For SmackDown Live, the Superstar Shakeup did not give the brand a deep amount of already-established top guys to work with. Amidst rumors of going to Raw, AJ Styles remained as “the face that runs the place” on Tuesday nights, becoming the No. 1 contender for the United States Championship. From the looks of it, WWE is finally going to give in and make Styles a babyface, due to the resounding reaction he receives from virtually every crowd he performs in front of.
Kevin Owens was switched from Raw to SmackDown Live, bringing the United States title with him. Although he will most likely be in main event matches throughout his time on the blue brand, there is still a disconnect with him in a top spot, as his character is still in need of further development beyond his former alliance with Chris Jericho. With the exception of WWE Champion Randy Orton, there are not many reliable names to pick to reestablish the main event division to be comparable to Raw.
As a result of the Superstar Shakeup, The New Day, Charlotte, Rusev & Lana, Sami Zayn, Jinder Mahal, Sin Cara, and the aforementioned Kevin Owens all shifted from Mondays to Tuesdays. However, most of these names still do not represent established main-eventers, so now is the time for the WWE to manufacture some.
As seen on SmackDown Live, Aiden English moved away from his Vaudevillians gimmick, due to Simon Gotch leaving WWE, and donned his artistic opera-style singing gimmick. Unfortunately for English, he was interrupted by Tye Dillinger, who defeated him.
Apparently, the goal was for English to receive a push on SmackDown Live as a solo performer, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
“English is supposed to be getting a singles push coming off [Gotch’s release]. The most over English ever was really was the period when he did the singing gimmick in NXT shortly before the creation of the Vaudevillains. He was a heel, but a lot of people cheered him because he was such a good singer. Then they did a feud with him and Cass, who can also sing. [English] used to do musical theater. He’s very good at that music theater style of stage singing. That role, if they do it, will either make him a star or people will crap on it bad and they’ll give up on it.”
As we saw on SmackDown Live, WWE does not seem to be giving English a major push by having him lose to Tye Dillinger during his first match as a singles performer. The singing gimmick could work, but it just pigeon-holes him, just like the Vaudevillians did. There is no doubt that English has what it takes to be a notable name in the WWE. However, the lack of investment in him as a character has been very obvious since his time in NXT, and a very short time on the main roster.
A feud with Dillinger could be a testing ground for English and his new gimmick, as the crowd reaction to it will be a significant indicator of how far he will go up the card. The only problem with this is that there should not be back-and-forth exchanges for Dillinger as far as wins and losses, mainly due to his character in desperate need of maintaining a favorable win-loss record.
In NXT, Dillinger was always the person who would lose his matches at the NXT: TakeOver events. Although his character was one of the best on the roster, his constant losing hurt its legitimacy. English had a better win-loss record at those events, but not by much. If WWE wants to push English, a big shocking win may be the best way to make people notice him, instead of rivaling with Dillinger.
[Featured Image by WWE]