Being a wrestler in the WWE not only means your wrestling, looks, and other skills have to be up to par, but it also probably comes with the very real chance that you'll get fired by Vince McMahon. Thousands of wrestlers have been signed by the company and many have been fired for whatever reason. Whether it’s poor wrestling ability, backstage shenanigans, or just hitting their peak, wrestlers will be hired and released at the whim of the CEO of the WWE.
Every year, typically after WrestleMania, the WWE will fire a group of wrestlers who they deem not worth keeping. Last year we saw the company release wrestlers like Damien Sandow, Hornswoggle, Zeb Colter and several others, so something similar is bound to happen after WrestleMania 33. So with the WWE no longer an immediate option for these wrestlers, where will they go?
Some wrestlers manage to find work in other notable wrestling promotions while other wrestlers have to work smaller promotions to make ends meet. There are even some wrestlers who decide to hang the boots up for good and leave the wrestling business after their time in WWE comes to an end. No one knows what the future holds for the next crop of fired wrestlers, but there are a few educated guesses that can be made.
Therefore, in this article, we'll discuss 15 wrestlers that are most likely to get fired and predict where they'll end up working next in the wrestling business or whether they’ll continue wrestling at all. Enjoy!
15 James Ellsworth - Adrenaline Championship Wrestling
The Chinless Wonder truly captivated the WWE audience last year when he debuted as Braun Strowman’s first local competitor on the Raw after Battleground. The fans were so into him that he was brought back to the company as a member of the SmackDown Live brand and even had matches against the WWE Champion, A.J. Styles.
His unique facial structure and average build has made him a fun, comedic wrestler and he may be employed for a little while longer, but there is the inevitable truth that his comedy act can’t keep him employed for too long. His predecessor, Santino Marella, managed to stay with the company for more than ten years, so it's possible that Ellsworth could be here for years to come, but if he were to get released, he would probably work various indie feds, but he would specifically return to his own; Adrenaline Championship Wrestling where he might be able to find his successor and send him to the WWE for some laughs.
14 Paige - What Culture Pro Wrestling
Over the past two years, the relationship between Paige and the WWE has seemed to become estranged. She went from one of the top female wrestlers in the company to a side show act who fell to the wayside in favor of The Four Horsewomen and Stephanie McMahon’s Women’s Revolution. Her relationship with Alberto Del Rio caused even more problems as rumors of her being asked to end the relationship by the WWE officials ran rampant. As of now, she's recovering from neck surgery and has been reported to be backstage at Raw, which indicates she may be on her way back. The likeliness of her getting fired is low, but she has violated the Wellness Policy twice. All it would take is one more violation and the company would have to fire her.
If that were to happen, it's a strong possibility that she could end up working for What Culture Pro Wrestling. She’s already a wrestler in the UK and her fiancé Del Rio has done several shows for them as well. In a lot of ways, it could be a more ideal scenario for her if this happened.
13 Primo and Epico - World Wrestling Council
No one can claim that the WWE have not tried to get Primo and Epico over. They’ve given them the Tag Team Championships, a manager, and three different gimmicks in the seven years they’ve been employed by the WWE. For whatever reason, the WWE has tried their best to make these two wrestlers a team that fans would care about, but they just weren’t successful. The closest they ever got to over was when they were Los Matadores, but even that was only interesting because of El Torito.
They utterly flopped as The Shining Stars and it’s becoming abundantly clear that it’s just not working. They may have kept them around this long, but it’s rare for a wrestler to be employed for ten years with little to nothing to show for it. A return to World Wrestling Council would likely be tremendous for both men seeing as how their family runs the organization and this could finally lead to the reunion with Carlito that fans wanted as a last chance of salvaging the last of the Colóns in the WWE.
12 Apollo Crews - Dragon Gate
Apollo Crews has been with the WWE since 2014 and hasn’t really seen much success. He had a few feuds and matches in NXT, but he didn’t stay there long enough to get involved in anything substantial. When he was called up in 2016, he slowly but surely lost steam and eventually became irrelevant.
He was drafted to SmackDown Live, but has yet to do anything on that show either. It’s never a good sign for a wrestler to be called up to the main roster and to have nothing to show for it. Even Tyler Breeze, who is a similar position, has formed a tag team and found some use in that. Crews is a good wrestler, but lacks charisma and mic skills to get people invested. A stint in the Cruiserweight Division could be suggested, but it’s unlikely he could drop from 240 to 205 considering how he’s built.
If he were to get released, he would likely go back to Dragon Gate and go back to wrestling as Uhaa Nation. But if things continue the way they have for Crews, he might not have any other choice.
11 Mark Henry - Retirement
Mark Henry has been employed by the company since 1996 and is one of the big-time veterans like Kane and Big Show. But unlike those men, there isn’t much left for The World Strongest Man left to do. He’s won World Championships, had a great dominant heel run in 2011, and has his legacy in weightlifting to make him a notable name both in and out of the ring.
Big Show still has a match with Shaquille O’Neal to look forward to while Kane is said to be teaching other wrestlers of his size how to wrestle the big-man style, but Henry doesn’t seem to have anything left for him. At the end of the day, Henry has given more than enough time to the WWE and he’ll likely be let go or resign in the next couple of years. If that were to happen, Henry could be some form of ambassador for the company, but there’s also the very real possibility that he could just stay out of the wrestling business to enjoy his retirement after years of hard work.
10 Erick Rowan F1RST Wrestling
It’s rather unfortunate that this could be a possibility, but Erick Rowan could be gone sooner than many people think. Rowan has the look of an intimidating human being as well and has put on some good matches as a member of The Wyatt Family, but his biggest obstacle may come in him being prone to injury. He has suffered two injuries in the last two years that have kept him off of television for weeks and months at a time. His latest injury in October could keep him off the WrestleMania card with a recovery time of four to six months.
Not to mention the fact that he always loses his matches and is the main man to take the fall for The Wyatt Family in all their bouts. His match against The Rock was an indicator of how they don’t take him seriously.
If he is to get released, perhaps a return to F1RST Wrestling would do him some good.
9 Jack Swagger - TNA
The story of Jack Swagger in the WWE is similar to many wrestlers who have had short runs in the main event only to see their stock go further and further down. However, unlike most of those men, Swagger had gimmicks and storylines that fans really got behind. His team, The Real Americans, were one of the better aspects of the WWE in 2013 and his feud with Rusev was something the fans enjoyed. Swagger probably should’ve been a more successful mid-carder, but it never came to fruition.
He’ll likely never get back to where he was in the company, so going to TNA could be the better move for Swagger. He’s good enough in the ring and has a gimmick that could pretty much work anywhere, so TNA should be able to find something to do with him. The only way it would be better for Swagger is if TNA was still on Destination America; they probably would’ve given him a big push.
8 Mojo Rawley - Out of Wrestling
Mojo Rawley is the perfect example of the type of wrestler WWE used to seek out. There have been many wrestlers similar to Rawley in the past who have a history in football or bodybuilding and that is the primary reason for them being on the roster. Many of them have come and gone and it’s likely that Rawley may be gone in the future.
For one, his wrestling ability isn’t much to speak of outside of clotheslines and shoulder blocks. Also, his tag team partner, Zack Ryder, is out for the next four to nine months. Considering the team had no real momentum or success on the main roster, staying in the WWE may not be possible. If he were to be fired by the WWE, he’d probably leave the wrestling business like Nathan Jones, Heidenreich, and many other big men have in the past.
7 Rhyno - Politics
Rhyno returned to the WWE in 2015 as a member of the NXT roster and has been working with the company ever since. He and Heath Slater managed to form an interesting tag team and were the inaugural SmackDown Live Tag Team Champions. They lost the championships a while ago and now they’re just another tag team competing for the belts on the show, but the fans still seem to enjoy them.
During this time, Rhyno attempted to become the State Representative in Michigan, but was unsuccessful. He may wrestle with the company for a while longer, but the WWE will likely release him when he’s no longer interesting to the fans. And if that were the case, then we could likely see Rhyno step out of wrestling to focus on a serious career in politics. Maybe not being an active wrestler could be the step he needs to be taken seriously as a politician.
6 The Ascension - Lower Level Indies
The Ascension have been a colossal failure on the main roster since their debut in 2015. In NXT, they managed to win the NXT Tag Team Championships and hold onto them for nearly a year, but have yet to recreate any of that success on the main roster. Many fans cite their change in gimmick as one of the reasons the fans didn’t care for the duo, but the fact remains that they have failed on the main roster and are not likely to achieve any success in the near future.
Their most notable achievement has been defeating The New Age Outlaws and that was two years ago. There’s not much of an upside with this team and it’s very likely that The Ascension will be cut from the roster soon if they don’t get sent back to NXT for their own good. As far as where they would go if they were fired, it’s likely they would travel to various lower-level independent promotions rather than get signed to one notable promotion.
5 Sin Cara - Chikara
Though a bit of a botch machine, the original Sin Cara was a very exciting wrestler to watch. His wrestling was always fast-paced and full of high-flying action, which made him stand out from other wrestlers on the roster. The original Sin Cara was eventually replaced by Hunico and he hasn’t had much success with the gimmick.
Aside from winning the NXT Tag Team Championships, Hunico has accomplished nothing in the WWE. He’s nothing more than enhancement talent to build up other wrestlers and the company could honestly do without him. Chikara was the promotion Hunico worked for prior to coming to the WWE, so a return to that company is a more likely outcome. Chikara may be losing Trent Seven, who may be signed if the WWE does a weekly UK program and that could mean an opening for the luchador.
4 Jinder Mahal - Continental Wrestling Entertainment
When rumors of the WWE contacting former wrestlers for the brand split surfaced, many fans were expecting men like MVP, Carlito, and Rob Van Dam to make returns to the company. What they got instead was Jinder Mahal and Curt Hawkins.
In the case of Jinder Mahal, he accomplished nothing in his time in the WWE. His group 3MB were nothing, but the new version of the J.O.B. Squad and no one remembers anything about his prior run in the company. Plus, with rumors of enhancement use and the dramatic change to his look in the prior month, Mahal may not be enduring a long run for the company.
As far as where he may go, he did wrestle for The Great Khali’s promotion Continental Wrestling Entertainment, so it’s likely he’ll return there.
3 Curt Hawkins - TNA
As previously stated, Curt Hawkins was not who the fans had in mind when rumors of WWE contacting former talents began to circulate. Hawkins was hyped up for weeks with outdated Chuck Norris-esque vignettes only to come back and lose a lot of his matches. At this point, WWE has no need for Curt Hawkins because they have too many wrestlers who could be used in that role.
In his first run with the company, he drifted between the main roster and developmental programs and his second run confirms that he probably shouldn’t have come back. With that being said, Hawkins has wrestled for TNA, representing Global Force Wrestling, so a return to that company may see him get treated a little better than he’s being treated nowadays.
2 Mick Foley - Holy Foley
Many fans have been expecting this ever since Stephanie McMahon appointed Mick Foley as the Raw General Manager. Foley has never hit his stride in his role as GM and he’s been more of a negative part of Monday Night Raw rather than a positive aspect of it. Not to mention the fact that Stephanie has made it abundantly clear that she's willing to fire Foley at a moment’s notice and it’s easy to see that Foley’s role as GM will only last for so long.
If he isn’t fired this year, it'll come as a bigger shock then him staying, simply because the writing is on the wall in this situation. If he were to be fired, it would likely only be in his on-screen role as the GM because the future of his reality TV series Holy Foley on the WWE Network has yet to be revealed.
1 Titus O'Neil - Out of Wrestling
Vince McMahon was willing to fire Titus O’Neil over the altercation that took place on Monday Night Raw. While he didn’t do that, he still suspended O’Neil for 60 days and made him miss out on the WrestleMania payday.
Since that time, O’Neil had done nothing but lose match after match and has been made to look like a fool with the recent segments alongside The New Day. O’Neil seems happy to have the job, so it’s not likely that he’ll want to leave, but there’s a strong chance that McMahon will still hold a grudge and release O’Neil this year.
If O’Neil was to get fired, it’s very likely that he'll leave the wrestling business in general. Many people have suggested that O’Neil quit the WWE and become a spokesperson for other companies or even go and coach different sports. If this unfortunate situation were to come to pass, it could open some more doors than whatever he would be capable of in the wrestling business.