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Indy wrestling right now is under a huge surge in popularity. There are more wrestlers, more talent, more promotions and enough TV time to drown in. Wrestling is coming back in a big way.
The affect that this has had on the WWE is huge. Not only can WWE essentially snare ready made talent with a good start of drawing power but those WWE talents who get lost in the shuffle have a legitimate avenue of escape. WWE might give you drawing power but the room at the top isn’t infinite. Three members of the class of 2002, the continual returns of the Rock, even names such as Kurt Angle now are being used in favoured spots because they make money.
What they don’t make is new stars and this is where other federations stand to gain from the WWE’s business model. I’ve got fourteen names, two of which are tag teams and I’m going to run them down one a week because I believe that these are people who would do better outside of the WWE.
I’m Tom Colohue and this is Winner Leaves Town.
For someone who has only just started to feature in WWE with any real prominence, Kalisto actually has a lot about him worth talking about. Over on Smackdown Kalisto had a moderately promising position, going up against Baron Corbin in a surprisingly good chairs match at TLC in December.
Afterwards Kalisto and Apollo Crews went up against Dolph Ziggler and I think the less said about that the better.
Kalisto was featured, he just wasn’t featured in any real positive capacity.
This was followed by a move to Raw in which Kalisto was literally thrown in the trash for his debut. That’s not a good look for anybody. You know what is a good look though? Holding a victory over Braun Strowman.
Yes, it was a match in which Strowman essentially tripped. Yes, Kalisto got mauled, rather uncomfortably mauled, straight afterwards but that did happen.
From there, Kalisto was put in matches against Titus Brand in order to get Titus Brand over. I expect this to continue soon just involving Akira Tozawa instead of Crews or Titus himself.
Once again Kalisto was featured but not featured with much prominence. Now, however, this has shifted. Kalisto is a player in the cruiserweight division, having just been a cruiserweight champion. Whether he will now sink and vanish Tozawa style remains to be seen.
Kalisto has definitely been featured but it’s a fairly well known concept that the cruiserweight division is not a high paying one. Kalisto has proven to be a talented performer with a creative moveset and some smooth moves. It’s still fairly fresh in the mind that Kalisto was a US champion who defeated established names like Alberto Del Rio and Ryback. He also appeals to certain nationalities in a way that WWE likes.
That said, WWE would not miss him all that much should Kalisto leave. They would instead have to make a draw out of one of their current cruiserweight names. Tozawa, Swann and Alexander could all benefit from the removal of Kalisto from their division.
So what about Kalisto himself? Well the most obvious answer for Kalisto would be to head to Lucha Underground, where his talents will undoubtedly appeal to that niche market. He could also perform well in the TNA X-division and there is of course the option of trying to bring his market share to somewhere like Ring Of Honor who have suffered quite the exodus of top talent in recent years.
Kalisto legitimately has everything it takes to draw as a wrestler, even if his promo style leaves a lot to be desired. A move to a less script heavy format where he can do his talking in the ring would suit him perfectly. He’s been featured to a level that he is already well known outside WWE which will see him earn better money than the cruiserweight division is likely to offer.
We will have to wait and see what happens in future to keep Kalisto in WWE. To come from being just another rosebud to a former cruiserweight champion is good on paper but there will be greater prestige and more championships elsewhere.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS COLUMN: COLOHUE: Winner Leaves Town: Neville – WWE Talent Who Would Do Better Elsewhere