Piper Niven’s Name Change to Doudrop Continues WWE’s Trend of Failing NXT Talent
Piper Niven’s call-up to the main roster as the muscle for the returning Eva Marie really should have been something special; a moment that jump-started a long and prosperous career for her in the biggest wrestling company in the world.
Instead, the Scottish performer was saddled with the name Doudrop, and just like that, any shot she had of one day seeing her name on the WrestleMania marquee or etched in the history books alongside the likes of Trish Stratus, Lita, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks is gone.
Not because the performer herself cannot achieve those goals based on her skills and talents, but because WWE officials have set her back with a horrendous name that will pigeonhole her into a specific spot on the roster. It is not the first time WWE has taken a talented NXT performer, with the potential to serve a greater role on one of the company’s premier television properties, and failed them.
In fact, it is a troubling trend that dates back nearly a decade.
Ricochet. Aleister Black. Adam Rose. No Way Jose. Emma. Tyler Breeze. The Ascension. Bo Dallas. Mojo Rawley.
Those are just a few of the names that made the jump to Raw or SmackDown and saw their career growth stunted by a creative team that either didn’t know what made them successful in NXT in the first place and failed to utilize them to their full potential or never really had any plans to do so in the first place.
Ricochet and Black, in particular, were handed to WWE officials on a silver platter, ready to take WWE by storm and become major stars for the company. They quickly fell victim to start-and-stop pushes before fading into the same dark abyss of mediocrity so many before them sunk into.
Emma, along with Paige, helped revolutionize women’s wrestling in NXT. She laid the foundation for Banks, Flair, Lynch and Bayley to build on. She never had the opportunity to showcase her talent because she was immediately paired with Santino Marella.
Even current intercontinental champion Apollo Crews suffered from inconsistent booking that damaged his credibility and nearly left him as yet another name on a long list of them done a great disservice by a writing team unable to make stars. It was not until recently that he finally found a character that he could invest in en route to capturing the coveted title.
Perhaps it is WWE’s nearly nonexistent creative process, in which the company seemingly expects fans to invest in talent merely because they are on television. Maybe, it is insecurity on the part of Vince McMahon himself. After all, if Triple H grooms too many young performers and they become stars, how long is it until fans start questioning why The Game isn’t in charge of the WWE product?
Whatever the case may be, the company has watched star after star come its way, only to devalue them and send them on their way to go and become bigger attractions elsewhere.
Look no further than Andrade El Idolo, who is about to take the wrestling world by storm in both All Elite Wrestling and Mexico’s AAA.
Niven is a seriously talented professional wrestler. Her work with Kay Lee Ray, Jinny and the other women of NXT UK has proved as much. She could easily stand across the ring from someone like Flair and believably hang with The Queen in a high-profile championship match.
And she still may have the opportunity to do that.
What hurts, significantly, is the audience’s willingness to buy into someone named “Doudrop” at that level.
There is one path that could still bring the Scottish performer success, and that is in a storyline in which she avenges mistreatment by her mentor Eva Marie.
We have already seen that the pink-haired Total Diva gave her that name unwanted, and much to the chagrin of the wrestler herself. If the storyline becomes one in which the heel condescends, mistreats and attempts to humiliate Doudrop, thus giving fans a reason to get behind her, WWE could have a story on its hands that helps Niven in the long run.
If it moves forward, though, and is content to let the performer run with her current name, simply as an associate of Eva Marie, it is a gimmick that will fail miserably and leave fans again questioning why WWE’s writing team struggles so mightily with NXT talent and, worse, raise questions about McMahon’s ability to oversee creative in his company at this point in his life.
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