Every year, the WWE roster undergoes major changes. Some Superstars are released, while others retire and new talents are always brought up to fill the gaps. It's no longer a big issue for the company thanks to the success of NXT. The popular secondary promotion virtually guarantees that many Superstars will be more than ready to make the jump when called upon. Vince McMahon has also changed his old policies, becoming more open minded towards talent from independent promotions thanks to the influence of Triple H among other WWE officials.
This is the reason why we witnessed an influx of talents joining the WWE, such as AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode and plenty more. They have transitioned well into the WWE, which means the company will be looking to sign more wrestlers from outside promotions to boost their own product. But with so many talents around, there have been concerns whether the WWE can manage to book all of them while keeping them satisfied. That has already proven to be a tough task as many have already asked for their release.
It's unrealistic to expect WWE to find something for everyone, so chances are that more wrestlers will continue asking to leave in order to work for other promotions. There are also Superstars who will surely be released to maintain their current budget, and we can't forget those who have been lost in the shuffle for quite some time. With this list, we look at 8 wrestlers WWE will steal from other promotions and 8 they will lose to them.
16 Steal: Jay Lethal
Fans have wanted to see Jay Lethal in the WWE for many years as he has been one of the most over wrestlers outside of the company. Although many of his former TNA peers have been signed to Vince McMahon's empire, Lethal is still wrestling on the independent circuit and mainly for Ring of Honor. He has been endorsed by many legends in the industry, including Ric Flair, who claimed that WWE must sign him.
2018 may finally be the year since WWE have recruited fellow TNA stars in the previous two years. Lethal is very charismatic and could certainly have a role on the roster. In past interviews, he expressed his interest in joining the WWE although he does love what he has been doing on his own. Lethal is young enough to be around for years to come if he were to join the WWE.
15 Lose: Neville
Following a 6 month absence, the chances of Neville returning to WWE are getting slimmer by the day. He was already unhappy to have been placed on 205 Live, but frustrations grew as his booking got worse. Neville wasn't thrilled about having to drop the title to Enzo Amore, which looks even worse now that the latter has been released from the company. Neville hasn't been granted a release yet despite asking for it, and it was reported that the company was attempting to repair its relationship with him.
Sooner or later, WWE will likely have to make a decision regarding Neville, and knowing Vince McMahon, we don't see him giving in for his demands. And while letting him sit out his contract appears to be an option, it's more likely that they release him from the WWE, which would allow Neville to compete for another promotion by the end of the year.
14 Steal: Marty Scurll
Even if you know very little about Marty Scurll, we can all agree that he looks like a star. In the past few years, he has managed to develop an impressive following while competing for Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro-Wrestling to become one of the better all-around talents not in the WWE. There are plenty of great wrestlers all over the world, but not many are as charismatic as Scurll is.
He has previously indicated that he would be interested in joining the WWE although he loves where his journey has been taking him thus far. There is no doubt that Scurll has made it to the WWE's radar and it's probably only a matter of time before we see him in the company. It's likely to happen in 2018 but even if it doesn't, Scurll is almost guaranteed to be there within the next few years.
13 Lose: Tye Dillinger
It's no secret that Vince McMahon doesn't like when Superstars manage to get over on their own, or when fans pick their favorites. He still prefers the traditional way although he may be tempted to give the fans what they want every now and then. In the case of Tye Dillinger, he had a good run in NXT but not exactly as impressive as some of his peers. He has become mostly known for his "10" signature, which McMahon reportedly hates.
It is thought to be the very same reason as to why he hasn't been booked as well as fans had hoped, and only bad things happen when you manage to get on McMahon's bad side. It's likely that both parties come to an agreement to end his contract this year, which would allow Dillinger to have more creative freedom on the independent circuit while Vince gets his wish.
12 Steal: Tessa Blanchard
At only 22 years old, Tessa Blanchard is one of the best prospects in the wrestling industry. She has already competed for the WWE in some dark matches, as well as being a member of the Mae Young Classic tournament. Although she failed to get a contract, Blanchard has continued her journey on the independent circuit. She is currently dating Ricochet, the latest NXT signing and fellow hot prospect, so the door is certainly open for her to join.
There have been question marks regarding her attitude, but when you take into consideration her age and inexperience then you realize it won't be a major deal. Tessa will likely be a welcomed addition to NXT in 2018, where she could be groomed to join the main roster within the next few years. She certainly has a bright future ahead of her, and it's only a matter of time before she is officially signed to the WWE.
11 Lose: Maria
Last June, Maria made her return to the WWE after years of absence with her husband Mike Kanellis by her side. They were expected to be a force for the next few years, but have failed to really get over. Maria has been absent since September following her pregnancy, which we can't imagine was very pleasing for Vince McMahon to learn about since he had just hired her. She will likely be gone from the WWE by the end of the year since she doesn't really have a role to play, especially when she has to take care of a newborn baby.
Working on the independent circuit allows her to have a flexible schedule, which is the very reason why some talents prefer working for various companies over the WWE. It would be more shocking if Maria is still on the roster come 2019 than if she gets released.
10 Steal: Will Ospreay
Will Ospreay is currently signed to both New Japan Pro-Wrestling and Ring of Honor, where he has been competing since 2016. Although he did indicate a great interest in eventually joining the WWE, he also said that it wasn't the right time for him last year. Many wrestlers enjoy the schedule that comes with working for the two companies, as well as the limited travelling compared to WWE.
At 24 years old, Ospreay is no rush to make the jump but there is a possibility that we see him signed in 2018. It seems like Vince McMahon wants the best talents competing in NXT before they are eventually groomed for the main roster, so the call may be made to have him come in after the draft. Many NXT talents will probably be moving up around that time, which will only open up more spots.
9 Lose: Matt Hardy
Fans were excited to see The Hardy Boyz back in WWE after years of absence, and even more so to see his Broken gimmick at the biggest stage. As of today, it's safe to say that has been a major disappointment as the gimmick has been reduced to nothing but Hardy giggling on screen, while ignoring all elements that had made him unique. One of the reasons Hardy was hesitant to join the WWE is creative control and fearing that they might end up ruining his character - and it appears to be all coming true.
Fans haven't exactly been responding as positive as one would have hoped, so it won't be surprising if Vince McMahon gives up on the character. Although we are sure that Hardy is more than happy to be collecting WWE paycheques, he will also be worried that his career may hit rock bottom once again as it did prior to his recent revival.
8 Steal: Eli Drake
Some fans may be unaware that Eli Drake once received a WWE tryout back in 2008, although it went wrong for him after showing up late. It may have been a blessing in disguise since he went on to significantly improved in more ways than one, and has been one of the better talents in Impact. Many believe that he is among the best talkers in the industry today, which is more than enough to capture the WWE's attention.
In the past few months, it's been rumoured that WWE may be looking to bring him abroad and it wouldn't be shocking to see him join the company in 2018. He has the ideal look for a Superstar and it's hard to find talents with such charisma these days. We just hope that Eli learned from his past mistakes and makes sure to show up on time if WWE makes the call.
7 Lose: Hideo Itami
Hideo Itami was considered to be a dream signing for some WWE fans, but some are starting to believe that he would have been better off not joining based on his short stint so far. It's not exactly a great sign when your WWE run gets off to the worst possible start with CM Punk chants ringing throughout the arena. And let's be honest, that is the last thing the WWE want from its fans, so much like Tye Dillinger's "10", it may end up playing a factor in his release.
Itami is one of those names who can likely strive anywhere in the world, except for the WWE. But unlike so many of his peers, even if his stint ends up being as short as we are predicting, he could at least claim that he got to work for the biggest wrestling company in the world.
6 Steal: Zack Sabre Jr
Zack Sabre Jr. is another British wrestler who is one of the better talents around, and working for various promotions including NJPW and Evolve. He has previously worked for the WWE during the Cruiserweight Classic tournament, although he rejected signing a contract with the company. According to him, it wasn't the right time yet as he had been enjoying his current journey. Perhaps he wasn't thrilled about being stuck in the Cruiserweight division either, which isn't shocking to say the least.
Considering that WWE had high interest in signing him, it's safe to say that they would welcome him if Sabre were to agree to a contract. With his ongoing work for numerous promotions, he is kept busy at the moment but he probably also realizes that it is perhaps the perfect opportunity to make the jump. Many similar talents are now succeeding, and he is at the perfect age of 30 years old to be working for the biggest company.
5 Lose: Samoa Joe
Let's make it clear: we would hate to see Samoa Joe leave the WWE. He is one of the best wrestlers in the world and an impressive all-around talent. But it brings up an important question: how much can you do with a wrestler who constantly gets injured? Joe has gotten hurt numerous times since taking his talents to the WWE, and perhaps he cannot handle the rough full-time schedule as he continues to break down.
He isn't exactly young either, as he came up with the likes of John Cena and Randy Orton. At this point, his career could go either way as he may end up being a top force for many years to come, but fans should also be ready in case he departs from the WWE. Joe probably wouldn't mind either although we are willing to bet that he won't give up just yet.
4 Steal: Dalton Castle
With so many independent talents being signed over the last few years, Dalton Castle is expected to be among the next wave to be brought to the company. He was highly linked with WWE in the summer of 2017, although he opted to remain with Ring of Honor for the time being where he is reigning as the World Champion. Some claim that sooner or later, Castle will end up in the WWE.
It could be as soon as 2018 but we wouldn't be shocked either if he extended his stay with Ring of Honor since he seems to be enjoying his time. Regardless, the future is bright for him and WWE will look to explore any opportunity to bring him in as he could become one of the top Superstars for the upcoming years, based on what he has already shown in his young career thus far.
3 Lose: Primo And Epico
Primo and Epico have been around for nearly a decade, and had different characters to work with, yet they never really got over with the WWE Universe. They are certainly talented wrestlers but lack of charisma has held them back from achieving major success. It is surprising that they are still on the roster today since they haven't been relevant in a while. Most fans would gladly trade both to have Carlito back, who was one of the best young talents in the mid 2000s and strived in the charisma department.
It's highly likely that they will join him on the independent circuit when the WWE puts out its yearly released list, and not many fans will notice. There are numerous tag teams who have surpassed them, and barring miraculous improvement in the next few weeks, then it's safe to say they won't make it to the 2019 roster.
2 Steal: Rey Mysterio
Rey Mysterio had been away from the WWE for a few years before making a surprise one time appearance at the 2018 Royal Rumble. He was in tremendous shape and looked as healthy as he did in his younger days. Since then, It's been rumored that he has engaged in negotiations with the WWE regarding a return, although he prefers a part time schedule while the company wants him to work full dates.
As of now, Mysterio is scheduled to compete for NJPW as well as various promotions, but he may be back in the fold once WrestleMania season is up. A few days ago, WWE teased a potential match between AJ Styles and Rey Mysterio, which the latter responded to by claiming he would gladly accept. Following an impressive display at the Rumble, as well as a huge pop from the fans, Mysterio is very likely to be signed by the WWE.
1 Lose: Daniel Bryan
We all know by now that Daniel Bryan's WWE career was cut short due to an injury. He hasn't been cleared to return by WWE doctors, which forced him to announce his retirement. Bryan claims that several doctors have cleared him yet the company refuses to let him wrestle. Despite rumours claiming that he might be competing again, Bryan continues to act as the General Manager of SmackDown.
Bryan has expressed his desire to wrestle even if it doesn't happen in WWE, claiming that he might leave the company if he isn't cleared by the time his contract expires in September 2018. Bryan made a name for himself on the independent circuit, so he would be more than willing to return there as long as he is allowed to do what he loves. And with WWE appearing to be clear regarding their decision, Bryan may be wrestling elsewhere by the end of the year.
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