5. Bo Dallas

I Bo-lieved… did you? The inspirational Bo Dallas was another gimmick that needed some more time to thrive. It didn’t help that WWE ruined his shirt by putting a bunch of nonsense on the back of it.

4. Byron Saxton

Byron Saxton was thisclose to making it work as the face commentator. His early work on NXT showed a ton of promise as an earnest do-gooder. He was the best Corey Graves foil NXT had until Tom Phillips came to save our souls. Brock Lesnar broke Saxton, though. When The Beast took out the Raw commentary team, Saxton stepped in and was pretty much speechless. I’ve come to believe that was by design, but Saxton never recovered. Currently he’s a man-child who makes up storylines on the spot to support narratives which don’t exist.


3. Apollo Crews

Hear me out. Apollo Crews isn’t bad. Apollo Crews isn’t a lost cause. Apollo Crews also isn’t ready. Of the indie darlings WWE snatched up in 2015, Crews is easily the least polished diamond in that rough. He hasn’t had a match long enough to display any more than his seven good spots and he gives way too much of his matches to his opponents for a guy his size and with his spectacular ability. Why then was he the one called up so early despite being so green? Time will tell, and maybe Crews can learn on the road (the old fashioned way), but why does WWE have the Performance Center then?

2. Mojo Rawley

I don’t get hyped, I get anywhere else when Mojo Rawley hits the ring. Three years. It has been nearly three years since Rawley debuted as this “hyped” character and it hasn’t worked. So many wrestlers – even a few on this list – have created, dumped and changed characters in that time. And yet Rawley remains. In his defense, the guy is pals with Rob Gronkowski and is probably living his best life. Fair play to you, Mojo.

1. Hideo Itami

To be fair: so far. Hideo Itami isn’t so much an out-and-out failure in WWE as he has been a disappointment. Itami, among the first of the highly-touted outsiders to come to NXT and the WWE Performance Center, hasn’t been as dynamic as advertised post-debut. 2016 Itami is hardly 2013 KENTA, and that’s reportedly Itami’s fault. He changed his game on his own, not at the directive of WWE, Triple H or even Vince McMahon. The 2015 “indefinite injury bug” hit Itami just as he was beginning to put some of the pieces back together. Hopefully Itami’s return won’t be overshadowed by the incredible number of debuts that have happened in his absence, not the least of which is his fellow countryman Shinsuke Nakamura. Given his talent, there’s little reason to think that Itami can’t turn it around and make it work by the end of 2016. Not all is lost for Itami in WWE – there’s a great “who dun it” revenge story waiting for Itami when he gets back.