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Posted in: The PEN15 Mightier
The PEN15 Mightier (Sep 3rd) Who to Cut?
By PEN15
Sep 3, 2012 - 7:27:40 PM

Who to cut?

I don’t like reaching such a negative point, but it’s become clear that WWE just isn’t ready to change their ways and let new stars develop properly. I’m not saying they are doomed to fail and go out of business, but there are too many obvious flaws with the developmental process.

This is no more evident than looking at Tyler Reks. He was a solid talent, nothing too special one way or another perhaps, but I think that’s because of a limited showcase. He debuted as a surfer rad dude on ECW. While I loved WWECW, there were moments where talents didn’t get to benefit from the brand as much as most. Tyler was one of them. He was given a rather timid character, and no real program to work with. He eventually faded way, before re-appearing on Smackdown to a sudden push into the Bragging Rights team in 2010. Again, no real follow-through, and he faded away. No programs, no angles, just “Here I am!”.

No wonder he ended up on NXT and Superstars. And while he did finally get angles and programs there, it wasn’t the wide audience that TV benefits the average Raw or Smackdown star. So, while he found his stride, only a small percentage of fans saw it. It left his random Raw/SD appearances with little meaning or importance, especially after losing to Ryback for a month or two straight, even as a team with Hawkins.

So he left. Now, he never came out and said it was because of the lack of push, but let’s all admit that we were thinking it has something to do with it. Don’t lie.

With that in mind, it’s time to run up and down the card, and list the guys who’d be better asking for their release as well. Maybe it’s to quit wrestling altogether. Maybe it’s to ply their trade in ROH, TNA or Japan. Either way, the following talents have reached their limit in WWE, and won’t exceed it without at least a little experience elsewhere.

Yoshi Tatsu

We have to face it. While Vince Russo was an ignoramus when saying Americans want to watch other Americans… it’s not untrue. Maybe not the majority, but there is still a segment of WWE’s US audience that won’t give the same attention to a Japanese star as they deserve. In fact, there’s obviously someone in WWE that is hesitant to push Yoshi, because he’s not had a single angle since debuting. Well, none on TV. NXT had him become more aggressive and feud with Tyson Kidd. That obviously didn’t pan out. He hasn’t been included in the current NXT, and he hasn’t been on TV except for Superstars. He hasn’t had an opportunity in a tag team either. He’s been completely wasted.

Let him go back to Japan. His WWE recognition will help his income when he goes back home. It won’t help him in ROH, DGUSA, or TNA, but return to the land where Tensai apparently came from would be a welcome change.

Derrick Bateman

While credit must be given to him for doing his best to launch a new character by using YouTube in the same fashion as Zack Ryder did to extend his own, it’s obvious it will be for naught. He obviously has a personality that transcends television screens, but WWE hasn’t taken advantage of it. Heel or face, he can make the crowd care. It just won’t happen. NXT was a great showcase of what he can do if given an opportunity, and his interactions with Katelyn, Johnny Curtis, and various others have all shown that he stands out amongst the generic NXT guys who had no persona or charisma. Even if he were to be promoted to the main roster with a tag partner, I think the damage is done.

His options? Not many. He doesn’t have the star power to really make an impact in TNA, and he doesn’t have the outstanding skills to draw much attention among the international independent federations. I think that he either needs to transition into a personality for WWE, like a commentator or interviewer, or maybe find another profession.

Primo and Epico

Their tag careers never took off. Is there anything they do that makes them special for a singles career? Nope. Carlito was the top Colon for WWE as he had more personality and charisma. Even though the remaining Colons are above average performers in the ring, they don’t engage the audience while showcasing their skills. I think WWE has mistreated them by not giving them the proper amount of time to develop their personas, as they aren’t lacking personality. They’ve been another in the long line of non-American stereotypes, and have been pigeon-holed since.

Thankfully, they will always have WWC to return to back home to, where Carlito is still involved. They also have more than enough ability to make a splash in some of the independents across the US, perhaps even Japan.

Zack Ryder

This is a hard one to mention, because I had such high hopes for him last year. But it’s so desperately obvious that he is too much of a project in the making. There’s nothing wrong with that in theory, but WWE is just not the place to have that. He’s not a strong enough wrestler to really deserve a push higher than his current position (though I would be swayed into keeping him were he packaged in a tag team). He’s someone that has a great chemistry with the audience right this second, but no real direction to push him with it. He’s got the gimmick, but not the experience and talent. So, what are his options?

This is one of the few WWE guys who SHOULD go to TNA. TNA would take advantage of him right away, and he’d flourish. TNA is a great breeding ground for newer talents. He wouldn’t fit the mold of American indies, but TNA would put him on TV, and make him TV champion. And he’d be great at it. He could change his name to Isaac Raider, and still be over. And he’d be given the freedom to work with WWE type talent, and gain experience that way. And, after 2 years with the company, he should be welcomed again. By then, social media will have evolved, and he’ll have another method to interact with the WWE Universe that isn’t available today. And he could steamroll the movement. And the time away would allow him to mature in several ways. He’s a WWE product, so learning wrestling outside of HHH-land will do nothing but benefit the guy. And his return can still be the goofy guy, but he can compete at a higher level, and become a threat unlike he is now.

And on that note, peace out.

Feel free to email me a comment (Email PEN15). One of the best parts of writing is the discussions that come out of it. My hope is that your response could be used in a column to publicly discuss your comments.
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