars such as Cody Rhodes, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Gunther, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are over 37 years old and have talked about retirement.

And it’s not just the age but the wear and tear on their bodies from the years of wrestling and taking punishment. Randy Orton is forty-three and has had multiple surgeries on his back and shoulders. Rollins has talked about putting off surgery despite having disc problems. And as anyone over thirty-five can tell you, your body doesn’t get better with time.

Meanwhile the NXT pipeline has been a letdown due to overflow of main roster talent, prospects not developing and a push to become the third brand. What was before seen as a way to get young talent ready and put on the WWE has become more of just a way to stockpile talent and become stagnant.

Years before when The Rock, Austin, Hogan and Michaels were getting either ready to leave or becoming part timers, WWE was ready with young talent to replace them. Randy Orton and John Cena were elevated to star status before the age of 26, Edge was already a prime-time player by the age of 30. The Shield became stars in their late twenties when Vince and Co decided to freshen up the product. And each of those times helped the WWE become either bigger with their TV deals or help pump in some life blood to the product.

Now most of the young talent is either stuck in NXT or middling around with no direction in the company. Bron Breakker, who many feel is going to be the next big star, is still stuck in NXT with no direction and just playing the waiting game. Carmelo Hayes is rapidly becoming like Bron with no real prospects of coming up and seemingly stuck in NXT.

It all leads to the big question of who takes over when the older stars can’t go or are ready to retire or leave WWE. Already Roman Reigns is a part timer who doesn’t wrestle unless it’s at a major PLE. Seth Rollins and Cody Rhodes have both gotten the Hollywood bug and appeared in major TV and movie roles. Owens and Styles have talked about this being the final contract before they hang up or transition to backstage roles. And as we have seen with Orton and the Undertaker recently, eventually your body breaks down to the point of no return.

At some point either Paul Levesque or maybe even Endeavor must start pushing new talent. The hope was when Nick Khan cut a vast majority of the roster two years ago that some of the younger talent would get a chance. But once Levesque rose to power, he brought in most of the talent that was released and now the roster is bloated once again.

It’s time to rip off the band-aid and start letting the younger talent rise. Give Bron Breakker the Lesnar treatment and see if he is the next big thing. Let Carmelo Hayes go to the main roster and give him a feud with either Rey Mysterio or Edge and be put over.

It’s time for the younger talent to get a chance or else soon the WWE will be without any real stars.

And that … is not best for business.