The last thing you want to hear is "you’re fired", especially when you’re working for the WWE. The company has a long history of firing personnel. Sometimes they do it for the right reasons and sometimes for the worst reasons. As a wrestler, you really have no say if Vince McMahon fires you. There’s no union to back you up and we’re pretty sure the contract allows the WWE to fire you for even the slightest reason.
Not every wrestler that leaves the WWE is fired. Over the decades we have seen many wrestlers leave on their own terms. Whether their contract was up and they didn’t want to re-sign, or they decided to quit right on the spot, wrestlers leaving a promotion is as common as purple gloves on a throwback Undertaker outfit. We decided to make a list about ten ex-WWE wrestlers that deserve a comeback and five that have no chance.
Some of these wrestlers were fired while others asked for their release. Most have done very well on the independent circuit and it’s a major reason why they should come back. As we’ve seen in the past, McMahon and the WWE can bury the hatchet and bring someone back. The Ultimate Warrior is a great example of two sides coming together after years of bitterness. Enjoy.
15 Second Chance - Joey Mercury
He may not have the accomplishments that others on this list have but that hasn’t stopped people from loving Joey. He would make his professional wrestling debut at the age of 17 in 1996. Although undersized, 5 foot 9 inches tall, his hard work would pay off and he would be signed by the WWE in 2004. He would have a three-year stint and was the victim of one of the worse injuries ever seen in the WWE when his face literally shattered because of a ladder.
His second stint in the would last from 2010 to this year but he would be regulated to behind the scenes work and being a henchman. Joey isn’t shy to talk about abusing drugs in his past. Since he’s been on the independent circuit this year, he’s looking strong. Signing him to the 205 Live Division would be best for business.
14 Second Chance - Damien Sandow
How many times was Sandow over with a gimmick but for some reason or another, the WWE wouldn’t push him? He would be trained under Killer Kowalski and in 2002 the WWE would sign him to a developmental contract. Known as Idol Stevens, his first stint with the promotion would last until 2007. He would then return to Ohio Valley Wrestling for a brief period between 2008 and 2009.
His stock would rise after working in Florida Championship Wrestling and becoming the “Intellectual Savior of the Masses.” His popularity was never a problem but WWE’s booking was. A potential champion, he would be released in 2016. Today, Sandow is focusing on a career in acting but a return to the ring in the near future is a possibility and one WWE fans would be open to.
13 No Chance - Alberto Del Rio
Del Rio has all the talent in the world to be in the WWE, but how many times are you going to work for a company and then have a falling out? Del Rio has wrestling blood and can put on a show. As one of the best Mexican wrestlers in the world, it’s understandable the WWE would want his services. He’s been a champion in the company but it’s not his in-ring work that’s going to stop him from signing with the WWE.
Del Rio has said some choice words about how the WWE handles things. His fall out with the company and the controversy surrounding Paige is a huge reason why we won’t see him back in the WWE Universe. If the allegations that he’s also abusive are true, the WWE would certainly never hire him again, although the door seems to be closed regardless.
12 Second Chance - Ryback
We know a lot of you fans hate everything about Ryback, especially the CM Punk groupies, but the fact remains, Vince McMahon loves the big guys. After becoming a contestant on Tough Enough, he would sign a development contract with the WWE in 2005. He would spend years in the minor leagues and be part of the inaugural NXT roster. After coming up with Nexus, Ryback would be pushed into single actions.
He gained steamed and the fans liked his gimmick, however, things didn’t turn out and some of his fans say he was buried. After drifting around the mid-to-lower card, Ryback would ask for his release in 2016. It was granted and he’s been on the independent circuit ever since. Ryback at one time was over, and people liked the “Big Guy” gimmick but something happened along the way. A second chance in the WWE could spark that excitement fans had for him years ago.
11 Second Chance - Gail Kim
The WWE should be all about bringing the best wrestlers into the fold. With the Women’s Revolution kicked into high gear, it would be a wise move for the WWE to bring in some of the best female wrestlers on the planet. One of those wrestlers is Gail Kim. Although she is 40 years old, she can still perform as if she was in her prime. She would become a member of the WWE Universe in 2002 but only lasted two years.
In 2008, she would once again sign with the company but by 2011, her patience with the company was gone. She wanted a release and cited a lack of commitment by WWE towards the Women’s Division as a reason. WWE would not release her and instead made her work the rest of her contract. It’s a rocky relationship between the two but we have seen worse. Now that the WWE is taking care of the ladies, maybe a return isn’t out of the question. It seems like this one all comes down to Gail.
10 No Chance - Simon Gotch
It doesn’t bold well when you start a fight backstage and then lose. Gotch would be released by the WWE shortly after being called up to the big leagues in 2017. Apparently, he was rubbing a lot of people the wrong way and the WWE decided to end the problem before it got worse. He’s been wrestling since 2002 and would sign with the WWE in 2013. It was in NXT where he was paired with Aiden English to form the Vaudevillians.
They would never win the Tag Team Championship while up in the big leagues, which was a big disappointment considering their NXT success. Gotch would infamously whip Enzo Amore into the ropes which caused a terrible concussion. We doubt he made any friends after that and we guarantee he will never be in the WWE again.
9 Second Chance - Carilto
No one can chew and spit out an apple like Carlito. Hailing from Puerto Rico, he is the son of the legendary Carlos Colon. Wrestling is in his blood, and a reunion with Epico and Primo would make a lot of sense right now. Carlito would make his professional wrestling debut in 1999 for his families’ promotion World Wrestling Council.
He would sign a development contract in 2004 and went on to win the United States Championship, Intercontinental Championship, and several Tag Team Championships. Unfortunately, Carlito would be released due to a violation of the WWE Wellness Program in 2010. It also didn’t help that he refused to attend a rehabilitation facility. He’s been a top star for WWC, which isn’t surprising, but a lot of fans would like to see him come back for one more run in the WWE.
8 Second Chance - Austin Aries
Austin Aries in the WWE Universe ended quicker than a pizza pie at an eight-year-old's birthday party. After a long and successful career outside the WWE, he would finally sign with the company in January of 2016. Aries fans were ecstatic as he made his debut with NXT. He would be in some solid feuds but an injury would derail his WWE career. When he did return, he would be one of the faces of the new Cruiserweight Division.
A lengthy feud between him and the former champion Neville would climax at WrestleMania 33. There are different rumors going around as to why he left the WWE after WrestleMania and he will surely be missed on 205 Live. The Cruiserweights are still trying to make a statement with or without Aries. If Austin is to ever return, it won't be with the Cruiserweights as his initial plans were a move to the main roster.
7 No Chance - Adam Rose
Don’t be a lemon you savages. Rose made his wrestling debut in 1996, that was before HD screens, Kobi the lawnmower robot, and the McPick 2 menu at McDonald's. It would take the South African native 14 years before signing with the WWE. He would be using the Leo Kruger gimmick and the fans loved it. For some reason, the WWE would do a 180 and turn him into a party-loving hippie instead of a cold blooded heel.
He would get called up to the big leagues in 2014. Fans just didn’t take hold of his act and he was an easy release after a second violation of the Wellness Policy and being arrested for domestic abuse. Although he has straightened himself out, at the age of 38, we don’t see any chance for Rose to make a comeback in the WWE.
6 Second Chance - Wade Barrett
We got some bad news for you, Barrett isn’t coming back in the near future but that doesn’t mean it will never happen. Recently, he was hired by WCPW to become the newest General Manager for the English promotion. Known as the leader of Nexus, it seems Barrett’s career in the WWE was falling ever since the stable was broken up.
His “Bad News” shtick was gaining a lot of attention, however, it wouldn’t last long and the WWE would turn him into “King” Barrett. Wondering around the mid-card and pointless feuds, Barrett and the WWE decided to part ways. It seems like he needed to refresh his batteries and we’re happy he’s still involved in the industry. He’s strong, charismatic, and has the look, so a comeback in the WWE is a possibility.
5 Second Chance - John Morrison
You can call him John Morrison, Johnny Mundo, Johnny Nitro, or Johnny Impact, it doesn’t matter, one thing is for sure though, this guy can flat out wrestle. He would make his first dip into the WWE Universe in 2002 as a contestant on Tough Enough 3. After becoming the co-winner of the competition, it was off to Ohio Valley Wrestling to hone in on his craft. Before you knew it, he was debuting in the big leagues and making heads turn.
He would win the ECW World Championship, Intercontinental Championship, and several Tag Team Championships. Johnny would reveal on the Stone Cold Steve Austin’s podcast in 2015 that he decided to not resign with the company in late 2011 because of creative differences. He also claimed he wanted more free time to rest up. The move has paid off for him, Johnny is one of the best wrestlers not in the WWE at the moment.
4 No Chance - Alex Riley
If you watched Netflix’s GLOW then you got to see Riley’s acting debut which wasn’t bad at all. At 36 years old, Riley is pursuing a career in Hollywood and hasn’t wrestled this year so we doubt a return to the WWE will ever happen. He spent his entire wrestling career with the WWE, so a move to the independent circuit doesn’t seem to be in the works either.
There’s also that rumor that has been going around which even Roman Reign brought up in his promo with John Cena. Allegedly, Cena despised Riley for reasons not exactly clear and he was the main force behind ending his career if the WWE. If true, as long as Cena is around, Riley will be the odd man out. It’s pretty unfortunate because he did have talent.
3 Second Chance - Cody Rhodes
The grandson of a plumber was born to entertain professional wrestling fans. As the son of legend Dusty Rhodes and brother of Goldust, Rhodes could have stayed in the WWE as long as he wanted to. His career started in 2006 when he signed a development contract with the WWE. It didn’t take long before he made it to the big leagues.
Over the years he would win several Tag Team Championships and became a two-time Intercontinental Champion. Although that sounds like a solid career, it wasn’t enough for Rhodes. He has the talent and knows this but felt the WWE was holding him back. He would ask for his release in 2016 and has been white hot on the independent scene ever since.
2 Second Chance - CM Punk
It seems like every decade the WWE has to have a falling out with a legend. Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, and CM Punk have had their fair share of negative comments towards the WWE and Vince McMahon, however, both Hogan and Hart patched things up in the end. This gives CM Punk fans a lot of hope that their hero returns to the WWE Universe. Punk would quit the WWE the day after the 2014 Royal Rumble.
He cited mismanagement of his booking, poor medical advice, and feeling underappreciated as the main reasons for leaving. Punk has been removed from the WWE for over three years now and in that time he has performed in the UFC and wrote for Marvel Comics. There is one big obstacle standing in the way of a return to the WWE and that’s a lawsuit involving WWE’s doctor Christopher Amann.
1 No Chance - Eva Marie
She’s a beautiful woman and people will pay to see her in titillating poses but that’s not what the Women’s Revolution is about in the WWE these days. Two decades ago, Marie would have been as famous as Sable but in 2017, but fans want to see ladies wrestle. Everyone knew when she signed and appeared in the WWE she was considered a “Diva” more than a wrestler.
Which was true, and she never denied it. The WWE would give her a chance to become a wrestler but that project failed. Maybe it was a win-win for both sides, Marie got a lot of coverage to advance her career and the WWE had a beauty promoting the product. She would leave the WWE this year and we doubt a return is coming anytime soon.