The argument could be made that the current World Wrestling Entertainment roster is the most talented, from top to bottom, in the history of the promotion. Some of the best wrestlers in the world, names like A.J. Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura, currently work on SmackDown shows, while Samoa Joe, Seth Rollins, Finn Balor and others are parts of the Raw brand. John Cena and Brock Lesnar remain huge stars who are over among audiences all around the world even if they are part-timers these days, and Roman Reigns is either the top heel or top babyface wrestling for the WWE depending on how you view the “Big Dog” as of the spring of 2017. Regardless, Reigns does deserve credit for generating reactions from fans whenever he emerges from behind the curtain.
With that said, those running the WWE will, in the future, have decisions to make regarding the futures of numerous stars and performers, some of whom have not made major impacts working on the main roster. In some cases, the decision will be a no-brainer for the WWE for one reason or another. Others, however, are not quite as clear as of the posting of this piece. What is important for all to remember is that the WWE choosing to not re-sign any of the wrestlers mentioned in this piece would only open up roster spots for individuals currently not working for the promotion. Somebody may have to go if names such as Adam Cole, Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks are to join the company before WrestleMania 34.
15 Won’t: The Brian Kendrick
The Brian Kendrick deserves plenty of credit for retooling his character for the current WWE product, for remaining a talented worker inside and outside of the ring and for all that he contributed to the company as a trainer. Still, Kendrick has more than served his purpose as an active wrestler, and it does feel as if it will only be a matter of time before the WWE gives his spot to a younger performer.
14 Will: Mickie James
There will one day come a time when Mickie James will be a veteran who is surplus to requirements because of emerging talent from the NXT brand. That day shouldn’t happen at any point in 2017, however, as the bulk of the female portion of NXT still needs plenty of seasoning before those wrestlers are ready to work underneath the bright lights of Raw and SmackDown shows.
13 Won’t: Titus O’Neil
The negatives of keeping Titus O’Neil seem to outweigh the positives as of May 2017. O’Neil does deserve plenty of credit for the charity work he does behind the scenes, but the harsh reality is that there is no sign he is going to get over among fans as a wrestler.
12 Will: Darren Young
Odds are that Darren Young will never be a massive Superstar competing for the WWE Championship during his tenure with the company. The world needs carpenters, as the industry saying goes, and Young nevertheless remains a solid hand who can work on live shows and can put other wrestlers over.
11 Won’t: The Ascension
Sometimes, it’s just not meant to be for a performer or an act, and that has been the case for the Ascension even before they were called up from NXT to the main roster. Fans never took the duo seriously from their first night on the main roster, and the team is now essentially one that jobs to babyface duos on episodes of SmackDown.
10 Will: Bo Dallas
We are not ready to give up on Bo Dallas as a worker and as a performer, and we believe the WWE also isn't for one reason, in particular: Dallas, as you likely know if you’re reading this sentence, is the real-life brother of Bray Wyatt, and the WWE recently moved Wyatt from SmackDown to Raw where Dallas is currently a member.
9 Won’t: Paige
We don’t blame you one bit if you actually forgot Paige is still technically a WWE star who is currently signed to the Raw brand. Paige has been inactive since the summer of 2016 because of an injury, and she was suspended in the fall for an alleged second violation of the company Wellness Policy.
8 Will: Zack Ryder
One has to feel at least a little sorry for Zack Ryder. Ryder did well to get himself over as a babyface via his Internet show years ago, and yet the company never gave him any real push outside of a brief run as United States Champion. He then experienced somewhat of a career resurrection when he moved down to NXT to begin teaming up with Mojo Rawley.
7 Won’t: Eva Marie
As of the typing of this sentence, Eva Marie is essentially a WWE star in name only. We have not seen “All Red Everything” work on a WWE show since she was suspended for allegedly violating the company’s Wellness Policy in the summer of 2016, and there is no sign she is headed back to the promotion anytime soon.
6 Will: Asuka
It really shouldn’t be a question if the WWE will re-sign Asuka whenever her contract comes due. In this case, it’s a matter of when the promotion will change direction regarding her career course. While it’s understandable the WWE would want to keep Asuka as part of that touring brand because she is one of its top stars and one of its best performers, she has clearly outgrown being part of that portion of the WWE roster.
5 Won’t: Percy Watson
It’s understood that NXT is a touring brand, a weekly television product and also a developmental territory for more than just the performers who have matches and who cut promos in front of small audiences. Announcers such as Percy Watson are also meant to learn and, ideally, improve while working on NXT shows.
4 Will: Jeff Hardy
It would be an understatement to say the WWE re-signing Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy in the spring of 2017 has been a success for all involved. While the two have done well to get over as a babyface tag team and the Tag Team Champions of the Raw brand, there is still so much more the WWE can get out of this relationship.
3 Won’t: Kassius Ohno
The WWE has been better about signing wrestlers with different looks and different body types, and also about acquiring talented performers who don’t look like superheroes or bodybuilders. It is, nevertheless, realistic to assume that WWE will not re-sign Kassius Ohno past NXT if he doesn’t make it onto the main roster before 2017 comes to an end.
2 Will: Matt Hardy
In a way, it’s almost a blessing and a gift that the WWE was not able to run with the “Broken” Matt Hardy storyline once Matt and Jeff re-signed with the company. After all, the two are generating pops as a nostalgia act that won the Raw Tag Team Titles, and there’s nothing wrong with building anticipation via teases that Matt will soon be broken once again.
1 Won’t: Dolph Ziggler
We can’t help but wonder if the WWE electing not to re-sign Dolph Ziggler when his contract comes up would be what’s best for all involved. It’s clear Ziggler is not going to receive a run as the top guy on either Raw or SmackDown in 2017, and the talented worker making a move to the independent scene and maybe even to Japan for a period of time could do him some good and help inject new life into his career.
The Ziggler character is currently running in place on the main roster, and the hope here is that some time away from the WWE would allow him to return as an even better wrestler a year or two down the road.
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