With the Royal Rumble just days away, we are conditioned to remember that there are 30 people competing to become the #1 contender with a guaranteed championship match at WrestleMania. When you also factor in the other wrestlers competing on the Royal Rumble card — currently 20 other wrestlers are scheduled in other matches — you realize that there will be at least 50 people wrestling this Sunday. Yet even without factoring in NXT, the cruiserweights and the U.K. competitors, there are plenty of people on the WWE’s main roster who we are not seeing very much of:
– The Ascension – Connor and Viktor were top NXT competitors and they were called up to the main roster with a series of squash matches in their favor. Their push derailed quickly and the duo have been floundering for well over a year. They were last seen in a Smackdown battle royal.
– Rhyno – Rhyno was also in that battle royal with The Ascension. Since losing the tag belts to The Wyatt Family, Rhyno has not had much of a storyline to work with, unfortunately.
– Breezango – Tyler Breeze and Fandango were also seen in said Smackdown battle royal. Their “fashion police” gimmick is entertaining — to me, at least — but is far from a title chase or a recurring feud.
– Curt Hawkins – Yes, another entry in that Smackdown battle royal. Curt debuted after a series of vignettes, and returned to WWE with a unique ring entrance. WWE would benefit from him being used as a trainer or a producer.
– The Vaudevillains – You guessed it: Also used in that Smackdown battle royal. They were in a title chase and did have a memorable storyline with Big Cass and Enzo Amore before the brand split. Unfortunately, Jack Gallagher seems to have stolen some of The Vaudevillains’ throwback, gentleman-oriented concept.
– Darren Young – Mr. No Days Off recently injured himself during a Main Event match with one of The Shining Stars. Best of luck to D-Young with his healing, and hopefully WWE can find something else for Bob Backlund to do in the meantime. The “Make Darren Young Great Again” vignettes lasted months, yet Darren’s push did not last more than a few weeks.
– Dana Brooke – No one can dispute the athleticism of Dana Brooke. But putting her with Charlotte did not emphasize Dana Brooke’s athleticism, given Charlotte herself does gymnastics on the way to the ring. It is unclear what Dana Brooke is up to at the moment.
– Tamina Snuka – Condolences to Tamina Snuka on the recent passing of her legendary father. Prior to that, she was out of action with an injury. It is not clear which brand she is considered a part of the roster of, however.
– The Usos – The reinvention of The Usos from smiley babyfaces to attitude-driven heels was a good thing. They were looking strong as they chased their division’s tag team titles. Currently, The Usos are little-seen on weekly programming, although we do see some Uso representation on Total Divas.
– Jack Swagger – Remember when Jack Swagger made a surprise appearance on Smackdown to announce that he was a top free agent signing? Well, I do. And I don’t remember him doing much after having an altercation with Baron Corbin. A shame given how Jack Swagger was a top guy in WWE for quite a while.
– Apollo Crews – We briefly saw Apollo Crews on Smackdown this week as he attacked Dolph Ziggler. Otherwise, he has lacked a storyline as of late. A waste of talent, to put it nicely, since his main roster call-up had quickly put him into a chase for the Intercontinental Title.
– Erick Rowan – Erick Rowan is injured, unfortunately, having been hurt right after Luke Harper had recovered. Now with Luke Harper seemingly kicked out of The Wyatt Family, and Braun Strowman being on his own, is Erick Rowan still considered a Wyatt?
– Bo Dallas – There have been plenty of pushes for Bo Dallas over the past few years. The first one was at the Royal Rumble a few years back. A few months back, he was winning enhancement matches on Raw. But lately, Bo has been missing in action.
– Curtis Axel – Curtis Axel was attacked by Bo Dallas late last year. Shortly before that, he had gotten a big babyface reaction in his hometown as he had rebranded himself with the “Skol” tag. A house show report recently had him working the “Axelmania” gear again. It is unclear which direction Curtis Axel is being taken in, but he is obviously a good hand.
– Summer Rae – Internet reports recently had Summer Rae as recovering from injury. She was drafted to Raw back in July, but she has not been seen on television since then. Hopefully she’s healed and back in action very soon.
– Sin Cara – 2016 was not such a great year for Sin Cara for a number of reasons. He was moved to the cruiserweight division, which was smart, but that only proved to be temporary as recently he has been used for enhancement purposes. Hopefully he can be put to good use again sometime soon as the WWE is in need of some strong Spanish-speaking superstars.
– The Shining Stars – Months of vignettes, a few television enhancement matches, then they themselves became enhancement talent. Strange considering the lineage that Primo and Epico come from, the number of years they have had on the roster, and how easily their gimmick can get heat in most of the world.
– Eva Marie – Eva Marie had a few weeks of bowing out right before her match started on Smackdown, which got the heat it needed. Then came a Wellness Policy violation, then came a few movies for her to act in. Total Divas aside, Eva Marie has been off television for months.
– Kane – We saw a few Kane appearances on television in late 2016, but he has not been part of a notable storyline in quite a while. My money would be on him appearing in this year’s Royal Rumble.
– Mark Henry – Similar scenario as Kane. We saw Mark Henry as WWE’s ambassador to the Summer Olympics, but he has not been wrestling much on television. It would be a shame if Mark Henry’s current contract was his last before retirement, given the lack of a proper farewell. He also has plenty to offer the company on the microphone.
It’s unclear what the proper solution to all of this is — e.g. NXT call-downs, another show like Main Event, less utilization of part-timers on Raw and Smackdown — but on the bright side, there is tremendous roster depth within WWE in 2017.