For years now I have thought about certain WWE talents who seem to have all the tools to be stars, but seem to reach a roadblock and just can't make it to the next level. They seem to have the size, ability, and even personality in some cases, but still become stagnant in WWE and go nowhere. Thinking about guys like that brought me back to the 80's and 90's when I would read about so many talents from the U.S. wrestling over in Japan. Guys like Stan Hansen, Steve Williams, Terry Gordy, The Road Warriors, and Vader became legends in Japan while still remaining huge stars in the U.S.
Then there were guys that had trouble making it in the U.S., but went to Japan and became polished and either remained stars there or came back to the U.S. entirely renewed. Even WWE's John Laurinaitis became a star in his own right as Johnny Ace in Japan after not doing much in the U.S. I've wondered why WWE doesn't send guys to Japan to develop further and experience the totally different style of wrestling in Japan, from the crowds to in ring style. Sometimes seeing a guy who has worked American style basic matches can seem totally different in a brutal Japanese style war.
When when news broke earlier this year that WWE had made an agreement with All Japan Pro Wrestling to exchange talent, I figured the timing was perfect to bring something fresh out of many of their stagnant talents. Below I've comprised a list of the top 5 talents that I believe could be renewed after a few months in Japan; I've chosen guys that aren't currently involved in a real storyline or doing anything of note, and are mainly just seen already in the ring ready to take a beating in most of their cases.
5. Michael Mcgillicutty - Somehow the son of Mr. Perfect has been lost in the WWE shuffle. He seems to have the drive and determination, and has even openly voiced his disgust of the name he's been given instead of using his real name "Joe Hennig." His dad spent years working all over the country and it took years before the "Mr. Perfect" persona made magic. Seeing Mcgillicutty spend time working Japanese matches could be just what he needs to find his niche.
4. Ted Dibiase - Ted Dibiase is another wrestler who hasn't lived up to his dad's WWE legend just yet. He started strong in the group "Legacy" with Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes and was in a pretty high profile spot for quite a while, but every singles push he's got just doesn't seem to work. Here is another situation where we look back and must remember that Ted Dibiase Sr. worked in Japan and numerous territories in the U.S. before the magic of the "Million Dollar Man" hit, his son seemingly needs a bit of the same treatment.
3. Alex Riley - In the case of Alex Riley going to Japan, it would be a do or die situation. Riley has been with WWE for years, even before being on TV and in the developmental system. His highest point was being The Miz's lackey, and then showing some fire in the feud that followed. Instead of Riley wasting away in WWE, being sent to Japan could at least see if anything else could develop. The guy has charisma, decent size, but just hasn't clicked.
2. Brodus Clay - Let's face it, the dancing happy big guy act has a life span, and we're already seeing the evidence of it. Clay had some buzz going in the beginning because of the over the top character, but now he's being defeated by Heath Slater. The comedy can only go so far, so what better place to Japan to see a huge guy with some speed and agility develop into something more than Japan. Guys like Bam Bam Bigelow, Vader, and of course Andre the Giant big men that were icons in Japan, and Brodus Clay could be looked at in similar fashion if sent to the far east.
1. Jack Swagger - And finally, the number 1 guy I think could benefit from a stay in Japan is Jack Swagger. Swagger was pushed at the beginning and has the athletic background, size, and ability to be a star, yet something isn't clicking for him anymore in WWE. Swagger has a background in amateur wrestling, just like guys like Dr. Death Steve Williams that had huge success in Japan. Swagger even utilizes some of the same moves as "Doc," and could probably develop a similar killer instinct if he spent time working the Japanese "strong style." For once being a World Champion, Swagger has fallen off the charts and is probably the guy with the most potential that needs a re-charge.
So what do you think? I believe these 5 talents could be completely renewed just like the old days of guys going over to Japan and becoming stars. Hopefully WWE does have a deal with All Japan that could see moves like this happen. Who do you think could benefit from a stay in the Japanese wrestling world?