My Two Centsss - These Are The Top Seven Burials Of 2012
By Super Chrisss
Dec 23, 2012 - 3:03:11 PM
Writer's Note: Happy December 23rd everyone! Hopefully you've got all your Christmas shopping done and finished laughing at the nut-jobs who swore until they were blue in the face that the world was supposed to end last Friday. Today, I will be counting down the opposite of the year's breakout superstars - seven guys who had a great 2011 or started off the year with momentum but have been reduced to the very bottom of WWE's tandem pole. So without further ado, I present you seven pushes gone to hell.
7. Ezekiel Jackson
Believe it or not, Big Zeke actually kicked off 2012 with some credibility intact. Sure, he may have lost 99% of his momentum when Cody Rhodes ended his forgettable reign as Intercontinental Champion, but Zeke was still a solid midcard fixture back in January and February. In fact, when Teddy Long and Big Johnny started forming their teams for their upcoming Wrestlemania match, Zeke appeared to be a lock for Team Teddy. Instead, Zeke was used to put over future members of Team Johnny, including Mark Henry and even David Otunga on two separate occasions. Zeke never did make it to Team Teddy and was soon regulated to "Superstars", before being taken off the road completely. As of this writing, Zeke's WWE status is unknown, and no one would be really surprised if he's quietly let go in the new year.
6. Jack Swagger
Poor Swagger. It seems like he finds a way to make an appearance on a list like this every single year. The worst part is, it's not really his fault. I don't remember reading a report of him shitting in Stephanie's purse or hanging out with Kurt Angle on a regular basis. WWE just seems to book him horribly for the hell of it. Fortunately for the All-American American, he has been taken off television and is supposedly being repackaged as something, so there might still be hope for him in the new year. I still don't understand why WWE decided Dolph Ziggler needed Vickie's services more than Swagger did, since that is certainly not the case. Anyways, much like Zeke, Swagger ends the year off television and out of storylines, but I have a feeling Swagger has a better chance of receiving one final push.
5. Brodus Clay
Remember when people were betting on who's undefeated streak would last longer, Ryback, Tensai, or Clay's? Yeah, me neither. It's funny that Brodus' first win on RAW in months came about by squashing JTG in similar fashion to how he kicked off the year. In other words, the Funkasaurus has evolved so little this past year it's annoying. In my opinion, he was built up like a beast only to get Big Show over as a heel (shake my head). Now, Show is still his boring self, but is the world heavyweight champion, while Brodus spent the second half of 2012 jobbing to people he used to squash in seconds, like Heath Slater. In all fairness, Cameron's arrest put his push on hold and probably hurt him more than it should have, and even though WWE seems to be interested in pushing him again, I think it's time for the Funkasaurus to go extinct and start over as a heel.
WWE had a golden opportunity to turn Santino into a huge star and they blew it. Last week during my countdown of the year's best matches, I mentioned how the crowd reaction Santino got during the SmackDown Elimination Chamber match was off the wall. While putting the world title on Santino that night would have been a mistake, WWE should have taken notice of how the fans reacted to Santino's Rocky act and gave him a serious push up the card. Instead, they jobbed him out to Daniel Bryan in less than a minute the next night at RAW and tried to keep his momentum going by putting the United States title on him. The result? One of the worst U.S. championship reigns in recent history, mainly because it went on forever, Santino barely defended the title on TV, and had no real feuds during his six-month reign. After dropping the title in a pre-show match to Antonio Cesaro, Santino returned to being a glorified jobber, and currently teams on-and-off with another fallen star in Zack Ryder. 2012 COULD have been the year or Santino, but surprise surprise, WWE and their amazing booking team dropped the ball.
3. David Otunga
Back when Santino was the U.S. Champion, I wrote a column on David Otunga calling him the next big thing in WWE. Not a future world champion, but someone who would be a nice addition to a messed up midcard, and I boldly predicted Otunga would be the one to take the title off Santino. In my defense, I had reason to think that way because Otunga had found his niche as both Big Johnny's loyal sidekick and doing his best Carlton impersonation. Otunga was constantly featured in matches with the likes of John Cena and Sheamus, and it seemed he was finally getting over. However, once Big Johnny got sacked, Otunga's momentum came to a screeching halt. WWE inexplicably stopped pushing him and I cannot remember the last time he won a match. Now, he's nothing more than a whipping boy for faces who are getting pushed (I lost count how many Brogue Kicks he ate this year). WWE gave Otunga the best gimmick they could and did a phenomenal job pissing away his credibility.
2. Zack Ryder
Oh, boy, where do I start? Ryder went from having the best year of his career to having the worst year of his career, hands down. Ryder went from closing 2011 as the United States Champion and one of the most over faces on the roster to ending 2012 as a jobber and still relatively over, despite his awful booking. Honestly, I don't know what was worse for Ryder. Having his U.S. title reign end in under a month (without never getting a rematch), become Kane's whipping boy, get embarrassed by Eve at Wrestlemania 28, join the exclusive Del Rio JOB Squad, or get his YouTube show taken over by WWE, who ran it into the ground. Yeah, 2012 was a terrible year for Long Island Iced Z, and the only reason he's not number one is because he has managed to remain over with the fans. Despite being sparingly used on television, Ryder still gets bigger reactions than talent who are constantly pushed, and still moves merchandise. Going into 2013, Ryder's job isn't in trouble, but it's time for WWE to stop burying him and give him a half-decent shot.
You have to feel for Big Albert. He spent the larger part of the past decade honing his craft and improving his in-ring work in AJPW, hoping to one day get a call from WWE, asking him to come back. Well, that call finally came, and instead of pushing him as an American heel or embracing his past with the company, someone in charge thought it would be a great idea to saddle the big man with a career-killing gimmick; one where he pretends to be Asian and is forbidden from cutting promos in English. Even worse, WWE gave him victories over John Cena and WWE Champion CM Punk a month into his debut, and from that point forward, Tensai had nowhere to go but down the card. He was in no position to challenge for the WWE Championship and so he spent the next few months doing random stuff, losing more and more momentum. In wasn't long before Tensai was jobbing to anyone and everyone, from Tyson Kidd to Ryback to even Santino Marella. The sad thing is, Albert's wrestling has greatly improved since his first stint with the company, but the fans can't take the Tensai gimmick seriously. If WWE doesn't repackage him soon, we may be looking at a front-runner for the 2012 Future Endeavours Club.
As a huge Broski, that was not an easy column to write. Sigh. Nevertheless, what do you think of today's countdown? Agree? Disagree? Then let me know!
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I'll be back tomorrow or Christmas Day with yet another year-end list, so ciao for now!