WWE can be a fickle environment, the flavor of the month unceremoniously dropped with near zero warning in favor of something newer or hotter. Vince is a master at keeping the WWE fans on their toes with these changes but those same changes affect the wrestlers with just as volatile a whiplash. One month you can be almost challenging for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania and the next months can be spent sitting on the sidelines forgotten and neglected despite you doing nothing wrong. Ask Luke Harper.
Wrestlers’ livelihoods in WWE are intrinsically tied to whether Vince sees something in their development that he can make money with. Guys like Roman Reigns can be earmarked very early on to be superstars and main eventers, while others can persevere and excel in every situation they’re put in, but if Vince doesn’t see it in you, you’re going to have a bad time.
With all that said, the wrestlers listed here are not necessarily bad at their jobs. In fact, by mere virtue of making it to WWE they absolutely have skills and talents above a lot of other wrestlers working today, however, we’re looking at their current positions and direction and extrapolating outcomes based on Vince and WWE’s tendency to lose interest once superstars go beyond a certain threshold.
Whether we like it or not, here are the 15 current WWE superstars riding that knife’s edge with their careers seemingly in the balance.
15. Titus O’Neil
Brought into WWE by his neighbor Batista (bonus tidbit) Titus has lost almost everything positive WWE might see in him. His only saving grace at this point is his appearances and charity work, but even that can only keep the wolves at bay so long.
Titus is no longer a viable wrestler, he is older than most of the roster, has shown negligible improvement when actually in the ring, and between suspensions for grabbing Vince and having his biggest supporter in Batista not on great terms with WWE you know he’s on thin ice.
Right now as a quasi-manager for fellow listee Apollo Crews (and sometimes for Akira Tozawa) in Titus Worldwide, O’Neil is only a botch or policy violation from being given the axe and at his age that’ll be the end of his career.
14. Luke Gallows
From the heights of New Japan Pro Wrestling to the depths of the Raw tag team division, Gallows must think himself cursed for how badly Vince uses him. From Fake Kane, to Festus, to CM Punk’s Straight Edge Society lackey, Gallows has tried almost every gimmick under the sun and had next to zero success. He’s up with Rikishi in terms of having multiple names and gimmicks in WWE, but a sole tag champs reign is all he’s got to show for it, and that was back when Gallows & Anderson still had credibility.
Now Gallows is just another guy on Raw, only memorable when he gets to interject ‘Nerd’ into a segment. Besides that he just another big man, except he’s worse off than other big men since being in a tag team means he can lose to anyone and not be ‘hurt’ in Vince’s mind, only furthering the hole he’s stuck in. Whether he enjoys the position will ultimately determine if he again leaves WWE of his own accord or when Vince randomly decides to let him go.
13. Erick Rowan
Seemingly existing solely to hold Luke Harper back in a tag team, Erick Rowan has size, a decently deep voice, and little else going for him.
Whatever visual pros he brings to the table it surely can’t be enough to guarantee him a roster spot much longer. The Bludgeon Brothers being put together is probably his last throw of the dice, since between injury and average in-ring skills, Rowan hasn’t captured any portion of the WWE fanbase and only a miracle at this point could save the bigman from being tossed. With The Bludgeon Brothers having just made their debut, look for Rowan to either throw everything he has into this or he’ll be quickly shown the door in the near future.
12. Curt Hawkins
The man who can’t even keep a losing streak gimmick on tv two weeks into it, Curt Hawkins must be wishing he put the effort into transforming his body that Jinder Mahal did.
A former WWE Tag Team Champion almost a decade ago, Curt Hawkins is the lowest of the low in the WWE locker room, only existing so that other wrestlers have someone with a semi-recognizable name to defeat every now and again. His return promos promised at least some comedic Chuck Norris-esque trivia but instead, we’ve gotten perhaps the least impressive WWE return of all time and there is little to nothing keeping Curt off of the chopping block if WWE decides to swing the ax.
Having recently run for public office, Rhyno is half out the door and on to new things on his own accord already. His tag team with Heath Slater has already run its course over on Smackdown with their fairytale Tag Team Championship reign and since moving to Raw they have had next to nothing to do. Heath only avoids this list because he’s been at the very bottom before, not even drafted during the brand split, and is perfectly capable of turning that lemon into lemonade.
Rhyno, on the other hand, is not in WWE’s future plans, his uses as a viable roadblock for the odd Raw practically used up if his lack of screentime is evidence of anything. When we stop seeing Rhyno eating Cheez Whiz on crackers in the backgrounds of Raw, we’ll know why.
10. Lince Dorado
Perhaps the most overlooked cruiserweight since the division was introduced, Lince Dorado suffers from being the least protected and exciting of the masked luchadores, making him an easy target. With Kalisto added to the division and Gran Metalik coming out of hibernation Dorado got shuffled so far down the pecking order that if he even appears on 205 Live in a month it’s an improvement.
Despite evidence from last year’s Cruiserweight Classic clearly showing that he has a lot to offer in the ring, ‘The Golden Linx’ is so far down the line in an already overlooked division that he can’t be secure in his prospects. Moreover with Austin Aries and Neville both recently abandoning the division, suggesting that it is limiting to guys of their talents, Lince has little reason to even want to stay around.
9. Apollo Crews
As much as it’s a running joke that Vince is all about a wrestler’s look and their marketability on a poster, there is one thing that can derail that and it’s a crippling lack of charisma.
Apollo Crews may have the physique and athletic ability but his bland smiley persona must be driving Vince mad with how utterly unprofitable it makes Apollo. Despite the insane skills and body control for a man his size, Apollo hasn’t been able to show an ounce of relatable or impactful characteristics, his teaming with Titus O’Neil taking him from a 0/10 to a 2/10 by mere association.
8. Karl Anderson
Where Gallows has tried everything and nothing has worked, Karl Anderson is being given nothing to work with and you know Vince has no time for the former G1 finalist.
Karl Anderson, for all his positive traits in the ring, is simply not designed as one of Vince’s preferred attractions, his somewhat simplified presence not grabbing attention enough for Vince to ever bother pushing him as a singles wrestler let alone in his current team. Anderson has tools that are valuable to almost every promoter except Vince who has made him the pinnable member of his team and fodder for other superstars despite his talents.
7. Dana Brooke
Brought up alongside Emma who was also recently fired, Dana Brooke’s initially high prognosis in WWE tanked when she made several botches and mistakes when given the spotlight. Now she is cannon fodder for the WWE Raw women’s division, routinely shown running away from fights as well as showing little to no charisma beyond her flippy entrance.
Dana may have a little more in the tank due to recent tragedies in her personal life perhaps making WWE allow her some leeway, but unless you deliver in the ring or on the mic you eventually get let go regardless.
6. Epico Colon
One of the rare cases where it might’ve been better for a wrestler to not be immediately and irrevocably associated with a wrestling family, Epico has gotten the short stick of the three Colon’s to enter WWE.
Carlito got a big buildup, plenty of mic time, and individual championships. Primo was immediately paired with his brother and the two had moderate success as a tag team, capturing the undisputed Tag Championships at one point. Epico meanwhile was latched on to Primo after the most charismatic of the three, Carlito, exited the company and despite having sneakily great moves, underrated power, and smooth inring skills, he has had no chance to showcase them. Now the cousins are hardly ever on TV and like Curt Hawkins are the lowest of the low in their division. At least Epico is the slightly fresher of the two and could get a shot if the two are split.
Frankly, it’s a little surprising that Tamina still has a job right now. She’s not a bad worker, at all, but there just doesn’t seem to be a role for her on the women’s roster. Prior to the women’s revolution in WWE, she stood out, as she was bigger and stronger than every other woman on the roster, but WWE seems to be set on making Nia Jax their female powerhouse of the future. Theoretically, the WWE could eventually have Jax and Tamina feud, which would be a clash of two powerhouses, but with the way Tamina has been used the last few years, it’s tough to see the WWE going in that direction. Tamina may be better off going on the indies and proving she could be a big star there, because her career seems to be stuck in neutral in WWE.
Two strikes on his Wellness Policy card and in a tag team that has zero intimidation factor anymore, Konnor is holding on by mere happenstance. Whereas Viktor at least is a competent in-ring grappler who can be transitioned elsewhere like Aiden English before him, Konnor seems to have no power or impact to his moveset like a man his size should.
The Ascension are such punchlines at the moment that their existence as sidekicks to another comedy team is actually a step up for their WWE timeline. It surely can’t last though, as it feels more like the cool kids in Breezango humoring the weird goth kids.
3. Primo Colon
Primo Colon seemed like the more likable version of Carlito, but that soon faded upon Carlito’s departure and now Primo and his cousin are cemented to the bottom of whichever tag team division they are in. Only an injury crisis or the twice annual ‘every team demands a title shot’ situation sees them make it onto Raw or Smackdown television.
Primo has a plethora of innovative and exciting high-flying moves which we’ve seen glimpses of over the years, but WWE only sees a versatile loser who can be thrown at the feet of other wrestlers Vince actually cares about. Primo disappears from WWE TV for months at a time and if WWE cut him it might take several weeks for us to notice, which is a shame.
2. Mike Kanellis
It’s always dicey when WWE signs someone and they immediately go on the shelf, whether the reason for it is positive or not.
Mike Kanellis signed with WWE fresh from stints in ROH and Impact Wrestling only to admit to a painkiller addiction and be sidelined alongside his wife Maria who is now pregnant. With both off of tv and making near zero impression before leaving it’s not a good look to fans or Vince. The duo essentially showed up in WWE and began collecting paychecks for sitting out and that can’t look good with WWE accounting either. WWE had a similar example with Kharma a few years ago and the end result was the parties splitting ways, and it seems more likely that the Kanellis’ will reap the consequences rather than return to any fanfare.
1. Tye Dillinger
You have to feel for Tye Dillinger.
Stuck in WWE developmental for longer than almost anyone, praised by superstars like Cody Rhodes for his work and lamented for not being called up, he finally struck paydirt with his ‘Perfect 10’ gimmick. Suddenly NXT fans latched on to the likable underdog and his long stalled graduation from NXT came when he was put on Smackdown this year, but it’s not looking great.
Since then he has appeared sporadically and you know that the same reasons Vince had for never calling him up before are keeping him on the sidelines now. Whatever deficiencies he sees in Dillinger are apparently insurmountable and not worth exploring, giving the impression that the ‘Perfect 10’ may not have even that many months left before being ousted.
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