The WWE roster is always changing with the hiring and firing of wrestlers every year and we have witnessed a number of wrestlers leave the company over the past few years. It's often a tough transition to succeed after leaving WWE. Many wrestlers end up leaving the wrestling ring in exchange for a new career path. These performers either had no interest from other noteworthy wrestling promotions to remain successful or were just tired of the wrestling business. We also have the story of former WWE stars fading away into obscurity after leaving the company despite continuing their wrestling careers.
This list will take a look at the numerous wrestlers that recently left WWE. The majority of these names have lost their place in the spotlight and most wrestling fans have no idea if these performers are still in the business. We'll take a look at the career paths of each of these wrestlers. Some of them are wrestling full-time with others completely out of the picture altogether due to having new goals. Good luck attempting to guess if these fifteen recently released WWE Superstars are still wrestling or if they have stopped.
15 Brad Maddox: No
Controversy continues to follow Brad Maddox from his WWE release to his current day life. WWE released Maddox for breaking a company rule during a dark match promo. Maddox used the term “cocky pricks” to insult the fans and get heel heat. WWE apparently banned the term “pricks” from promos, but he went against it. Maddox has not been on the radar in the wrestling world until recent times.
The leak of an adult tape involving Paige and Maddox has surfaced online, putting both in the news regarding intimate moments from their relationship years ago. Maddox is luckily staying away from the spotlight to try avoiding the controversy. Before the leak, Maddox was still keeping his distance away from the wrestling business. Maddox does have a t-shirt store available on ProWrestlingTees, but he’s no longer an active wrestler.
14 The Great Khali: Yes
WWE employed The Great Khali for many years due to his enormous size. The attraction of a giant made WWE try to push him on several occasions. Sadly, Khali happened to be one of the worst wrestlers in the history of the business. His size made it impossible for him to move around the ring with the speed and agility needed for wrestlers.
Khali was finally let go a few years ago, but continued his career back home in India. His big project after WWE saw him open his own wrestling school and promotion. In a humorous twist, Khali is actually training aspiring wrestlers. The big man only wrestles for his own promotion and makes rare appearances at conventions back in the United States.
13 Cameron: No
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Cameron was once valued enough by WWE to be an original member of the Total Divas cast. WWE saw potential in her to become a star, but it never materialized. Cameron struggled to pick up the wrestling aspect of professional wrestling. At one point, she actually forgot how to pin her opponent during a live match on Raw. The final straw in her WWE career came when spoke out against the company publicly in agreement with one of Ryback’s rants.
WWE responded by releasing her from her contract. Since then, Cameron has left the wrestling industry to try her luck in acting along with her original career of modeling. The few wrestling fans that miss Cameron can see her at conventions signing autographs. However, she has stated that she is done with the path of being an actual wrestler.
12 Hornswoggle: Yes
Hornswoggle's WWE career was rather successful in the grand scheme of things. There are very few little people in the wrestling world these days, despite the popularity of the genre in the 80s. WWE hired Hornswoggle and used him in significant roles through the years. His most memorable storyline saw Hornswoggle get revealed as the long lost son of Vince McMahon.
Hornswoggle also was involved in storylines with legendary wrestlers like DX, JBL and Finlay. However, his job status was put in doubt when he violated the Wellness Policy. WWE released him shortly after the violation, after keeping him sidelined until then. Hornswoggle continued his wrestling career working on the independent wrestling circuit and has appeared in TNA on a few occasions. It's safe to say that he'll continue to fulfill his passion for professional wrestling.
11 Bull James: Yes
NXT has created some of the top stars of WWE today. We witness their success every week, but the other end of stories for NXT talent is not as glamorous. A few wrestlers have completely flopped with their NXT push and end up getting released. Bull James is the perfect example of this. Following a push as a tough heel, Bull played a horrible comedic gimmick dubbed BullFit before getting the axe.
He's continuing his career on the independent circuit. Aside from a couple of ROH shows, Bull is struggling to get booked by the premiere companies. James continues to talk a big game with his desire to make it to New Japan or even back to WWE. Both scenarios are highly unlikely, as he's stock is not currently looking too good. You do have to give him credit for trying though.
10 Devin Taylor: No
Devin Taylor is a forgotten member of NXT, but WWE once thought she could be a major player for the women’s division. Her most noteworthy role saw her serve as a backstage interviewer on the weekly television show. WWE Network’s Breaking Ground reality series showed the behind the scenes stories about talents at the Performance Center, including the journey of Taylor attempting to become a wrestler.
Injury issues continued to pile on and held Taylor back from progressing at the level needed in WWE. The company eventually released her and actually aired the moment on Breaking Ground. Taylor left the wrestling business forever after the release. Her entertainment career is still going with recent appearances on The Bachelor reality show and various commercials.
9 ZZ: No
Tough Enough is always hit or miss in regards to finding talent that actually fits in the WWE world. WWE signed the majority of prospects from the most recent Tough Enough season in 2015. ZZ was among the most interesting signings due to his charisma and young age. Unfortunately, his lack of commitment and desire for the wrestling business continued to hold him back in the Performance Center.
WWE released ZZ from his developmental contract last year upon realizing he was nowhere near ready to make it in the company and showed no progress. ZZ left the wrestling business to return home in Louisiana as an alligator handler. Wrestling clearly wasn’t a large enough passion for him and it's best for all that he figured that out while he was still young.
8 Solomon Crowe: Yes
Solomon Crowe's success on the independent wrestling scene allowed him a chance to be a part of the WWE Performance Center. Crowe appeared on NXT in smaller roles, but never broke out like his fellow indie wrestling peers.
Crowe was granted his release from his developmental contract due to wanting to leave the company. He was hoping to return to the independent circuit, make a bigger name and return to WWE in a significant position. Crowe is working under his prior name of Sami Callihan for multiple independent wrestling promotions, along with running his own company Pro Wrestling Revolver. He's doing well for himself, but it remains to be seen if he returns to WWE.
7 Kaitlyn: No
Kaitlyn had a successful career in WWE, during her short time in the company. The athletic talent landed an opportunity in the NXT competition show. From there, Kaitlyn won the Divas Championship and had a memorable feud with her best friend AJ Lee before requesting her release. Her decision to leave WWE was due to wanting to leave the wrestling business altogether.
Today, she runs her own business, Celestial Bodiez, getting back into the fitness world. Under her real name of Celeste Bonin, she's hoping to set up her future outside of the wrestling industry. The career lifespan of a female performer is short in WWE and Celeste took the opportunity to leave before she was forced out without a backup plan.
6 CJ Parker: Yes
NXT started to change following the inception of the WWE Network. Fans found an outlet to watch the future of WWE and it became a huge hit. From there, Triple H decided to begin hiring the most talented free agents in the world. The stars from other companies dominated NXT. leaving the lesser known performers out in the cold if they didn’t have any momentum.
CJ Parker was affected by this as his television time shrunk over time on NXT. In a shocking decision, Parker decided to request his release from WWE and decided to hit the free agent market, with the goal of becoming a star outside WWE to improve his brand value. Parker is a fixture in New Japan right now under the name of Juice Robinson and the young man has a chance to succeed without the WWE machine.
5 Adam Rose: Yes
Adam Rose's WWE career is one of the biggest disappointments over the past few years. Rose was very popular in NXT with his party gimmick, but could not connect with a larger audience on the main roster leading to his demise. Instead of riding it out, Rose got into trouble outside of the ring numerous times to find his way in the WWE doghouse.
WWE eventually released him after he spoke out against their drug testing. Rose went to the independent circuit to continue his career with high hopes. Sadly, very few promotions have booked him consistently, but he's still trying to keep it alive. Rose has revealed he plans to retire by the end of the year. Until then, he's active and hoping to catch a break.
4 Alex Riley: No
Alex Riley used to be a highly respected prospect in WWE. The company placed him with The Miz during Miz’s WWE Championship reign with that hopes that he could learn from the important position. Riley struggled to improve, consistently underperformed, and made a number of mistakes. Rumors circulated that John Cena had a strong disdain for Riley and it ended up harming his career.
Riley tried to continue his wrestling career, but could never get a sustainable push. WWE released him in 2016 sending him to the free agent market. Aside from trying and failing to get a spot in TNA, Riley left the wrestling business to attempt a career in acting. A minor role in the upcoming G.L.O.W series on Netflix has given him some hope that he'll make it outside of wrestling.
3 Damien Sandow: Yes
WWE pushed Damien Sandow on a few occasions, but never went all the way with him. Sandow was the first man to downright lose his Money in the Bank title shot which perfectly summed up his WWE career. Fans always showed interest in him, but it never impressed the company enough to go all the way with him. Sandow was released last year after being on the shelf for quite some time.
His first move after leaving WWE was to sign with TNA under the name of Aron Rex. Sadly, his work has been quite disappointing, making him a very irrelevant member of the wrestling world. TNA is in shambles and most wrestling fans have given up on them. That makes it hard for Sandow to make a mark, but he's still a full-time wrestler for the promotion.
2 Ryback: Yes
Ryback saw his WWE career end after a huge flop. WWE put a lot into him, with an undefeated push for quite some time. Once it ended, Ryback got exposed with his stock going downhill. Instead of becoming a future WWE Champion, Ryback turned into a forgotten mid-card act. It frustrated him enough to rant about the state of the company and how they were mistreating the talent.
The controversial blog unofficially ended Ryback’s WWE career. Ryback claimed he would have a big future in wrestling without the help of WWE. It hasn’t happened yet, but he's still a part of the wrestling world. Ryback wrestles at smaller independent shows that aren’t necessarily viewed as relevant in the indie circuit. The Big Guy also hosts a weekly podcast, slinging dirt at all prior enemies in WWE.
1 Wade Barrett: No
One of the bigger WWE departures in recent memory, Wade Barrett’s left the WWE in 2016. Barrett always showed talent and promise, but never got a big push following his Nexus days. His frustration led to Barrett wanting to leave WWE. It's been about a year since Barrett became a free agent, but he's yet to appear in any other wrestling promotion.
Barrett has stated he's using all of his time and energy to try to set up a future in acting. Two roles in smaller films gave him the confidence to continue pushing forward with it. Barrett is not officially retired and has stated he'll return somewhere if it makes sense for him. However, he's currently not a member of the wrestling business and is trying his luck outside of the industry.