Ever since the brand split helped to completely reshape the WWE format a few months ago, there has been a feeling of the return of the old WWE where brand wars were a common thing and each brand did its best to get one over the other. While some WWE superstars have managed to get on management's good side and thrived under this extension, some others have only suffered more because of it as they're predicament got only worse with the extension and even a split in the WWE roster among the two brands didn't help these superstars gain the popularity they would like.
While the brand split has seen many mid-carders ascend to the top card and some low-key superstars gain their popularity, these superstars have been kept in the dark by the company as their poor backstage reputation or inability to improve their personality or wrestling skills has hurt their chances of making it big, as they seem to be on the road out of the WWE soon enough.
With the talents from NXT getting more and more impressive each passing year, this year will probably see a lot of NXT superstars getting the main roster call as they're probably going to take the positions of these 15 WWE wrestlers, who are finally going to be put out of their misery.
15 Erick Rowan
While the Wyatt Family has been blooming on Smackdown, the same cannot be said for Erick Rowan who hasn't been part of the "new" family with Randy Orton and Luke Harper. Rowan tore his rotator cuff in October of last year and is expected to be out for some more months, as the impressive wrestler is not doing any good to keep his place in the WWE. While his face run a few years back was awful, he cannot seem to do any good as a singles wrestler in the WWE and probably won't be allowed back in the Family anymore either and his future in the WWE looks pretty bleak because of his current predicament. He could be shown out of the company within the year because of the level of competition on the main roster right now.
Fandango has managed to survive in the WWE for quite the long period of time, as he started out in developmental in 2006 and has somehow manage to keep his spot on the main roster despite never gaining much popularity. While he was scheduled for a push after defeating Chris Jericho at WrestleMania 29, his inability to impress and weak gimmick didn't let him, as he soon downgraded into becoming a jobber and is currently stuck with an awful gimmick with Tyler Breeze. Fandango's days are numbered in the company, as he's stayed too long despite never being a star and will be fired this year, as he's not only holding up a precious position on Smackdown, but also holding Tyler Breeze back from trying to become something good and will finally be shown the door this year.
13 Apollo Crews
Apollo Crews has to be one of the most athletically impressive wrestlers in the WWE right now, but he isn't being utilized properly and his inability to find the right gimmick has hurt him dearly on the main roster. Crews was initially impressive after debuting in NXT in 2015 but a rather early push to the main roster hurt his momentum. He was unknown to the WWE fans and his lack of charisma hurt his chances of getting over, as he was drafted to Smackdown but that didn't really help his cause either. After Daniel Bryan mispronounced him as "Apollo Creed', he became the butt of many jokes and that took away his reputation in the company, as he's now part of some feuds he always loses. Crews deserves better and will be released by the WWE for his own good, as he can try to impress in some other promotion and regain his momentum in the Indy circuit.
12 Curt Hawkins
Curt Hawkins' return to the WWE was a highly advertized one, as his constant weird promos which resembled the "Matt Facts" from the Ruthless Aggression Era was aired to promote someone who could be something big on Smackdown, but he turned out to be the exact opposite, as Hawkins would at first back out of his matches and later went onto lose matches to other lower-mid carders, establishing himself as a trash-talking jobber who is only losing matches nowadays on Smackdown. While Hawkins has the charisma and potential, his horrible re-introduction has already written him off with the audience and he could yet again see himself out of the company this year, as he's adding nothing to Smackdown's product and will deservedly be shown the door because of it.
11 Summer Rae
While the Women's Revolution has seen some of the earlier divas also rising to the occasion and gaining relevance, the beautiful Summer Rae seems to be lost in the pack as she has been really struggling to display her own wrestling skills to the fans for years now. Rae's work as a manager/valet over the years has depicted herself as one rather than a wrestler, as she is currently out with an injury and going by how much the level of competition is in the Women's Division on both the rosters right now, Rae is in for troublesome times. She can't really be anybody's manager either because of so many valets already existing in the company, as WWE seems to have lost their faith in her and that will probably make them fire her within the year as she has nothing else to offer to the product and is only wasting a spot on the main roster.
10 Elias Samson
"The Drfiter" Elias Samson definitely has an intriguing gimmick, but he doesn't seem to have the momentum he'd need to rocket to the top of NXT and gain a spot on the main roster. Samson suffered a bad injury last year which halted a bit of momentum which he was picking up and while he returned strongly from it, he hasn't been able to compete with the competitive roster of NXT right now, as fans don't seem to be sold on his gimmick either. With so much talent coming into NXT with each passing year, 2017 could see a wide range of talent from all around the world arrive at NXT which could be a bad thing for Samson who could be released to make way for someone else. The Drifter's path seems to be hollow at the moment and he'll probably need to go another direction when fired from WWE.
9 Darren Young
Darren Young looked to have made a breakthrough in his singles career in the WWE with his "Make Darren Young Great Again" gimmick with Bob Backlund as his life coach, but it looked very shaky and unconvincing from the get go and fizzled out almost as quickly as it came upon existence. Young went onto feud with Titus O'Neil in a rather bizarre and disinteresting feud which has been repeated over and over again every time they break up, and was slowly moved out of WWE TV and into the B-shows like Main event. It was here he suffered a horrible elbow injury which will keep him on the shelf for some months, but he'd be lucky to get back to WWE TV as he's offering nothing exciting to the product and even creative cannot save him from doom, as his time from the WWE seems to be up and he'll probably be shown the door later this year.
8 Curtis Axel
The son of "Mr Perfect" Curt Hennig hasn't really managed to match the standards his father left upon the WWE, as his career has been going downhill for years now and there's definitely no more chances of saving his WWE career anymore. The former Intercontinental Champion saw a good push after impressing towards the earlier part of this decade, but has since been on the down as he's been a glorified jobber for some years now, with his "Axelmania" gimmick keeping him over for some months last year. But apart from that, Axel has been pretty awful and his constant cribbing on social media about how he doesn't get any opportunities won't help his cause either, as that will see him being fired later this year as his spot will be taken by a more prominent talent who actually deserves the spot in the main roster.
7 Andrade "Cien" Almas
Andrade "Cien" Almas might have been a revelation in the Independent circuit as a famous luchador, but he's finding out exactly how difficult the life in WWE can be, as he's struggling to get over in WWE NXT. Now everyone knows that it's not really that difficult to go over with the NXT crowd, but Almas failed to find his popularity during his face run, forcing creative to turn him heel against the turn of play. Although one can say that he's been playing his heel role rather well, but Almas doesn't seem to have it in him to become an "entertainer" and will suffer down the road, as he can be released by the company soon enough. Alberto Del Rio stated in an interview about how Almas is unhappy at NXT and wants to move out, as he might be granted his wish this year and be replaced by someone more suited to the WWE's nature which he failed to grasp onto.
6 Titus O'Neil
Titus O'Neil probably had the ability to become something big in the WWE, but his mistakes in the past have cost him dearly as him "shoving" Vince McMahon last year after Daniel Bryan's farewell ceremony almost got him fired right there. But he was given a suspension for a few months, as he returned to be pushed to the US Title scene, which he couldn't win. He has since been doing weird stuff as "The Titus Brand" as his very recent work with The New Day which is making him seem like a total geek is a punishment for him, as he'll definitely be let go off this year as his contract is expiring soon as well and he'll definitely be kicked out of the door this time by Vince who gets his revenge every time.
5 Simon Gotch
Simon Gotch impressed as part of The Vaudevillains with Aiden English in NXT where they slowly grew as a top tag team, eventually winning the NXT Tag Team Championship as well. But as they arrived on the main roster, they felt the pressure of the competition as they couldn't survive in the top level and were eventually degraded to becoming jobber to the stars. While English did his duties well and is impressing, Gotch got in nasty backstage fight with fellow colleague in Sin Cara which didn't have penalties at the time, but that will come back to bite him this year. Gotch will probably be fired by the WWE later this year, as English will move onto become a singles wrestler and Gotch's horrible backstage attitude is something which WWE cannot tolerate and that attitude will shove him out of the company later in 2017.
4 Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler's WWE run over the past few years has been an endless cycle, as he gets some momentum to big feuds, loses the feuds and this repeats on and on and on. While Ziggler's recent heel turn seems to be intriguing, he cannot seem to replicate that arrogant heel he portrayed a few years back, as Ziggler is becoming more and more boring in the WWE as the years go on and has lost the support of some of his fans as well. Ziggler is also occupying a big position on Smackdown Live! and could be fired later this year as he has shown his intent on going into a different career path of a standup comedian after wrestling and might be allowed to do that when the WWE releases him to get a more prominent, big superstar to get drafted into Smackdown Live! and help to add something new to the product which Ziggler just cannot seem to do anymore.
3 Sin Cara
Sin Cara has remained as one of the more exciting wrestlers in the WWE in the past few years, as Hunico took the mantle of the character and kept on impressing after he was sent to NXT where he formed The Lucha Dragons with Kalisto. They won the NXT Tag Team titles in NXT before getting the main roster call, where they also impressed at first but Kalisto's ability got him a singles run, leaving Cara in the dark. They were drafted into different brands during the Brand extension, as Cara would be at Raw where he performs very rarely as part of the packed Cruiserweight Division. But Cara's horrible attitude back, as he got into a fight with Simon Gotch and later with Chris Jericho last year had forced WWE to put him in Anger Management classes, and this abysmal attitude of Hunico will not be tolerated by the WWE who are slowly pulling him out of the events and will definitely give him the stick by the end of the year and finally put an end to the Sin Cara character.
2 Jack Swagger
Jack Swagger seemed set to become WWE's replacement to Kurt Angle when he debuted almost a decade ago, but has since fallen from grace in such magnitude that he's beyond being saved right now. The former World Heavyweight Champion was on top of the world in 2010, but some horrible patriotic stuff over the years has really degraded his character on-screen, as he has ended up in a predicament where he makes sporadic appearances on WWE TV despite being a contracted superstar. Swagger has descended to a level so low that he cannot crawl up from this pit, and going by how WWE are erasing his name from prominent events, he'll be fired sooner rather than later in this year and has to try to reignite his career somewhere else.
1 James Ellsworth
James Ellsworth became a "big thing" because of his popularity among the Internet Wrestling fans whose parading of the jobber actually managed to get him a contract in Smackdown Live!, much to the delight of those fans. But after Ellsworth started to get a bit heel-ish and interfered in matches, he faced the wrath of those same fans as he was now being booed by those who were responsible for getting him a WWE contract. Now paired with Carmella after a fail attempt at winning the WWE Championship from AJ Styles, Ellsworth looks completely useless and the fans have already started to want him out of WWE TV. It's almost as if this was Vince McMahon's way of playing a joke on the fans, as Ellsworth won't survive the whole year in the WWE and will be fired by the end of 2017, as he is clearly useless on Smackdown Live! and holding up a valuable position at that as well.