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The Top 10 WWE Superstar Improvements of 2011

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This list is for the best WWE Superstar improvements for the year. This is NOT based on how much I personally like a Superstar but is instead an unbiased list of how a superstar improved. I thought I would give out my opinions on how well certain superstars improved as a face or heel.

Honorable Mention: John Laurinaitis

Well, technically John Laurinaitis isn’t a superstar. However, I believe Laurinaitis has done an excellent job as the veiled top heel of Monday Night Raw. Instead of being a direct heel like Eric Bischoff and Vince McMahon have been in the past, John Laurinaitis was able to be a heel while acting like he is a nice man. “My name is John Laurinaitis. I am the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and the Interim General Manager of Monday Night Raw.” Hearing that just makes you hate John Laurinaitis even more and that is exactly what you are supposed to do. Laurinaitis does a terrific job at making you hate him every week. I didn’t include him on this list simply because he didn’t really improve; he just has showed up.

10. Alberto Del Rio

I believe Alberto Del Rio had a subtle improvement in 2011. He is a still a bit raw on his mic skills, but that will improve as he gets more main event experience. Alberto’s in-ring abilities continue to improve and his status as a top heel improved progressively over the past year.

9. Zack Ryder

Zack Ryder is really a perfect example of taking the reins and making something out of your career. Ryder’s career was really going nowhere and he took control with “Z! True Long Island Story” on YouTube. With his recurring catchphrases (Woo! Woo! Woo!) and things such as the Broski of the Week, Zack Ryder was able to grab the attention of the WWE Universe and saw a drastic improvement in 2011 when he was finally given some main event opportunities on Raw.

8. Dolph Ziggler

Dolph Ziggler is really now primed to be a main event heel on Raw. I must admit that I am not a huge Dolph Ziggler fan, but I cannot deny that he is a great in-ring talent. 2011 saw Ziggler continue to make improvements to his technical wrestling and mic skills. I believe the next step for Dolph Ziggler is to get rid of his crutch, Vicki Guerrero.

7. Daniel Bryan

The primary reason that Daniel Bryan is on this list is the drop of his “babyface” style. I felt that being a babyface would put him down the same road as John Cena. Fans would like him at first, but after a few years, everyone would hate him like they hate John Cena now. 2011 saw Daniel Bryan become more aggressive and I much prefer the “new” Daniel Bryan.

6. Wade Barrett

The Barrett Barrage was really something that Wade Barrett’s career needed to get back on track. Wade Barrett was on path to being a top heel when he came out of NXT and headed the Nexus to the top of Raw in 2010. Upon leaving Nexus, Wade Barrett’s domination declined with the formation of the Corre. Now that Wade Barrett is finally on his Barrett Barrage in singles competition, I believe Wade Barrett is a strong contender to win the Royal Rumble and see even further improvement in 2012.

5. Mark Henry

I am not a Mark Henry fan at all. I must say that I think he is one of the least entertaining performers in the entire WWE. However, Mark Henry did make significant improvements in 2011. The WWE finally gave Mark Henry a heel push and he was able to provide what SmackDown! desperately needed: a dominating heel. At this point, I personally believe that Mark Henry’s face turn would be a HORRIBLE idea.

4. Cody Rhodes

I didn’t buy into Cody Rhodes’ dashing persona at all. It took me a while to get into his “nose injury” persona. But now, I like the latest persona of Cody Rhodes and I believe it puts him in easily the strongest point of his young career. I believe Cody has done exactly what he said on show and that is bring value back to the Intercontinental Championship. Rhodes has developed excellent mic skills and he could undoubtedly be a top heel for the future.

3. Christian

I have liked Christian for a long time now. However, Christian’s recent run as a heel on SmackDown! really unveiled his true talent. In my eyes, the “one more match” persona was perfect. I was very happy to finally see Christian win the World title and I hope to see more of Christian leading the brand in 2012.

2. CM Punk

Over the past few years, I didn’t like CM Punk at all and I want to say that I haven’t jumped entirely on this CM Punk bandwagon just yet either. I thought CM Punk was a horrible heel. With that said, CM Punk as a face and his crusade against John Laurinaitis has really put him the best spot of his career. I believe that CM Punk has finally found his true place in the WWE and has currently taken over as WWE’s top seat-filler.

1. R-Truth

For me, R-Truth is by far the most improved WWE Superstar for 2011. I believe that R-Truth completely turned his career around in the past year. If you had told me a year ago that at the beginning of 2012, I would be an R-Truth fan, I would have deemed you mentally insane. I DESPISED R-Truth as a face on Raw. I hated his persona, I hated his rapping, I hated almost everything about R-Truth. But R-Truth finally turned heel and I soon became an R-Truth fan. His quotes about Little Jimmy, “Don’t what me!!” and conspiracies were extremely entertaining for me at least. Based on the last Raw of 2011, I’m not really sure what R-Truth is now (face or heel.) I just hope his career is not tarnished by a faulty decision backstage.

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