THE RAGER! Who’s Next? (Ryback, Big E Langston, Seth Rollins)

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I had a conversation on twitter (follow us @CRAttire) over who SHOULD be the next guy once Cena-mania has faded or retires. Now, Cena isn’t exactly old, losing momentum with the youngins or planning on hanging it up anytime soon, however Vince has been reportedly looking for a Cena heir-apparent for when that time comes. So with that being said, this guy is probably in the company already but probably should still be in their 20s in case it takes a little longer for the Cena train to pass. So what I’ve done here is gathered 20 wrestlers that’s still in their 20s (and Ryback) and how likely it will be that they can get over or if I like them (because let’s be honest, my opinion counts the most). The names are in no particular order except for…

1. Ryback (Age 31)
I start with this man because everyone has speculated that he is THE guy and why shouldn’t he be? He’s got the body that Vince is in love with and he’s already over with the fans (at least before they put him against Cena the past couple weeks). The only thing drawing him back now would be his age because I think the only way Cena is no longer the focus of the company is the day he retires and he might already be 35-36 (roughly the same age as Cena right now). That would give Ryback a very small window as the undisputed “guy” and merchandising will not be a fan of that.

2. Big E Langston (Age 27)
My personal favorite out of the bunch, Big E has the Vince body plus a great personality that the internet can (and has) really get behind making him a great candidate that everyone can enjoy. Of course, I would like to see more ring work out of him before I can rule him as the perfect candidate for the job, but as we’ve seen with Cena, ring work isn’t necessarily required for this job. He’s like a Bobby Lashley with a brain.

3. Bo Dallas (Age 22)
He’s only on here because of his age although some seem to really be behind this guy. He has a solid outing in this year’s Rumble, I’ll give him that, but I didn’t see much in him afterwards which isn’t entirely his fault. His thing against Wade Barrett was never really allowed to get off the ground with Mania coming around. Somebody see’s something in this guy for him to have been called up this young.

4. Brad Maddox (Age 28)
I’m still unsure what WWE wants to do with him. Is he a new version of Matt Striker? A guy that wanted to wrestle but never got a lot of ring momentum but could talk? Is WWE gonna give him a chance in the ring or are they keeping him as a personality out of the ring?

5. Camacho (Age 29)
Well a list that’s “19 wrestlers in their 20s” isn’t as catchy, is it?

6. Cody Rhodes (Age 27)
He was brought up to WWE at a very young age and that’s the only similarity between he and Randy Orton because it’s taken him forever to get WWE behind him. He’s been shuffling around the mid-card the last few years and every time he gets some sort of momentum, WWE passes. He had a ton of momentum after his 2011-2012 Intercontinental title run but, unfortunately for him, Dolph Ziggler also had some momentum and didn’t get Money in the Bank. There’s still time for him to gain some interest but he’s reportedly not happy after his match at WM29 was cut so it may be a while before he gets that push.

7. Curt Hawkins (Age 27)
Making the list as a technicality, I’m surprised he’s still with the company. Another person that came into the company early, had a small amount of success and has been treading ever since. Not saying it’s his fault or anything, WWE just has a reputation of not allowing decent talent on the main shows.

8. Dean Ambrose (Age 27)
I’m not exactly sure if he would be a good choice as the top good guy, I see him as more of the perfect nemesis of the top good guy. Everything about Ambrose screams evil genius and WWE fans are beginning to see more and more of that with his time in The Shield. This guys will be the big Anti-Hero/Heel.

9. Drew McIntyre (Age 27)
Somehow 3MB saved his career, even if for only a short time. WWE obviously had high hopes for him but didn’t bother to give him much of a character and fell completely flat and never seemed to rebound from that. Don’t get it wrong, 3MB is terrible and I don’t see them lasting all that long as well as his contract.

10. Heath Slater (Age 29)
Just no.

11. The Usos (Ages 26)
The non-DUI one might have a chance.

12. Jinder Mahal (Age 26)
It’s a shame he was saddled with the typical Middle-Eastern gimmick when he was first called up, from what I hear from my Canadian friends, he’s a great talent. He’s the silent, awkward one in 3MB for the time being but who knows how long that’ll last.

13. JTG (Age 28)
Hahahahahahahaha No.

14. Roman Reigns (Age 27)
Seems to be a good “silent but deadly” type to me and it helps to be related to Rock, in Vince’s eyes. From a personality standpoint, I don’t see fans being able to get behind him but, then again, Randy is a robot and the ladies and kids still love him anyway. I don’t see him as THE top guy but I do see him as a solid #2.

15. Seth Rollins (Age 26)
I think Rollins can absolutely be THE guy in this company and do so with actually good ring work. It would help with my “Ambrose, the Evil Nemesis” scenario and even with Roman as a #2 guy. I think he’s got the look, the ability and the personality. The only thing he has against him is he doesn’t look like Hulk (the green one, not the orange one).

16. Zack Ryder (Age 27)
He definitely has a mind for the business (in-ring and marketing), now if he can stay out of his own way and stop complaining and blaming everyone but himself, we may have something.

17. Bray Wyatt (Age 25)
He definitely won’t be a top face as his current character but holy crap do I dig what he’s been doing in NXT.

18. Richie Steamboat (Age 25)
I’m not too familiar with him, myself, and people that are seem to be only hot or cold about the guy. If he’s got anything going for him, it would be his lineage and that seems to be enough to push some guys these days.

19. Ricardo Rodriguez (Age 27)
Never have I seen fans get behind a manager-type figure while simultaneously hating the wrestler he’s connected to. I’m still in the firm belief that WWE turned Del Rio just because Ricardo was so over with the fans. I’m excited for WWE to finally let him wrestling for real real and not for play play.

20. El Local (Age 27)
See Above.

The Final Verdict: I’m really torn between Big E and Seth Rollins. If I had to put myself in Vince’s shoes, I know he’ll be more likely to go with Big E because muscles. I would be fine with either choice and I think most everyone else would be too. You can place your arguments/bets below.

That does it for me, be sure to read Joel Leonard’s No Chance this week as Rhett Davis and myself join him on predicting what matches we’ll see at Wrestlemania 30. Once you’re done with that, you can click over to the Classy Ring Attire podcast later in the week and the 3 of us will go further in-depth on our predictions.

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Chris is a writer from Fayetteville, NC. He's the co-creator of Irrelevant But Awesome Productions which produces podcasts you all know and love like Classy Ring Attire, Trashy Ring Attire and The Disney Magic Podcast. You can keep up with everything on twitter by following @IBAStudios and @CWSanders39