Thursday, 29 March 2012

10 Post-WrestleMania Feuds To Reignite The Divas Division: Prelude - Booking WrestleMania

The WWE divas division has been a shadow of its former self for a long time now, but - as outlined in my last article - there is plenty of talent on the roster for the company to utilise. Unfortunately, booking the divas hasn't been a strong point of WWE's for years, so I have come up with ten rivalries (five for RAW, five for SmackDown) which could help the division gain some much needed momentum and legitimise many of the great female workers currently employed by WWE.

First of all, however, I will give you an idea of how I would book the divas match at WrestleMania, in order to help set up these feuds. As we all know, Beth Phoenix & Eve will be taking on Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos in a tag team match, and although Menounos has recently suffered two broken ribs she plans to work through it, for which she deserves a lot of credit, especially as she's not even a professional wrestler. Anyway, as has become traditional in the division, the match will inevitably last no more than five minutes, so here is my idea for how the match should go...


Starting Off - Kelly Kelly vs. Eve

Kelly & Eve get the match started and go through the traditional opening exchanges - headlock, shoulder block etc - with Kelly quickly gaining the upper hand, dragging Eve to their corner and tagging in Maria. This would probably take 30-45seconds, I'd imagine.

Maria vs. Eve

Maria shows a few moves on Eve, before making the rookie mistake of coming off the ropes right next to Beth, who gets a cheap shot in, kneeing her in the ribs and putting her team in control. Eve gives Maria a couple of kicks and tags in the champion. By now I expect they'd be about 1:30 into the match.

Maria vs. Beth

Beth wears down Maria with a few slams and strikes, accompanied by some trash talk. She whips Maria off the ropes before going for a clothesline, but Maria ducks and dashes to tag Kelly back in. She then sells her rib injury, rolling out of the ring and onto the floor to writhe in pain, and leaving Kelly on her own...Let's say we're roughly around three minutes here.

Kelly vs. Beth

Kelly starts the good ol' momentum shift, probably doing her awful 'bang their head against the mat whilst screaming' thing and her 'do a terrible airplane headscissor takedown whilst screaming' thing before getting flattened by a big clothesline from Beth, who picks her up and delivers a GlamSlam. In an unusual show of respect, she doesn't go for the cover, but instead drags Kelly into position and tags Eve in to deliver the final blow. About four minutes gone by now, I'd say.

Kelly vs. Eve

So we finish where we started as Eve climbs the turnbuckle and delivers an Evesault for the win. Eve gets up and starts to celebrate, but Beth GlamSlam's her before throwing both Eve & Kelly out of 'her' ring. Eve looks back angrily, whilst Kelly goes to comfort Maria.

Optional Extra

Natalya comes down to celebrate with Beth, but the tensions between them (seen at the start of this match, for instance) resurface, and they depart uncomfortably.


So that's the way I'd go in Miami, but what about after WrestleMania? The next part of this article will feature the five angles I'd run on RAW, starting off with two of the women I've mentioned above going head-to-head.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Fans of Womens Wrestling Can Relax, the Future Lies With the Anti-Divas

As I'm sure everyone who doesn't immediately go for a piss/change the channel when the divas come on can see, the Divas division is in terrible shape at the minute. Far too many of the women fail to display a mastery of the most basic techniques in wrestling (watch Kelly Kelly try and run the ropes, then tell me how and why she recently held the Divas Championship for over a hundred days), and those who do frequently find themselves marginalised in favour of the ex-model types who currently hold the division back. For the record, when I mention the 'divas' I'm talking about the likes of Kelly Kelly, Alicia Fox, Aksana and the Bella twins, with 'K2' being by far the worst of the bunch in terms of ability to airtime ratio. Many of these women don't even appear to want to improve in the ring, with a perfect example of this coming on Monday's RAW (12th March 2012), when Alicia Fox - one of the worst offenders when it comes to botches, just ask Beth Phoenix - said something that made me want to throw my laptop at the wall:
Maria Menounos: "So what kind of training are you guys doing?
Alicia Fox: "I'm just more trying to get my outfits together."

WHAT. THE. FUCK?! If you don't believe she said it, the whole segment is right here. And also, "outfits". Plural. Is she planning a fucking costume change? Does she think she's going to a fashion show? Jesus.

I know it probably wasn't a line that was meant to be taken literally, and I'm sure she's training very hard to improve, but even so, what kind of image does that portray? Rather than focusing on training and trying to earn a spot at the biggest PPV in the industry in which she works, she's thinking about her outfit. Her number one priority isn't her wrestling, it's how she looks, and that one quote perfectly sums up the whole problem with the 'divas'. So there you have it, not only are they terrible wrestlers, but they're terrible role models, and the sooner WWE decide to get move away from this attitude the better.

WWE has plenty of beautiful women on its roster who also posses some ability in the ring, and it is time they started to give these ladies the platform that they have given the likes of Kelly Kelly and the Bella twins. Aside from the obvious, and most prominent, duo of Beth Phoenix and Natalya, WWE also have capable female wrestlers in the shape of AJ, Eve and Tamina Snuka, all of whom are over with the crowds as much as almost any of the divas, as well as the apparently soon to return Layla. They also have young talent that has shown a willingness to improve, in NXT season 3 winner Kaitlyn and fellow NXT alumni Maxine, who I consider to be the best female character in the company right now. Both of these women have improved in the ring since their infamous match on NXT, and are part of one of the most entertaining angles on WWE television at the minute over on NXT. Lastly, FCW currently has two hugely talented young women on its books, who have already shown their anti-diva credentials - Paige & Sofia Cortez. Both ladies are young and very adept in the ring, as well as having great charisma and strong personalities, and I have no doubt that both will play a huge part in the regeneration of the division in the future. As well as being vastly superioir in the ring, all of these women are better role models than the divas. Well, if you exclude all the manipulating Eve & Maxine have been doing...

These women are proof that you don't have to look like a supermodel to be beautiful (although Eve was a model before entering the 2007 Diva Search - but then she was alligned with the divas before her heel turn), and show that strong, intelligent, determined women can achieve great things, even when the playing field isn't equal.

If WWE ever wants its womens division to be credible it must allow the talented wrestlers the time to create good matches and strong rivalries, whilst keeping the sloppy wrestlers out of the ring as much as possible. They don't necessarily have to get rid of the 'divas', but using them as valets and minimising their ring time whilst training them up would allow them to create a better product whilst still keeping their current stars on screen. I firmly believe that if the anti-divas are given enough time and resources, they have the ability to create one of the best womens wrestling divisions in the industry, and one that will finally be able to draw viewers, rather than being the designated 'piss break' segment of every show.

It's undoubtedly going to be a long road, but with careful planning and good utlisation of resources WWE can make its womens division both exciting to watch and positively influential on the attitudes of young women who look up to these ladies - both of which are, at least in my book, good enough reasons to give the anti-divas a chance.

Friday, 16 March 2012

WWE MVP's: The Five Most Important Workers In WWE

WWE has always had massive superstars. From Hogan to the Rock & Stone Cold to Cena, there have always been people around which WWE has centred. But at the same time, there have been people who have been just as important who have not been given the same degree of recognition, and it is with that thought in mind that I have decided to compile a quick list of the five most important on screen characters in WWE today.

5. Michael Cole 

Yeah, I know he's annoying, but he's also the lead commentator, and he can effectively decide whether a guy gets over or not, whether he means to or not, by how badly he crucifies them with his commentary. It wasn't long ago that WWE were citing Cole's commentary as a reason why guys they were trying to push, such as Daniel Bryan, weren't getting over, and that show just how important he is to the company at the minute. Which makes it more mystifying that they continue to use him as a heel, rather than the neutral/face that he was a decade ago, and that most of the great commentators have been (see Jim Ross for the perfect commentator at putting both guys over whilst providing great commentary).

Given the lack of managers in WWE these days, it might even be worth utilising Cole's exceptional ability to get heat in a more logical way by having him step out from behind the commentary box and become a manager for an up-and-coming heel. Which bring us neatly to...

4. Vickie Guerrero 

Vickie is the last great manager in the WWE - she is the biggest heat magnet in the company, with the possible exceptions of John Cena and Michael Cole, and she is an invaluable tool when it comes to helping wrestlers with in ring skills but no charisma get over (hello Jack Swagger). She can also help weaker faces get over by being a target for ridicule, meaning that pretty much every superstar who's being lined up to move up the card works with her in some capacity in the early stages of the push. To illustrate her usefulness to both heels and faces, look at Dolph Ziggler - who has, under her guidance, won the World Heavyweight Championship, the Intercontinental Championship and the US Championship, and moved within touching distance of being an elite heel performer in the company - and Kaitlyn - NXT season 3 winner despite being a late addition, almost exclusively because of her relationship with her pro, a certain Vickie Guerrero.

If there were more managers like Vickie in WWE she might not be as valuable, but she probably would still be the best. As it is though, she is one of the first people called upon to help bring success to many of WWE's up and coming talents, and as such she fully deserves a spot on this list.

3. William Regal

Another one that may surprise some people, but for me Regal is one of the most versatile character WWE currently have at their disposal - he can be a GM, a commentator, a manager or a wrestler; a face or heel; serious or comedic, and he can do every single one of those things well. At present he's working a double role on NXT as a commentator and match co-ordinator, basically an unofficial GM, as well as commentating on FCW, where he has been teasing a return to the ring in a feud with Dean Ambrose (which I feel deserves to be seen on WWE television). Should Michael Cole turn to management, as I suggested earlier, Regal would be a very strong candidate to replace him at the commentary table.

I genuinely don't think there is a single person on the roster who can offer as much in as many different roles as William Regal, and it's that versatility that's earnt him well deserved a place on this list.

2. CM Punk

Ever since that promo, CM Punk's star has been on the ascent, and right now he's probably the most popular person on the roster (only Santino comes close, and I can't decide whether that's awesome or horrifying). He's a great wrestler and a fantastic mic worker, he can work well as a face or a heel, and he can even put on his camel fur jacket and commentate. He's recently become the first person in years to outsell John Cena in merchandise, and his feud with Chris Jericho could turn out to be the feud of the year, pushing him even further up the ladder.

Punk is, as many people have already suggested, the closest thing we're going to get to Stone Cold in the PG/reality era, and he's well on the way to becoming as much of an icon as the Texas Rattlesnake is. At 33 he still has plenty of years left in him, and if his rise continues at the same rate as over the last nine months he could well be the man to topple Cena as the face of the company in the near future.

1. John Cena 

Yes, him. Still. As much as I wanted to put Punk at number one I just couldn't do it. No matter how much Punk is loved by large portions of the WWE universe, John Cena is still 'The Man' (copyright Ric Flair, 3000BC). Let's take a look at the evidence.

At WrestleMania, CM Punk will be defending the WWE Championship - the most prestigious title in pro wrestling - and he'll (apparently) be opening the show. John Cena, meanwhile, is in a non-title match which will, in all likelihood, be the main event. And before anyone says that's because it's a generation v generation match, I'll remind you that Rock v Hogan was third from last on the WrestleMania XVIII card, BEFORE THE WOMENS' TITLE MATCH, with the match for the equivalent to the WWE Championship headlining. Cena/Rock is also getting the most promo time of any of the WrestleMania matches, whilst Punk/Jericho appears to be an afterthought, picking up a few minutes every week at various points of the show before disappearing for a week, lost amongst the flood of RAW Rewind's about Rock/Cena and even HHH/Undertaker/HBK.

And what about Elimination Chamber? Same story. Punk opened the show in the RAW EC match, whilst Cena headlined with his ambulance match against Kane in what was essentially a filler feud. Cena's also the guy who gets the final spot on the WWE trail that starts every show, as well as being the last person you see on the opening credits of both RAW and Superstars.

Whether we like it or not, Cena is still the biggest star in the company, and it's going to be a while yet before anyone - even CM Punk - can topple him from that spot.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

How Should The Kings of Wrestling Be Used in WWE?

As I'm sure you're aware, WWE have recently signed both members of the ROH tag team the Kings of Wrestling. Claudio Castagnoli arrived first, and now competes in FCW under the name Antonio Cesaro, whilst his partner Chris Hero made his FCW debut this week under the name Kassius Ohno. Incidentally, I hated that name at first, but after a day or so it had grown on me, and I think it's quite cool now. Anyway, back to the matter at hand.

WWE's tag team division has long been acknowledge to be in a pretty bad way, so fans of the division were excited to hear the company were going after a team widely considered to be one of the best in the business. However, it has since emerged that WWE is currently planning to use them both as singles wrestlers, and I for one have been left wondering a couple of things. Firstly, is singles competition really the best use for Cesaro & Ohno, especially when the tag division is crying out for a genuine team like the Kings of Wrestling? Secondly, where would the duo fit in to the singles setup, should that turn out to be their destination? These are two important questions that WWE should have asked themselves when they were considering signing Cesaro & Ohno, and ones I shall attempt to provide some answers to over the rest of this article.

Singles or Tag Team?

In order to answer this question, it makes sense to evaluate the strength of Cesaro & Ohno both as a team and as individuals, relative to the rest of the divisions the would be competing in. First off, let's look at how they stack up as a team.

The Kings of Wrestling have a great pedigree as a tag team, having won tag team championships in Ring of Honour, Chikara and Pro Wrestling Guerilla amongst other promotions, as well as winning the Wrestling Observer Newsletter's 2010 Tag Team of the Yeat award. They have the longest reign as ROH World Tag Team Champions in the history of the company, having held the title just short of a year at one point, and as such have, at the time of writing, held the belts for more than a tenth of all the time the titles have existed. Only the Briscoe Brothers have held the titles for more days than the Kings of Wrestling, although their total of more than 650 days comes from seven reigns as champions.

Unlike most of the tag teams plying their trade currently in the WWE, the Kings have a number of specialist tag team finishers, with their collection including the KRS ONE and KRS TWO, as well as a combination of both members' individual finishers - a European uppercut followed by a rolling elbow. This immediately helps to establish them as a legitimately strong and cohesive team, and would enable them to quickly climb the (admittedly very short) ladder towards a title shot. For an example of their tag team ability, take a look at this match against the Bravado Brothers.

One thing that could be an issue is that the WWE already have more heel teams than faces, and it seems unlikely that the Kings of Wrestling would debut as faces, considering their weaknesses (some of which I will address later). I would see them coming in as a heel team, which could make it difficult to push them to the titles without Primo & Epico turning or dropping the belts to a face team (at present that's most likely to be Kofi Kingston and R-Truth or Evan Bourne). As such, it could well be the case that WWE would benefit from utilising the Kings as individuals until more (face) teams can be established for them to be put up against.

I certainly believe there is a strong case to be made for the introduction of the Kings of Wrestling to WWE television, but at the same time it is important that a team of their calibre is not wasted in a weak division. If they do not have many real challengers, they could end up in the same situation as Divas champ Beth Phoenix - holding gold but being overlooked for television time, losing all momentum and becoming somewhat irrelevant. So, there appears to be a fine line which WWE need to walk with the Kings as a pairing, but would they really fare any better as singles competitors?

In terms of wrestling ability, both guys stack up well. They're technically very good, and both have strong physical styles based around hard arm and elbow strikes which would separate them from most of the guys currently on the roster. For an example of how both guys operate, here's a triple threat match they worked at an FCW house show alongside Bo Rotundo. As you can see, lots of strikes, but not too much else. From the singles matches I've seen of both guys this is pretty typical, and whilst it makes them different, their relative one-dimensionality could also be seen as a weakness, particularly in a company that loves a flashy finisher.

One of the main problems I can see with both Cesaro and Ohno is their lack of charisma. For me, neither guy cuts a great promo, though both are competent and Hero is probably the better mic worker, and neither of them comes off as someone that most fans could easily get behind as a face or hate as a heel. And by "most fans" I of course mean "the non-IWC/pure wrestling fans". If I were to compare the two, I would say Ohno was the better face & Cesaro the better heel, but really both sit in the 'heel' box in my head.

Whilst they would certainly be better off starting as heels, I do think they could struggle to generate exceptional heat on the mic, which could cause them a few problems when it comes to climbing the ladder. If they were to operate as a tag team, this could be easily solved by putting them alongside a manager like Vickie Guerrero, who could quickly get them lots of heat, but as singles wrestlers the problem is harder to solve - especially considering Vickie is the only great manager in the company at present.

There are undoubtedly positives and negatives to both options, but if we assume that WWE will stick to its plans and use Ohno & Cesaro as singles superstars, there is still one very important question that needs to be asked...

Thursday, 1 March 2012

A Brief Assessment of the Benefits of Reintroducing the Cruiserweight Division to WWE

Since the Cruiserweight Championship was retired back in 2007, many talented wrestlers have been left to rot on the minor shows, or even released, because their comparatively small size meant that the decision maker(s) in the company couldn't imagine them matching up physically to the likes of Kane or The Big Show, and subsequently sent them to purgatory - better known as Superstars.

The solution to this problem has been staring WWE in the face the whole time, and it now seems like they may be realising this, as there is speculation that a new all-cruiserweight show will be featuring on the WWE Network (if/when it ever gets off the ground). It appears WWE are looking to bring in some extra talent to use on the show, but they should not miss the opportunity to give some of the talented cruiserweights already on their books a chance to get involved in something meaningful again.

With the likes of Tyson Kidd, Trent Barreta, Yoshi Tatsu, Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater all sitting around without a proper feud at the minute, WWE already have a strong group of wrestlers at their disposal, particularly if they were to also utilise guys like Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara and Evan Bourne (assuming he survives that long), even occasionally.

Not only would the introduction of a cruiserweight division give some of the less prominent talent a chance to shine, it might also help improve the overall product.

With the cruiserweights recieving their own show, more airtime can be given to the divas and tag team divisions. Both are currently in need of some TLC (tender loving care, not tables, ladders & chairs, though that might also work), and if the extra time this move would free up was spent on developing more feuds and allowing competitors sufficient time to have a proper match WWE may find that interest in these divisions also goes up.

This is not to say that the cruiserweights should be taken off the main roster altogether. The cruiserweight show can be used as a stepping stone to the secondary titles, and there is still a place on television for a good cruiserweight title match here and there. They can also still make a strong contribution to the tag team division - a decision that makes extra sense considering the dearth of teams at present.

The reintroduction of the cruiserweight division is a move that, if handled correctly, could benefit WWE across the board, and it's one that I would fully support. Well, so long as they don't get Hornswoggle involved again...

Ten of the Most Underrated Superstars in WWE Today

There is a phenomenal amount of talent on WWE's roster just waiting to get their chance to shine, but it's a sad fact that most of them will probably be future endeavoured before they get a significant push.

As a tribute to the guys whose hard work goes largely unnoticed on NXT or SuperStars, or even on the undercard of Raw or SmackDown!, I present to you my ten most underrated superstars currently working for WWE.

10. Drew McIntyre

The former 'Chosen One' of Mr. McMahon, Drew McIntyre has gone from being an Intercontinental champion and Elimination Chamber participant to SmackDown's king jobber on a losing streak as long as time. To make things worse, it appears he's currently undergoing a gimmick change from 'none' to 'homosexual playboy', which is...different.

Drew's already had a lot of success, which is why he's sitting at #10 on my list, but if this new gimmick is thrown on top of a massive losing streak it may well be that the next time I decide to do a list like this he's a lot closer to the #1 spot. Hopefully, though, this losing streak will lead to a gimmick change (without the false homosexuality) and a return to the upper reaches of the company.

9. Hunico

Hunico arrived in WWE as the second Sin Cara (later Sin Cara Negro), and after a brief feud with the real Sin Cara he was forced to unmask and reveal himself as Hunico.

Since that time, Hunico has joined forces with Primo & Epico before moving away from the Colón's and bringing in his buddy from the barrio, Camacho, low rider and all. No matter who he's been alligning himself with, Hunico has been impressive in the ring, combining his obvious lucha-libre experience with solid mat work and good mic skills.

Unfortunately, Hunico has yet to find a proper feud to help further increase his stock, with his rivalry with Ted DiBiase (who almost made the list too) failing to generate much heat, probably because of the tenuous reasoning behind Hunico's hatred of DiBiase - an apparent anger at not being invited to any of the DiBiase Posse's pre-show parties. Until this changes, Hunico will be stuck at midcard level instead of challenging for the secondary titles, where he belongs.

8. Tyler Reks

Tyler Reks may not be as obviously talented as some of the guys I've already mentioned, but he's got a great look as well as being good in the ring and on the mic, and I feel that, as part of one of the few real tag teams in WWE, his mistreatment is more of an injustice.

WWE's tag division is in pretty poor shape at present, and they desperately need some more teams to pad out the division. As such, it is a mystery to me why Hawkins & Reks have not been given time on RAW or SmackDown to show what they can do. Instead, they have been used on NXT, campaigning for change and getting beaten most weeks.

If WWE would just give them a chance, Hawkins & Reks could be a real asset to the tag team division, and Reks has the potential to be a very good upper mid-card talent with the right booking, however I can't see it happening, and I'm afraid to say I wouldn't be surprised if Reks is one of the names on the list for the summer clearout.

7. Yoshi Tatsu

The token Japanese guy of WWE, Yoshi Tatsu barely even features on SuperStars these days, which is ludicrous. He's gone backwards since the demise of ECW, despite having a good cult following and a style that helps him stand out from most of the guys on the rest of the roster. He's technically sound and has excellent strikes, as well as being able to fit with the cruiserweight style of the WWE's smaller guys, and yet creative seem to have no idea what to do with him.

I'd have him as another candidate for a firing, but there has been speculation about the revival of the cruiserweight division lately, and if this were to happen I think Yoshi Tatsu would excel as one of the leading contenders for the title.

Oh, and his entrance music is awesome. That's gotta count for something.

6. Heath Slater

Yeah, for real.

When talking about Drew McIntyre I called him "SmackDown!'s king jobber", but, let's be honest, Heath Slater is the king jobber, not just of SmackDown!, but of the entire WWE roster. I mean, in recent weeks he's been beaten by guys on NXT, and lost to Hornswoggle in an over the top rope challenge. Alright, stop laughing now.

For pretty much as long as I can remember, the One Man Southern Rock Band has been stuck in the midcard putting guys over, and in that time I've come to think of him as the undercard Dolph Ziggler. Sure he's not as talented as Ziggler and he can't sell as well (who can, frankly?), but he makes other guys look good and that's what matters. He's got charisma and speaks well on the mic, but almost everyone I see talking about Slater considers him a joke.

I'm putting that down to his OMRB gimmick, which is awful, and his finisher, which looks like it belongs in the arsenal of a diva, not a multiple time tag team champion who was one part of one of the biggest stables in the history of the company. If he were to come up with a new gimmick and finisher, I feel he could be another good addition to the IC title scene once Cody Rhodes moves up to the main event. Until then, in the eyes of most fans he'll just be Heath Slater the jobber.

5. Trent Barreta

Anyone else remember him?

Like a many of the people featured on this list, Barreta is a smaller guy who would thrive in a cruiserweight division, but whose size goes against him in the current WWE setup, where there is no such division. Like the others, though, Barreta is an extremely talented and entertaining wrestler, who deserves a chance to show what he can do when put up against some of the more familiar midcarders. He could, for instance, give som entertaining matches against the likes of Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater, or maybe even Zack Ryder.

It appears that he's about to join forces with Tyson Kidd, which is a promising start towards giving Barreta more opportunities to showcase his skills. He has already shown he can work well in the division when he partnered Caylen Croft in The Dudebusters, and should his partnership with Tyson Kidd prove fruitful it would be great to see them face off against Primo & Epico for the titles somewhere down the line, as I think they could provide matches at least as good as the current champs had with Air Boom, if not far better.

4. Johnny Curtis

I'm going to come right out and say it - I bloody love Johnny Curtis. His current gimmick is fantastic, and he plays his part in NXT superbly. The guy won NXT season 4, and now he deserves to be on SmackDown!, peering round corners and creeping out the divas.

For me, the only thing holding him back is that he isn't gettting much ring time at present, due to NXT being such a short show and having other angles that need to be furthered. If it were up to me I'd scrap the entire Percy Watson/Titus O'Neil angle and use that time to get Curtis more airtime.

He's a good worker in the ring, and he's able to draw heat, but it's his charisma and mic skills that lead me to believe he's a star of the future. Just give him a chance, WWE.

3. Derrick Bateman

I wanted to put Derrick Bateman & Johnny Curtis level, but that would've spoilt the list a bit, so I've gone Derrick ahead of Curtis because he plays a slightly larger part in NXT.

Like Curtis, I really enjoy watching Bateman backstage, and I think he's got a gimmick that fits him really well, to the point where I suspect he's just being himself most of the time. He plays the downtrodden boyfriend well when working with Maxine, without turning too far away from his 'regular' personality, and his work with Kaitlyn (and Johnny Curtis himself, actually) is also very good.

In the ring he's pretty talented, probably no better or worse than Curtis, but like Creepy Curty it's his charisma that could propel him right to the top, should he ever be allowed off NXT for more than a brief battle royal appearance. Hopefully that time will come soon.

2. Tyson Kidd

If anybody complies a list of the most underrated superstars in WWE and doesn't include Tyson Kidd, then quite frankly their list is awful (or it's the future and he got the push he deserves, in which case hooray - I'm ignoring the possibility of him being released, because that would be beyond disgusting).

Tyson Kidd is one of the most talented in ring workers on the roster. Whether he's been working as a singles competitor or in a tag team, he's shown that he has the skills to be a big player for the company. His mic skills could be the only thing holding him back, but they're decent enough for him to be working in the midcard, and anyway, with his ties to the Hart family it would be very easy to get someone in to manage him and handle most of the talking (did someone say Jimmy Hart?).

 Tyson Kidd should be challenging for the second level titles - after all, Justin Gabriel is, and he's less talented than Kidd and has comparable mic skills - and as long as WWE keep him hidden from view on NXT they're denying themselves the chance to develop a guy who could be a staple of their programming for years to come.

1. Curt Hawkins

So, coming in at #1 is Curt Hawkins.

Hawkins has been around a while now, but for some reason WWE still haven't realised quite what they have on their hands. I'm not going to say that he could be a future main eventer, but he certainly belongs in the upper-midcard chasing the secondary titles - if his former tag partner Zack Ryder is there, then Hawkins should be too.

Hawkins has become something of a tag team specialist during his time with WWE, having team with Zack Ryder, Vance Archer and now Tyler Reks, and I think he's the Shawn Michaels of all three of those teams. He's got good in ring skills as well as being excellent on the mic, but he continues to be used in the tag team division.

Whilst a career of tag team wrestling isn't a bad thing, especially in a company who seem unable to identify and elevate talent effectively, but what makes this even worse is that he and tag partner Tyler Reks were not even given a chance to shine when the division had a mere two other teams. Whilst Primo & Epico faced off against The Uso's and TWO different teams featuring Santino Marella - one of which was with Hacksaw Jim Duggan, for crying out loud - Hawkins & Reks have been restricted to NXT, campaigning for change from the Matt Striker regime.

I, for one, hope to see the change campaign roll on until everyone knows just how good Curt Hawkins is, not just the few of us who watch NXT every week.