Randy Orton/Injuries – One Step Down
Randy Orton's out. CM Punk's still out. John Cena just said in an interview he's banged up pretty good. I'm aware Cena is fine, but I'm sure Vince is glad he's working with Ziggler right now. He can't afford another major injury.
The WWE landscape heading into the new year is an interesting one. Despite the numerous year-end columns debating who might be next year's breakout stars, no one can ever know for sure. Things change at a rapid pace in the "E".
Dolph is an easy one to guess, but his name is still "Dolph Ziggler". Will that ultimately be what keeps him from truly breaking his career open? I don't necessarily think so, but you never know.
Ryback, Barrett, Cesaro, Sandow – newer stars that could be called on at any moment.
Alberto Del Rio is still hanging around, in case anyone forgot.
Daniel Bryan is a breakout mega-star from earlier this year. Maybe Vince could go back to him before pulling the trigger on someone unproven. I sure wouldn't mind.
One thing we should all agree on is that there's not enough room at the top for everyone. At least, not in just one calendar year. And in the WWE, the cream doesn't necessarily rise to the top always. It often takes a ton of help from the pen, great timing, and even luck.
One thing is for sure though – the injuries at the top provide openings and opportunity for any of the stars I mentioned above. Even without the injuries, every new year presents an opportunity for an unexpected (or expected, I guess) talent to make it "his" year. We'll see who we're talking about 365 days from now.
And yes, I'm aware I left Dean Ambrose off this list. Not yet. Not next year. Maybe not ever…
Have a news tip? Attended an event and want to send a live report?