The free agent market is hotter than ever in professional wrestling and WWE is aggressively going after the top names available. Both former stars and hot prospects are sought after by the WWE to improve the rosters of Raw, SmackDown Live and NXT. Everyone is on the table these days.
AJ Styles, Samoa Joe and Bobby Roode becoming stars has made it open for former TNA stars to move to WWE. The hit list of ROH, Evolve and PWG stars show they grow talent that can help the WWE. International wrestlers like Shinsuke Nakamura, Asuka and Neville have allowed the wrestlers from all countries to land jobs. WWE continuing projects like the Cruiserweight Classic and United Kingdom Championship will need even more talent being added often.
There are many outstanding performers available today that the WWE should try to acquire. However, some names on the free agent market just don’t stand out as being ready for the company. Others are past their prime or have already shown they don’t belong in the WWE environment. We’ll look at the names that would not do well in the current landscape of the WWE. These are fifteen outside wrestlers that we definitely do not want to see Vince McMahon sign any time soon.
The disappointing run of The Shining Stars has many wondering if Carlito should return to save them. Carlito is the brother of Primo and the cousin of Epico, but he always connected far more with the fan base. WWE once believed Carlito could have been a future World Champion. A lack of motivation and passion saw him get lost in the shuffle before his eventual release.
Carlito has continued his career on the independent wrestling, but nothing has changed. In fact, his lack of interest appears to be worse. Carlito only wrestles for smaller promotions that will pay him more to be one of the bigger names on the show. His lack of desire to improve or work against the best free agents proves WWE was right all along about Carlito’s lack of passion.
14. Justin Gabriel
Many wrestlers to get fired from the WWE have used the independent wrestling scene to prove they were being held back. Drew Galloway, Cody Rhodes and Ethan Carter III are a few examples of how to market and work your way back to relevance after a disappointing end with WWE. Any of those three names could return to the WWE with a high profile role. Justin Gabriel has written the complete opposite story for himself.
The talents of Gabriel in the ring made us believe he was among the better wrestlers in The Nexus. However, WWE never did anything of note with him. Gabriel hit the independent wrestling scene but struggled to stand out. Gabriel has recently signed with Lucha Underground and is still destined to be a secondary performer. The high flying skills of guys like Will Ospreay, Ricochet and Fenix make someone like Gabriel less relevant on the free agent market.
13. Hirooki Goto
WWE is zoning in on New Japan to sign the better wrestlers from the company that are looking for a change. Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows jumped ship in early 2016. Triple H has admitted to having interest in current NJPW stars Kenny Omega and Will Ospreay. One of the few wrestlers that would struggle making the jump is Hirooki Goto.
The language barrier for the actual Japanese wrestlers can be overlooked for certain wrestlers. Nakamura, Hideo Itami and Asuka have the special it factor that allows you to look passed it. Goto is not a dynamic performer that would thrive in the WWE environment. He’s very good in NJPW with his current role and WWE should look elsewhere on the NJPW roster if they hope to sign another successful wrestler from Japan.
12. Josh Mathews
The need for broadcasters will always lead to the hiring of new and old faces in the WWE. Josh Mathews was let go a couple of years and moved to TNA. His roles revolve around play-by-play commentary on television and social media marketing at TNA headquarters. Mathews has proven to be terrible at both.
Mathews’ commentary actually wasn’t bad in the WWE, but the lack of direction in TNA has seen him regress. WWE are experimenting with new broadcasters in NXT with the hiring of Nigel McGuinness and the re-signing of Percy Watson. Mathews is one guy we don’t want to see get another chance. The time has passed and Mathews is no longer a viable option for the noteworthy WWE shows, or any credible wrestling program at that.
11. Matt Taven
Ring of Honor has been the home to many new stars being born. The top names in ROH have moved on to the WWE and went on to dominate the big stage. Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe are just three former ROH World Champions currently doing extraordinarily well on the WWE roster today. There are a couple of noteworthy ROH stars today, but most are not ready for the WWE.
Matt Taven should not be on WWE’s radar right now. His athleticism and aerial moves are very impressive, but he just doesn’t stand out the way most of his peers do. Taven is currently leading the new version of The Kingdom. It’s off to disappointing results with a lack of interest with the other prior members not there to lead him. Taven needs to improve before making the jump to the WWE.