The number of wrestlers employed by the WWE is staggering. We tend to only notice the performers on television. Obviously, they also have a crew of hundreds doing work to make the company run efficiently from the live events to the offices. The wrestlers on the roster are continuing to grow with Raw, SmackDown Live, NXT and 205 Live all requiring different names. Aside from the on-screen talent, there are people under contract that you aren’t aware of or forgot existed. WWE rarely releases injured wrestlers and will take care of them during their time on the injury list.
Producers are usually former wrestlers hired to help add to the matches. The competitors in the match will work with the producer in planning how they set up the action and story they want told. WWE also created the ambassador role for wrestlers leaving the company. These specific names will do promotional work for the WWE and earn a paycheck for it. Older stars have a legends contract option to have their merchandise sold while getting a cut. That makes it easy to have it fly under the radar and realize that some names are still a part of WWE. We’ll look at those wrestlers you forgot were still signed to a WWE contract.
15. Gene Okerlund
Legendary wrestling broadcaster “Mean” Gene Okerlund is known for his interviews with Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and other top names in both WWE and WCW. Okerlund is retired from the interviewing game, but WWE still has him signed to a contract. The memorable voice of Okerlund is used for voiceover work in various projects for the company.
Okerlund is the host of the new WWE Network show Story Time. He also does studio work for a few other projects that are relevant for his presence. Okerlund’s legends contract allows him to take outside bookings at conventions, but the 74 year old still has a place in the WWE. We also get to see him appear on WWE television once in a while when he’s needed for a nostalgia segment. Okerlund is an older veteran that still remains on the WWE employee list.
14. Billy Kidman
— John Layfield (@JCLayfield) November 20, 2016
The cruiserweight run of Billy Kidman in the WWE and WCW made him stand out as an exciting in-ring competitor. Everyone remembers Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko among the top cruiserweights in WCW, but Kidman was right there with them for many years. Kidman made the move to WWE when WCW was sold to Vince McMahon.
WWE used Kidman as a role player primarily in the tag team and cruiserweight divisions. Kidman had solid matches but wasn’t viewed as a special talent for the company. Luckily, he didn’t burn any bridges and continued to work hard. Kidman now has a job in the WWE under contract to be a producer. His main job at Raw and SmackDown shows is to make sure the shows runs smoothly and everyone hits their time limit.
13. Bronson Matthews
The most recent season of Tough Enough saw the WWE invest a lot of money into the reality show with hopes of finally finding a star out of it. Vince McMahon and Triple H both loved the look and athletic background of Josh who eventually won the contract. Josh joined the Performance Center and is now working under the name of Bronson Matthews.
After winning the contract on national television, he was forced to start at the bottom learning the basics. Matthews got into hot water when making a joke on social media mocking The Social Outcasts for being “jobbers.” Many wrestlers on the main roster took exception and called him out. That was the last we’ve really heard out of him. Bronson has yet to make an appearance on NXT while many of the Tough Enough losers have become part of the show. The Tough Enough winner is still on the roster enjoying his contract though.
One of the more impressive talents in the Cruiserweight Classic was Akira Tozawa. The Japanese star had a couple of great matches, but has not been involved in any of the cruiserweight matches since the division moved to Raw. Tozawa is currently under contract and has been getting situated with his move from Japan to the United States.
WWE has him listed on the roster for the new 205 Live show, which displays the talents of the cruiserweights. Tozawa may not be one of the spotlighted names yet, but he is bound to make a big impact sooner or later. The cruiserweight division badly needs depth to succeed. A talent like Tozawa making such a drastic career move means WWE won’t waste him away. Expect him to thrive in the cruiserweight division and NXT come 2017.
11. Gerald Brisco
Gerald Brisco is most remembered by current fans for his time as a “stooge” for Vince McMahon. Along with Pat Patterson, Brisco played McMahon’s lackey during the Attitude Era by doing his bidding. Brisco had a strong career as a wrestler and is using that in his current role for the WWE. Triple H has Brisco scout talent in helping to find new assets for the Performance Center.
WWE is trying to find the best possible talent to build the future of the company around. There are many scouts suggesting talent and Brisco is one of the bigger names. Former UFC fighter Matt Riddle was a name Brisco suggested and Riddle has progressed into a top independent wrestler. Brisco definitely has an eye for talent, even if the WWE doesn’t always sign his suggested performers.