The WWE is constantly looking to shake things up on their roster. They’re not a company that likes to rest on their laurels. If they feel a talent has run their course with the company, they won’t hesitate to move on. The company is also always looking for new talents, especially with NXT essentially becoming a third brand to the company.
The business has changed so much in the past five years. WWE has now opened its doors to so many international talents, but for WWE to make room for them, they have to look at their current roster and see who still has a role to play.
Then of course, there are some talents who may just choose to leave the company. After all, every talent’s goal is to be a main feature on WWE programming and to have a high spot in the company. If they see it’s not going to happen, they could just decide to go somewhere they’ll feel more appreciated.
Finally, there are some wrestlers on the roster who will simply retire, as there are plenty on the roster in their 40s or about to hit 40 and may start thinking of other career opportunities. Here, we will try to predict the future and see where these 15 potential WWE departures will end up a year from now.
It seems like the WWE’s women’s division has passed Tamina by. It seemed like she was going to be entrenched in the division, playing the monster heel, but WWE has now found that person in Nia Jax. Tamina has spent much of the past year in limbo. With her father Jimmy Snuka’s murder accusation resurfacing, WWE removed ‘Snuka’ from her name to further distance themselves from the (former?) WWE Hall of Famer.
Tamina spent much of 2016 injured, but she has yet to return after being cleared in December. Perhaps WWE is just biding their time until they can release her. It’s hard to imagine a spot for her on the RAW brand, where she was expected to compete.
Prediction: TNA won’t hesitate to add another second generation wrestler to their roster. Tamina will get a big role in TNA’s Knockouts division.
Fandango seems to be on borrowed time in the WWE. It’s remarkable how just under four years ago, he was defeating Chris Jericho at WrestleMania and this year, he’ll be lucky if he even gets on the card, unless it’s in the Andre The Giant Battle Royal. Either way, that’s not exactly encouraging.
The company clearly has no plans for him and his teaming with Tyler Breeze proves that. Expect Fandango to be a part of WWE’s annual post-WrestleMania cuts. Over a dozen talents were released by the end of summer in 2016 so looking at WWE’s roster, Fandango is an easy call to be a cut.
Prediction: Fandango will be no more and Johnny Curtis will make his return to the independent circuit.
13. Curtis Axel
It’s pretty obvious at this point that Curtis Axel’s career is going nowhere in WWE. The highest form of relevance he ever achieved was when he began his Axelmania gimmick after never technically being eliminated from the 2015 Royal Rumble. The gimmick was scratched following the Hulk Hogan scandal, but even if the WWE were to bring back the gimmick at this point, lightning won’t strike twice. Axel should cut his losses and make a name for himself elsewhere. He’s seen fellow second and third generation superstars leave WWE to succeed elsewhere, so perhaps that will motivate him to start fresh.
Prediction: Axel will go the route of Cody Rhodes and jump to TNA, while taking international bookings against high-profile opponents.
12. Zack Ryder
If you exclude his Intercontinental Championship winning WrestleMania moment last year, Zack Ryder has had a pretty steady decline in the WWE. Not only was Ryder demoted to not having the title, but the Long Island native was bounced off of the main roster for some time in 2016. Following his departure from the WWE in 2016, Cody Rhodes talked about how there were a few people who claimed they would be quitting the company with him. Given how close Rhodes was with Ryder, we can assume that one of his would-be-quitter friends was Ryder.
Seeing all the success that Rhodes has had on the indie scene has to be burning Ryder up to strike out on his own, and we see the Hype Bro asking for his release sometime in 2017..
Prediction: In one year Ryder will be main eventing at ROH.
11. Sin Cara
Well seeing as how the original Sin Cara is gone from the WWE already, it’s only a matter of time before his namesake follows suit. Since Hunico took over portraying Sin Cara in 2013, he has jumped around from the main roster, to NXT and back. Since his Lucha Dragon partner Kalisto has struck out on his own after getting drafted to SmackDown, Sin Cara has had little to do on RAW. Though he has joined the crusierweight division, the former NXT Tag Team Champion has yet to become the next Rey Mysterio that WWE once thought he could be. If we had to guess, we see Sin Cara falling victim to the post-WrestleMania roster cuts this year.
Prediction: In one year Sin Cara will be working a feud with the original Sin Cara for the AAA promotion in Mexico City.