Some World Wrestling Entertainment Superstars do well to find success and fame after they're released by the company. The wrestler once known as C.J. Parker during his stint in NXT has become a legitimate recognized star performing as Juice Robinson for multiple promotions, and it doesn’t seem all that crazy to suggest the WWE would considering re-signing Robinson at some point in the near future. Kenny Omega was once part of the WWE’s developmental system, but the company never gave him any real chance of becoming anything of note on the main roster. Omega, of course, is now arguably the greatest overall wrestler in the world today and also an act who will earn millions of dollars if the WWE chooses to acquire his services at some point in 2018.
Unfortunately, not everybody who fails to establish himself or herself as a proven draw while performing underneath the WWE umbrella achieves great accomplishments after being released by the promotion. A plethora of acts who wrestle on Raw, SmackDown or in NXT would likely fade into oblivion after being released for different reasons. In some cases, performers have been buried so remarkably in WWE storylines that fans would have little reasons to take them seriously in any other company. Others, however, simply don’t have the skills required to ascend to the top of a big-promotion roster. While some may still land gigs working for smaller independent companies, it’s difficult to imagine any of these individuals will win a significant title in or outside of the WWE.
15 Enzo Amore
Just about everybody who follows the WWE understood it was only a matter of time before Enzo Amore essentially became an afterthought once the company split him from Big Cass, an event that occurred this summer. Amore is little more than a promo he cuts before matches and inside the ring both in storyline and in actuality, and that appears the case for him moving forward after he was destroyed by Cass in a match that occurred at the Great Balls of Fire Pay-Per-View.
Amore is an entertaining persona who could do well as a babyface or heel manager, but the harsh truth is that he doesn’t yet possess the in-ring skills needed to get past his undersized frame. Perhaps he could prove doubters wrong by completing another stint in NXT.
14 Darren Young
It’s almost difficult to believe Darren Young made his official WWE debut over seven years ago as a member of the Nexus group that was buried almost as quickly as it was called up from the original NXT show. Young has enjoyed runs as a singles wrestler and in tag teams over the years, but he hasn’t been anything more than a mid-card act, at most, since February 2010.
Young has currently faded into oblivion while with the WWE because of being sidelined due to an arm injury he suffered earlier this year. While the company may keep him around because the promotion needs bodies for Raw and SmackDown shows, it seems like only a matter of time before he’ll again become a forgotten act and fall off the face of the earth via the independent wrestling scene.
13 The Singh Brothers
The best thing to happen to the duo known as the Singh Brothers — formerly the Bollywood Boyz — is that they were teamed up with current WWE Champion Jinder Mahal to form a heel stable. The Bollywood Boyz act never had a chance of getting over on the main roster, and Mahal wasn’t going to cut it as an evil foreign heel feuding with the likes of Randy Orton on his own in 2017.
As with many similar acts and groups, however, this one will likely have a short shelf life once the WWE decides to give up on the Mahal experiment and take the title off of him. Once that occurs, the Bollywood Boyz will likely quickly fade from memories both in and, later, outside of the WWE.
12 Alicia Fox
The WWE has already turned Alicia Fox into a secondary figure placed in terrible romantic storylines relegated to forgettable portions of Raw shows and to the Live 205 program that airs only via the WWE Network. Unlike so many other female performers who have been called up from NXT to the main roster in recent memory, Fox was never meant to be part of the so-called women’s “revolution” outside of doing jobs to more talented performers.
Fox is a fine overall performer, but there's nothing about her that stands out and leads one to believe she would become a Superstar were she to be released by the WWE before attempting to work for a promotion such a Ring of Honor or overseas. Fox would do well to do whatever necessary to remain with WWE for as long as possible.
Remember when it seemed as if the WWE was going to push Kalisto as the next Rey Mysterio after the company awarded him with the United States Championship in January 2016? That seems like a long time ago, as it quickly became clear after that noteworthy achievement his run as a major solo act wasn’t going to be a long-term storyline.
In WWE, Kalisto stands out because he's a masked worker who is small compared to so many wrestlers who are pushed as main-event acts. Outside of the WWE, however, Kalisto would be just another guy who could maybe produce solid matches for a company such as Lucha Underground. It also doesn’t help his cause that the Kalisto name is owned by the WWE.
10 Dana Brooke
The biggest problem regarding Dana Brooke’s hopes of becoming a star in the WWE or away from the promotion were she to be released is that the company called her up to the main roster well before she was ready for that role. Brooke can be an entertaining heel on the microphone or while serving as a bodyguard for the likes of Emma or Charlotte, but she remains a rather green in-ring worker who probably shouldn’t be wrestling on live shows in front of big crowds.
Brooke requires plenty of seasoning as of the summer of 2017, and that is the biggest reason we predict she would fade into oblivion if she were released by the WWE and then attempted to pursue options in other promotions either in the United States or abroad.
9 Ho Ho Lun
So much about the WWE reviving the Cruiserweight Division and then creating the Live 205 program that airs only on the WWE Network has been a train wreck over the past year or so. One problem is that the WWE expanded this portion of the roster with guys who were anonymous to many casual fans before the CW Tournament that occurred in 2016, and more than a few of those acts haven’t proven themselves to be anything special while working on WWE shows.
Ho Ho Lun is only one example. Lun is nothing more than a somewhat glorified jobber whether he's working as a cruiserweight or as part of the NXT roster, and the only real thing he has going for him at the moment is his name. He’d fade into oblivion the second he was released from WWE if that occurred this summer.
8 Aiden English
The best chance Aiden English had of becoming a star both in NXT and, later, on the main roster was as part of a tag team such as the Vaudevillains duo of he and Simon Gotch. Sadly for English, that team ended once Gotch and the WWE parted ways in April 2017.
English’s lack of size when compared to top stars like John Cena and Randy Orton is one hurdle standing between he and greatness, and he isn’t anywhere near the level of an A.J. Styles or a Shinsuke Nakamura as it pertains to wrestling skills. English may get reactions at WWE shows with his microphone work before a match, but we believe he would struggle to get over working for any promotion that pushes good workers ahead of personalities.
7 Buddy Murphy
There’s no nice way to say this, but everything about Buddy Murphy, from his name to his look to his in-ring abilities, screams “enhancement talent.” Murphy’s best days working for the WWE occurred when he was part of a tag team alongside Wesley Blake that got over as a heel duo in NXT and even carried that brand’s tag titles for a lengthy period of time. For whatever reasons, the WWE decided to not call the team of Blake and Murphy up to the main roster, and they, instead, are stuck as singles acts who are going nowhere.
The possibility exists Murphy could follow in the steps of the previously mentioned Juice Robinson, but we envision he would fade into oblivion were he to be released by the WWE at any point in the foreseeable future.
6 Konnor and Victor
There are some instances where you just know an act isn’t going to get over among audiences. While the duo of Konnor of Victor, known as The Ascension, did well to become solid heels for the NXT brand, the team has repeatedly flopped on the main roster. If that wasn’t bad enough, there is zero indication the WWE sees much of anything in either Konnor or Victor as singles wrestlers.
Say, for the sake of argument, both Konnor and Victor were to be released by the WWE before the fall of 2017, there is no reason, outside of blind hope, to believe either man would prove the promotion wrong and become an international Superstar worthy of a spot in a stable such as Bullet Club outside of the WWE.
It seems as if the WWE has just about given up on even considering pushing Tamina Snuka as a solo act as of the summer of 2017. Per current SmackDown storylines, Tamina is apparently set to become a bodyguard for Lana and a performer who may compete in meaningless tag team matches every now and again.
While she’ll always have a last name that’s famous among wrestling fans, Tamina, realistically, is closer to the end of her active in-ring career than to her physical prime. The 39-year-old is probably in the middle of her final run with the WWE, and we don’t see her becoming a Superstar on either Raw or SmackDown or with any other promotion if she asked to be released by the WWE.
4 James Ellsworth
All things considered, James Ellsworth may be the luckiest individual signed by the WWE in recent memory. Ellsworth was originally meant to be nothing more than a jobber for Braun Strowman during an edition of Raw, but his facial expressions during that squash along with his diminutive stature allowed him to become an over babyface who eventually feuded with, of all people, A.J. Styles on SmackDown.
Ellsworth will probably do well to pick up gigs at signings and other similar events once he and the WWE part ways, but you don’t have to be an insider, a former worker or a trainer to understand he isn’t going to be a star working outside of the promotion. He’s a great story, though, and that’s why we hope he remains with the WWE after 2017.
3 Bo Dallas
Maybe, and that’s a massive maybe, Bo Dallas could have found success and improved as an overall worker had he read the writing on the wall in the spring of 2014 and realized he wasn’t going to get over among fans who watch only Raw and SmackDown and didn’t follow his tenure in NXT. The damage has been done, though, as Dallas has been placed in multiple silly factions and groups, including “the Miztourage” that has been featured on TV in the summer of 2017.
At this point, Dallas would be viewed as a WWE reject rather than as somebody who wasn’t given multiple chances to thrive within the promotion if he decided to ask for his release. We can only imagine what might have been had Dallas decided to work elsewhere before being called up from NXT to the main roster.
2 Heath Slater
Heath Slater is an example of a WWE wrestler who managed to get over, for a time, even though he was treated like a joke in storylines, and the truth of the matter is that he would probably draw pops from crowds at smaller shows if he asked for his release before the end of 2017.
Those types of reactions would probably slowly, but surely, disappear once the figurative shine was off the apple, as Slater is nothing more than a solid hand in the ring. His run as part of a tag team alongside Rhyno made for entertaining portions of SmackDown, but that is probably as good as things are going to get for Slater whether he remains with the WWE or attempts to make it as a solo act elsewhere.
1 Curtis Axel
Curtis Axel has gone by multiple names over the years, and the WWE seemed prepared to push him as a singles act more than once during his stints in NXT and on the main roster. Not everybody given such opportunities becomes a household name and a star featured on the covers of video games, in movies and in main-event slots of WrestleMania shows, and Axel simply doesn’t have the goods to be in such a role for the biggest wrestling promotion in the world.
Axel has been with WWE for so long that it's difficult to envision him wrestling for any other company and working alongside former WWE talents such as Cody Rhodes and Juice Robinson overseas. We wouldn’t be surprised if he faded into oblivion with or outside of the WWE at some point before January 2018.