Working for WWE has its risks. Sure, you do great in the ring and on the mic, you’re set for a good career. However, you have to be careful as Vince McMahon is infamous for firing people, often for silly reasons. But even if you are a star, you can be on the chopping block, especially given how easily fans can turn on you. It continues as WWE is in rough financial conditions with ratings falling and fans chastising the product. That makes it even more imperative to cut the dead weight and there is a lot of it. Workers who have done little, who fans dislike and who just don’t seem to be worth their weight. Some guys are more likely than others but it’s obvious firing some would open things up for WWE.
That leaves the question as to who can replace them. With NXT, Triple H has shown an ability to help develop stars, get them used to the “WWE way” and that’s worked out great. The indies, especially ROH, are great with talents and WWE has poached a lot of them to boost the company up. There are still a lot of guys who Hunter can reach out to and hire that can give the company a real spark and truly be able to rise up higher. Here are 8 wrestlers Vince should be giving pink slips to and 8 Triple H can hire to fill their spots and make fans a lot happier about the product.
16 FIRE: Paige
For a while, it looked like Paige was the real hot new star in wrestling. With her dark looks, amazing drive and great spirit, she took off in the newly formed NXT as their very first champion. That served her well on the main roster with her good pushes, winning the Divas title from AJ Lee and top notch feuds. In so many ways, Paige paved the way for the Divas Revolution that got WWE women a great spotlight once more. However, she has gotten more infamy for her off-camera issues.
There’s been her X-rated video with Xavier Woods, breaking the wellness policy, arguments over legal clashes and then her domestic disturbance with Albert Del Rio. Right now, she’s rehabbing for injury but it’s likely Paige gets on the chopping block soon and it'd be better for WWE to cut her after all her antics than keep her on.
15 HIRE: Taeler Hendrix
With her nice mane of red hair and good skills, Hendrix should be a bigger deal in wrestling. She has shown her skills in the indies and even a brief stint in OVW. She was let go and later traveled to TNA, winning their ‘Gut Check” contest to be a good hire. However, the wave of layoffs the company had in 2013 included her, a shame as most were looking forward to Hendrix showing off. She’s with ROH but limited ring time given the company doesn’t have an official women’s division but has shown the ability to take everything from a Young Bucks double superkick to some other nasty shots. Hendrix would be a top notch hire for WWE, easily rising up in NXT with her gorgeous looks backed by in-ring style and would be yet another great addition to the women’s ranks.
14 FIRE: Dolph Ziggler
This isn't a case of a wrestler who's not talented enough to be a star. It's just that Ziggler's been around too long and has not been relevant enough to be useful to the company going forward. A split would be best for both parties, as it would allow Ziggler to thrive on the indies with creative freedom and it would finally solve WWE' problem of not knowing what to do with Dolph Ziggler. This kind of works out for WWE, as Ziggler is expected to leave in the near future anyway, but why not just make a clean break and let Ziggler go on the indies? The WWE Universe is ready for fresh faces and there are plenty of stars out there that could catch heat with WWE's audience.
13 HIRE: Kenny Omega
This seems unlikely as Omega himself has said he’s not interested in working for WWE. The man has been rising as a star and gained infamy wrestling a little girl in Japan. But he’s since transformed into one of the hottest workers on the indie circuit, amazing ring abilities backed by a terrific skill on the mic. From Japan to ROH, Omega has ridden high, a Bullet Club member, multiple champion and fans adore his offbeat style. Like CM Punk, he speaks his mind, not caring who he ticks off and can back it up in the ring.
Hunter has made it clear he would love to hire Omega on and he’d hardly be the first guy to claim not wanting to be in WWE but eventually joins up. Omega would be a fantastic addition to WWE and one hopes Triple H is successful wearing down his resistance to give him the huge break he deserves.
12 FIRE: Baron Corbin
Baron Corbin shouldn't be fired due to him speaking out against WWE doctors for their views on concussions. He shouldn't be fired for his Twitter exchanges with Dave Meltzer and an army veteran. No, he should be released because he simply isn't a good wrestler and he's bland. Corbin seemed like he was getting a huge push over the summer, winning Money in the Bank, but now he's been demoted down to the U.S. title picture. Corbin still doesn't really connect with crowds and he just doesn't stand out in any way. All he has going for him is size, but we're supposed to be in an era where height and weight doesn't matter as much as skill, charisma and a character that connects with the audience.
11 HIRE: Ethan Carter III
WWE really missed the boat here. Michael Hutter had been a worker for OVW and FCW and making the transition to NXT. He had promise, good in the ring and promos but WWE just didn’t see the potential and let him go. Moving to TNA, Hutter became Dixie Carter’s “nephew” and pushed off that connection. But he has since proven himself a star in TNA, holding several titles, a fantastic mic guy and fans responding well. Carter is showcasing himself well but given TNA’s infamous issues, it’s likely he might be looking for better employment soon.
With his new push, WWE might be able to use him much better (see how Drew McIntyre improved following his TNA run) and with his great heel persona and skills, ECIII can be the star WWE should have had for a few years to give them some nice new spark.
10 FIRE: Bo Dallas
It’s a shame Dallas’ great work in NXT just proves had bad his main roster run has been. A great promo guy and terrific technician, Dallas reigned as NXT champion, a fun style and it was expected he would do fine on RAW. Instead, he was saddled with the “Bo-lieve” gimmick and too many bad matches and programs. Injuries didn’t help either as Dallas just seemed unable to break out as promised. That his brother became Bray Wyatt just showed how poorly Dallas was doing, even an attempt to make himself more “serious” and the Social Outcasts doing nothing to help.
Right now, he’s been reduced to being part of The Miz’s entourage, a major comedown for a guy who seemed promised to be a huge star. Letting him go to try his trade elsewhere would be better for all concerned to get Dallas a better chance to be a star.
9 HIRE: Dalton Castle
There may be some concerns over his look as a guy with a mustache out of a 1970s adult movie doesn’t exactly scream superstar. But Castle has won over fans with his great style, ridiculously flamboyant but in a good way. After working indies (and a too-brief TNA run), Castle is taking off in ROH with his great entrance, the huge cape, over the top persona and his “ring boys” who babble in an odd language. Their act was so hot, ROH let them win a six-man tag team title to help boost them a bit more. Having Castle in WWE would be great; the guy’s gimmick is terrific for the main roster or even NXT and adding in “the Boys” would make it even better. The guy is a good worker but it’s how well he makes this persona work that proves hiring him would give WWE a very good shot in the creative arm.
8 FIRE: Apollo Crews
WWE has tried over and over but Crews just hasn’t worked out for them. His bad music and bland character are so bad, they can't compensate for his stellar ring work and crowds aren’t responding. After good work in Dragon Gate and NXT, hopes were high for him but his promotion to the main roster has shown his bad work off more than anything good. His feud with The Miz did nothing to push him and it seems his pushes were more just for his look than any real future for him.
Right now, he’s part of the “Titus Worldwide” angle which doesn’t look like it’s really going anywhere. True, it’s possible for a big guy who seems lost to rise with the right act (see Big E and The New Day) but it’s unlikely Apollo can fit that so his firing would be better to free him for some other place rather than continued failed attempts at stardom.
7 HIRE: Marty Scurll
The British worker has been amassing a following for some time, working the indies and a brief shot in TNA but nothing came of it. He truly has risen as “The Villain” of ROH, his dark mask and umbrella motif making him a standout. He’s reigned as TV champion and leader of the Bullet Club, a terrific heel fans respond to majorly as well as a great worker in the ring. He’s also done good work in Japan and fans have taken to his work. Given NXT’s great way of using ROH guys, Scurll would fit in well there.
His act is perfect for WWE with his wild antics and great star power and he could be the hottest heel that brand has needed for some time. Working with former ROH pals like Adam Cole would be better but if WWE needs a new Villain, Scurll is it.
6 FIRE: James Ellswowrth
For a time, it was funny. This thin guy with no chin and little skills facing AJ Styles actually got to be a winner with fans. He was fun with his style and doing nicely with the act and even an aid to Carmella. However, it’s clear that the joke has gone on long enough. Ellsworth may have the fun promo now and then but his presence is purely annoying and fans loathe him used to mess up the first Women’s MITB match. Right now, he’s settled into this loudmouth role but after that ends, he’ll have nothing much to do. The guy is little more than a jobber in the ring, the entire act being someone with no business being a wrestler and thus not really made out for huge stardom. When the next wave of firings is made, expect Ellsworth to be among them and long past the time the joke ends.
5 HIRE: Ricochet
Best known as Prince Puma in Lucha Underground, Trevor Mann has been a great star on the indies for the last few years. With his amazing flying maneuvers and terrific style, Ricochet is taking off nicely and amassed a huge following in Dragon Gate, PWG and other promotions. A winner with his style, Mann has been making no secret of how he would love to work for WWE. He’s openly stated it’s his contract with Lucha holding him back and he’d sign with WWE in a heartbeat. That should make him a must-grab for Hunter as whether in NXT or 205 Live, Ricochet would fit in perfectly. There are slews of younger guys to nab but he’s among the biggest and landing him would show once more how Triple H has a great eye for young talent to elevate WWE up.
4 FIRE: The Ascension
They just aren’t working. No one can really know why but somehow, these NXT sensations have become massive main roster duds. They looked like the second coming of the Road Warriors, huge musclemen who crushed all in their paths, a great look and dominating as NXT tag team champions. They were called to the main roster and from there, promptly fell apart. Bad booking was a cause but also how what worked before a small audience in Florida didn’t for mainstream fans. It exposed the Ascension as rather rough workers and without the same booking to cover for their issues, they were soon ignored by fans.
The guys have potential but just lost amid the various other teams and not given the chance to rise as they could have. Still, it’s hard to see them really working overall so it’s probably best WWE finally give them the pink slip to free some dead weight.
3 HIRE: The Young Bucks
Matt and Nick Jackson have shown their love of wrestling for years. From breaking out in PWG to their success in ROH, the Young Bucks have maintained a terrific following. From their fantastic double-teaming to love of superkicks to terrific promos, the Bucks know how to fire up a crowd of any size and in fine style. TNA foolishly let them go after a too brief run and it seems the Bucks disliked being before a larger audience, better off with smaller crowds. They had a tryout with WWE years ago who passed on them and that appears to have fired them up. Given their huge success in ROH, it’s easy to imagine the Bucks working in WWE
Seeing them and the Hardys revive their feud would be fun but in any case, landing the Bucks would give the WWE tag ranks a huge push. However, with their recent invasion of RAW and all the cease and desist letters they've been getting from WWE, it's unlikely Vince would be open to bringing them in at this point.
2 FIRE: Enzo Amore
The bad word has been going around Enzo for a while. He had a good breakout in NXT with his style and those fantastic promos and he and Cass were a rising hot team. That got them success on the main roster although hampered by Enzo’s concussion. But it’s continued and his singles run has led to success as Cruiserweight champion. However, Enzo has not been making himself friends with his attitude. His ego is huge as he’s been overheard boasting on the phone about how much he’s making and throwing his weight around. This despite not really being as huge as expected as a singles star. His promos are still good but Enzo’s ring work is lessened and he seems more lost as a solo guy than with Cass. Combine that with his bad attitude and it’s likely Enzo is going to be next on the chopping block and few tears will be shed when it happens.
1 HIRE: Jay Lethal
Lethal got attention in TNA, mostly with a rough take off of Randy Savage’s “Macho Man” gimmick but still very notable in the ring. In ROH, he has shone, a fantastic worker, great on the mic and a terrific attitude. Lethal has been taking off, holding the World and TV titles at the same time and his impressive abilities get huge pops from the crowds. Lethal has been a major star for ROH but has said he would love to work for WWE someday. He’s getting bigger pops and given the company’s record for bringing ROH guys in, Lethal would be a fine signing for them. NXT is tailor made for his talents and he can easily take off as champion there. That would lead to a good rise on the main roster as Lethal still has some life left in him and a WWE run would be a fine capper to his career.