Now that WrestleMania has come and gone, the WWE is free to, or better yet, encouraged to, start building up new stars to help carry the company in years to come. This happens often during the months following 'Mania as there is less pressure on WWE to bring in big name part-timers to fill out a 75,000 stadium. With smaller, non-descript pay per views like Payback and Backlash WWE can put up and coming stars in main event spots to gauge the audience's reaction. The gamble of putting a fresh face in a prime spot is low risk, high reward during the summer months. In the age of Network subscriptions, the WWE is already riding high off most people who jumped on during WrestleMania and they know they have a few months of experimenting before fans will get frustrated enough to drop the subscription.
We are already beginning to see the results of the shuffle as this week several new stars started to move up from their usual spots on the lower mid-card into prime matches with Championship implications.
The pros of building up New Era stars are infinite. Not only will WWE be able to stop having to pay millions to former stars to come in and only three or four dates, but they will have a wealth of stars on the current roster to be interchanged into the main event as needed if one of their main cash cows go down with injury.
WWE critics and even many in the WWE Universe have questioned if current writers know how to make new stars. In the next few months we're going to find out because three stars who have never main evented a pay per view are in line for a monster push.
Perhaps the most surprising push coming to the WWE this summer is that of former jobber to the stars, Jinder Mahal. Mahal won a Six Pack Challenge this past Tuesday to become the number one contender to Randy Orton's WWE Championship. While many assumed Mahal may get his shot on a Tuesday night where less viewership was at stake, he will actually get to headline an actual pay per view next month at WWE Backlash. This, despite not winning a singles match on Raw or SmackDown since he defeated Jack Swagger last September.
Wrestlingnews.co has reported that Mahal's push has come because: "WWE is making a heavy push to expand their product in India because they have a massive fan base there that loves professional wrestling."
They also noted: "The company opened up WWE Shop in India a couple of weeks ago so you can expect more Jinder Mahal and Bollywood Boyz merchandise to become available in the coming weeks. Most of it will be targeted to the fans in India."
With the recent push in the Indian market, it was only logical for WWE to do the same for their booking by making Mahal a centerpiece of the company and calling up The Bollywood Boyz from NXT to join him.prevnext
According to The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Baron Corbin's big push is scheduled for later this year, as he is expected to feud with Randy Orton. It is unknown at the time whether or not the Orton vs Corbin feud will be for the WWE Title, as Orton first will be facing Jinder Mahal at WWE Backlash in May, but a significant win over the 13 time World Champion would go a long way towards cementing his status at the top of the card.
The Observer report also noted there have been talks of changing Corbin's character, possibly with new music, and WWE officials are evaluating other ways they can revamp Corbin's character before his program with Randy Orton.
Most everything Corbin does in the ring is already at the main event level and his look/entrance is nearly where it needs to be, but the young star is losing his hair. Hair loss isn't the death nail in anyone's wrestling career (just ask Stone Cold and Kurt Angle), but a character revamp that involved a new hair do could alter his status as the Most Metal Athlete Of The Year, an award he won in 2016.prevnext
The final New Era star about to get pushed to the stratosphere is the one who is pushing anyone and anything out of his way, including an ambulance and a 7ft future WWE Hall of Famer. If you've been paying attention, it probably comes as no surprise that WWE is big on their newest big man, Braun Strowman. The Monster Among Men is getting one of the absolute greatest pushes in recent memory and if the rumors are true, it's not going to end anytime soon.
Strowman is largely favored to get his win back versus Roman Reigns at WWE Payback and will reportedly be put into a feud with Brock Lesnar this summer over the Universal Championship. Original rumors suggest WWE is wanting to cash in on a Lesnar/Reigns WrestleMania 34 main event, but Strowman's growing popularity could go along way in changing that.
Legendary voice of the WWE, Jim Ross recently weighed in on Strowman's push on his blog and noted the problems with trying to push Braun as the number one heel in the company.
"Strowman is being positioned so strongly that it could be challenging for some defiant, younger males to get behind Strowman as a villain. What's not to like about a big, bad man who kicks everyone's ass and who has showed little if any 'fear.' I think WWE is on the trail of building a significant star with their positioning of Strowman."
Whether Strowman is pushed as a heel or face, one thing is clear. The WWE.com shop needs to get this guy some merchandise, ASAP!