To continue with the “Land of the Underutilized” which is the WWE, we move on to SmackDown LIVE. If you missed the Raw talent that has been treated poorly, make sure to take a look. SmackDown LIVE was at one time called the “Land of Opportunity”. Now, it has even more underutilized talent than the three hours show on Monday Nights. Yet, the higher ups of the WWE insist to give Raw stars a chance on the blue brand rather than their own, leaving SmackDown to be seen more poorly than Raw some weeks.
Coming out of the Superstar Shake-Up, SmackDown LIVE clearly won the yearly event. The handful of talent that is now suffering on the sidelines of the blue brand could easily be on TV, creating compelling television while building their characters and putting on jaw-dropping matches. Without saying too much, let us take a look at those wrestlers who should be utilized on SmackDown LIVE.
Land of the Underutilized: Aleister Black
“The Dutch Destroyer” has been pleading for weeks that someone, anyone picks a fight with him. Aleister Black should no longer be in the back cutting promos. He should be in the ring, fading his opponents to black. Black was hot out of the gates when he was finally called up to the main roster, surely becoming a fan favorite as you could see his mystique was doing enough to grab the crowd. The cool entrance, the incredible wrestling ability, and an aura about him that no other current day star even comes close to. Do not miss the opportunity that is clear with Aleister Black. Get someone to pick a fight with him. Put him in a main feud right out the gates to establish the big game player that Black should and must become. Fade the SmackDown LIVE roster to black, unleash the Black Mass.
Land of the Underutilized: Ali
Wrestlers that show their true selves and are real with the audience can lead to so much success for the respective company and the performer himself. That is where Ali comes in. There is not a better soul, a better self-made story to tell than the story of Ali. That, and he is truly incredible at the whole pro wrestling thing. Fans are beginning to see Ali as a hero, while Ali just wants to be seen as a human being looking out for others. The former Chicago policeman is chasing the light and wants to bring fans with him. His story only continues to tell itself. From missing the Elimination Chamber, which led to Kofi Kingston’s incredible rise, to Ali being the incredible person he is, it is impossible to boo this man. WWE has to get Ali on the TV and not just once in a while. Ali deserves to be in a main role because his story is worthy of being told and fans should chase the light with him. Don’t believe me? Watch the video below. There is a real reason to make the “Land of Underutilized” be known. Why? Because Ali is at the top of that list and it is time to let Ali chase the light that continues to have obstacles placed in that chase. Ali is a future champion doing all he can to create his own opportunity.
.@AliWWE will protect you, defend you, and fight for you.
— WWE (@WWE) June 23, 2019
Land of the Underutilized: Asuka & Kairi Sane
For Asuka, this dates to before she won the SmackDown Women’s Championship. Asuka is simply one of the best women wrestlers in the company, but truthfully one of the best wrestlers overall. Unfortunately, she has not gotten enough exposure despite her greatness. Add in Kairi Sane, whose gentle manner captures the hearts as she sets sail on her way to hopeful success on the main roster. Since Paige presented the two as the Kabuki Warriors, it has been difficult to find time on television for this fun, yet dominant team. It seems as though these two are the ones to hopefully beat The IIconics for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships, but it is difficult to assume anything with this company. Get the Pirate Princess and the Empress of Tomorrow back on television, whether it is together or as singles, because either of those two feuding with Bayley is something we would all love to see.
Land of the Underutilized: Buddy Murphy
Much like Cedric Alexander, Buddy Murphy was moved from 205 Live to a regular show to compete with the top stars of the company. Murphy is an incredible in-ring performer who should be on TV week in and week out. As much as this company wants to call themselves “Sports Entertainment”, in the end, it is still professional wrestling. And what Buddy Murphy has proved to be is an awesome professional wrestler. While pushing him to the top to face Kofi Kingston may be a force by myself, thinking of a rivalry between Murphy and Finn Balor would be a must watch match for wrestling fans. Or maybe one step better than that. Laying down the challenge to Aleister Black, who has been waiting for someone to knock on his door looking for a fight. What a rivalry that could be. Allow Buddy Murphy to show what he does best.
Land of the Underutilized: Ember Moon
Ember Moon is awesome. There is absolutely no reason that Ember Moon should not be competing for the SmackDown Women’s Championship while a Raw wrestler in Alexa Bliss does. Bayley has made the statement she wants to give the women of SmackDown LIVE an opportunity to fight for a championship. Now the higher ups must see what they have in Ember Moon so that this match can happen. Since being called up to the main roster, it has become impossible for Ember to get a real chance it feels. While she did suffer from injury earlier this year, she is healthy and ready to go. It appears she is on her way to a feud with Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose. Hopefully, this is the start of seeing Ember back in the ring and on her way to a championship opportunity.
Land of the Underutilized: Harper
People have probably gotten sick of writers and podcasters singing the praises of Harper and making it be known that he should be a factor on WWE television, but it is something that needs to be said until he can do what he loves. Harper put out on his own Twitter that he requested his release from WWE. It has been proven that he not only got denied, but his contract got months tacked on for missing time with injury. The former SmackDown Tag Team Champion was a decision away from being in a WWE Championship match at WrestleMania 33, and now has not been on TV since the SmackDown after SummerSlam last year. Luke Harper is an incredible in-ring wrestler that should be included on WWE programming. Harper has shown that he can perform in a tag team or as a single, which is why the underutilization of the man has been confusing and unacceptable for the past two years.
Land of the Underutilized: Liv Morgan
The SmackDown Women’s Champion has already read my mind. Following her victory over Alexa Bliss at Stomping Grounds on Sunday, Bayley went out of her way to call out Liv Morgan to show her what she has got since she has yet to appear on SmackDown LIVE. The unpredictable Morgan has been a part of the Riott Squad for the past two years and was moved to SmackDown to be on her own. Fans may overlook Liv Morgan when it comes to stars waiting for an opportunity, but the blue-tongued crazed wrestler can lead to compelling television. Liv has had fun with her absence from SmackDown on social media, from posting a milk carton saying “missing”, to pictures of her on the SmackDown stage but not on television. Allow Morgan to let loose and be the unique self she is. It is time for SmackDown LIVE to become SmackDown Liv once and for all.
Land of the Underutilized: Rusev
Who would have really thought that out of the whole “Rusev Day” schtick with Lana, Aiden English, and Rusev himself that Aiden English would have the best situation so many months later? English is one of the 205 Live commentators while Rusev has not been seen on TV in weeks, even months. Rusev has been looked at for years now as an underrated overall performer. He has the ability to be the serious beast of a heel, a comedic based character, or just a great wrestler, nonetheless. Rusev and Lana have spoken out multiple times about their position in the company and if they don’t start doing something with Rusev soon, some other promotion will be happy to scoop up the Bulgarian Brute. We are just a month away from Rusev’s anniversary of getting his one and only WWE Championship opportunity. He proved he can be at that level.
Land of the Underutilized: Shelton Benjamin
When Shelton Benjamin returned to the WWE back in the summer of 2017, he probably figured to have a better run than he has to this point. Still one of the most talented in-ring performers despite his age, Shelton should be a good hand to get young guys over instead of being left off TV so much. Shelton has been able to perform at a high level for a long time, and the former Intercontinental Champion would be a fitting opponent for Finn Balor for a PPV or two. It has become a shame that a vet like Shelton can be overlooked despite the mark he has left in the business and especially the company he works for. Get the man on TV.
Land of the Underutilized: Shinsuke Nakamura
NXT Champion? Yep. United States Champion? Of course. Royal Rumble Winner? You know it. On TV? Not really. NJPW legend Shinsuke Nakamura came to the states to take on a new challenge as a part of the WWE. He quickly supplanted himself as a serious threat in his first match when he faced Sami Zayn in one of the best matches in NXT history. Nakamura came to the main roster and won the Royal Rumble, setting up a matchup with AJ Styles at WrestleMania a year ago. The WWE career of Shinsuke Nakamura looked so bright, but now has not been on TV in weeks, really since WrestleMania. Nakamura has proven to be a fan favorite and capable of being in the main event scene. It is not only time to bring back the NXT version, but also bring back Shinsuke to television. Finn Balor vs Shinsuke for the Intercontinental Championship is something fans would love to see.
The “Land of the Underutilized” is a real thing. Considering that all these underutilized talents on both brands could create an incredible brand, you know there is plenty of chances being missed. Hopefully, this list begins to subtract and talents are given opportunities on TV, rather than people beginning to be added more and more.
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. Matches involving all of these talents can be watched on the WWE Network