For years the WWE has been reliant on their big stars to drive their product. Guys like Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock and John Cena. It’s safe to say the the WWE has not had a wrestler reach the heights of the men previously mentioned. Roman Reigns was close, but he was rejected by the fans.
I still think there is a chance Reigns could be the guy, especially if he is able to come back to the ring after defeating leukemia. Which is what I am hoping to hear later tonight on RAW. I don’t think that Reigns has the mic skills that a Hogan, Rock or Cena had, and his character was/is too laid back to be the one WWE looks to as it’s franchise guy.
I think Reigns is going to come back and be “The Top Dog” once again, but I don’t think he will be the Hogan, Austin or Cena that the WWE has relied on in years past. So if not Reigns then who? Who will be the WWE’s next franchise star? I can tell you who WWE would like it to be… Charlotte Flair, Brock Lesnar or Ronda Rousey.
Lets face it, Charlotte could be a franchise star, but she is way to good as a heel to be the one the entire WWE universe could get behind. Rousey and Lesnar are not what fans want either. Rousey, probably is not going to be wrestling long term and clearly Brock Lesnar doesn’t want a full time schedule.
WWE’s next franchise star has to be someone that will be a regular week in and week out. I am not sure who that is. I don’t think it’s Seth Rollins and I don’t think it’s Becky Lynch. I think they are currently what fans want to see , but I don’t think either of them will be come franchise stars.
I am looking through the roster at names like Finn Balor, AJ Styles, New Day, Braun Strowman, Daniel Bryan, Drew McIntyre, Elias, Kevin Owens, The Miz, Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, Rusev, Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura. None of those names scream next big star to me. Don’t get me wrong, all great in the ring, but not Hogan, Austin or Cena great.
So I decided to look at the NXT roster and see names of up and comers like Pete Dunne, Shayna Baszler, Tommaso Ciampa, Velveteen Dream, Adam Cole, Aleister Black, Johnny Gargano, Lars Sullivan, Matt Riddle, Ricochet, Tyler Bate and Roderick Strong. Possibly, with a few tweaks to some of the characters, a couple of those names may be someone to watch for.
I don’t really see anyone on the current roster being the next franchise star. Don’t get me wrong, I like the talent coming up, Adam Cole, Velveteen Dream and Matt Riddle are guys who all have a lot of charisma. But I don’t know if it’s enough charisma to be the next franchise star. So if none of the people on the current roster then, who?
Truthfully I have not idea. Wrestling is different now and like Daniel Bryan said, fans are fickle, myself included. I never really was a fan of Hogan during his prime, but I would still root for him. While in WCW, Sting was the franchise, and though he wasn’t my favorite I still rooted for him.
There are not any wrestlers on the roster with that type of charisma anymore. Austin and Rock were both so good, that even if they were not your favorite, you still cheered for them because they were cool…Cena and Reigns, not so much. They were supposed to be the top baby face in WWE, but often heard more boo’s than cheers.
I will be the first to tell you that I have booed these guys more than cheered them. I think because their rise felt pushed and not organic, like that of Steve Austin or The Rock. It’s also the era, it was easier to get over in the attitude era due to less restrictions. Austin and Rock could go out to the ring and say whatever they wanted.
Cena may have had more liberties when it came to the microphone than Reigns. But Cena was sugar coated due to the PG era. I don’t think WWE will ever let wrestlers have the freedom that they did in the late nineties. Which is why I believe the next big name in wrestling will come outside of WWE.
I would keep an eye on a few guys in AEW. I feel like AEW is going to allow real personalities to come through and creativity to flourish. Look out for wrestlers like Adam Page, MJF and Kenny Omega. If AEW plays its cards right and books these wrestlers in a way that gets fans behind them, then the sky is the limit.
If I had to pick someone right now to be “the one” I would have to say … um … I would say … I have no idea. A year ago I would have said Braun Strowman, but they had him turn heel in the summer/fall of 2018 and it killed any and all momentum he had. If it were not for that heel turn I think he would be going after Lesnar at WrestleMania.
WWE is in a weird place right now. It feels like if we were to pull back the curtain during a Monday night RAW we would see writers and producers scrambling to put a three hour show together. RAW feels a lot like WCW Nitro circa 2000. And I just had an epiphany. What if wrestling’s next big star isn’t any one person, but a faction.
A faction like the Four Horseman, DX, nWo or Aces and Eights. The faction could come in and make RAW great again. Maybe a group of former champions such as Orton, Styles, Ziggler and Kevin Owens. It’s a long shot, but I’m desperate for someone or something to make RAW great again.
What are your thoughts on who could be the next franchise of WWE? Is it one person or is it a faction? Be sure to check out GoHomePWB.com on Wednesday for the weekly top ten and as always thanks for checking out GoHomePWB.com, the people’s wrestling blog!