Wrestling is once again going through a major boom period and while some people might be stuck in a WWE bubble, there are countless other amazing promotions around the world that showcase some incredible talent. Look no further than some recently released talents from WWE who are enjoying success in other promotions, while Ring Of Honor is apparently planning to launch its own network.
Recent years have seen WWE raid the independent scene, bringing in people such as Kevin Owens and Finn Balor in order to stave off competition and keep their fans happy. But there are still so many wrestlers around the world working for the likes of Ring Of Honor, PROGRESS Wrestling, and New Japan Pro Wrestling who could all make a major impact in WWE. After all, if they are able to draw in promotions that are less popular than WWE, then surely they can do even better on the biggest stage of them all.
Similarly to that, there are also many names in WWE who have perhaps outstayed their welcome or simply serve no purpose to the product anymore, and therefore would be better off either leaving or joining the growing independent scene. Some may be better off simply retiring altogether, but money talks and many wrestlers stay in the business because they can still earn well.
This article will look at 10 names that should be in WWE as well as five who should be kicked out, perhaps opening the door for one of those 10.
15. Should Be In WWE: Matt Riddle
The former UFC star is quickly making a major name for himself in the world of professional wrestling and it hasn’t taken long for people to want the King of the Bros in WWE. Riddle works all around the world, allowing him to learn as many styles as possible and develop his own style while showcasing himself to as many fans as he can. Riddle has an incredible connection with his fanbase too, often spending time with them after shows and buying them drinks.
Riddle’s MMA background brings him a sense of legitimacy that is tough to find in wrestling and his size and strength mixed with his freakish athleticism remind fans of the Beast, Brock Lesnar, but with way more personality.
14. Should Be In WWE: Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho once again made the wrestling world explode when he challenged Kenny Omega (yes, we will get to him) to a match at Wrestle Kingdom 12. However, this is simply a one-off match. His most recent run with WWE was one of his very best. He may have lost a step in the ring, but his ability to develop characters, tell a story and connect with an audience certainly have not.
Jericho did wonders for Kevin Owens, helping to re-establish him as a legitimate heel, rather than one was treated like a babyface by fans. He gets the business and understands that helping put over young talent helps everybody and that attitude is what has served him so well during his career. Thankfully, one more run with WWE is absolutely inevitable with him and it is a matter of when and not if.
13. Should Be Kicked Out: Mike Kanellis
Mike Kanellis has barely made an impact in WWE, and that is exactly why he needs to pack up his bags and return to the independent scene, no matter what the power of love is telling him. As Mike Bennett, he made a name for himself on the independent scene and WWE decided to quickly bring him in and totally put all his hard work to waste with an awful gimmick that was never, ever, going to get over with fans.
Now stuck and unable to make any progress for the company other than being a jobber, which is a role he has barely played on television, Kanellis should look to return to his roots and go back to being the star he once was.
12. Should Be In WWE: Kenny Omega
Even if you are the most diehard WWE fan who will not venture outside the Vince McMahon created bubble, the chances are you will have heard of Kenny Omega, and for good reason; the man is incredible. Inside the ring, Omega is one of the elite, putting on several classics that have earned him a famous six stars from Dave Meltzer. That should tell you all you need to know.
Just look at the incredible run AJ Styles is having right now in the big leagues. This could easily be replicated by Omega as he is simply too good for it not to go right. The fact he has become so good that Chris Jericho is willing to work in New Japan just to have a match with him speaks wonders about his ability and he has seemingly accomplished everything there is to do, so why not make the move?
11. Should Be In WWE: The Young Bucks
Nick and Matt Jackson are simply too sweet, from their in-ring talent to their natural chemistry and their incredible ability to connect with fans, the Young Bucks have become one of the greatest tag teams of all time. Not only that, but they have totally changed the game when it comes to wrestling. Because of this, they are one of the only people outside of WWE that are arguably more popular than anyone in WWE and they could actually bring eyeballs with them to WWE television, a major feat for an independent wrestler.
The Young Bucks’ style is fun to watch and is very different to anything else available, with them often mocking pop culture and wrestling itself. It could be very fun to see how their dynamic would work within a WWE environment and hopefully one day fans will get to see that.
10. Should Be Kicked Out: Dolph Ziggler
The Showoff has reached heights that most wrestlers will never reach, including those that eventually make it to WWE, it once appeared that Dolph Ziggler was going to be a major player in WWE’s main event scene. While he has had a long career in WWE, you can’t help but feel it should have been better. In terms of pure wrestling, he is one of WWE’s very best hands and he has certainly never been shy on personality, making him the perfect package for WWE, but for whatever reason they have always used him as the bridesmaid and never the bride.
Given the way independent wrestling is currently going, Ziggler could still make a major impact in the wrestling industry, in a similar way to Cody Rhodes he has all the tools to become a mega-star outside of the company and that is a road he now needs to go down, before another NXT alumni needs putting over.
9. Should Be In WWE: War Machine
Tag team wrestling is currently going through a boom period in WWE with great teams such as The Usos and The Bar putting on incredible matches and making fans care about it again. There are also many great tag teams outside of WWE making an impact in the world of wrestling and one of those is War Machine. This pair of freakish giants is the perfect example of why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
On the outside, they look like two huge men who will hit plenty of power moves but not have much agility, such as Authors of Pain. Whilst there is nothing wrong with that, and War Machine certainly does that, they can also fly like cruiserweights which sets them apart from every team on the planet right now. The fact they are so different to everything WWE currently offers would make them a perfect addition to WWE’s roster.
8. Should Be In WWE: Kazuchika Okada
If pure in-ring wrestling talent is your thing, then Kazuchika Okada should be the man you want WWE to sign the most because inside the squared circle he is simply phenomenal. Okada has made a major name for himself during his series of matches with Kenny Omega and rightfully so. WWE has proven they are now ready to open up to a more versatile range of wrestling and the Japanese strong-style has gone down very well with fans through Shinsuke Nakamura and Asuka. Okada is arguably greater than both of them and the Rainmaker could have some amazing matches with the likes of Finn Balor, Cesaro, and Seth Rollins. WWE is currently squandering Shinsuke Nakamura but maybe if they can figure out what to do with him it can open the door for more strong-style talent in WWE.
7. Should Be Kicked Out: Kane
The Big Red Monster is a guaranteed WWE Hall of Fame superstar and has had one of the longest and greatest careers of all time. However, we are now in 2017 and Kane’s most recent return has seen him dominate WWE like when he first debuted.
This shouldn’t be happening and is doing a lot more damage than it is positive. Seeing Kane make quick work of Finn Balor or beat Seth Rollins doesn’t make him look strong but rather makes other talents look weak. While the eventual payoff will likely see Braun Strowman destroy him, it simply hasn’t been worth it. No longer visually as scary as he once was and having lost a step in the ring, now would be the right time to hang up the mask, continue his politics and await his deserved Hall of Fame induction.
6. Should Be In WWE: Zack Sabre Jr.
WWE fans got a teaser of what Zack Sabre Jr can offer during the Cruiserweight Classic, where he managed to reach the semi-finals of the tournament. Sadly, unlike the majority of the participants, Sabre Jr decided not to sign a contract with the company and rejoined the independents.
Given how 205 Live has gone, that looks to be the greatest decision he may have ever made, because he wasn’t pigeonholed into a position or a weight class, meaning if he ever went back to WWE, he could easily work on the main roster. Sabre Jr is the best technical wrestler in the world, with his style being unique and fun to watch. With innovative moves and submissions, Sabre Jr has wowed audiences all around the world, and it’s now time for him to do it on the biggest stage possible.
5. Should Be In WWE: Marty Scurll
The year 2017 really has been the year of Marty Scurll. The Villian has created a gimmick that has made him a standout on the independent scene. Usually full of amazing wrestling but little character work, Scurll is already prepared for life in the character driven WWE.
His current gimmick doesn’t need changing or tweaking as it would work brilliantly on the biggest stage possible, either as a heel or a babyface, making him even more versatile. Best of all, he can back it all up inside the ring. Scurll doesn’t rely on his character to get by and constantly puts on incredible matches that have seen the likes of Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling trust him enough to carry championships in their companies.
4. Should Be Kicked Out: Hideo Itami
The NXT superstar has suffered from injuries worse than most people on the current WWE roster, with his injuries providing major setbacks to his career that have really stopped his once great momentum. Hideo Itami headed into WWE with all the hype that a man of his talent deserves and he was getting a major push until injuries cut him down. His class of NXT with the likes of Finn Balor and Sami Zayn have long since departed, with the class after him that features Shinsuke Nakamura all also on the main roster now. However, Itami still sits in NXT, with plenty of talent above him in the pecking order.
Recent rumours have linked Itami with a move to 205 Live and while that could be what he needs to salvage his WWE career, he is better than that. Given New Japan’s current growth, Itami would be best served to leave the company and hit the restart button.
3. Should Be In WWE: Jay Lethal
Jay Lethal is possibly one of the greatest wrestlers in modern wrestling to yet make an appearance in WWE, and at this point it is a real surprise given WWE’s recent raiding of the independent scene. Inside the ring, Lethal is one of wrestlings greatest, but that shouldn’t be a surprise anymore. The former Ring of Honor Champion also has tons and tons of charisma and is one of the most entertaining men on the microphone, making him the whole package. Given his years of experience he would likely know exactly how to make his time in WWE work, just as Samoa Joe and Bobby Roode have done. Lethal has appeared everywhere and anywhere that there is to wrestle around the world and not seeing him in a WWE ring at some stage would be a huge shame.
2. Should Be In WWE: Richochet/Price Puma
Whether you know him as Ricochet or the masked Prince Puma, the one thing you can be sure of is that he is one of the best wrestlers in the world today and is somebody that should be on WWE’s books. His matches are simply mesmerizing and his style is something that many fans won’t have seen before, treating wrestling like an art, his matches with the likes of Will Ospreay have taken the wrestling world by storm.
Speculation has it that this could actually be happening in 2018, with Ricochet currently not taking any independent dates for after January fans are patiently waiting, and hoping, that he is set for to debut at NXT in the not so distant future.
1. Should Be Kicked Out: Brock Lesnar
While Brock Lesnar certainly brings major star power to WWE and has had an amazing career in the fighting world, both in wrestling and in mixed martial arts, the passion that once burned in the Next Big Thing seems to have faded out. No longer does Lesnar seem interested in being part of WWE, other than for accepting a pay cheque, his part-time status means that he is barely seen and when he is it’s usually just to stand in the ring and bounce around whilst Paul Heyman cuts a killer promo.
His matches now tend to be very similar too, with Lesnar no longer putting on the showcase matches he once did with the likes of CM Punk. His current run is holding back talent that is ready to break, which could be a major problem in the long run, I mean, can you honestly say that Braun Strowman or Samoa Joe couldn’t pull off the role Lesnar is currently doing?
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