Re: Backstage Talk About WWE Grooming Top New Guy
Sheamus is "the bridge." He's not being built up to take over for Cena. He's not going to be the long-term top babyface. Let's not forget how they pushed him with unbridled alacrity with not a moment to lose. He was pushed as fast and as hard as possible, even given the WWE Championship before the audience had the chance to remotely get to know him. He's not designed to be a top guy for long. At best, he'll be the stopgap, the bridge between Cena whenever Cena turns heel and the next top babyface who rises up. He could theoretically occupy the top dog role due to circumstance for a while. A year, eighteen months, maybe two years, no more. He could be to the transitional era what Shawn Michaels was from 1996-1997 or Triple H from 2003-2005. But overall, Sheamus is meant to be a #2/#3/#4 guy, depending on how strong the roster is. He will not be the next #1 star, the "face of WWE," at least certainly not for long.
Vince McMahon has always been rather consistent when it comes to Ryback. He views him as the next #2 babyface of WWE. So, he's going to be huge, and unless there's a Magnum T.A. situation, it's going to happen. But Ryback is a monster, a brute, a beast. WWE, especially in the last 20 years or so, has wanted their truly top protagonist babyface to be more easily empathized with than a monster generally is. But Ryback will be a figurative monster as well as a literal and physical one, and he's on the road to becoming the next era's Batista. But he won't be #1 for the aforementioned reasons. Of course, there's always the possibility he won't reach what Vince wants and the other, somewhat more farfetched possibility that he even surpasses that expectation and desire from Vince, but for now he's doubtless going to be plugged in as the #2 star at some point in the near future.
Alex Riley most certainly possesses "the look," but he remains a long shot due to a legion of missteps. After a self-elimination from a Royal Rumble match, being unable to lift himself up for Jack Swagger on Raw and for Tensai at numerous house shows earlier this year, a DUI, talking back to Cena... He's going to have to earn their trust. He does have potential due to his look and raw connection with the fans.
But "the look" is a significant matter; if Daniel Bryan looked like Alex Riley, he'd be set as perhaps the new face of the company. But he doesn't and perhaps you could argue that if Bryan did look like Riley, he could not have enjoyed the avenue of success he has this year, too. Bryan is going more the Kurt Angle/Chris Jericho route and there is nothing wrong with that. He's still astonishingly over.
In developmental, there are candidates ranging from Adam Mercer to Bo Dallas to Roman Reigns to Seth Rollins and many others. But you can't fully evaluate any of these men until they have at least logged some time on the main roster.