On Friday May 6th, 2016, the WWE released eight individuals from their company. Some of the people released could still have usefulness in the company while others where irrelevant for months, even years up until their careers in the WWE ended. All eight of the individuals had contributed to the WWE in some fashion over the years and as WWE likes to say, we wish them the best in their future endeavors.
With that being said, there are still a lot of WWE superstars who probably could be released later on or next year. Some superstars have seen their potential squandered over the years while others have never been able to capitalize on the opportunities they have been presented with time and time again. Some of these wrestlers would have better chances thriving in other promotions, other wrestlers may not fit the vision that the WWE has, and the rest just might need to venture into other forms of entertainment.
And so this article will be looking at 13 individuals on the roster who are currently employed by the WWE that may be released by the company at some point in the near future. Whether for contract negotiations, unentertaining gimmicks, or just too much heat with the man in charge, the WWE might be looking to get rid of the individuals on this list and it might just work out better for them in the end.
Now before you read any further, I’d like to point out that wrestlers who are synonymous with each other because of tag teams like The Usos and The Dudley Boyz will be listed as a group rather than an individual. However, members of stables like The Wyatt Family and the Social Outcasts will be discussed individually because stables replace their members way more often than tag partners do.
Also, I would like to say that the inclusion of people on this list is not a personal attack on any of the individuals listed, it is just an opinion.
With that out of the way, let’s begin with the 13 WWE Superstars That Might Be FIRED Next!
13 Alberto Del Rio
On paper, it would be a foolish idea to release a multi-time World Champion and a good wrestler like Alberto Del Rio. He’s relatively well-known and has been with the company for years, rarely putting on a bad match. Despite all of this, he’s still not over and that hasn’t changed since he was signed in 2010.
Now when Del Rio was wrestling in Lucha Underground, his matches seemed more interesting and the fans enjoyed it. Unfortunately, when he came back to WWE, he was interesting for a few weeks and ended up right back where he was before he left. Joining the stable, The League of Nations, also did nothing for him as he lost his title during this time and hasn’t done anything of interest since. With WWE signing and bringing up more and more wrestlers who probably will get over, Del Rio seems less and less like a commodity. If he is released, hopefully he can resume his critically acclaimed work in Lucha Underground.
12 Heath Slater
Having been in the WWE since 2006, Heath Slater has been in a number of groups and has had plenty of moments to shine. But at the end of the day, nothing really worked for him.
He was involved in one of the hottest WWE storylines of the PG Era in The Nexus, but when that fell apart he became a member of the spinoff group The Corre. After The Corre disbanded, Slater reached his highest point of relevancy as a singles competitor when he began taking on legends in the weeks leading up to RAW's 1,000th episode. Once that ended, Slater formed the new job squad called 3MB until his partners were released. Then he teamed with Titus O’Neil for a while and is currently the leader of the Social Outcasts.
His gimmick seems to be going from team to team every couple of years and most of the teams he’s involved with feature Superstars more entertaining than he is. He’s a three-time Tag Champion and has been in WWE for 10 years, so he’s had a good enough career. But all good things must come to an end at some point.
11 The Ascension
In NXT, The Ascension were a good enough tag team and were relatively well received by the audience. But just like Adam Rose, the group couldn’t cut it when they got to the main roster.
The WWE did air vignettes hyping the debut of the group and they were given promo time for a few weeks, but the fans lost interest as the team seemed like a rip-off of The Legion of Doom. The WWE tried their best to get them over on television by having them cut heel promos about being better than other tag teams and even gave them wins over The New Age Outlaws. Despite this, the fans didn’t seem to care and The Ascension is as irrelevant as they ever were now.
Now perhaps instead of firing the team, the WWE could simply keep them in NXT where the crowd seems to respond to them more, but if the highlights of their careers are teaming up with Stardust, then they might as well get rid of the group.
Speaking of Stardust…
10 Cody Rhodes/Stardust
It’s quite ironic that the WWE had The Ascension team up with Stardust as they all have rip-off gimmicks in common. Where The Ascension rips off the Legion of Doom, Stardust is a rip-off of his brother Goldust. And to be quite honest, it’s a character that WWE can do without.
Now if Stardust were to revert back to being Cody Rhodes then this may be a different story. After all, Rhodes has been involved in entertaining midcard storylines like the group Legacy, the Undashing gimmick, the team with Damien Sandow, and the feud with The Authority. But with this Stardust gimmick going on for so long, it’s easy to forget about what he’s done and focus on what he’s doing currently.
When the gimmick started in 2014, fans somewhat enjoyed it for a while but felt like the character needed to come to an end especially when his father, the late great Dusty Rhodes, passed. This feeling was not shared by Rhodes who has gone on record stating he is honoring his father through this gimmick. And if Rhodes is so committed to a gimmick that clearly isn’t working, then perhaps he should be committed somewhere else.
9 Tyson Kidd
Now this may seem like a cruel thing to do since Tyson Kidd was injured on the WWE’s watch during a match with Samoa Joe, but if he can’t wrestle, than there’s really no point of him being a part of the roster.
As the last graduate of The Hart Dungeon, Kidd did pretty well for himself in the WWE as both a lower midcarder and a tag team wrestler. He won the titles alongside the son of The British Bulldog, David Hart Smith, and won the titles again as recently as last year with Cesaro. Having been with the company since 2006, it seemed like Kidd was going to be there as long as he could still wrestle.
Unfortunately, his career took an unfortunate turn when he suffered a spinal injury last year that will probably cause him to never wrestle again, even if he properly heals. Seeing how he is a Hart Dungeon graduate, the WWE will probably offer him a job as a trainer. But considering the WWE’s concern with injuries as of late, it’s doubtful that he’ll ever be cleared to wrestle for them again.
8 Adam Rose
Now to be clear, this has nothing to do with any of his wellness policy violations. Since his doctors notes seem to corroborate his need for specific medication, then it only makes sense that WWE should amend their policy in this case. His problem lies in his wrestling ability, gimmick, and character.
Adam Rose has been with the WWE since 2010 and nothing has really worked out from him outside of NXT. When the Leo Kruger character was done with, Rose found some success with the NXT audience as the leader of The Exotic Express. Unfortunately, this enjoyment didn’t follow him to the main roster. He never wrestled long enough to captivate an audience, his promos were confusing, and his character was never explained. Fans did have high hopes when the ESPN documentary came out about him and several other NXT superstars, but WWE never made anything out of it and he sunk further into irrelevancy. Now it’s unfortunate that Rose’s kid has medical issues, but the fact remains that Adam Rose is not an entertaining character on the main roster. So unless he returns to work in NXT, it may be time for him to go.
7 Tyler Breeze
Yet another NXT superstar who made the jump to the main roster that didn’t amount to anything. Tyler Breeze was heavily praised for his wrestling and gimmick in NXT as he was involved in various feuds with wrestlers like Finn Balor, Hideo Itami, and the great Jushin Thunder Liger. He seemed like he had the potential to be a prominent midcarder on the level of Dolph Ziggler at the very least if he ever got called up. Despite all his accomplishments in NXT and all the fans’ hope, Breeze hasn’t even amounted to that yet as he won his first match of 2016 just this month. He was even paired with Summer Rae for some reason, but that never went anywhere either. As it stands now, Breeze is an irrelevant midcarder who is more likely to headline the Main Event than to appear on Monday Night Raw. Since NXT has lost a lot of their stars to the main roster, perhaps Breeze returning back to the promotion would do both some good. But as it stands now, Breeze may be out of the company as soon as next year at this rate.
6 Rosa Mendes
As of now, Rosa Mendes is on maternity leave due to the recent birth of her child, but whether the WWE should want her back is a completely different story.
As a valet and manager, Rosa Mendes has been no better or worse than any other woman in the role. Although she doesn’t cut promos for the people they pair her with, Mendes still serves her purpose as eye candy for whichever wrestler she’s with. As a performer, she is not even close to some of the other women on the roster. She hadn’t wrestled too many matches and none of those bouts were really any good. You would think that it would be fine as long as she returned to being a valet, but that would pose the question as to who she would be paired with. Looking at the current roster, there isn’t anyone who could stand to benefit from being paired with her. As both a wrestler and a valet, Mendes doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere. It’s unsure what the WWE creative team may think of for her, but considering their track record it would probably be best for them to cut their losses.
5 Curtis Axel
If wrestling fans have learned anything from the children of WWE legends like Ric Flair and Bruno Sammartino, it’s this: name recognition can only get you so far.
Curtis Axel, formerly known as Michael McGillicutty, has not even remotely been able to live up to the legend of his father, the late great Mr. Perfect. From his time in the NXT, he never really stood out as a wrestler. His moveset and in-ring ability seemed about as generic as it could get and his promo skills were even more disappointing. As the years went on, he has changed his name, got a manager, and changed his finisher but none of it seemed to work. The height of his popularity came when he was impersonating Hulk Hogan and teaming with Macho Mandow, which ended prematurely due to the Hulk Hogan racism controversy. As of now, he is a member of The Social Outcasts and it doesn’t seem like things will get much better.
Curtis Axel has pretty much done everything that has been asked of him, but the fact remains that he’s lacking in entertainment value. So the next time WWE decides to fire some talent, don’t be surprised if you see his name in the press release.
4 Epico & Primo
Epico and Primo Colón have been in the WWE since 2011 and seem to have done whatever has been asked of them. Despite this, they are just too generic to remain on the roster in today’s WWE.
In previous years, when the tag team division was scarce and almost non-existent, The Colóns were a good hand to have. They even won the tag team championships from Air Boom and defended their titles at WrestleMania XXVIII. But that was when their max potential would be reached, as the duo fell so far in the tag division that they had to be repackaged as bullfighters.
In 2016, the WWE has been airing vignettes of the duo in Puerto Rico for what seems to be yet another attempt to get them over. But if history is any indicator, then this will be another failed attempt leaving WWE with nothing to show for it. And with teams like The New Day, Enzo & Cass, and The Dudley Boyz on TV, The Colóns don’t even compare. So unless Carlito is coming back to the WWE soon and plans to lead the group, then the Colóns may be looking for work elsewhere in the near future.
3 Titus O'Neil
With his recent controversy with Vince McMahon and his suspension that saw him miss out on a WrestleMania payday, it seems like this will be an unfortunate inevitability.
Much like Damien Sandow, Titus O’Neil is a very charismatic individual who can cut a decent promos. Whenever The Prime Time Players were on TV, it was O’Neil doing the majority of the talking and getting the crowd into what he was saying. Though he may be lacking in the wrestling department, his mic skills are definitely an asset to the company. Unfortunately, his heat with Vince may be his undoing.
Though he has been seen in various videos for the company and has returned from his suspension, it’s also worth remembering that the chairman was also considering firing him for what happened on TV. With that being said, O’Neil is probably on thin ice as of right now. Considering how good of a talker he is and how comfortable the big man is on TV, it seems like a foolish move to fire the guy. But as we all know, if McMahon doesn’t like you, then you’re gone.
2 Zack Ryder
Much like Damien Sandow, Zack Ryder is another Superstar who got over with the fans despite the WWE's lack of interest in him. He started his own YouTube show, Long Island Iced Z, created his own title, and got so over with the fans that they started demanding his appearance on Monday Night RAW.
For a while, the WWE gave into the demands of the fans by giving Ryder more TV time and having him win the United States Championship. Ultimately, the WWE eventually started ignoring the fans desire to see him and proceeded to rob Ryder of his momentum and relegate him to working in NXT. He recently shocked the world when he won the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania, but he lost it the next night and hasn’t been seen since, so that didn’t matter in the end either. While it is mostly the WWE’s fault for not using Ryder as much as they could’ve, he is still just another guy who adds nothing to the show. The best thing for him may be for the WWE to release him and let him go wrestle for a promotion that will make him a star.
With Ryback being sent home and the contract disputes between himself and Vince McMahon still being an issue, it’s safe to assume that the WWE may not resign Ryback when his contract comes to an end; in fact, they may formally release him before that.
Ryback has been one of the many victims of start and stop pushes within the WWE. He’s been pushed to the top of the card to lose for months on end, turned heel and kept losing, returned from injury as a face and kept losing, then he finally won the Intercontinental Championship just to have a boring title reign. And while it’s not been entirely his fault, the fact remains that Ryback has been inconsistent in the WWE.
His booking has resulted in frustration that may see him released from the company. Unlike most Superstars, Ryback did whatever was asked of him and often made it work on some level. He has some level of creativity and would probably thrive in a promotion like New Japan Pro Wrestling or Lucha Underground. Since the WWE doesn’t seem to have anything for him, it may be best for The Big Guy to take his talents elsewhere.
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