A signing a day helps the ratings stay—that is the motto I'm convinced WWE believes these days. Seems every other day you hear about a new signing of a new up and comer or veteran from independent American and foreign promotions. If not them, then talent from from the past who can still go and are missed by a good number of fans. This isn't a bad thing by any means considering wrestling is a revolving door and the industry and fans need talent in order for it to continue. As fans, we tend to fantasy book in terms of who we'd like to see signed, how that talent should be used or worse—if they should be fired.
I'll say lucky for WWE and fans without a niche or mainstream taste in wrestling there aren't 50 heads of talent relations...or are there? Well, I can honestly look at the landscape of WWE and say there needs to be a change. 205 Live needs recognizable faces and stars to help those trying to make a name for themselves, Raw on every level could use the same, and SmackDown Live aka the house that AJ Styles built needs renovation asap. I've comprised a list of non-WWE employees from wrestlers to on-screen personalities who I feel would add more depth to the roster...and five individuals the company is better off without. For every entry, there's a reason why I feel the way I feel and a role I believe suits he or she best on WWE's roster in 2018.
25 John Morrison (Sign)
John Morrison, Johnny Nitro or Johnny Mundo as he's now known or whatever you know or remember him by has as many uses in today's WWE as he does ring names. Formerly John Morrison in WWE, he managed to hold down the ECW brand from from 2007 to 2008 as champ, and grace SmackDown with athleticism that would leave RVD and Seth Rollins in awe. As such, could be a serious asset to either one of WWE's main roster brands. Preferably wanted on SmackDown, the former Intercontinental Champion and more recent ex-Lucha Underground Champion could very well be a permanent fixture in the main event scene facing the likes of AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, John Cena and Randy Orton, if given the push he never fully received during his 2009 SmackDown days. Not only does Morrison add in-ring skill to the charisma-void WWE of today (peep his old Dirt Sheet promos), he has a movie star-like aura and personality. Lucha sure knows what type of talent they have, and it will be wise for WWE to retrieve a lost gem.
24 Melina (Sign)
Melina is certainly one of the most missed women of the PG era, and it was unfortunate she couldn't be in the first-ever women's Royal Rumble. I mean, am I the only one who misses those splits? Perhaps even more than the brand split, but speaking of it, both Raw and SmackDown are in need of recognizable faces to fill out the small women's divisions on both brands. Considering call ups from NXT are trials, we know what Melina can do in the ring and how visually appealing she is if you didn't know a thing about her. Although she's 38, she's been killing it on the indie scene with her involvement with promotions such as MCW, Lucha Underground and Defiant Wrestling. Melina would be best suited on Raw with fellow Ruthless Aggression/PG Era star Mickie James, who proves 38 isn't that old for a wrestler, or if my wish were to come true, SmackDown with her ex-boyfriend, John Morrison.
23 Christian (Sign)
I say Captain Charisma needs to ditch the podcasting and relaunch the Peep Show on Raw to help fill out those boring three hours. Basically going MIA before resurfacing as a podcast host with friend and ex-tag partner Edge, Christian's presence has been something longtime fans tend to wonder about and even miss, considering how regularly we associated him with the tag division and mid-card. A guy like Christian could be used multiple ways, as a mid-card talent putting over guys in U.S. or Intercontinental title feuds, a tag partner for someone, or a main event guy similar to his last world title run on SmackDown where he proved he could hang with top guys like Randy Orton. Given how SmackDown could use the star power and vet status Christian offers, a spot on Tuesday nights would help everyone.
22 Alberto Del Rio (Don't Sign)
When Del Rio returned to WWE in 2015 at Hell in a Cell to not only a lucrative contract, but a U.S Championship right out the gate, I, like many, assumed WWE was going to push Alberto the same as his first run. However, that didn't happen. Del Rio returned so far from the man we remembered, with no limo, no Ricardo Rodriguez or any of the charisma that enhanced his gimmick. He was a shell of himself, which really raised the question why was he even back? And a better one...why after accusations of racism in the back would the same guy return to the same company so soon, if at all? Even discounting his underwhelming return, Del Rio is no fan of WWE's heads such as Triple H and creates too much controversy for a contract offer to make sense, knowing what we know.
21 Hurricane Helms (Sign)
After saving the sport of wrestling from adult film stars whose opinions we've never asked for, Hurricane Helms had decided to join the surprise appearance list of entries in the 2018 Royal Rumble match. What a hero. Helms, by his own accord, was shocked at the ovation he received once his music hit the second after the buzzer sounded for the 21st entrant. Helms is a guy fans wonder if a full or part-time return was coming. Well, he hinted at a return, reported by Wrasslin News when he tweeted "keep it warm for me" to Ariya Daivari, who is in the cruiserweight tournament. I say Hurricane helps by competing with the best the division has, which, even if for a short time, does the whole division justice. If he isn't 205 pounds then he can pull a Matt Hardy in 2003 and lose that weight.
20 Eric Bischoff (Sign)
If you ask me, I say bring Eric Bischoff BACK...AND BETTER THAN EVER? If you don't agree, THEN YOUR OPINION DON'T MATTER! Bischoff was a prominent authority figure on Raw from 2002 to 2005, displaying character and personality where current general managers like Kurt Angle and Daniel Bryan fall short. Remember the days when general managers did more than make random matches and felt like big parts of the show, not bit players who happened to show up one day to see their stars live? Raw is a three-hour show and it needs compelling content and character driven people. Bischoff adds that considering he gave us the Elimination Chamber, Raw Roulette, HLA and a comedic, lovable character in Eugene. Bischoff' had the loudest reaction of all former Raw GMs on Raw 25. Now, imagine hearing his theme once announced as Kurt Angle's successor.
19 Beth Phoenix (Sign)
Beth Phoenix's Rumble performance was top-notch from start to finish. Her dominance there reminded many of the days she reigned as Divas and Women's Champion. Watching Beth face off with the newest queen of the jungle and even lift her for the brief period of time she did proved she could still go, and that she could be the perfect opponent for Nia Jax and even Asuka, possibly being a perfect and believable candidate to end her streak. I feel Beth is able to connect with New Era female fans given her Glamazon gimmick of being a perfect balance of beauty and brawn, which WWE could monetize with a long or short-term contract putting Phoenix on Raw again. Whether face or heel, she's certain to shake things up.
18 James Ellsworth (Don't Sign)
James Ellsworth no doubt provided comedy, filling in well for Santino Marella, thus making him that much more credible by comparison, but as funny and as cool as it was to see a guy make a run out of what was supposed to be a onetime thing, wanting anything more would make no sense—and that could affect WWE making cents, especially on an already suffering SmackDown. Ellsworth basically outlived his purpose as the corny, out-of-touch heel manager and goofy underdog. Making anything outside of that feels forced, and I'm certain the guy wants a fulfilling career where he's not the laughing stock of his segments and matches weekly. Every rookie has his day and Ellsworth had his. No need to humiliate the guy further, his peak was reached.
17 Ryback (Sign)
It often boggles my mind how a company once as creative as WWE with some of the same minds still in power found nothing for Ryback to do other than job repeatedly to Kalisto. Now, I know Ryback has become somewhat of a joke these days due to his wild tales and ideas about wrestling, but his physique is no joke, and neither is his passion for the business. WWE could use a guy who had the cajones to tell Vince he wanted to be where Cena was, as well as a pro-wrestler who looks like a genetic freak. Why? Well, I say besides the fact that professional wrestling has always been about larger-than-life appeal... freakishly large guys make great obstacles for babyfaces. Ryback has that look, so I say on SmackDown where there are few monsters. The Big Guy needs to be booked like a big guy, mixing it up in the main event scene where he was before his momentum was stolen in 2012.
16 Carlito (Sign)
When I think of Carlito returning to WWE, I can't help, but think...that's cool. The thought is cooler now considering the charisma void the rosters of both Raw and SmackDown have. Each could use a touch of cool, as well as a good mid-card act who can cut half-decent promos and feel familiar to a large segment of the WWE audience. Carlito could also be used to help revitalize the tag division, which has been suffering for a while. Since Carlito started out on SmackDown when the star power there was sustainable, I feel that's the brand that needs him most. On his first night many years back, he defeated John Cena for the U.S. title, imagine the same, arrogant, smart-mouth heel returning in 2018 to shake things up.
15 Tigre Uno (Sign)
In the era of indie signings, I'd hope you know who Tigre Uno is, but if not, let me give you a brief introduction. Uno is a former Impact star, former X-Division Champion and AAA star with a gimmick similar to Rey Mysterio. At first glance, you might have mistaken him for Rey Mysterio – he's not – but is equally as talented and can seriously enhance 205 Live with his lucha libre style, perhaps he could even tag with a rumored-to-be-returning Rey Mysterio...if on the same show, Raw or 205 Live, particularly the latter where a partnership or even feud with the likes of Rey could take the stale, one-storyline-at-a-time dynamic 205 Live is known for to new heights, which helps all the cruiserweights.
14 Austin Aries (Don't Sign)
When Aries heard WWE's 2017 plans for him, I'm certain he made the perplexed look above before he bailed on them. Vince is no stranger to compromise, he'll sign a guy or girl if he truly feels they add depth to his company in some way, but a partnership is a two-way street and if Aries didn't like how he was booked before, the fact he was left off the main card of Mania and the DVD, which hurt his pay, I'm certain problems would arise again if the booking wasn't exactly how Aries wanted it to be when he needed it to be there. Not saying a wrestler should allow their career to remain in limbo just because, but given how quickly Aries left being signed in early 2016 when guys like Bray, Cesaro and Jinder before his WWE title win stuck it out longer...Aries doesn't seem built to stick it out for a change. Also, if he truly wanted to be more than a cruiserweight...it's better for him to not be re-signed if WWE's ceiling for Aries fits outside the bounds he's aiming for.
13 Victoria (Sign)
It's not everyday a promotion finds a gorgeous, athletic and tough female wrestler, especially today. I mean no disrespect to Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch or Mandy Rose, but the combination is rare...and deadly once present. Victoria was a great asset to Raw's women's division in the Ruthless Aggression Era, a multiple time champ and an intriguing character who could give Dean Ambrose pointers on how to truly play a psycho. The women's division is one that can afford to grow, especially if fantasy bookers are pushing for women's Rumbles to be annual and new title creations such as tag belts. It's not so much about quantity as much as it's about quality, Victoria was that and earned just enough indie cred as Tara in Impact to shoot back into the title picture without being booed...if WWE would do the smart thing and sign her.
12 JTG (Sign)
Released in 2014 to the shock of nobody, JTG was officially old news about four years after the disbanding of Cryme Tyme. On the Solomonster Sounds Off podcast, he explained that he and Shad Gaspard both had heat with the company, which he managed to survive since most of it wasn't aimed toward him. But given how much hype was centered around the tag team when they debuted in 2006 and carried momentum over into 2008, it's weird looking back how they never had a single tag title run on either brand. WWE today needs tag teams, not just makeshift teams comprised of two guys with nothing to do, but teams with chemistry that can keep the lackluster division relevant. It might be a severely risky move for WWE to relaunch this stereotypical image of African-Americans, but if the team returned under a tweaked gimmick that poked fun at or denounced the stereotype as faces similar to The Nation of Domination...something like this could work. If not...hey, it'd be cool to see the team for nostalgic purposes and for the sake of edginess.
11 Shad Gaspard (Sign)
Where there's smoke, there's fire and where there's JTG...there's Shad, at least on my wish list of signings. The big man of Cryme Tyme last received press from WWE after stopping a robbery in progress, which is ironic given the gimmick. Taking into account the heat he received and how WWE takes any chance they can to get good press, forgiving Shad for his backstage behavior and signing him and JTG to reform a more PG (and PC, as in politically correct) version of Cryme Tyme that can earn them the nostalgic feel, make them look like they're more edgy and avoid any accusations of racism at the same time. I know creative isn't good enough to handle that task, but I will say this signing would have the blessing of Shad who told TMZ Sports about two years ago that he and JTG are ready to return.
10 Lita (Sign)
Lita's return at the Rumble was explosive. It was only fair to include Lita, Trish and others from past eras in a women's Rumble match, considering stars like them offer star power and a recognizable face on TV, which is more appreciated than ever considering how regular viewers can feel overwhelmed with new faces. Lita hasn't been totally isolated before her Royal Rumble resurgence. In 2016, she was involved in the creative process as a writer, provided commentary on the pre-show and inserted herself in the dawning of a new era as the one to unveil the new Women's Championship. Since WWE is making history and obviously knew her star power added to the Rumble would help boost the status of the women, a deal bringing her back as an active wrestler for even as little as a year could do wonders for either Raw or SmackDown.
9 Trish Stratus (Sign)
#raw25 #ootd - shout out to my peeps that put together this look so I could deliver stratusfaction!! - Started with some hair slaying in #the6ix by @hairbystavro24. Armed with my kickass new logo created by @overbydesign, my girl @madistylesdesign fashioned my regular men's tee done by @realtshirttime (thx Omar & Ryan!!) to look like that!! And, sun-kissed by @tanontherun - At the show @wweglamsquad got their hands on me for makeup... thank you @bfabulous1 - who happens to be a hairmaster also and styled my hair for the night! - It takes a village .... thanks guys, for being awesome at what you do!! 😘 💅🏼💄💋👠👑 . . . . . . . . . #raw25 #raw #styling #customtee #stratusfaction #blonde #salonglamour #madistyles
Take the crowd reaction Trish received at number 30 and multiply that by two if WWE announced that she was coming to Monday Night Raw, exclusive to the brand for a year. That would be one of the many ways to boost the prestige of the women's division by adding a star of Trish's caliber to face and even team with the likes of Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss and Asuka. A rekindled feud between Mickie James and Trish would be interesting to see, as it was something that was teased in the women's Rumble. Over the years Trish has proved she can be a great heel or face, which is good for the brand considering that gives creative more flexibility. By the way, speaking of flexibility...wouldn't it be good to see that MaTrish (Matrix Evasion) again?
8 Kenny Omega (Don't Sign)
I have to start this by saying I don't know much about the indies other than it's something I'm supposed to like in order to qualify as a "real" fan. What I do know about Kenny Omega is his daredevil antics in NJPW are highly regarded, he's associated with The Bullet Club, and he just had a highly publicized match with Chris Jericho at Wrestle Kingdom 12. Omega has watched many of his peers such as AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura pursue bigger ventures in WWE, but he's remained put. Many NJPW subscribers are raving about him being signed, but Omega, like his fans, makes it known how they feel about WWE and how they book. Hardcore fans will want him regardless, but I'm under the belief that if WWE is the inferior product in his view, it's best for Omega to stay put.
7 Rob Van Dam (Sign)
I can't be the only one to think WWE needs the Whole F'N Show back. If I am, oh well, Van Dam would make a great addition to Monday Night Raw, locking up with guys like Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman and his athletic equal in Seth Rollins. RVD is a "one of a kind" guy fans generally are happy to see whether it's just for a night or episodically. If I was head of talent relations, Rob would be one of the many stars from the past and present I'd bribe to save both shows from the star power drought, especially SmackDown. RVD on the blue brand would be a great addition to Tuesday nights too. As a multifaceted guy, he could be stuck anywhere from the first match to the main event on either brand and generate the attention.
6 The Boogeyman (Sign)
Last seen at Raw 25, The Boogeyman made sure to stay true to his nature of being as creepy as possible. Boogeyman is the type of wrestler where he may not be your favorite, but you care enough about him to know what he's been up to, which is good in an era where the wrestlers in front of you can make you care no more about them than WWE cares about creating compelling characters and stories. The biggest reason The Boogeyman makes sense to have on the roster today revolves around the fact that a PG rating means kids are a prime target. A monster is a natural heel to a child, and what better monster out of all the ones WWE ever had should be brought back to scare them weekly...you guessed it—The Boogeyman.
5 Rey Mysterio (Sign)
If you've kept up with breaking news concerning Rey Mysterio, then I'm sure you're aware that a return is in the works. This is a win for not only Rey, who'll get an additional check outside of his current work in the indies, but for the fans who shot out their chairs the minute Mysterio's music hit in Philly during the Royal Rumble. Since this signing is almost complete, according to Wrestling Inc., here's my two cents concerning the best way to book Rey. Have him pull double duty Cena-style and add him to SmackDown Live, where he made his name and is most needed. From there, Rey should also be made a prominent figure on 205 Live, which is most logical considering the show comes on right after SmackDown. Whatever show needs Rey most, he should be in, if neither show is compromised by this setup.
4 Batista (Sign)
Batista's last run didn't turn out the way he expected. He didn't get that warm welcome back, lost at WrestleMania XXX when he was originally positioned to win, and helped put The Shield over twice, only for the stable to disband the next night. Batista wanted to be full-time like the rest of the boys, but between his Hollywood commitments and the realization the industry that made him famous had changed so drastically, he left. WWE knows Batista is a hot prospect, even hotter as a movie star and MMA fighter, so in his case he'd never have to worry about if the company wanted him, it be a question of if he'd be welcomed by fans and booked like the main eventer we remember, if he wanted to return. The current landscape needs Batista whether he's full-time or part-time, so if 2018 is the year he or WWE makes the call to workout a deal, I feel Raw would be a perfect place for him in order for the main event scene there to feel fresh and exciting.
3 Hulk Hogan (Don't Sign)
As the most popular professional wrestler in history, Hogan's legendary status is unquestionable. However, as I browse online, any decision to consider signing The Hulkster is questionable. Having washed away whatever respect and love he had from the legions of black fans when it came out that the Hulkster said racist things abut African-Americans in a private recording, Hogan's ties to WWE have been severed by way of his Hall of Fame status being revoked, and being banned from WWE TV indefinitely. As the days rolled on and that famous racial tirade faded away, online sources have questioned and reported on Hogan's chances of returning to WWE. To have a company with more black wrestlers than I can remember and as diverse of a fan base as Hogan and WWE have, it's almost unrealistic to expect no controversy attached to him if a deal were to be made. Quite honestly, Hogan serves no purpose in WWE given his age and lack of buzz surrounding him compared to more requested legends like Shawn Michaels, Sting and Steve Austin.
2 Bobby Lashley (Sign)
Bobby Lashley is one of the last big names WWE can bring in that feels fresh, given how short of a run he had. He's got the size, skill and now more mainstream appeal than WWE could have ever given him. If you're like me, you see Lashley as a must-sign. Lucky for those wanting quality thrown on TV, WWE is reportedly planning to sign Lashley for a huge summer blockbuster match with Brock Lesnar, so there's no concern over booking there. Raw is apparently the brand he'll be signed to and if you remember what type of push he received the last time he was on Raw, you and I both know with stars like Rollins, Reigns, Strowman and set opponent Lesnar claiming monday nights, we're in for some interesting TV this year.
1 CM Punk (Sign)
Pride goes before a fall. Punk has been gone for over four years now and his presence lives on despite numerous creative attempts to shut the crowd up during promos. If there was ever a time to put water under the bridge, it's when attendance records are dwindling, 2 million WWE Network subs can't be obtained or kept despite costing just $9.99, fans refusing to shut up until Punk is mentioned, and star power is at its lowest. As crazy as this will seem to some or maybe all, at this stage WWE needs Punk more than Punk needs WWE. I don't believe Punk will ever be back since he's the only one who knows if he means it when he stated he never would so definitively, but on WWE's part, it's worth a shot. Who knows, maybe a few more million dollars, a Lesnar-like contract, some ice cream bars, fight shorts allowance, an apology and a WrestleMania main event is enough to get a consideration out of Punk...although sabotaging the other may become a prime objective if a decision were to ever be made.
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