The World Wrestling Entertainment roster is as deep, from top to bottom, as it has been in the history of the promotion. Superstar acts such as John Cena and Roman Reigns are able to work programs with the likes of tremendous workers such as A.J. Styles, Finn Balor, Samoa Joe, Sami Zayn and other wrestlers who have gotten over with pockets of fans because of their in-ring skills and because of reputations that they built while working for other organizations around the world. Granted, many WWE fans out there may not always love how the company books certain acts, but nobody can deny the amount of talent currently wrestling underneath the WWE umbrella makes for a stacked roster for the Raw, SmackDown and NXT brands.
Unfortunately, not everybody signed by WWE can have a seat at the theoretical table. WWE Chairman Vince McMahon may have some tough decisions to make regarding contracts that he should not renew when the time for those negotiations arise. Meanwhile, Triple H, who is tasked with being the main man in charge of the weekly NXT shows that feature on the WWE Network, may have to trim some of the fat on that roster at some point in the near future. Even NXT, which is a fan-favorite among fans who prefer that brand to both Raw and SmackDown, has multiple wrestlers who will find themselves looking for work if Triple H wishes them well on their future endeavors. These harsh realities are merely a nature of the business.
15 Vince: Bo Dallas
Bo Dallas is an example of an act who managed to get over while wrestling in front of NXT crowds but who has never emerged as a star since being called up to the main roster. Dallas is a fine hand who can help produce serviceable matches during segments of Raw programs, and he is also capable of being a background figure for a proven commodity such as The Miz.
At this point of his career, it seems that Dallas is never going to rise above the level that he is at in the fall of 2017, and we’re not entirely sure fans would even realize he was gone if Vince McMahon decided to not renew his contract. Perhaps Dallas could find more success wrestling on the independent scene.
14 Triple H: Liv Morgan
Each brand associated with the WWE has only so many roster spots available for acts. It’s difficult, as of October 2017, to see where Liv Morgan goes in the future. While she has a great look, there’s little that distinguishes her from the likes of Carmella and Mandy Rose, and Liv has not shown any great improvement in the ring in the eyes of those of us who watch weekly NXT shows.
While there is certainly time for her to work on her craft, WWE has signed multiple women who are better wrestlers and will probably be called up to the main roster ahead of Liv. Triple H may have to make a tough call regarding this experiment, as Liv seems likely to get lost in the shuffle while down in NXT.
13 Vince: James Ellsworth
You have to give both James Ellsworth and individuals within the WWE front office such as Vince McMahon credit for getting this act over as a member of the SmackDown brand. Ellsworth, originally presented as merely a jobber meant to be seen on a one-time basis, did well to become a fan-favorite and, later, a heel among audiences, and he is currently attached to Carmella as what can only respectfully be described as her valet.
This act was always going to have a short shelf life, and it appears that Ellsworth’s 15 minutes in the top wrestling promotion in the world are up. We wish Ellsworth well in finding gigs in independent promotions once Vince makes the inevitable decision to not renew his contract in the future.
12 Triple H: Tino Sabbatelli
At a different time and in a different era, a wrestler such as Tino Sabbatelli would probably find a home in a national promotion such as the WWE. Sabbatelli looks great inside of the ring, and he is a former football player who possesses the type of athleticism desired by wrestling organizations.
It’s 2017, though, and fans see through such gimmicks and understand who is and is not a worker worthy of WWE roster spots. Pushing Roman Reigns down the throats of fans proved to be a mistake other than when he is associated with The Shield, and we are assuming Sabbatelli would receive even more of a negative reaction among NXT audiences. Sabbatelli has a long way to go before we’re ready to say Triple H should even think about renewing his contract.
11 Vince: Alicia Fox
The “Women’s Revolution” that first began on an edition of Raw back in 2015 was meant to put a massive spotlight on female wrestlers who were previously ignored in storylines and by audiences. While the likes of Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss, Asuka and others have benefited from the company changing directions with this division, the revolution was always going to leave some behind.
Alicia Fox is essentially just taking up space on the women’s roster, and it seems destined that her spot will be taken by one of several wrestles who are either performing in NXT or who have been recently signed by the company. The simple math about the situation tells us Vince McMahon and others are going to have to cut some women sooner rather than later.
10 Triple H: Wesley Blake
Some of you WWE fans reading this piece may have forgotten or not realized Wesley Blake was still on the NXT roster. Both Blake and his former tag team partner (more on him later) have become lost within the developmental system, and neither seems to be going anywhere anytime soon as a member of the WWE.
While it certainly isn’t a hot take to say Triple H should not renew Blake’s contract once it comes due, it may actually make sense for him to wish to part ways with the company and attempt to forge his future in a different promotion or maybe even overseas. Is there anybody reading this sentence who believes Vince McMahon would push Blake as anything other than a jobber on the main roster as of the fall of 2017?
9 Vince: Dolph Ziggler
Even WWE viewers out there who fancy themselves as big fans of Dolph Ziggler should be honest with themselves about how the company has booked the character over the years. Ziggler’s gimmick in the fall of 2017 is that he’s been overshadowed by more flashy wrestlers even though he always loses every feud. Yes, Ziggler is a great wrestler, and he can be an entertaining talker when he is given an open microphone and isn’t forced to recite terrible dialogue prepared for him.
Vince needs to do himself, Dolph and fans who know how every storyline involving Ziggler ends in a big favor and not renew his contract. Let Ziggler prove you wrong, Vince, by trying to become a star for an organization such as Ring of Honor or New Japan Pro Wrestling.
8 Triple H: Buddy Murphy
Much of what was written about Wesley Blake could be echoed regarding the WWE future of Buddy Murphy, a future that appears very dim during the final few months of 2017. Even the guy’s gimmick name — Buddy Murphy — just screams “jobber,” and we have not seen any recent evidence Triple H or anybody else within the company’s developmental system views Murphy as being a star capable of holding a main roster title at any point.
The best thing both Murphy and Blake could do is to beg Triple H to allow them to reunite and return to the Tag Team Division, but it may even be too late for that. We’re sorry to be so direct, Mr. Murphy, but Triple H should not renew your contract whenever it runs out.
7 Vince: Singh Brothers
Whatever you think about the WWE making Jinder Mahal the top champion of the SmackDown brand aside, all should credit the company for turning the Singh Brothers into a duo that is actually accomplishing something of note on the blue brand after it appeared the two were destined to flop while on the 205 Live roster.
These types of characters more often than not have short shelf lives, and that will probably be the case for the Singh brothers and also for their leader (more on him later). They are fine serving as comedic henchmen for a supposed main-eventer, but Vince McMahon would probably do well electing to not renew their contracts after the act jumps the shark, an event that will probably occur before 2017 comes to an end.
6 Triple H: Kassius Ohno
Kassius Ohno, who made his name in independent promotions such as Chris Hero, unquestionably has the goods to be a champion in NXT and even on the WWE roster, but we’re having a hard time envisioning how he would fit on either Raw or SmackDown once his time in NXT is up.
As unfair as it may be, Ohno’s look and his weight-gain over the years is a detriment, and history suggests those in charge of booking for the main roster would probably decide to not push this talented wrestler. Unless Triple H is able to erase that mindset and cause somebody such as Vince McMahon to appreciate Ohno’s skills, it seems logical that Trips would have to decide to not renew his contract whenever his current deal runs out.
5 Vince: David Otunga
Vince McMahon and others who make decisions about commentary teams need to do one of two things with David Otunga: Either move him down to the developmental system in an attempt to help him improve as a commentator, or choose to not renew his contract whenever it expires.
Otunga didn’t make it as a pro wrestler, and he isn’t all that much better calling matches on either Raw or SmackDown when he isn’t busy with gigs away from wrestling shows. The NXT brand is meant to help members of the roster get ready for Raw and SmackDown shows, and that is where Otunga belongs if Vince is set on retaining his services because he will one day be married to Jennifer Hudson. Otherwise, let’s all agree to move on.
4 Triple H: Percy Watson
We’re just going to come right out and say it. Percy Watson, who was unable to become a Superstar as an active WWE wrestler following his stint in the original version of NXT, is not only not improving as a commentator.
We’re afraid he may be taking steps in the opposite direction. Fans trying to remain patient and have hope Watson would find his voice understand NXT is developmental, and not everybody working on that brand is going to be a hit right out of the gates. Anybody who suggests Watson is going to one day call a WrestleMania main event is seeing a future none of the rest of us out there can envision as of October 2017. Triple H needs to let this contract expire.
3 Vince: Shinsuke Nakamura
Take it or leave it, although this one might sound outrageous, you seriously need to ask yourselves what memorable moment has Nakamura given us aside from his very first match against Sami Zayn or that incredible entrance? Honestly speaking, although it’s harsh, those Nakamura moments have been few and far between especially on the main roster.
His most memorable moment was an absolute “no no” on the main roster dropping the franchise player of the company on his neck (John Cena). Ever since then, Nakamura has been doomed by booking recently losing in a program twice to Jinder Mahal. He’s suffering big time at the moment and his matches truly aren’t helping his cause. Putting his name value aside, Vince isn’t loving what he’s getting out of the Japanese artist thus far.
2 Triple H: Hideo Itami
Sometimes, one must make the difficult call that something just wasn’t meant to be for whatever reasons. It appears that’s the case with Hideo Itami and the WWE. Itami seemed capable of becoming a top babyface on that brand before injuries sidelined him on multiple occasions, and that roster spot was eventually taken by Shinsuke Nakamura and Drew McIntyre.
While the WWE chose to make Itami a heel in 2017, he has already fallen back down to the mid-card portion of that brand. Those who have watched Itami understand he should probably be on the main roster today, but we’re forecasting that both he and Triple H will probably agree to let his contract expire so that he can move on to a fresh start away from the company.
1 Vince: Jinder Mahal
We’re sure there are still some of you out there who get a kick out of the fact that Jinder Mahal went from being a jobber who always lost to becoming the WWE Champion seemingly overnight. Keeping Mahal champion up through the WWE completing a tour of India is probably where the WWE will run with the idea, but nobody should pretend he is doing anything positive for the business in North America.
When all is said and done, Mahal may very well be viewed as the most undeserving WWE Champion of the decade. Choosing to not renew his contract could benefit him financially, as it would allow him to use the fame he gained in WWE to obtain opportunities in other promotions. It would also let the WWE move on from a decision that’s backfired.