Times have changed. Take a look up and down the WWE roster and even the most cursory of glances will reveal a plethora of men and women who perfected their game outside of the system before being brought in. NXT is the clearest example of this, a former developmental brand that now functions essentially as a super-indie, a collection of this generation’s best performers doing their thing under the bright lights of WWE production.
WWE’s decision to change tack and bring in the best of the best from the wider wrestling world has undoubtedly been a net positive. Seth Rollins, Daniel Bryan and CM Punk are just three of many success stories, top-tier performers who have taken their game to new heights on the biggest stage. These men all faced skepticism upon signing with the promotion and went on to prove everybody wrong.
But for every Bryan or Rollins there are a handful of men and women who have been neglected in WWE, wrestlers who can be forgiven for reminiscing about better times in other companies. Several of WWE’s best competitors were among the best in the world in other companies, further proof that the promotion itself may be the real problem.
But that is neither here nor there. Better to remember WWE stars when they were at the peak of their powers.