Back then, it was rare to see the bigger names wrestle on television. In 1988, Hulk Hogan wrestled less than ten times on free television and Andre the Giant was even less frequent than that. Now you might see someone wrestle that often inside of two months. The bigger names dominate Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live as people just aren’t going to watch the lower midcarders or a middle of the road tag team for very long. That might be due to the fact that WWE has never had a more defined tier system (not a good thing) than it does right now but that’s a topic for a different time.
The point is that there are a lot of wrestlers who just don’t get much TV time despite being talented people who could catch some fire if they were just given the chance. Instead those people are either left on the sidelines for weeks and months at a time under the banner of “creative has nothing for you” (sidebar: If creative can’t come up with something for the wrestlers, shouldn’t it be time to find fresh creative, as it’s their job to come up with stuff?) or they’re just on television for the sake of being put into a match against bigger names with nothing better to do. There’s another aspect to it as well though.
This Sunday at Money in the Bank 2018, Carmella beat Asuka (I could go on about that one for a long time too) with the help of the returning James Ellsworth. You remember Ellsworth right? He’s the clueless schmuck who somehow beat AJ Styles a few times and then was paired with Carmella for reasons that still aren’t clear. Then he acted like he was a dog for a little while before being released to go and use his ex-WWE status to make a very nice living on the independent circuit (certainly not a bad thing mind you).
Brilliance! Pure brilliance!
Well this Sunday he was back, and while I didn’t care in particular as Ellsworth is just a person with a unique look who happens to be a wrestler, the following night’s Monday Night Raw got on my nerves all over again. That night, Chad Gable (with no entrance of course) lost to Jinder Mahal in a short match. Later in the evening the Revival were trotted out for another uneventful match where they were beaten down by Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley in a contest to determine whose spear was more impressive (I’ll leave you to make your own jokes).
Let’s jump over to the List of WWE Personnel Wikipedia page for a second and look at the names on the roster. Tell me, what is the last significant thing that the following people did on the main shows:
Authors of Pain
Andrade Cien Almas
Any of the cruiserweights
If you count the cruiserweights, that’s around THIRTY names who aren’t on the injured list yet are almost never doing anything significant or noteworthy on Monday Night Raw or SmackDown Live. On Monday Night Raw, Gable took a loss to Mahal less than two and a half minutes. You can’t trot out 49 year old Goldust or 46 year old R-Truth for the same loss? They’re known as guys who aren’t going to win anything so why waste the potential of someone else on the main roster?
The same thing is true for Ellsworth. Again, with nearly THIRTY PEOPLE doing nothing, WWE feels the need to bring in someone else to the payroll just to play the role of a lackey? Curt Hawkins has lost 203 matches in a row. You couldn’t send him to SmackDown and say that he’s doing this now because he’s worried about losing his job? Geez have him do his funny entrances for Carmella to add some flavor to her not as good as Alexa Bliss ripoff character. You can’t bring out the Ascension to lose to Reigns and Lashley? Were they too busy wondering where it all went wrong?
Because this is what the world was waiting for.
I mean, why did this just NEED to be Ellsworth? Is it just because he and Carmella were together on screen for awhile? Therefore the “creative” staff has no one better to put in the same spot? Again, Heaven forbid they’re asked to create something other than half a dozen multi-man matches where they don’t have to come up with any stories. Nah instead let’s just throw the same people in the same spots because it was funny at one point and it must be again because no one ever gets tired of their HILARIOUS jokes.
Wouldn’t it make more sense to have someone bigger than Ellsworth (again, Hawkins would fit the bill perfectly) be drawn in by her looks, talent, the title, her success or ANYTHING else you want to put together? You don’t have to explain who someone is yet since they never do anything, they get to have a fresh story that might move them forward a bit. WWE must have seen something in these people to sign them, yet for some reason the solution is to bring in more people instead of just using the talent that they already have signed.
But no, those losses just had to be the 32 year old Olympian who can talk a great game in Gable, the greatest tag team in NXT history where the older member is 33 and the lackey spot just had to be “haha he was funny that one time” Ellsworth instead of someone already around. It’s such a waste of all this talent that you have sitting around to just bring them out on Main Event or for dark matches. What’s the point in keeping them around? Find some indy guy who can take a bump and give them $500 a night instead. It has to be cheaper long term.
And you might pull out a gem like this one.
Does WWE just not have the best memory when it comes to these people? Do the unused wrestler just hide in the locker room out of the fear that they might wind up being used as a family member in another HILARIOUS in-ring segment? Well apparently WWE is just fine paying all these people to sit around doing nothing until they’re needed for another idea to get Roman Reigns over (and you can tell it’s working as they’re only booing him out of the building now instead of booing him halfway to the next state).
For some reason, WWE doesn’t care about what its wrestlers either on the main roster or down in NXT do anymore. If they’re not EXACTLY the right fit for what WWE thinks is going to be a star (and remember: WWE HIRED these people in the first place), they’re going to be either sitting on the sidelines for months at a time or dreading the phone call saying “we’ve got something for you”.
I have no idea why WWE is willing to burn through their talent like this but it gets really, really frustrating watching these people with a lot of potential being used to put over failed experiments like Mahal. But hey, maybe we can find some new hotshot rookie who can talk and wrestled IN THE OLYMPICS to job to a guy whose gimmick now seems to be “talk about peace and then beat people up”. I mean, the last time he did this he was World Champion two months later so they must be on to something this time. It’s not like WWE “creative” has ever wasted talent on repeating their BRILLIANT ideas right?
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his Amazon author page with 27 wrestling books. His latest book is the NXT: The Full Sail Years Volume III: From Dallas To New Orleans.
Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. We are proud to offer our popular Wrestling Rumors app and encourage you to download it for an optimized user experience. It is available for Android and also on iOS. Thank you for reading!