It’s a part of business no wrestler wants to think about. The truth is the WWE is a revolving door that’s always turning. Superstars come in and out as the product remains fresh on a consistent basis over the years. Looking at the rosters from 2015 and 2016, you’d be shocked to see just how different the cast is in just one year. Again, as an upcoming wrestler, it’s a reality you don’t want to think about.
Reasons to leave a company like the WWE vary. For one, the company can chose to release you for any reason whether it be budget cuts or simply wanting to part ways. The other side, can see a wrestler betting on their talent and opting to leave. We saw it with Cody Rhodes and we recently saw it with Austin Aries.
Once the performer is released two things can unfold. One, they take the easy route and join Impact or GFW, with a limited schedule and guaranteed money. Or two, they take the risky route and bet on their talent joining the indie scene and resurface their name value. We’ll take a look at both sides with eight wrestlers that will be booked into oblivion with GFW/Impact and seven that can salvage things on the indie scene. Enjoy the article folks and of course, take in this information with an open mind as the content is light in nature.
15 Impact: The Singh Brothers
Literally like an RKO, this duo came out of nowhere. The team was a part of the Crusierweight Classic and regarded as afterthoughts. Then, they would be placed on the main roster alongside Jinder Mahal and everything would change for the duo. The team is now alongside the WWE Champion playing a pivotal role in his matches on the regular. However, although this is great, one can only assume they’ll eventually fall to obscurity once Mahal’s push is over with.
Looking at the team’s future, making it in the WWE as a legit team seems farfetched given their sizes. In terms of in-ring accomplishments, the BC boys enjoyed their best run with Jeff Jarrett’s Global Force Wrestling winning the GFW Tag Titles, and becoming the first ever champions of the promotion. You can expect them to take a similar route once their WWE time is up rekindling that magic.
14 Indies: Cesaro
Cesaro’s name in such an article is a guarantee every time, at the age of 36, the WWE remains inconsistent in terms of his booking. Fans have been begging for a run in the upper-card for quite some time now, but Vince in truth just doesn’t see Cesaro as such a talent. He’s been in the company since 2011 and six years later, his biggest accomplishment remains a one-time run with the US Title. It’s quite obvious his projection isn’t where it should be.
This begs the question, what does the future have in store? Cesaro as stated time and time again he plans to return back to his old stomping grounds with the indie promotion Chikara once he calls it a career. Who’s to say he won’t be enticed to make another pit-stop with say New Japan? That scenario would seem very likely, it’ll be interesting to see how things play out for the Swiss Superman.
13 Impact: Curt Hawkins
Hawkins' WWE return can easily be summed up by loses that nobody gives a damn about. The dude’s been working as an enhancement talent since coming back, and no, it doesn’t seem like the WWE will pull a Jinder Mahal at this point and make a notorious match loser a WWE Champion.
With his value at an all-time low, taking the indie route wouldn’t be too wise. One can assume only small scale gigs are going to be available for the New York native once his WWE time is up. His best route would be to take some guaranteed money and join Impact or GFW, whatever it goes by today. Plus, he’s familiar with the promotion wrestling with the company back in 2015. Hawkins has Impact bound written all over him. Get out the checkbook Jeff!
12 Indies: The Club
The addition of The Club to the WWE was an exciting part of 2016. It showed that the WWE was open to inviting indie talent into the company. With the success of A.J. Styles, both Gallows and Anderson signed deals with the WWE making their debuts the night after WrestleMania in 2016.
The results have been lackluster due to inconsistent booking. The win/loss, loss/win formula has only hurt the duo. Without a doubt, their strongest run was overseas in New Japan serving a big time purpose as heavy enforcers for the Bullet Club. Once their contracts expire and the WWE likely won’t resign the two, heading back to their old stomping grounds with New Japan seems like the obvious scenario and one that would ride the two off into the sunset before they call it a career thanks to their cool WWE savings. At least they got a good pay day...
11 Impact: Emma
Some WWE Superstars just can’t wiggle their way out of terrible booking. Emma knows a thing or two about that, she’s bounced around like a bingo ball in terms of personas going from a comedic Superstar with Santino to a type of bad cop rebel. Oh, and let’s not forget that awful Emmalina botch which was so bad that the WWE scrapped the idea altogether. In truth, it’s a miracle she’s still with the WWE after all this transpired.
What makes it so hard to digest is the fact that the Lance Storm Wrestling Academy trainee actually has great in-ring instincts. She can move inside of the squared circle and seems to fit the bill of the “Women’s Revolution”. However, similar to Gail Kim, the WWE just doesn’t believe in her. Like Kim, she can dominate over in Global Force and make the WWE regret their decision.
10 Indies: Luke Harper
He’s got the look, size and experience, however, he’s been booked into oblivion during his WWE run. Being Wyatt’s wingman has plagued Harper’s career, nowadays, many struggle to even remember he’s still with the company. For those of you wondering, he’s been relegated to a pre-show worker for SmackDown Live.
Every time it seems like he’s gaining momentum, the WWE tends to shut it down. Inching towards his 40s and wrestling since way back in 2002, the best option for Harper seems to be asking for his release and taking his talents on the indie scene. He can resurface his brand, and ride off into the sunset knowing he gave it his all around the world. This option seems far greater that disappearing into oblivion with the WWE.
9 Impact: James Ellsworth
No disrespect to Ellsworth, but the dude has Global Force Wrestling written all over him. Jeff would welcome him in with open arms, just imagine the possibilities for James taking on the likes of Rockstar Spud and Hornswoggle. Hate to admit it, but are we the only ones that would actually want to see Spud and Ellsworth feud... probably.
We give props to James for his current run, heck the guy was even involved in the WWE Title scene at one point. The name of the game is to provide the viewer with moments and Ellsworth did that several times so for that, we send a kudos to Ellsworth. However, reality will set it at some point, and the likely scenario will see Jarrett pick up the phone and give the “chinless wonder” a chance.
8 Indies: Dolph Ziggler
Let’s face it, this is a move that should of happened years ago. For quite some time now, the WWE hasn’t had a clue what to do with Ziggler. Aside from the odd push, he’s been working as a glorified enhancement talent putting over future stars such as Nakamura and Baron Corbin. Wins are few and far between for the Show-Off nowadays.
Nakamura may have leaked Ziggler’s future in an interview claiming Dolph will make the jump overseas. It was quite the news, however, it wasn’t all that shocking. Given his current role with the company, Ziggler is better off elsewhere and his best option is the indie scene. He can work his magic in ROH or New Japan with a plethora of talent. It’ll also give him a chance to revamp his persona, something he desperately needs. If Matt Hardy can pull a complete 360 gimmick wise, so can Dolph.
7 Impact: Percy Watson
With a career as a high profile prospect in college football, Watson would eventually make the jump to sports entertainment joining the outdated territory of FCW. He had the charisma to succeed, however, it never translated into real success. In 2016, the WWE made the decision to place Percy as a color-commentator for the NXT brand. He’s been decent in the gig thus far, but nothing to write home about.
Global Force loves dipping into WWE broadcast names and we believe Percy is no different. Like Taz and Josh Matthews, Watson’s experience might be enough to entice Global Force. The 35 year old has been decent, but looking at the work of his broadcast partner Nigel McGuinness, to quote a popular man, Percy has “no chance in hell” of moving up the ranks making him Global Force Wrestling bound.
6 Impact: Cedric Alexander
Alexander being added to the CWC Tournament was met with huge enthusiasm by pro wrestling fans. The North Carolina native enjoyed a great run with ROH that just added to the intrigue of it all. Excitement reached new heights when Triple H offered Alexander a contract following his final CWC match. That turned out to be the peak unfortunately as he’s been booked into oblivion ever since.
The Cruiserweight Division has plagued so many careers of talented Superstars thus far. The only guy that’s benefitted from the division has been Neville. As for Alexander, he continues to get booked like a prototypical WWE guy with wins and losses coming in on the regular with no momentum. Looking at his age of 27, Alexander is better off leaving and becoming a big time star elsewhere at this point before even more damage is inflicted onto his name.
5 Impact: The Ascension
The booking of The Ascension on the main roster was a stern warning that NXT success doesn’t always translate onto the big leagues. Since their demise, we’ve seen that trend more times than not with high ceiling NXT Superstars falling into oblivion on the main roster.
The team still has a little juice left in the tank but one would assume they’d want to opt for a stable contract instead of touring the indies at this point of their careers. With Jarrett loving to stick it to the WWE, he’d welcome the duo with open arms and likely, give them a run as the Global Force Tag Team Champions. It would be a win for The Ascension but a loss for Jeff who would continue to push WWE talent instead of homegrown wrestlers.
4 Indies: Apollo Crews
Some fans can remember that excitement and hype surrounding Apollo Crews to the WWE. NXT made him look like a huge deal and his time as Uhaa Nation away from the WWE was certainly warranted of such attention. He was and still is a premier athlete with extraordinary athleticism. However, the company inexplicably rushed his main roster debut and it hurt him big time. With terrible promo skills, he’s been booked as a complete joke.
Leaving and resurfacing his brand is exactly what’s needed. Yet to hit his 30s, the time to bet on his own talent is now. Crews has the potential to resurface his brand as an indie star and even return to the company in similar form such as Drew McIntyre, who was also booked horrendously during his final run as a WWE Superstar.
3 Impact: Zack Ryder
Similar to Ziggler, Ryder is another wrestler long overdue to shake things up for the better of his career. Hard to believe Ryder’s still only 32, that factor's hard to believe given that he’s been in the WWE system for over a decade now since 2005. Looking at his age and longevity in the company, leaving needs to be something that’s at least on his mind.
If he does leave, Global Force would seem like the logical step. Travelling as an indie guy wouldn’t seem too appealing given all the travel he’s already undergone. Plus, in terms of indie interest, we’d assume only low scale companies would take him on. His best option would be to join Global Force with an easier schedule. Making the jump can also be facilitated given his current relationship with a GFW star, his current girlfriend, Laurel Van Ness.
2 Indies: Austin Aries
Aries recently leaving the WWE was met with great shock around the wrestling world. His talent was still obvious and it was said that the WWE was really into him. However, unhappy with his character direction, Aries chose to leave the company. So what’s next is the question?
Rejoining the likes of Global Force would just be silly and a route that he’s taken already. Inching towards his 40s, Aries has one final run left in him and joining the likes of ROH or New Japan seem to be better and “sexier” options. Putting on five-star matches with so many indie talents can make Aries not look back at his decision to leave the WWE behind. He can be a big deal if he chooses the correct promotion.
1 Impact: Dean Ambrose
We know, Ambrose to GFW seems to be quite bold, but given his current trajectory, it’s a possibility. Being regarded as lazy, Ambrose has been booked to oblivion with like-minded lazy booking from the creative staff. He’s worked countless angles with The Miz and his work rate has slowed down immensely. Many also believe the WWE took out their frustrations with Ambrose on Renee Young by taking her off Total Divas.
With frustrations growing, Ambrose seems like the type of dude to have the “stones” to bet on his talent elsewhere. Without a doubt, Jarrett will call non-stop to get his services. With a lighter work rate and given how taxed his body is, signing a deal with GFW might be “best for business” looking at Dean’s future.