World Wrestling Entertainment is the biggest professional wrestling promotion in the world today, one that employs all kinds of performers and individuals who work behind the scenes. The current WWE roster is split into several categories based upon the Raw, SmackDown and NXT brands and also the list of hoped-to-be future Superstars working in developmental and at the WWE Performance Center. Because so many people work for WWE in different roles, it isn’t surprising some fans out there may forget some recognizable names who are still with the company. Truth be told, there are even a few wrestlers you may have forgotten are still on WWE contracts but who have become anonymous among pockets of fans because they haven’t been featured on television or in storylines as of late.
WWE does deserve credit for being more open, over the past several years, about welcoming back certain people some believed would never again have anything to do with the promotion. With that said, there remain multiple individuals on the outs with the WWE who appear done with the company forevermore. The man who tops that list is one who still has his name chanted at WWE events every now and again even though there is no indication either side wants anything to do with the other as of the summer of 2017. Yes, it’s fun to think of some dream matches he could have with members of the current WWE roster, but we recommend you don’t hold your breaths waiting for him to return.
15 Gerald Brisco: With WWE
Gerald Brisco earned a reputation for being an accomplished worker and wrestler worthy of being inducted in Halls Of Fame during his younger days and his physical prime. It is, thus, somewhat unfortunate some only recognize Brisco as one of the on-air “Stooges” of Vince McMahon from the “Attitude Era” when the real-life company boss served as the “Mr. McMahon” character.
It has been some time since Brisco has taken comedic bumps in the ring, but he remains signed to the company as a scout. Brisco, now 70 years old, still travels with the company looking for future stars at different events, and he also conducts in-person evaluations at some workouts. Getting the nod from Brisco would be a plus for anybody looking to break into the WWE.
14 Billy Kidman: With WWE
Depending on your age and when you began watching wrestling, you may remember Billy Kidman from his time in World Championship Wrestling as a member of Raven’s “Flock” or from when he feuded with, of all people, Hulk Hogan. After the WWE bought WCW in March 2001, Kidman transitioned to the WWE, where he wrestled during multiple stints until he retired from active in-ring duties and began to work behind the scenes as a producer.
Kidman has talked about this role with the company via interviews that have appeared on WWE.com, and it seems as if he has a long-term future working within the promotion but not as a trainer. Recently, Kidman was listed as a “Fashion Icon” by SmackDown tag team the Fashion Police. We’re not sure his look from back in the 1990s would work in today’s climate.
13 Jeff Jarrett: Never Return
Odds are Jeff Jarrett probably would have made it back to WWE by now if the doors for his return were ever going to be opened in the first place. As the story goes, Jarrett famously held the company up for hundreds of thousands of dollars before he willingly lost the Intercontinental Championship to Chyna in the fall of 1999 on his last night with the promotion, and Double-J then made the jump to WCW.
While those of us who are outsiders cannot confirm there’s heat between the two entities, it’s public knowledge Jarrett has never returned to the WWE and that he has since started a pair of wrestling organizations, most notably Total Nonstop Action/Impact Wrestling, as potential rivals of his former employer. Jarrett seems to be GG-OO-NN-EE forever.
12 Scotty 2 Hotty: With WWE
Scotty 2 Hotty may have not been known for generating five-star matches during his multiple runs in the WWE, but his character was a lot of fun. Most importantly, his gimmick was largely received well by audiences who flocked to WWE shows during and even after the “Attitude Era.”
After he disappeared from WWE television and the business, in general, he spent time working as a firefighter. The WWE has brought him back to work random shows on multiple occasions, and the company then acquired his services in September 2016 to hire him as a coach for the company’s Performance Center. If nothing else, perhaps Scotty could teach some of the more-athletic trainees his “Worm” move, although we’d probably prefer if nobody ever used that for a finisher again.
11 Colt Cabana: Never Return
Some out there may not even realize that independent wrestling darling Colt Cabana worked for the WWE under the name Scotty Goldman. We don’t blame you if this flew under the radar for you or if this portion of his career has been erased from your memories, as he was treated mostly as a jobber during his brief time with the promotion.
Probably the biggest reason we don’t envision Cabana ever returning to the WWE, other than the fact that he hasn’t done so once over the past decade, is that he hosted the infamous podcast during which CM Punk verbally trashed the WWE, a show that resulted in both Cabana and Punk being named as defendants in a lawsuit served by a company doctor. Times heals wounds, of course, but the WWE would probably be just fine never re-signing Cabana.
10 Terry Taylor: With WWE
Younger wrestling fans may not be able to contain their laughter upon going back, via the WWE Network, and watching Terry Taylor wrestle as the “Red Rooster,” a character that, yes, attempted to portray a human rooster. Taylor actually possessed quite a bit of in-ring talent during his physical prime, and those skills likely had a role in him making a return to the company to work as a trainer and coach.
Earlier in 2017, Taylor was said to be grooming a group of developmental products referred to as the “Terry Taylor Class” in online stories. The current NXT brand is lacking depth after multiple talents were called up to the main roster in 2016, and the hope is that Taylor, and others, can help rebuild that portion of the developmental system.
9 Earl Hebner: Never Return
It’s almost hard to believe referee Earl Hebner last worked for the WWE all the way back in the summer of 2005. Hebner, who famously had a role in “screwing” Bret “Hitman” Hart in the main event of the 1997 Survivor Series, was sent packing from the WWE in July 2005 after he was accused of “selling merchandise without authorization” according to the Wrestling Observer.
For whatever reasons, certain individuals decided this was an unforgivable offense, as Hebner, still a recognized figure among many who watch wrestling today, has never been welcomed back to the WWE in any role. We, thus, have to assume the official who eventually moved on to TNA/Impact Wrestling will never return to the WWE even to be inducted into the company’s Hall of Fame.
8 Dean Malenko: With WWE
While he was never fully appreciated by multiple wrestling promotions and even some fans, Dean Malenko was arguably the top overall wrestler in the world during his best years in WCW. Malenko, known as “The Man of 1,000 Holds” was an expert as it pertained to building believable matches, and he had the goods to work as a babyface or a heel depending on the situation and on his opponents.
While Malenko was never given a real opportunity to become a Superstar in the WWE, he later found a home within the company working behind the scenes as a producer and a road agent. Just about anybody and everybody who is an active member of today’s WWE roster could learn something about aspects of the business from the “Iceman”
7 Mr. Kennedy: Never Return
Back in 2007, there was a time when it seemed as if the performer known as Mr. Kennedy was on the verge of becoming a breakout star and future WWE Champion. By the summer of 2009, however, Ken Anderson and the company had parted ways, and there is zero reason to believe the two will ever again work with each other in any capacity.
In interviews given by Anderson after he left the WWE, he has stated both John Cena and Randy Orton worked to get him dismissed from the promotion because of suggestions he was not safe to work with during his tenure with the company. While it should be noted it’s not believed Anderson ever seriously injured anybody while wrestling for Impact Wrestling, the WWE has not been keen on bringing him back.
6 Matt Bloom: With WWE
Matt Bloom has worn multiple figurative hats throughout his stints with the WWE. Bloom wrestled as Prince Albert and then A-Train during portions of the “Attitude Era,” and he later returned to the company as Lord Tensai. Most recently, Bloom worked on WWE shows as a commentator for NXT events.
While it seemed, at the time, that he had a promising future serving as a potential color commentator for a main-roster brand, Bloom has since made the transition to trainer and head coach, and he's currently the top coach for NXT developmental. Bloom wrestled and worked in multiple countries during his tenure as an active wrestler, and he has plenty of knowledge to hand down to younger athletes hoping to one day evolve into WWE stars.
5 Norman Smiley: With WWE
Has a pro wrestler ever gotten so much from such a seemingly insignificant dance move as Norman Smiley got out of the “Big Wiggle” he used to perform in WCW? We can’t answer that, but what we do know is that his character got over in the former promotion, and it helped him earn multiple jobs in the business until he settled in with the WWE roughly a decade ago.
Smiley has had different gigs with the company since that time, and he is currently on a team of developmental coaches led by the previously mentioned Matt Bloom. In fact, those of you who watch weekly NXT programming may occasionally see Smiley floating around in the backgrounds of scenes. Keep an eye out for Smiley and also for those trained by him.
4 Vince Russo: Never Return
If nothing else, it was a bit stunning to see and hear reports that Vince Russo and the WWE, specifically Vince McMahon, had a discussion of any type in the spring of 2017. Russo remains on the outs with the company as of the start of the summer months, and it looks as if he will not return to the promotion at any point in the foreseeable future.
Russo, who first found success and made a name for himself as a writer for the WWE, has not been shy about voicing negative opinions about the WWE and about those working within the company’s front office over the years, and storylines he created and booked made him unpopular among many fans and observers. Crazier things have happened, but we don’t expect Russo to ever return to the WWE.
3 Eva Marie: With WWE
Believe it or not, the next two wrestlers spotlighted in this piece are still working for the WWE; or at least they are according to their contracts. Eva Marie has been handed multiple opportunities to become an on-air star during her time with the company, which is understandable to anybody who takes even a quick glance at her. While she attempted to improve as an in-ring performer after being relegated to developmental and NXT, she last appeared on official WWE programming in the summer of 2016.
It was then when she was suspended by the company for allegedly violating the WWE Wellness Policy. Most recently, the role believed to be waiting for Eva Marie’s return was apparently given to Lana, meaning we wouldn’t be surprised if Eva Marie never again works a match for the promotion.
2 Paige: With WWE
Odds are casual wrestling fans have forgotten Paige is still a WWE talent who could make an on-air return for the company before the end of summer. Paige has been missing in action for roughly one year, she is recovering from a neck injury that required surgery, and she is currently romantically involved with the wrestler formerly known as Alberto Del Rio, a performer who has twice parted ways with the WWE on negative terms.
Nevertheless, it was announced earlier this year that WWE Studios and the production company headed by The Rock are teaming up to make a movie about Paige and her family’s connection with the wrestling industry. That’s the biggest reason it isn’t a stretch to suggest the WWE would want to give Paige at least one final push.
1 CM Punk: Never Return
As mentioned earlier, CM Punk is currently named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by a WWE doctor after Punk suggested the company put his health at risk while speaking about the matter during an appearance on Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling podcast. Obviously, Punk and the WWE do not have a working relationship these days, and there is no sign the “Straightedge Superstar” has any desire to return to any aspect of the wrestling industry.
Punk made the move from the WWE to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but he was thoroughly dismantled by Mickey Gall in his only UFC appearance, to date, back in September 2016. Even if Punk ends up being a one-and-done UFC fighter, which seems likely at the moment, we still feel confident in predicting he'll never return to the WWE.