A lot of things can change in the span of a few months, especially in World Wrestling Entertainment. With so many world class performers taking up spots within the company it’s easy to see why people come and go so often, and as we gear up for WrestleMania 34 season it’s time to start considering who the next people out the door may be.
Of course, they can go one of two ways, either by retiring or being fired – and sure, they can leave on their own, but we won’t think too much about that. After all retirements and firings are much more noteworthy, especially when they happen to people who seem to be in the prime of their careers.
Which is why we haven’t gone for too many obvious selections, mainly because they’re just that. WWE always enjoy pulling the wool over our eyes and as such, we’re going into the last few months of 2017 and beyond on alert for any surprise departures.
15 Apollo Crews – Fired
Apollo Crews was highly considered to be one of the brightest young talents of the New Era a few months back, but for one reason or another things don’t seem to have clicked as many would’ve anticipated. Part of that may be down to him as a performer, but a lot of it can probably be attributed to WWE not knowing what to do with him.
It’s a shame but it’s happened to many guys and girls in the past, and Crews won’t stand out as a massive loss when he eventually leaves the company. With that in mind, we can see WWE cutting their losses by sending Apollo on his way back to the independent circuit. It isn’t particularly dignified or even all that nice, but sometimes you have to do tough things in this business.
14 Big Show – Retired
We’re going to go out on a limb here and declare that The Big Show is the single most underrated wrestler in the history of WWE. Sure, that may seem like a big statement, but despite how much he’s been featured over the years the company have still done him a massive disservice when it comes to some of the storylines he was involved in.
As opposed to being the big bad ass that we all know and love him to be, he was treated as a joke throughout his near two-decade tenure with the company. Of course, there was certainly some high points and his series this year with Braun Strowman was particularly great, but it may well be time for him to ride off into the sunset once and for all.
13 Curt Hawkins – Fired
Face the facts – Curt Hawkins just isn’t that great right now. Sure he’s funny on social media and sure he’s got a personality to him, but nobody behind the scenes knows what to do with him outside the realms of making the guy a jobber to the stars. It’s a shame, too, because he’s proven himself to be an extremely capable performer on the independent circuit.
With roster cuts likely coming within the next six months we wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Hawkins being placed in the firing line, especially given that he’s more than capable of making a solid living away from the squared circle. It’d be a shame to see him go, but when there’s as much talent as there is right now you need to start making some tough decisions.
12 Kane – Retired
The Big Red Machine has been part of the furniture in WWE for well over 20 years now, and despite taking some time off to run for mayor of Knox County many fans still want to see him have one more run. Of course the same can be said of many old school superstars, but Kane has always taken up the role of Mr Consistent both in the ring and behind the scenes.
Unfortunately, it’s looking increasingly likely that he’ll continue to move further towards politics and away from professional wrestling, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Glenn Jacobs is an extremely intelligent guy and his presence in such a high position can only mean good things for this country, and WWE should be promoting the hell out of that. Pun not intended.
11 Kalisto – Fired
Aside from yelling "Lucha!" and thrusting his arms into the air, Kalisto hasn’t done all too much in WWE to indicate that he’ll be a mainstay moving forward. Sure, there was his United States Championship reign that reminded us of how far the belt had fallen in the span of just a few months, but that’s all there really was to shout about.
He was clearly being positioned as the next top Lucha star within the company, but for whatever reason, they seem hesitant to thrust him into the cruiserweight division where he belongs. Sooner rather than later his issues will catch up with him, and Vince McMahon will see the light by sending him off to the indies for a few years. At least, we hope.
10 Goldust – Retired
The Bizarre One isn’t considered to be a "fan favourite" amongst newer fans, but old school Attitude Era supporters will recall some of his more amusing exploits from back in the late nineties and early noughties. Not everything he did was good, of course, and some of it was even awful, but the same can be said of so many stars both past and present.
Goldust is still able to perform at an extremely high level but we find ourselves questioning whether or not we want to see that anymore, especially considering that they keep hesitating when it comes to pushing him towards a mid-card title feud. Either dedicate yourselves towards an extended Goldust run at the top or allow him to retire in peace.
9 The Club – Fired
When Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson made their way over to WWE from New Japan Pro Wrestling, nobody could quite believe what they were seeing. The duo was considered to be one of the top tag teams in the world, and that position was set to be solidified with an extended run at the top of either Monday Night Raw or SmackDown Live.
That didn’t work out all too well, though, and as was the case in Gallows’ two prior runs in WWE things seemed to fall apart pretty quickly. Nowadays they’re only really used as fodder for the higher up tag teams within the division, and that’s an insult to two men who worked their butts off to get to where they are today.
8 Titus O’Neil – Retired
The leader of Titus Worldwide has bucket loads of charisma, but WWE just doesn't know how to unpackage it in an effective way. At the age of 40, it seems as if his in ring days are slowly coming to an end, and to be honest, an official retirement may be the best thing for O’Neil. Hell, he can even stay with the company as an ambassador.
His long time friend Batista has even said that Titus doesn’t need to work for Vince from a financial stand point, and only does so because he loves it. With that in mind it’s hard to see him carrying on for much longer, especially if his clients Akira Tozawa and Apollo Crews continue to falter as they have been in the last few months.
7 Heath Slater – Fired
This selection, in particular, may cause a bit of controversy, especially given his overwhelming popularity, but sometimes you just need to face the facts (thank you, Mr Hawkins). Heath Slater’s run alongside tag team partner Rhyno last year was incredible to watch, but it was always destined to be a short lived affair.
Now he’s doing nothing of note, and he could really benefit from a run outside of WWE. Sure he’s got a great comedy aspect of his character, but we haven’t seen that in months and he’s lost a great deal of his sparkle. Heath is probably someone who loves what he does for a living, but perhaps he can go and do it elsewhere for a few years.
We miss the One Man Band.
6 R-Truth – Retired
When R-Truth challenged John Cena for the WWE Championship at Capitol Punishment 2011, his career peaked. The man who made a living out of singing and dancing for years on end finally seemed to find a gimmick that worked for him, but a few missed booking decisions led to Truth falling back into the same old routines just over six months later.
He's done some great things over the years but as he approaches his mid-40s, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that his love for pro wrestling is dying a slow death. Because of that, he should get out whilst he still can with an emotional farewell speech on Monday Night Raw. He deserves that much, at least – and so does our old friend Little Jimmy.
5 Gran Metalik – Fired
You could list many of the names on 205 Live here, but Gran Metalik stands out as one that would be a particular loss. In the Cruiserweight Classic, he displayed some phenomenal high flying abilities which took him all the way to the final of the competition, and yet from that point on he was barely utilised on either Raw or the purple brand’s signature show.
It seems as if WWE just don’t understand what they need to do with him, and at the age of just 29, he still has many great years ahead of him in this business. Hopefully, they’ll eventually see the error of their ways, but we almost certainly predict that HHH and Vince will deem him to be surplus to requirements before New Orleans rolls around.
4 Rhyno – Retired
To follow up on Heath Slater’s entry, we have the veteran Rhyno. Having met him at Axxess last year in Orlando, we can confirm that he is indeed as positive and fun-loving as he comes across on camera, but that kind of mentality still isn’t going to take you all the way back to the Tag Team Championships. In fact, you won’t even get close.
Rhyno has done some phenomenal things in both ECW and the WWE, but it’s about time that he hangs it up. After all, he seems to have an extended interest in politics and whilst his first crack of the whip didn’t go so well, perhaps if he dedicates 100% of his time and effort towards it then he could wind up being more successful. If not, he can always just start goring people.
3 Paige – Fired
The problems surrounding Paige have been well-documented up to this point, and for that reason, we won’t go into the gritty details. What we will do, however, is speculate about her future in the business because we all know that her position within WWE is a little bit rocky right now. In fact, it’s on the borderline of disastrous.
If she comes back the fans will likely spend quite some time ridiculing her, and given her affiliation to Alberto Del Rio, we aren’t all too confident that the higher-ups behind the scenes will want to see her return. Still, it’d be a big mistake for them to let her go out on the independent circuit – but that isn’t something that’s ever stopped them from making decisions like this before.
2 Mickie James – Retired
Mickie James is one of the most revolutionary female superstars in the history of our industry, and we understand that’s quite a big statement to make. Still, she was able to single-handedly destroy the "diva" stereotype back in the mid-noughties courtesy of her feud with Trish Stratus, and we have nothing but respect for her because of that.
Alas, fairytales don’t last forever, and despite being promised the world she hasn’t made much of a splash since making her comeback prior to WrestleMania 33. We aren’t anticipating many big things from James moving forward especially given the state of the Raw women’s division, so maybe retirement is the best thing for her right now. Sure it’ll be upsetting to see her go, but we’ll always have the memories.
1 The Ascension – Fired
We’re piling yet another team into this list, and it may be even more depressing than the last. Down in NXT, The Ascension were the measuring stick within the tag team division. They were destined to come up to the main roster and run through any and all teams that stepped in their path, but for one reason or another, that didn’t happen.
They’re one of the biggest disappointments in recent memory and most of that isn’t their fault, which makes their demise all the more upsetting. Still, the indies will be perfect for them if they decide to stay together as a team – and they should, because there’s a hell of a lot of money in that.
WWE does the right thing every now and again, and letting these two go is the smart move.