Vince McMahon nefariously looks into the camera and says, “YEEEEER FI-YERED!!!!” Not only does Vince fire wrestlers, he also has the ability to fire the audience, a true boss. Before McMahon became the evil jabroni we all grew to love in the Attitude Era, his management of employees was very quiet and rarely made a dent in the headlines. The Montreal Screwjob would set him on a path that ultimately helped WWE conquer WCW and it’s always awesome to see McMahon come out and fire someone kayfabe wise.
With information and communication becoming easier and faster to obtain, fans are on the pulse when a wrestler’s contract is up. Sometimes McMahon can’t just flat out fire you without a cause, so what better way of getting some dead weight then by letting the contract ride out while the talent sits on the bench? If the company doesn’t re-sign a talent, it’s basically a firing in our eyes.
This list is all about wrestlers that could potentially be re-signed but for some reason or another, the WWE would rather they walk. We’re not talking about the wrestlers who are retiring, such as Mark Henry and the Big Show, but the Superstars that will probably still be involved in the ring after their contract with the WWE is over. Enjoy.
15 Dana Brooke
Brooke might be the odd women out on the Raw roster. She was nowhere near the fatal-five way match for the Women’s Championship at No Mercy and the last time she had a match on television was on Main Event. After a career in bodybuilding, she would be signed by the WWE in 2013. It took three years for her to make the big leagues and played a key role as Charlotte Flair’s lackey.
With Asuka coming to Raw, the opportunity for her to shine is quickly fading. Out of all the wrestlers on this list, Brooke has the best chance to stay on the roster but with an influx of better talent down in NXT just waiting to be called up, we can see her being bumped off the roster sooner than later.
He would make his debut in the WWE during the Attitude Era and be a member of the roster until 2002. His second stint would come in 2008 and he's been with the WWE ever since. At 45 years old, R-Truth is rarely used in any matches and his time with the company is definitely coming to an end. As a former Hardcore, United States, and Tag Team Champion, Truth has had some memorable moments and been part of a few big-time feuds, however, it seems like he’s usually on the wrong side of time.
In 2017, Truth is barely being used as a wrestler or personality talent. His work with Goldust was okay but that seems to have fizzled out. Retirement isn’t out of the question but even if he doesn’t retire, we doubt WWE gives him another long-term contract.
13 Zack Ryder
It wasn’t too long ago when Ryder won the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania, however, this industry seems to be a “what have you done for me lately,” type of attitude. To be fair, Ryder had been nursing a legit injury in 2017 and now that he’s back on SmackDown Live, he has a chance to shine. Fans are still waiting for the shining to begin.
He’s currently involved in a dramatic storyline with his tag team partner, Mojo Rawley, similar to a Mexican soap opera. You can be deaf and blind and still see some kind of heel turn coming which will start a feud between the two. At 32 years old, Ryder has been with the WWE for a long time but has been nothing more than a mid-card wrestler. Too many new faces will push him out of the WWE.
Fandango and Tyler Breeze finally found momentum together when they started making their quirky and cheesy vignettes but that train seems to have slowed down. While The New Day and Usos are in a great feud at the moment, there really is nothing else going on in the Tag Team Division on SmackDown Live.
If the WWE isn’t doing anything with Fandango now, we doubt they will be when a few of NXT’s prospects get promoted. We can’t imagine him having any television time if Luke Harper and Eric Rowan reform their tag team and they call up the Authors of Pain. We also don’t see him lighting up the singles division. So where does that leave him? Maybe he can drink some more down in South Paw Wrestling.
11 Noam Dar
With Cruiserweights like Lio Rush and Johnny Gargano just waiting to be called from NXT, someone is going to be the odd man out at 205 Live. Akria Tozawa is beloved by the fans, Ariya Daivari is the perfect foreigner heel, Cedrick Alexander, Rich Swann, Gentleman Jack Gallagher and Tony Neese are athletic freaks, Drew Gulak is a genius on the mic, Lince Dorado, and Gran Metalik are holding down the luchador style, and Kalisto, Neville, and Enzo Amore are the top players.
The Brian Kendrick and TJP are former champions so that leaves Mustafa Ali and Noam Dar. Out of the two, which do you think has the better wrestling skills? We say Ali. Dar may have been pushed during his feud with Alexander but that momentum has sailed and he’s now lost in the shuffle. The best thing he has going for him is his accent, which isn’t saying much.
Compared to others on this list, Tamina is actually getting television airtime for her matches. As the biggest and most intimidating looking women’s wrestler on SmackDown Live, she has a clear role and partnering up with Lana is a great move. Both ladies can cover each other’s weaknesses and they're a decent threat.
We don’t know how many years are left on her contract but at the age of 39, her time in the WWE may be coming to an end. Like many of the other women on this list, a big reason why they may not be signed is the countless new talent coming up through NXT. The WWE is committed to the Women’s Revolution and better wrestlers will eventually rise to the top.
9 Darren Young
As the only openly gay man in the WWE locker room, Young has become a champion for the LGBTQ community. It’s pretty hard to see the WWE not re-signing Young but if we examine his wrestling performance and where he’s booked on the card, you can make the case that he’s going to be leaving the company. Young has been a full-time citizen of the WWE Universe since signing a developmental contract in 2009.
His greatest accomplishment to date was a Tag Team Championship reign with former partner Titus O’Neil. Young has been repackaged several times and the WWE even paired him up with legendary champion Bob Backlund. The pairing failed and an injury in January of 2017 would derail any momentum. Young recently came back in September but has been regulated to live events and the Main Event ever since.
8 James Ellsworth
Comedic personalities, promos, and matches have always been part of professional wrestling culture. When Braun Strowman was being booked in squash matches with local talent in 2016, fans noticed one man out of them all, Ellsworth. For some reason the WWE Universe gravitated to this non-threatening wrestler and Vince McMahon decided to give him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Ellsworth was rushed into the top feud between A.J. Styles and Dean Ambrose on SmackDown Live and people liked it at first. The cheers started to become grumblings and Ellsworth was put in a role more suited to his talents. As the manager of Carmella, Ellsworth has been regulated to a comedic role that’s lost its momentum months ago. Don’t expect him to be re-signed but maybe a future one-night booking is still possible.
7 Titus O'Neil
O’Neil has been a great representative for the WWE outside the ring. His charity work speaks volumes about how great a guy he is but this article isn’t about charity. At 40 years old, O’Neil has never really broken out in the WWE Universe since signing with the company in 2009. You know a veteran’s time in the ring is coming close to the end when WWE decides to convert him into a manager.
The “Titus Brand” is a refreshing take on what it means to be a manager, however, O’Neil and his clients have still been regulated to the lower card. WWE could always hire him in a backstage role but we doubt the company re-signs him as a wrestler when his contract is up.
6 Sin Cara
Be honest, most of you forgot this guy was still with the company. When Luis Urive left the WWE, Jorge Arias would slide into the Sin Cara role without a hitch in 2013. Since then, he hasn’t done much to impact the WWE Universe. Unfortunately for his career, more fans have talked about his real-life fight with Simon Gotch than anything he has done in the ring. With more luchador wrestlers being signed by the WWE recently, Sin Cara no longer has that unique look of a high-flyer.
He has competition and at 40 years old, it’s going to take a miracle for him to keep up with the younger talent. When the WWE is only booking you on live events and dark matches, you know your time may be up in the company. The last time we saw Sin Cara on television was in a Battle Royal in July.
5 The Ascension
When the WWE announced that there would be a brand split in 2016, many citizens of the WWE Universe thought it was a great idea because it would create more opportunities for talents. The Ascension would light a fire in the Tag Team Division of NXT and be unstoppable during their time there. When they finally did get called up, that fire was quickly snuffed out.
For years now they have been nothing more than a lower card tag team. They put over talent, which is fine but it seems like their opportunity to turn into stars is long gone. Would it be that surprising to see The Ascension get demoted back to NXT, feud with the Tag Team Champions and then fade away forever?
4 Curt Hawkins
Watching Curt Hawkins struggle to get his first win in 2017 can actually be entertaining. At least he has a legit story to grow on instead of just being plugged in as a jobber week in and week out. Will he ever get a win in 2017? We doubt it, but it’s always fun to entertain the idea. Before WWE pushed his winless streak, Hawkins was non-existent in the WWE Universe.
His latest stint with the company has lasted over a year now but because there is so much talent that’s going to be called up from NXT, we don’t see Hawkins lasting long. Unless he really runs with his winless streak storyline and the fans get behind him, expect to see him back on the independent circuit.
It’s pretty cool that Rhyno is still in the WWE, however, we all know it’s only a matter of time before he heads back to Tommy Dreamer’s House of Hardcore. Fans enjoyed him partnering with Heath Slater and becoming the inaugural SmackDown Live Tag Team Champions but that momentum sailed when they were transferred over to Raw earlier this year. Did you even know he was on Raw?
Rhyno has been seen on Main Event in singles action and is still working the live event loop but we have to ask how long can he work a tough schedule at the age of 42? The most reasonable prediction is Rhyno works the rest of his contract, leaves and then comes back for some kind of ECW reunion or nostalgia segment down the road. Until that happens, it’s always fun to watch him gore someone.
2 Summer Rae
What in the world happened to Summer Rae? Is she hurt, maybe she’s taking a vacation, we know the answer, aliens. Seriously though, with the Raw roster lacking depth you would think Rae would fit in as a mid-card heel. That just isn’t the case. The last time she performed in a ring was a year ago and it was for a live event.
Unlike men, women don’t usually wrestle into their mid-30s to 40s, and at the age of 33, we doubt Rae re-signs with the company after her contract is up. No offense to her, but there is a lot of talent down in NXT just waiting to be called up. She’s going to be the odd lady out and we can see her being a personality talent instead of a wrestler in the future.
1 Enzo Amore
This one in particular might seem kind of harsh, but it might be out of the WWE's control. With Enzo's stock quite high at the moment as a polarizing figure, we won't be too shocked if Enzo demands some outrageous terms in his next contract extension given his popularity and prowess at selling merchandise. The WWE might be inclined to walk away and as for Enzo, with aspirations of being a rapper, he too might try his hand else where for money.
On the flip side, given his attitude backstage, that can be another reason for the WWE to pull the plug on Amore. With the Cruiserweight Division needing to be resurfaced, perhaps sacrificing Enzo would be the exact kick start the 205 Live brand needs. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. What do you guys think, will Amore get extended by the WWE?