The WWE roster is currently loaded with incredible talent from all over the world, but there aren’t enough spots for everyone. A “new era” has left numerous wrestlers on the outside looking for better career prospects. Wrestlers currently being underutilized can find something better on the free agent market depending on their skill level and commitment. Cody Rhodes becoming the ROH World Champion and a top New Japan star helped set the table for other wrestlers having an opportunity to make it if they bet on their own talent.
Other wrestlers have struggled to reach a top spot in WWE due to backstage politics of certain people not liking them. We'll take a look at eight specific wrestlers that could leave the WWE in shocking fashion. There are a few viable options elsewhere for the talent to jump ship. The independent circuit is great, but the promotions with contracts offer the best option to make a living outside of WWE. For each of the eight wrestlers, we will examine which is the best and most realistic possible destination if they make the change. Time will tell if they actually happen, but these are eight departures that could happen and eight possible landing destinations.
16 Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler was once considered to be among the best in-ring performers in WWE. Now, he's off television with very few fans even noticing. Ziggler has fallen downwards over the past few years with the majority of new stars all passing him in the pecking order. One huge negative for Ziggler is that he refuses to reinvent himself.
15 Ziggler to Lucha Underground
Lucha Underground doesn’t seem like the obvious fit for Dolph Ziggler, but they clearly need some more big names. The career of Ziggler in WWE is very much similar to John Morrison’s tenure. Both men always appeared on the verge to becoming legitimate main eventers, but WWE always stopped them before they could reach the top. Morrison left WWE and has become arguably the face of Lucha Underground.
14 Sasha Banks
The popularity of Sasha Banks is undeniable. Aside from the Bella Twins, all metrics show she has sold the most WWE merchandise of the women’s wrestlers in recent history. Fans at live events love Banks and they show it through every mean. Still, it seems like WWE is very hesitant about pushing her as the face of Raw’s division. Charlotte Flair, Alexa Bliss and Bayley have been positioned above her in the pecking order.
13 Sasha to ROH
Ring of Honor is not known for having a credible Women’s Division. The performers are talented in the Women of Honor, but they don’t get much time on television. Most of their matches are before the shows or taped for social media. A huge name like Sasha Banks coming to ROH would change the game and give them the momentum and confidence to go through with it.
The talent of Cesaro has always been underrated by WWE due to Vince McMahon not believing in his upside. Cesaro seems to be consistently on the verge of breaking out every year but it always culminates to very little. The current role as one half of the Raw Tag Team Championship with Sheamus has given him something relevant to do.
11 Cesaro to NJPW
A couple of interviews through the recent years have revealed that Cesaro is a huge fan of New Japan. The incredible momentum of NJPW right now has seen them try to expand in North America. Familiar names like Kenny Omega, Cody Rhodes, the Young Bucks and numerous other foreign talents are helping New Japan become a bigger deal to fans in the United States.
10 Enzo Amore
The drama regarding Enzo Amore’s status in the WWE locker room is the biggest detriment to his career. Enzo reportedly brags about how much money he makes off the wrestling business despite showing no respect for it. The other wrestlers to spend time with him in the locker room are livid at his antics. Roman Reigns throwing him off a bus showed just how badly things would get for Amore.
9 Enzo to GFW
All of the positives to Enzo Amore as a performer go back to his personality. The annoying loudmouth of Enzo makes the other wrestlers hate him but the fans love it. Enzo has among the loudest ovations at every show and sells a lot of merchandise. One big problem for him aside from his attitude is the lack of in-ring skills.
Enzo can’t last in promotions like Ring of Honor, New Japan or Lucha Underground with his below average work rate. The only company that he could realistically sign and find success with is Global Force Wrestling. Despite having little to no momentum, GFW is the biggest promotion that could use someone like Amore. Enzo could actually become one of their top stars given the landscape of the roster.
Kalisto has been removed from television storylines for months now on the Raw brand. It seems obvious that he would be a tremendous fit in the Cruiserweight Division, but he has yet to appear in it. WWE once viewed Kalisto as the next big luchador as a replacement for Rey Mysterio. The sad part is that Kalisto is extremely talented and has the potential to be as great as Rey.
7 Kalisto to Lucha Underground
The most obvious option for Kalisto after WWE is Lucha Underground. Kalisto’s high flying style and luchador background is what Lucha Underground wants for their performers. AAA wanted to get Kalisto for their brand shortly before WWE signed him away. Kalisto could easily become the new face of lucha by signing with both Lucha Underground and Mexico’s AAA.
6 Luke Harper
Another underrated asset on the WWE roster is Luke Harper. Many would argue he was the most talented member of the Wyatt Family. Following the most recent split at the beginning of 2017, Harper appeared bound for a big singles push. There was actually enough momentum for fans to believe he may be added to the Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt WWE Championship match at WrestleMania 33.
5 Harper to ROH
Ring of Honor once employed Luke Harper many years ago under his independent wrestling name of Brodie Lee. Harper joined Seth Rollins, Jimmy Jacobs and numerous other wrestlers in the successful Age of the Fall faction. Unfortunately, his role was not as important and he served in the background as a glorified enforcer.
The complaints of Emma on social media have seen her rant against WWE refusing to use her in a meaningful way. Following her return from injury, Emma has done nothing of note in storylines aside from having random matches. Emma definitely has the talent level and potential to a big player for the Women’s Division. Unfortunately, that isn’t translating to anything better coming her way.
3 Emma to GFW
One of the few positives for Global Force Wrestling is they do try to have a credible Women’s Division. Outside of WWE, they're the only television promotion that has a strong Women’s Division and provides a home for the women’s wrestlers. Emma would be a tremendous fit if they gave her the chance to truly be a major part of the division.
2 Daniel Bryan
The biggest possible name that can leave WWE in the near future is Daniel Bryan. Despite being “retired” for over a year now and being on the injured list for over two years, Bryan is still among the most popular stars in the company. Aside from John Cena and sometimes A.J. Styles, Bryan receives the biggest ovation on SmackDown when coming to the ring. The ratings even spiked when he returned following the birth of his child.
1 Bryan to NJPW
The social media feed of Daniel Bryan shows he clearly still loves watching wrestling outside of WWE. Various tweets have seen him reference his fandom of New Japan. Bryan is a huge fan of the work of Kenny Omega, the Young Bucks, Zack Sabre Jr. and numerous others. Another comment saw him reference the desire of wrestling friend Cody Rhodes for the ROH World Championship.
NJPW, ROH and Mexico’s CMLL all have a working relationship that would land Bryan working for them along with any independent promotions that interests him. The big fish is clearly New Japan and Bryan could actually make a huge impact. Rumors have NJPW currently in the running as trying to sign CM Punk. Bryan is the next biggest name. The potential of getting both major stars could make them slight competition for WWE.
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