WrestleMania is rightfully considered the Super Bowl of the wrestling world. It is the biggest event of the year, makes the company and the host city millions of dollars, and it is the one event that every wrestler should want to be on. It is wrestling’s biggest stage.
On April 8 2018, the Mercedez-Benz Superdome in New Orleans will host WrestleMania 34. WWE is (hopefully) already making tentative plans for the event, since storylines are (hopefully) being developed for the show of shows. WrestleMania 34 will surely have its share of highlights, big moments, surprise appearances or debuts, and maybe even a farewell or two. WrestleMania 34 is still several months away and there is still a lot of time left before the big day arrives. Some superstars may make their debut on the main roster from NXT by then (such as Asuka), while other superstars may still flounder around on the main roster, directionless.
The WWE Universe would surely love to see a couple fresh faces make their debut in WWE over the coming months. There are a number of talented wrestlers wrestling elsewhere that would be able to make an impact in WWE. Perhaps a few of these new arrivals will make their surprise debut at WrestleMania 34. On the flip side, some wrestlers will not be on WWE’s payroll by the time WrestleMania rolls around. In some instances, a wrestler may choose to leave WWE because they are unhappy with where they’re at creatively (Ziggler, Rusev). In other cases, WWE will choose to “future endeavour” these wrestlers (Amore).
Here is a list of 8 wrestlers who will leave WWE and 8 other wresters who will be working for WWE by the time WrestleMania 34 rolls around on April 8, 2018.
16 LEAVING: NIKKI BELLA
Nikki Bella is probably the one on this list who would be the most hesitant to leave WWE. It is clear that she has passion for the business, but it no longer makes sense for her to continue wrestling. She spent most of 2016 out of action with a severe neck injury, and it would be in her best interests to not wrestle anymore. Even her fiancé, John Cena, thinks Nikki should step away from wrestling out of fear for her wellbeing.
There is a chance that Nikki comes back once Dancing With The Stars ends for a final run before retiring. She would probably only being retiring from in-ring competition however, which means she would most likely stay on as an ambassador and appear on Total Divas and Total Bellas.
15 SIGNING: KENNY OMEGA
Kenny Omega is a highly acclaimed wrestler who has gained significant mainstream attention in the wrestling world at least. He is arguably one of the biggest stars not currently signed to WWE, but that will surely change. He has wrestled many 5-star matches and was even a member of the Bullet Club. There was much speculation Omega would enter the 2017 Royal Rumble in a manner similar to former teammate AJ Styles did, but that never came to fruition. It seems inevitable that Omega will eventually end up in the WWE Universe, so much so that respected wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer also noted the possibility Omega could wrestle for WWE by WrestleMania 34. Just imagine the matches that Kenny Omega and AJ Styles could have together!
14 LEAVING: DOLPH ZIGGLER
Dolph Ziggler is almost certainly not happy with where his career is at in WWE. Despite being a gifted wrestler, he has been booked to basically be a glorified enhancement talent. He welcomed Shinsuke Nakamura when he debuted, just to see Nakamura pick up clean victories before moving on to higher-profile feuds. It looks as if the same will happen in his current feud with Bobby Roode. Ziggler will probably find much greener pastures elsewhere, and has the talent to land on his feet in another promotion.
Leaving WWE would also allow Ziggler to have increased freedom to see where his passion for stand-up comedy takes him. Either WWE Creative just does not seem to know what to do with Ziggler or they just don’t care anymore, as evidenced by his current gimmick being his lack of a gimmick.
13 SIGNING: RICOCHET
There is persistent speculation and reports about mutual interest between Ricochet and WWE, and for good reason. He is an immensely popular wrestler and is regarded as one of the top high-flying wrestlers by many people. He would instantly be a huge add to the cruiserweight division on 205 Live or in NXT if he gets his start there. Regardless of where he ends up in WWE, Ricochet would attract viewers because of awe-inspiring moves. The long-rumoured mutual interest between Ricochet and WWE makes it almost a sure bet that Ricochet will be joining the WWE. The only obstacle is that he is under contract to Lucha Underground, but some reports indicated he will be a free agent around the end of 2017 or early 2018 – just in time for WrestleMania season.
12 LEAVING: ENZO AMORE
It is undeniable that Enzo Amore is bringing attention to 205 Live and the other cruiserweight wrestlers. He has been involved in main event segments with them of late, and also won the Cruiserweight Championship. All of these signs on their own would not point toward someone leaving WWE in the coming months. The issue with Enzo is how disliked he is backstage by the other wrestlers. No matter how much merchandise he may be selling, there is only so much that the WWE locker room can handle. If he continues up with his behavior that has not earned him many friends backstage, there is a very strong chance he will be given his release from WWE before too long.
Amore will probably be kept around long enough to try to build up hype for 205 Live before eventually being released ahead of WrestleMania 34. His ability to cut promos, however, and his recognition would likely earn him a job in another promotion that can live with his lack of in-ring ability.
11 SIGNING: JAY LETHAL
Jay Lethal is another one of those supremely talented wrestlers who, for some reason, have yet to appear in WWE. He is a highly decorated wrestler who has had several notable championship reigns in Ring of Honour. More often than not, highly decorated and talented wrestlers all end up coming to WWE at some point. Now is as good as time as any for Lethal to make the jump to WWE. He has the look that WWE would like and if booked correctly could be a major star for WWE. For his part, Lethal has admitted that he would love to wrestle in WWE since they are what drew him to wrestling as a kid. Rumours intensified when John Cena posted a photo of Lethal on his Instagram. It is highly unlikely that WWE’s biggest star would not post a photo of a wrestler signed to another promotion without it meaning something.
10 LEAVING: RUSEV
It’s such a shame that Rusev is in the spot he finds himself right now in WWE. He amounts to a glorified jobber at this point. He is floundering on SmackDown Live without any real momentum and no real storylines, losing feud after feud. Turning face would probably help him quite a bit since it would let him show off a different side of his personality, but that isn’t likely to happen. Rusev had previously hinted on Twitter about leaving WWE when he tweeted “#ThankYouRusev” and thanked various people involved with WWE.
Considering Rusev has been booked so poorly by WWE Creative, it would not be a surprise if Rusev asks to be released from his contract in the coming months. He is a perfectly capable wrestler who could do so much better elsewhere if he is given the freedom to be himself and is booked properly. That won’t happen in WWE.
9 SIGNING: MANDY LEON
Mandy Leon is currently signed to Ring of Honor, where she has been since 2014. She has slowly started to gain more and more experience working matches to the point where she has started to win over the audiences. Leon is currently one of the more popular women’s wrestlers over at Ring of Honor. It also helps Leon’s case that she has some experience with WWE, as she previously appeared briefly as a “Rosebud” for Adam Rose in 2014 and 2015. Also working in Leon’s favor is that she has that look WWE tends to look for in female wrestlers. The women’s division could use some more high-quality wrestlers, and Leon would be able to add to that depth. Between Leon’s increased experience, popularity, and good looks, she would be someone WWE will look to sign.
8 LEAVING: PAIGE
Paige recently confirmed she has been at the WWE Performance Center, presumably preparing for an in-ring return. While that may be good news, it still remains unlikely she will last long with WWE. There has been rampant speculation over her departure from WWE for at least the past year. She is still young and is very talented, but also reckless outside of the ring to the extent it may be time for WWE to part ways with her. During her time on Total Divas, there were a number of episodes that saw Paige being reprimanded by VP of Talent Relations Mark Carrano for her behavior.
If that, along with her Wellness Policy violations, did not put her in the bad books of WWE execs, then her relationship with Alberto Del Rio certainly would. While there may always be a chance of Paige returning to WWE later on down the road (never say never), it appears as though her time with WWE may be coming to an end in the coming months.
7 SIGNING: ALLIE
Allie, also known as Cherry Bomb for an extended time, is currently with Global Force Wrestling. Allie has been regarded as a highly respected women’s wrestler over the past several years. This would help her fit right in with the other talented women’s wrestlers on the roster. She is a decorated wrestler, having won several championships with TNA/GFW in 2016 and 2017. In 2015, Allie was ranked 8th on the PWI list of top 50 women’s wrestlers. While she is only being used sporadically in GFW despite her talents, hopefully WWE recognizes her full potential and uses her better than GFW is. While there are some talent already not being used properly (Emma), Allie probably fits the “look” WWE has for its’ female wrestlers.
6 LEAVING: EMMA
Emma’s good news? She recently won a match on live TV against the likes of Bayley and Sasha Banks! The bad news? She’s got a match against the debuting Asuka, in what will almost certainly turn out to be a squash match. That pretty much sums up what it has been like for Emma in WWE over the past year. She has the potential to be great and she has all the talent but she has never been given the chance to see what she can do. If she were used properly, she would be a very credible heel in a women’s division that lacks good heels. Apparently, WWE Creative doesn’t see it that way. Whether it is Emma asking for her release or WWE letting her go, it would not be surprising to see Emma no longer with WWE by WrestleMania 34.
5 SIGNING: MARTY SCURLL
This could maybe be a long shot but if Triple H gets his way, Marty Scurll will be under a WWE contract before long. Scurll represents that kind of throwback heel who, although he is not the most technically gifted wrestler, tells an amazing story. He has an ability to tell a story in the ring despite not being the flashiest of wrestlers. The aura and charisma that Scurll brings to the ring would make him a very good opponent for a number of wrestlers on the roster. A match against a babyface Bray Wyatt, or Finn Balor, or Shinsuke Nakamura, or AJ Styles would have the potential to be great.
If nothing else, Scurll has the intangible ability to tell a story and create that “big match” vibe and would be able to help other younger stars learn that trait as well. Wrestlers who possess the ability to do that are few and far between in WWE right now.
4 LEAVING: BIG SHOW
The career of Big Show will come to an end sooner rather than later. There are reports he may have just wrestled his last match, a loss against Braun Strowman. Even if that won’t end up being his final match, odds are he will not be around as an active wrestler by the time WrestleMania 34 rolls around. At this point in his career, he has mostly been used to put over other big men on the roster, such as Braun Strowman and Big Cass. He has had a career in WWE that lasted nearly two decades and he will almost certainly get his place in the WWE Hall of Fame someday. If he hasn’t already done so, look for Big Show to pass the torch to other big guys on the roster before retiring.
3 SIGNING: WILL OSPREAY
Will Ospreay has been very successful during run on the indies, despite being so young. He has received much praise for his matches that ultimately led to him winning the 2016 NJPW Best of the Super Juniors tournament. The very talented Will Ospreay would be a welcome addition to any WWE roster, but he would probably get started off at NXT. He would almost certainly enter contention for the NXT Championship shortly after his debut. It is not known what his current contract status is with New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring of Honor. However, there should still be a strong chance that Ospreay will eventually find his way to WWE. Could you image the reaction he would get if Will Ospreay made a surprise appearance at the 2018 Royal Rumble?
2 THE COLONS
Primo and Epico Colon have been given multiple gimmicks in WWE but none of them have been able to get over with the WWE audiences. Most of them have come across as hard to watch and cringe worthy. While there is not much depth in the WWE tag team division as of writing, that may begin to change in the coming months. Between tag teams returning (Hardy Boyz), tag teams being formed, and talent being promoted from NXT, there may not be much room for The Colons.
WWE audiences simply do not care about any gimmick or character given to Primo and Epico, and they are not good enough wrestlers to warrant keeping around for WrestleMania season. It might be best for both WWE and Primo and Epico to head their separate ways.
1 RONDA ROUSEY
Is this cheating? Ronda Rousey is not technically a wrestler and we specifically stated we would be looking at wrestlers who will sign with WWE by WrestleMania 34. But Ronda Rousey is arguably one of the biggest names rumoured to be heading to WWE before long and it would only make sense to include her on this list. Rousey will provide a huge boost to the women’s division and will certainly draw in ratings because of her name. It is only a matter of time before Rousey is signed as a wrestler to WWE. The only questions that remain are when she will debut and against whom.
Charlotte has gone on record saying she would love to take on Rousey at WrestleMania (which would be a hell of a match) but we might also witness The Four Horsewomen of MMA (Rousey, Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke, Marina Shafir) against WWE’s Four Horsewomen (Charlotte, Bayley, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks).