WWE's "hottest free agent in sports entertainment today" line became cliché a long time ago, and is now thrown at too many middling signings to carry any meaning. Regardless, if you follow Vince McMahon's promotion, few things are more exciting than when the company scoop a major player from one of wrestling's smaller promotions.
It's the intrigue at seeing how they'll look through sports entertainment's character-first lens, and the excitement of finally watching them go toe-to-toe with WWE's biggest stars. When Shinsuke Nakamura joined in 2016, the online discussion immediately turned to potential dream matches, and while some of 'The King Of Strong Style's sheen has since worn off, the excitement has largely been justified.
Such wrestlers don't always prosper in WWE, though. Sometimes it's because of their failure to adapt to a new style or connect with the audience, but it's often down to the company. It never gets any less disappointing, but fans have become accustomed to WWE dropping the ball with hyped signings, and it continues in 2017.
Some of these guys should've been headliners, while others had an upper-midcard ceiling: either way, they were all let down by the booking team.
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