Predicting the Next Crop of WWE Main Event Superstars
The year 2013 has seen the rise of Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes and The Shield to prominent roles in World Wrestling Entertainment. All six Superstars have appeared in main events, both on pay-per-view and television, and have been involved in the top angle of the second-half of the year.
With so much excitement surrounding the main event newcomers, it is natural to take a look at the main and developmental rosters to discover the next crop of main event Superstars.
Who has the most potential to be the next Bryan, Rhodes, Reigns, Rollins or Ambrose? Who has the potential to spend the next decade collecting championships and main eventing PPVs?
Here is a look at the men (and woman) who have what it takes to rise to the top spots in WWE.
Antonio Cesaro is a wrestler on an elite level. His pure wrestling skills are match only by a few of today's Superstars and his intensity, most observed in a NXT match against Leo Kruger, has gone largely untapped on WWE television.
His most glaring weakness has been his lack of ability to verbally connect with the audience. In the past, he has shown that he can get the audience to invest themselves in a match. His inability to sell the match to the audience during its build, however, would limit how far up the proverbial ladder he would go.
Now, as a member of the Real American tag team, Cesaro has been able to thrive as a worker while manager Zeb Colter has handled the promo work.
As fans and critics are bearing witness to on today's WWE programming, the extent to which Cesaro succeeds at any level in WWE is directly linked to whether or not he has a manager to help garner heat.
If he splits from Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter, which is highly likely considering the company's inconsistent booking of tag teams, he will fall back into the same spot he was left in around WrestleMania of this year, when he was aimlessly wondering around Raw and SmackDown, delivering outstanding performances but losing to nearly everyone he faced.
He needs that added element of a manager, of someone that will put over how special a talent Cesaro is before he gets in the ring and backs those words up.
There are very few performers that come along that have the technical wrestling ability that Cesaro does. It would be a shame for management to maximize his potential by helping to recognize his one weakness and go about masking it.
Cesaro is a main event talent with a jobber's promo skills. Help him and the company could have on their hands a Superstar that is one day mentioned in the same breath as legendary wrestlers like Bret Hart, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle and Eddie Guerrero.
The leader of the Wyatt Family is reminiscent of the iconic Undertaker in that he has a presence about him that immediately captures the attention of the audience. When he steps through the curtain or appears on a pre-taped video package, fans sit up and pay attention.
Also similar to the Dead Man is the third-generation performer's total immersion into the Wyatt persona. He plays the character with such conviction and dedication that it is easy for fans to buy into what they are seeing.
Wyatt's promo abilities are his strength at this point but his matches against Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston have shown a big man that can move with great quickness and possesses a unique move set that he can build on as he enjoys expanded ring time in the coming months.
At least 50 percent of success in professional wrestling is based on performance. One of the greatest performers in the history of the sport is the Fabulous Freebirds' Michael "PS" Hayes. He was a less-than stellar in-ring worker but he was an outstanding entertainer that knew his role and executed to perfection for three decades
In today's WWE, there are few performers more exciting, engaging, interesting and entertaining than Bray Wyatt. He is head and shoulders above Superstars that have been on the roster for half of a decade in terms of performance and presence and that alone will carry him further than just being a really good worker.
There are plenty of really good wrestlers on today's WWE roster but there is only one Bray Wyatt.
When his ring work matches his level of performance as an entertainer, the company will has a star with unlimited potential on its hands.
Big E. Langston
When Big E. Langston made his debut last December, fans had flashbacks to other musclebound Superstars that had come through the door at WWE and walked back out in rapid succession.
Luther Reigns, Snitsky, Heidenreich, Ezkiel Jackson and Mason Ryan all looked like a million bucks but none were particularly strong workers, nor did they have the charisma to mask their in-ring deficiencies.
Most were ready for the jacked Langston to follow suit but those same fans were surprised when the former power lifter showed great quickness, athleticism and agility, not to mention solid work rate, that those with his build typically are not associated with.
Matches against Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and John Cena have proven that he is a talented worker. The biggest question surrounding the 5'11'', 290-pound Superstar, however, is his promo ability.
The few chances he has had to speak on Raw or SmackDown were a mixed bag, at best. Some of his promos were solid and showed off his personality but others were so bizarre and over-the-top that they essentially cancelled each other out.
His Twitter account is typically funny and entertaining and if he could ever make the humor and sarcasm that he displays there translate to a live television setting, the company would feel even more confident about their young, budding star.
Of everyone on this list, Sandow is the most complete performer and the Superstar most ready to be a main event star right now.
Despite his less-than stellar win-loss record, Sandow has worked with top stars such as John Cena and Randy Orton and has never looked out of place sharing the ring with them. He is a strong worker with a decent move set who takes a cerebral approach to every match.
Everything he does has a purpose and makes sense within the context of the match.
Add to his above average in-ring work his outstanding promo skills and you have a performer that has all of the tools Vince McMahon looks for in one of his main event attractions.
But that does not end Sandow's positives.
On the October 11 episode of SmackDown, he demonstrated an ability to work as a babyface during an outstanding match against World Heavyweight champion Alberto Del Rio. Early in the bout, fans seemed unsure of who to pledge their allegiances to but Sandow won them over, displayed superb in-ring charisma in the process.
So not only does Sandow possess great in-ring and mic skills, he can also play hero and villain, something only a handful of stars can do effectively.
There is a reason he was awarded the Money in the Bank briefcase. Now, after passing every test given to him, there is reason to believe he will break through the glass ceiling and become WWE's newest main event star.
No NXT Superstar has made as big an impact as quickly as Sami Zayn.
Garnering a glistening reputation for himself on the independent circuit as El Generico, it was no secret that Zayn was a highly talented wrestler. What was in question was if his size, or lack thereof, would adversely affect him in the eyes of management.
The answer, at least thus far, has been a resounding "no."
Zayn has competed against some of WWE's most talented midcard stars, including Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger, and has become the unquestioned top babyface in the developmental brand.
His rivalry with NXT champion Bo Dallas has turned him into one of wrestling's hottest commodities.
With a unique charisma that makes him immediately likable, Zayn has a tremendous upside may be recognized with a spot on the main roster sooner rather than later.
There has been a ton of hype surrounding the self-proclaimed Anti-Diva, Paige.
At only 21 years-old, she has rapidly developed a reputations as an outstanding in-ring worker that is head and shoulders above any other female performer on either NXT or WWE programming.
The daughter of two professional wrestlers, Paige has been the object of fans' attention for just over two years. She is different from what the WWE Universe has come to expect from Divas, both in terms of her look and her ability and fans have impatiently awaited her call up to the main roster.
Her current storyline involving fellow babyface Diva and heel duo Summer Rae and Sasha Banks has made for interesting and entertaining television and proven that a Diva-exclusive rivalry can succeed in today's wrestling landscape.
A supremely talented female worker, Paige has the ability to affect WWE programming in the same way that AJ Lee did in 2012, when she became one of the most popular stars in the industry and one of the company's featured stars.