2017 is shaping up to be a special year for the entire wrestling business. WWE has loaded rosters for all of their brands. The Royal Rumble will feature a mix of legends and current stars fighting in a dream battle royal heading into WrestleMania season. WWE continues to aggressively pursuit the best talents on the free agent market and that hasn’t hurt the rest of the industry. New Japan continues to grow as the second biggest promotion in the world. Anyone not in the WWE is looking to get work there, along with their United States partner Ring of Honor.
ROH has been a fixture in wrestling for quite some time now. The company has its strengths and flaws, but they do offer very competitive contracts to top talent. TNA and Lucha Underground are also in play to smaller extents. Wrestlers that are okay with short term contracts and uncertainty in the workplace could find happiness there. Lucha Underground’s schedule leaves a lot to be desired, with no one truly knowing how often they’ll get work.
The best factor about multiple promotions being viable options to sign contracts means wrestlers can move around. A few names are in rumors or have shown enough evidence to be ready for a change. We’ll look at fifteen wrestlers that will find a new promotion at some point this year.
15. Kyle O’Reilly: WWE
Kyle O’Reilly winning the ROH World Championship at the biggest show of the year would make one think he’s sticking around with the company for the long run. That doesn’t appear to be true as rumors have been buzzing that O’Reilly is refusing to sign a new contract. O’Reilly is apparently hoping for a spot in NXT to progress his desires of getting to the WWE.
Aside from the relationship with New Japan, ROH severely lacks interest right now. WWE giving talented performers a fair chance to get over has made it an even more appealing scenario for wrestlers whose contracts are ending. O’Reilly will be the biggest loss for ROH as they hoped to build around him this year. NXT badly needs new credible stars and O’Reilly is a perfect fit that will land a WWE contract.
14. Bobby Fish: TNA
Bobby Fish is Kyle O’Reilly’s tag team partner and he’s also a free agent. If O’Reilly decides to leave Ring of Honor, Fish is not far behind, as his future as a singles star will be up in the air. WWE may not have the same interest in Fish due to his older age nearing his 40s. Fish is still a great performer that delivers impressive matches and charismatic promos on a consistent basis.
TNA desperately needs to add new talent with their smaller roster likely shrinking with contracts expiring. Mike Bennett, Maria Kanellis and Moose all received big contracts from TNA in 2016 when leaving ROH. Fish is someone that would be a good fit for TNA. ROH going through changes and O’Reilly not being there with him should make Fish search for a new home.
13. Tyler Breeze: ROH
It would be a mistake for the WWE to give up on a talented young wrestler, but that has happened many times before. Vince McMahon reportedly dislikes Tyler Breeze and doesn’t see anything special in him. The main reason for Breeze’s inconsistent television time is McMahon not believing in him. WWE currently has Breeze in a comedic tag team with Fandango that is going nowhere.
Breeze is likely going to be on the chopping block when more talent gets called up and the WWE looks to cut the roster down. Unless he can get sent back down to NXT where he flourished, Breeze doesn’t have a role in the WWE. Ring of Honor is going to have to find noteworthy talent all year to keep up with the talents leaving them. Breeze would be a great fit for both parties if he was forced out of the WWE.
12. Sin Cara: Lucha Underground
A few backstage incidents involving Sin Cara will soon end his time in the WWE. The high-flying wrestler allegedly got the better of Simon Gotch in a fight backstage. A more high profile incident occurred months later with Sin Cara getting into yet another fight, this time with Chris Jericho on a tour bus in the United Kingdom. Jericho stepped up to Sin Cara for making noise and annoying others on the bus, leading to a physical confrontation.
It led to WWE punishing Sin Cara by removing him from the Cruiserweight Division. At one point, the other wrestlers forced him to leave the locker room and dress with the extras. Sin Cara is definitely on the way out of the WWE before the year ends. The gimmick will belong to the company, but Hunico will be able to wrestle the luchadore style in Lucha Underground. LU loves picking up former WWE talent and this seems to be a perfect fit.
11. Lio Rush: WWE
The 22 year old Lio Rush shows as much potential as any wrestler you’ll find today. Rush has only been doing it for a little over a year and is already delivering outstanding performances on a regular basis. Ring of Honor signed him to a contract following a tryout camp. Everyone to watch Lio can easily spot the talent he has, which will likely only improve through the years.
As mentioned earlier, many of the ROH contracts for current talent are expiring in the first few months of the year. Rush’s potential will land him in the WWE sooner or later. The Performance Center having the tools to mold a talented, young performer will make him a perfect recruit to join the roster for NXT. Rush landing a WWE contract will happen before the year ends, unless something goes very wrong for him.