The independent wrestling world is a difficult environment to succeed in. WWE pushes their top stars with heavy marketing and a platform to easily have the chance to convince the fan base that they are worth paying attention to. A smaller audience and the pressure on the performer make the variables completely different on the independent circuit. Wrestlers have to do it themselves to thrive on their own. Colt Cabana, The Young Bucks and Adam Cole have dominated the indies over the past few years due to building their brand and creating momentum through both their work and self-marketing.
Former WWE stars have also used the independent scene to rejuvenate their careers. Cody Rhodes, Drew Galloway and Rey Mysterio have all found paths to success on the free agent market in different ways. Not all wrestlers can make a name or freshen up their career with an independent wrestling run. Many struggle to build their own success without the help of a machine like WWE. We’ll look at current wrestling names that are not putting out impressive work, failing to create interest and flat out are failing in their environment. These are fifteen wrestlers that are doing terrible on the independent wrestling scene right now.
15. Frankie Kazarian
Frankie Kazarian stood out in TNA many years ago and fans wanted Kazarian to be positioned as a future main event star. Kazarian hit a home run any time TNA put him in the ring with a top talent like Kurt Angle, Christian Cage and Samoa Joe. The years have seen a regression with Kazarian no longer having the work rate that made him someone special in TNA.
Kazarian currently works for Ring of Honor and it has led to disappointing results. His tag team partner Christopher Daniels has been better on his own and is being given a singles push. That makes Kazarian a secondary player in the singles division and he’s have been among the more disappointing things in ROH these days.
14. Alberto Del Rio
Alberto Del Rio’s first firing from the WWE back in 2014 led to massive success on the independent scene. His work in Ring of Honor and Lucha Underground especially made fans want to see him perform for the first time in a long time. Del Rio made the decision to return to WWE in 2015 and it led to him losing all momentum before requesting a release.
His return to the free agent circuit has been less exciting than the last time. Alberto has his hands in other business ventures that have seen his wrestling hit a decline. Del Rio wrestles for promotions that are secondary in the independent wrestling world. His work is uninspired and the passion from his prior stint on the indies is missing.
13. Rob Van Dam
Lack of passion is something that has made Rob Van Dam’s final years in wrestling a huge disappointment and which hurt his legacy. At his peak, Van Dam was as great as anyone else in the industry. Years of the politics in WWE and his interests growing outside of the business have just made him care less about wrestling.
RVD has admitted on numerous occasions that he doesn’t have the drive or desire to wrestle full-time anymore. His rare independent wrestling appearances will see him get paid handsomely to have lackluster matches. A wrestler without passion is extremely difficult to watch, especially when it’s someone that was once a legend. If you see RVD on your local independent card, do not have high expectations and prepare to be disappointed.
12. Zahra Schreiber
Most known for being the ex-girlfriend of Seth Rollins, Zahra Schreiber has been involved in various forms of controversy. From the way her relationship with Rollins started and ended, to old social media posts with offensive content being revealed, Zahra found herself fired from WWE after a short stint at the Performance Center. It didn’t stop Schreiber from attempting to continue her career in the wrestling business.
Zahra returned to the independent circuit hoping to show her skills there. Unfortunately, her rare bookings failed to impress. The only recent appearance she has made was at REAL Pro Wrestling and she was a manager. Promotions don’t seem to have any interest in Schreiber and the time is ticking on her wrestling career. The independent circuit isn’t the place for her.
11. Cliff Compton
Diehard WWE fans will remember Cliff Compton’s time in the company as Deuce teaming with Domino. The horrible gimmick flopped badly, but Compton always stood out as a solid performer and was way better than his partner. Between his in-ring promise and colorful persona, Compton was given a chance in Ring of Honor as a part of the S.C.U.M. stable.
A feud with top ROH star Kevin Owens didn’t even establish Compton as someone fans wanted to see. Compton was exiled from the company, but still works actively on the independent wrestling scene. The promotions to book him don’t hold too much relevance in the world of wrestling, making it difficult to find his work unless it’s local to you. Compton could not rejuvenate his career the way others in his position have been able to.