It’s undeniable that each year in WWE, some talents will be released and some will quit the company. While the reasons for this always vary and different people are often involved, the outcome is undeniable. Sometimes it’s for the best as wrestlers can go away and refine their skills. They can return to the company an improved prospect like Drew McIntyre did, or what Cody Rhodes is currently doing. Yet other times people have simply had enough and shut the door on that part of their lives, like CM Punk famously did.
This year has seen the departures of several former WWE employees in the likes of Emma and Darren Young and 2018 will likely be no different, with WWE cutting ties with a new batch of wrestlers. With NXT bringing in more talent each year from developmental and WWE still recruiting some of the world’s best wrestlers, there are only so many spaces for people on the roster. As mentioned, some talents will decide they don’t need WWE and can make a bigger name for themselves elsewhere. We have already seen Neville attempt to do it this year, although he didn’t get very far as WWE still kept him on the books.
2018 is sure to see more releases and wrestlers quitting and that is what this list is set to look at. Let’s examine the current WWE roster both on Raw, SmackDown and in NXT and look at eight potential wrestlers who will be released on bad terms and seven who will quit the company next year.
15. Released On Bad Terms: Neville
This is a release that has been coming for some time, ever since the former Cruiserweight Champion walked out on an episode of Monday Night Raw. The man that gravity forgot has certainly not been forgotten by fans, but it appears he has been by WWE creative.
While there are rumours that WWE and Neville are working out a way of him coming back, it seems like Neville has his mind set on leaving the company and working on the independent scene once again, perhaps returning to the main event scene. It is unlikely that WWE is going to push Neville into a major storyline again and they won’t want him to quit and get what he wanted, which means WWE will likely release Neville when they see fit.
14. Will Quit: Tye Dillinger
Remember when the WWE Universe couldn’t stop chanting “10” and Tye Dillinger was arguably the most over talent in all of WWE? I certainly do, which makes it even more disappointing that he now barely manages to feature on television despite his brilliant in-ring ability and charisma.
A lot of people have the incorrect belief that the Perfect 10 hasn’t been around that long in WWE, but that just isn’t the case as Dillinger has been working for the company, whether in developmental, NXT, or on the main roster since 2006 when he signed for then developmental, Ohio Valley Wrestling. There’s only so long you can chase one dream and after coming as close as he ever has before in his life at achieving his goal of being a top WWE star. Next year could be the year he breaks and decides to quit and give the thriving independent scene an opportunity. He would no doubt have huge success.
13. Released On Bad Terms: Rich Swann
Perhaps the most obvious entry given his recent circumstances (hence the low ranking) Rich Swann’s time in WWE appears to be finished. The former Cruiserweight Champion has been given plenty of chances in WWE, even if 205 Live never hit the heights it had the potential to reach.
Swann has been a regular on the Tuesday night show and often featured on Raw due to his popularity with the WWE Universe. However, 2018 will likely see Swann released from the company and it has nothing to do with his in-ring abilities and everything to do with his personal life. After being arrested for an incident that was later confirmed to be domestic violence, Swann has already been suspended by WWE. Given the WWE’s zero tolerance for domestic abuse, it is likely they will be looking to cut ties with him and put the issue behind them.
12. Will Quit: Dolph Ziggler
When it comes to any article of this nature, Dolph Ziggler’s name is always going to pop up and there is a good reason for that. Ziggler has been to the top of the mountain in WWE, if only for a brief time, and no matter how many small United States or Intercontinental Championship runs he gets given, WWE is never going to truly invest in him again.
He’s had a great run with the company and this doesn’t have to be the end for him. With a great independent scene thriving right now, Ziggler could make a huge splash in places such as Ring Of Honor. There he would be considered a main event level talent the company would be lucky to have. The constant rumours are also not helped by the fact that Ziggler himself teases that he might be leaving the WWE in the near future, and maybe 2018 will be the end of those teases and it will simply become reality.
11. Released On Bad Terms: Blake & Murphy
Blake and Murphy find themselves in a very strange situation. At one point they were one of the hottest tag teams in WWE. As the Tag Team Champions in NXT they did a great job at gaining heat from fans and were regulars on a weekly basis.
Nowadays, you have to actually scratch your head and have a real think about when the last time you saw either man on NXT was, which makes you question whether WWE has any plans for them. Alexa Bliss was once part of their group and while she has gone on to major success, Blake and Murphy’s careers have stalled. Given how many tag teams there are now in NXT it’s hard to see where Blake and Murphy fit in and simply putting them onto the main roster doesn’t make sense as they have no momentum behind them. With that said, a double release could be in their future.
10. Will Quit: Mike Kanellis
Mike Kanellis has had an incredibly difficult time in WWE, coming into the company as a top independent talent with a lot of hype, seeing him debut was exciting, especially since he was bringing a very similar style of character that had worked around the world with hi,
However, things simply haven’t worked for Kanellis in WWE and even though it might have been his dream job, it seems like it is turning into more of a nightmare than anything else. Barely used on television, most of the casual audience likely don’t even know who he is and someone of his talent is worth much more than what he is getting, which he could easily go look for back on the independent scene.
9. Released On Bad Terms: Apollo Crews
Honestly, what can WWE do with Apollo Crews at this point? It’s quite frustrating because the situation he is in really isn’t his fault. Crews is a perfect case of someone who was simply pushed quicker than he should have been.
A major hit in NXT, Crews was becoming a main event star for the developmental brand when he was dragged to the main roster before he was ready. Since his arrival on Raw, Crews has struggled to make an impact. He has already fallen to the level of being a jobber and WWE can easily just use enhancement talent to fill in those sorts of roles, making Crews easily disposable. Crews will definitely harbour bad feelings for how was grossly misused.
8. Will Quit: Kassius Ohno
Kassisus Ohno is stuck in a difficult spot within NXT right now as he is incredibly talented and certainly over with the fans. However he isn’t considered a main event level talent just yet. Ohno has had a run in WWE before that didn’t quite work out and it just feels like this is going to repeat itself. Returning to the company with plenty of fanfare, it seemed like WWE was finally ready to strap a rocket to him and let him fly, yet several talents have come in and just jumped right over him.
Whether it’s Adam Cole or Drew McIntyre, people have walked into NXT and left him stuck behind. If he was to quit tomorrow he could be main eventing shows all around the world yet again and after seeing his second attempt at a WWE career go the same way as the first, 2018 could be the year he gives up on that dream for good.
7. Released On Bad Terms: Rhyno
A wrestling legend, Rhyno has certainly made the most of his opportunities in WWE during his return to the company. From his fun run in NXT to being brought to the main roster where he became one half of the first ever SmackDown Live Tag Team Champions with Heath Slater, Rhyno has had a good swan song. But that’s exactly what this run is, a goodbye.
WWE will likely cut ties with him and then wait for the eventual WWE Hall Of Fame induction that he so rightfully deserves. If only they could have given him a bit more respect than he got, although his recent run was still enjoyable as a fan. He might wrestle on the independent scene for places such as Tommy Dreamer’s House Of Hardcore.
6. Will Quit: Big Show
He has had an unbelievable career and is without a doubt the greatest ‘big man’ in wrestling history. From World Championship victories to main event matches and historic feuds to some of WWE’s greatest comedic moments, he has done it all.
Because of that, 2018 will likely be the final year for Big Show in WWE, simply because there is nothing left for him to do but sit back, relax and enjoy the legacy he has left behind. Sure, there might be a surprise Royal Rumble appearance or one short run left in him down the line and there is no doubt about a Hall Of Fame induction. However there is no need for him to be around anymore and that is why Show will call it a day in 2018.
5. Released On Bad Terms: Natalya
While some releases on this list will be happening because the company doesn’t believe in them any longer, that will not be the case with this entry as there is no doubt WWE respects the talent and experience that Natalya brings to the roster. However, with the influx of new talents in the women’s division from the Riott Squad to Asuka, there is only so many spots available, and this is before you consider the people still in NXT or all the women of the Mae Young Classic.
Unfortunately for Nattie, the opportunities are likely going to be given to younger talents and with women such as Charlotte and Sasha Banks now being able to offer experience to the younger talents, that need is now filled. This would be a tough pill for Nattie to swallow as her whole life has been about wrestling.
4. Will Quit: Zack Ryder
The story of Zack Ryder is an incredibly frustrating one from the outside, so you can only imagine how the former Internet Champion feels after coming so close to being one of WWE’s top stars on several occasions, only to have it taken away from him for seemingly no reason.
Heading into 2018, Ryder has just been defeated by Mojo Rawley on a pre-show PPV match, which has to sting when you think how over he got himself with his YouTube series before YouTube was even that popular. Having seen what one of his best friends, Cody Rhodes, has been able to achieve on his own, it’s hard to see Ryder not wanting to follow in his footsteps and at least attempt to have the same level of success outside of his WWE comfort zone and prove to everyone he has always deserved better.
3. Released On Bad Terms: Dana Brooke
WWE is currently placing a lot of focus on its women’s roster. From the Mae Young Classic to the announcement that a women’s Royal Rumble is set to take place, 2017 has been quite the year for women’s wrestling.
WWE will only be hoping to top that throughout 2018 and a lot of that focus will surely be on the in-ring product, with the company needing as many top-tier ladies as possible. Sadly, Dana Brooke isn’t quite at the level of her co-workers and is another person who suffered being pushed to the main roster before she was ready. She may also hold a grudge as she looks much stronger than most women on the roster, yet hasn’t had as much success.
2. Will Quit: Daniel Bryan
It’s a pretty simple situation in regards to Daniel Bryan that is also incredibly complicated for WWE. On one hand, all Bryan wants to do is wrestle. But that is incredibly dangerous due to Bryan’s health issues and the potential risks in letting him back into the ring for even one match. WWE knows all too well the sort of backlash they would receive if he was to be seriously hurt.
It’s because of that risk that WWE is very unlikely to let Bryan wrestle again and with his contract coming to an end in 2018, that means it’s very likely that he will simply leave the company. It’s not because Bryan doesn’t love WWE, it’s that he simply loves wrestling more. He may be willing to go back to the independent circuit to make his desire of one more match happen, perhaps with Cody Rhodes?
1. Released On Bad Terms: The Club
As one of the best tag teams in the world, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows have been criminally underused in WWE. After coming into the company with huge hype, they have simply fallen to a standard tag team and a case of what could have been, which shouldn’t be the case with them.
There’s no doubt they will have itchy feet right now given how strong the Bullet Club is doing and they themselves could potentially have fallen into the quit side of the category on this list. However, with WWE having many strong tag teams waiting in the wings with the likes of SAnitY, Authors Of Pain and Heavy Machinery, they might be looking to trim some of the fat in order to make space. Sadly, no matter how shocking it might seem, that is exactly what The Club is at this point. They have become easily forgettable and seeing them released wouldn’t come as a surprise to many.
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