7 Superstars Who’ve Had Less World Title Shots Than James Ellsworth
With AJ Styles atop the pile on Smackdown Live, and, arguably, the entire wrestling world, he understandably needed a strong challenger to compete against for his WWE World Championship. Step forward James Ellsworth. In a few short weeks the chinless wonder has become the most over jobber in history and, albeit with a smidgen of help from Dean Ambrose, has defeated the Phenomenal One on two separate occasions. One of those occasion was for the title. THE title. The most prestigious title in the company. There are numerous superstars who’ve never, ever, been given a title shot, let alone a one on one bout for the belt and somehow Ellsworth has leapt to the top of the pile despite being physically incapable of folding a towel. On the current roster, there’s bound to be a few seething egos, so let’s find out who has yet to achieve the lofty heights of title contender.
Poor Cesaro. Every time you think the Swiss Superman is on the cusp of a push to somewhere near glory, he gets swatted back down to earth with an audible splat. The man is a beast in the ring, both physically and psychologically, and whenever he’s given time to strut his stuff he puts on a clinic. Go and watch his matches with Sami Zayn in NXT. Literally stop reading this and do that. If you’re still here, you’re either some kind of stalker or a stupid idiot. To say Cesaro hasn’t ever competed for the World Title isn’t technically true, as he’s fought for the big one inside an Elimination Chamber and in a Money In The Bank Match. However, James Ellsworth still holds more one on one championship matches than this seasoned veteran.
Like Cesaro, Kofi has found his way into Elimination Chamber matches, less for his relevance to the storyline, and more for his ability to do flippy stuff. Despite a level of impressive consistency, the once apparently Jamaican native never quite managed to escape the mid card level, until the endlessly entertaining run with The New Day. It’s feasible that all three members could channel the power of positivity and make a play for the Universal Title in the future, but for now, Kingston will have to be content with his 12 other championship reigns.
Now this may be a contentious name for the list, as it seems obvious to assume Heath Slater has never had a shot at a World Championship. However, there have been plenty of wrestlers who’ve been inserted into title matches as filler. We’ve seen Zack Ryder, Goldust, R-Truth, Bryan Kendrick and of course JAMES FRICKIN ELLSWORTH enter the picture, so it comes as a surprise that the One Man Band hasn’t magicked his way in front of a big name only to be destroyed. In fact, Ellsworth, or Ellis as Dasha Fuentes would have you believe, has now overtaken Slater as the company’s most popular jobber, thanks in part to Slater’s elevation to Tag Champion alongside Rhyno. Speaking of whom…
The last legitimate ECW Champion (because who remembers Ezekiel Jackson), Rhyno has carved out an illustrious career despite being a critically endangered species. A world champion in the original ECW, as well as being a NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Rhyno has never had a match for WWE’s hottest prize. It seems ludicrous considering this sort of pedigree. Resigned now to comedy antics with his best friend and father of at least 12 known offspring, it looks like it’s nearly time for the Rhyno to face the fact that his chances at a WWE World Heavyweight Title opportunity are finally extinct.
Unless WWE are irrefutably dumb, title shots are in Sami Zayn’s future. The ginger dream has the most loveable face on the roster. There’s just something about him that requires empathy, which makes him a credible underdog in almost any storyline. His ability is unquestioned, and if he doesn’t one day beat Kevin Owens for the Universal Title at a Wrestlemania to finally end years of bitter feuding, then buy me a boat so I can sail away on a river of my own tears. Zayn has been fighting for the new red belt on the live loops over recent months, but is yet to have a televised title shot. It might just be that little bit early, but with the right build, it should be inevitable. I’ll have to keep telling myself that.
Curveball. In this day and age, there’s no way the announcer extraordinaire would get anywhere near a match, let alone a championship opportunity. But Lilian is timeless, and has been in and around WWE since it’s inception circa 1953. During the Attitude Era, the Women’s Title was a veiled name for what should essentially have been called the ‘Men Watch This Product So Let’s Have Scantily Clad Women Degrade Themselves Title’. A change in social attitudes, combined with hard work and a huge amount of talent and skill have genuinely revolutionised what the new championship stands for, and rightly so. It’s surprising though, that amidst the Bra and Panties, Chocolate Pudding, or Lumberjill Snowbunny matches, Lilian Garcia never got into the title mix. She could so easily have picked up a random championship match for a short and entertaining storyline. Hell, she’s technically undefeated in singles competition thanks to a victory over Howard Finkel in an Evening Gown Match. Alas, that was all in a bygone era. By “alas”, I mean ‘Praise Jesus This Is No Longer A Thing’.
How on earth has Rusev eluded a title shot? This isn’t acceptable. The Bulgarian Brute is probably the best all out heel in the company alongside The Miz, and like his counterpart, seems often overlooked and underrated. He’s had two excellent US Title runs, and maybe he’s tailor made for that championship because, you know, he’s foreign. It’s so typically jingoistic to hate on RuRu due to his Bulgarian roots, especially considering he is the living embodiment of the American dream. Rusev plays his role exquisitely, cuts an imposing figure, and has a super hot wife. He’s an ideal champ. Wouldn’t it be incredible to watch his Universal Title victory celebration as he flies in his entire family from Bulgaria to share his success? His dog’s a champion you know.