On the last WWE Raw of 2018, Apollo Crews got an opportunity in the spotlight when he fought Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Championship. WWE needs to start giving underutilized stars like Crews more opportunities in 2019.
Apollo Crews is one of WWE’s most underutilized stars today.
He has a lethal combination of incredible strength and speed, giving him a move-set that can be rivaled by almost no one in the WWE today. On top of that, he undeniably has the physique of a star WWE would love to push.
Unfortunately for Crews, and many other stars like him, opportunities in WWE seem to come sparingly. It’s far too commonplace on Raw and SmackDown to see immensely talented competitors like Crews, Zack Ryder, or Sonya Deville get pushed down the card, or left off shows entirely.
It oftentimes seems like the company is content with that outcome too. Generally, in the past, WWE seems to have made little to no effort finding room for underutilized, but marketable, competitors that are typically left to toil away on shows like Main Event.
That’s all changed, at least for the time being, with WWE’s “fresh start.”
The new mantra driving the company’s flagship shows has been a boon for many underappreciated superstars. Naomi recently received a shot at the SmackDown Women’s Championship and Mustafa Ali rocketed to the main event scene on the blue brand as a result of the new mindset driving WWE booking.
Most recently, Apollo Crews was able to earn himself what turned out to be an intriguing and exciting Intercontinental Championship match against Dean Ambrose after winning a “fresh start” battle royal that featured other overlooked competitors like Crews and Zack Ryder.
All of these opportunities for some of WWE’s brightest and least used stars have led to some very entertaining television over the last couple weeks.
Seemingly, it’s been made clear that there is a place for these kinds of superstars to thrive in WWE’s five hours of weekly broadcast TV. It appears like many fans have overwhelmingly voiced their approval of these new opportunities as well. That’s why SmackDown and Raw need to place an emphasis on continuing to feature these sparsely-seen wrestlers in the new year.
Give superstars like Zack Ryder a chance at a real on-screen rivalry. Let extraordinary athletes like Shelton Benjamin have a run at stealing the show in matches against Rusev for the United States Championship. Set-up a storyline that prominently features wrestlers who have been stuck in supporting roles like Alicia Fox and Dana Brooke.
These are all simple to execute ideas that would give fans something they usually desire, but never get, from WWE: variety. Opportunities for these underutilized competitors can keep shows feeling fresh, with new match-ups and rivalries to make fans actually excited that Raw is three hours for example.
It may seem like a small change to ask for, but it would be one of the biggest improvements that WWE made to its programming in 2019. In fact, I would say the excitement and intrigue brought by that one simple change would be so great that the entire success of the “fresh start” initiative depends on finding room for these underutilized stars on Raw and SmackDown.