The WWE has constantly been a revolving door involving wrestlers and it’s not necessarily their fault but more of the nature of the business. As fans, we’re accustomed to seeing a wrestler being released sooner than we expected. We’re also accustomed to wrestlers ending their contracts abruptly and leaving the company. We have two sections for this list, those who are bound to join TNA/Impact Wrestling, WWE’s biggest competition in the United States, and those who retire.
The retirement of a wrestler is usually well known, such as The Undertaker’s last performance at WrestleMania 33, however, sometimes the WWE Universe throws a curve ball. One example of this could be Stone Cold Steve Austin. No one knew that his match against The Rock at WrestleMania XIX would be the last of his career. When it comes to these wrestlers on this list, we’re pretty sure they’ll be retiring in the foreseeable future.
When it comes to TNA, it’s no secret that they’re willing to throw money at former WWE wrestlers. Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow are two recent examples of this trend but you can also point to the signings of those like Bobby Lashley, Drew McIntyre, and Gail Kim. Most of the wrestlers on this list are either on the lower card of television event or are regulated to live shows and dark match duties. It’s possible these wrestlers could either be fired or ask to be released so they can hone their skills elsewhere while not working such a demanding schedule. We hope you enjoy.
15 Kurt Angle - Retirement
The Olympic Gold wearing, milk drinking, miniature cowboy hat wearing has been no stranger to talking about retirement. Before coming back to the WWE and being inducted into the Hall of Fame, Angle went on a farewell tour in TNA and the indie circuit. As of now, Angle is being used as the General Manager on Monday nights but that could change sooner than later.
Fans are asking for at least one more match in a WWE ring and it would be a smart move for the company to oblige. At 48 years old and having countless surgeries, Angle and the WWE don’t have time on their side. The recent storyline involving Corey Graves and his personal life could be the first chapter to a return to the ring. As of now, Triple H is said to be his rumored opponent.
14 Curtis Axel - Impact Bound
The son of Mr. Perfect is all but forgotten in the WWE. It’s a shame because he can wrestle and looks like he really enjoys what he does. Axel also helped Brock Lesnar and The Rock shed their ring rust before they came back to the WWE. So what’s wrong with the WWE? You would think Axel could be a great mid-card addition but it hasn’t been the case, especially in the last couple of years.
He’s been limited to the lower-card duty and has been designated as an enhancement talent. Like another second-generation Superstar who left the WWE and went to TNA, Cody Rhodes, Axel could do the very same thing. With the connections his father had to a lot of the guys behind the scenes at TNA, it wouldn’t take long for him to be the "perfect" free agent signing.
13 Bo Dallas - Impact Bound
Do you Bo-lieve he will stay in the WWE? As Bo Dallas, you could say no because he’s been rarely seen on television since the stable Social Outcasts disbanded. As a member of a legendary wrestling family with strong roots with the WWE, you could say yes because Dallas could probably have a job with the company for the rest of his life if he stays clean and works hard.
As the real-life brother of Bray Wyatt, maybe the WWE will make him Bo Wyatt and give him an actual push. Until then, it's quite possible the WWE cuts him or he asks to be released on his own accord. Because of his families ties to the wrestling industry, it wouldn’t be hard for Bo to get in contact with TNA for a job.
12 R-Truth - Retirement
At 45 years old, R-Truth still looks as fit as a fiddle but let’s not kid ourselves here, his in-ring ability has digressed over the recent years. He may be good for a match under ten minutes but don’t expect him to perform at a top level like he did a decade ago. His cult following and likable character has helped him earn a timeless spot on the WWE roster but how much longer can the fans tolerate the same thing every week?
This is a guy who made his wrestling debut in 1997 and that means there is a lot of wear and tear on the body. It’s possible R-Truth may retire from the ring sooner than later but stay on the payroll as a personality talent given his popularity behind the scenes with his peers.
11 Curt Hawkins - Impact Bound
Since coming back to the WWE in 2016, Curt Hawkins has been nothing but a glorified jobber and enhancement talent. We’re not saying that’s a bad thing as pretty much almost any wrestler would take a job with the WWE, however, Hawkins may be able to make more money and further his career working for Impact.
He did work for the company in 2015 so he's familiar with them. While there, Hawkins was treated better than he is in his recent run in the WWE, winning a TNA World Tag Team Championship with Trevor Lee. Hawkins has been on both the Raw and SmackDown Live brands since returning to the company and hasn’t done much to stay on the roster. Unless he somehow miraculously gets fans behind him, expect him to be cut or he asks for release sooner than later.
10 Sunil Singh and Samir Singh - Impact Bound
Known as the Bollywood Boyz, the real-life brothers are no strangers to TNA as they worked for the company when TNA sponsored the Ring Ka King promotion in India in 2011. After ten years on the indie circuit, they would get their break with the WWE in June of 2016. As members of the SmackDown Brand, they were paired with Jinder Mahal to form a trio washed in Indian pride.
It’s well documented the WWE is making business moves in India and Mahal becoming WWE Champion is a by-product of those investments. That’s why when this all blows over, Mahal may stay, but the Bollywood Boyz will probably go. Performing as henchmen for Mahal, their time on the main roster is a ticking time bomb. When it’s all over, they could easily call up Jeff Jarrett, who they worked with before, and ask for a job in Impact.
9 Mark Henry - Retirement
When Mark Henry told the world he was retiring in 2013 many people believed him, however, it quickly turned into an angle and became one of the most memorable segments in WWE history. Henry wouldn’t retire in 2013 and is still on WWE’s payroll as a wrestler in 2017. Making his wrestling debut in 1998, the former powerlifting champion transitioned beautifully from competitive weightlifting to wrestling.
It’s been a long road for Henry and the journey is ending very soon. There were rumors he would retire after WrestleMania 32 because it was in his hometown, but he decided to stay with the company. He hasn’t had a match since WrestleMania 33 so you could say the writing is on the wall. We would all like to see one last epic match but if it doesn’t happen, a great Hall of Fame speech will suffice.
8 Erick Rowan - Impact Bound
Erick Rowan was treated as the bastard child in the Wyatt Family. With Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Braun Strowman all evolving and finding their own paths, Rowan seems to be stuck between jobber land and the next round of cuts. We probably can’t put all the blame on Rowan, WWE’s creative did try to make him a sophisticated man at one point but since then he’s reverted back to his silent self.
You can only go so far with a one-dimensional character in the WWE these days and no one is clamoring to see Rowan work in the ring. If he’s released, he could end up in Impact where he could find his own unique style and brand. TNA loves a big monster and with his experience in some high profile matches over the years can only help his chances of landing a job with the company.
7 The Ascension - Impact Bound
It hasn’t turned out well for one of the most dominant tag teams in NXT. After Viktor and Konnor were called up to the big leagues in 2014, the team has been regulated to the lower-card as primarily enhancement talents. It’s rare if you see them on television these days and we wouldn’t be surprised if the casual fan doesn’t even know what brand they’re on. As members of SmackDown Live, the team is mostly used on live events and dark matches.
They did appear on episode #913 in May but lost to Breezango in a decisive manner. A change is needed for this team and they may be cut sooner than later. TNA can always bolster their tag team division and if they can somehow bring back the electricity this team had down in NXT, it could be a win-win situation.
6 Goldust - Retirement
The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust may be one of the most underappreciated legends in the history of wrestling. The son of Dusty Rhodes made his wrestling debut in 1988 and is still a full-time wrestler in 2017 for the WWE. The longevity of his career is insane to think about and the fact that his character Goldust is one of the most recognizable faces of the past three decades is just icing on the cake for this Superstar.
No one thought Goldust would become a hit when he debuted his unique and strange Hollywood character in 1995. Goldust has put his body through a lot over the decades and retirement could be a reality within the year or so. His feud with his former tag team partner R-Truth has brought him back to his roots as the heel character of Goldust, so it could be a sign that he’s come full circle and ready to hang up the boots.
5 Wesley Blake - Impact Bound
Wesley Blake and his former partner, Buddy Murphy, were at one point the hottest tag team in NXT. The duo split apart and both wrestlers have gone on a journey to reinvent themselves in 2017. Both have put on decent singles performances since the split and Blake has recently performed under a cowboy gimmick.
Either one may get axed by the WWE and move to TNA but if you were betting on who would leave first, it should be Blake. Murphy has a lot of talent as a singles star and it may be safe to say more than Blake. It’s quite possible the cowboy gimmick doesn’t work out for Blake and he gets cut. He’s been with the WWE for most of his wrestling career and many companies such as Impact may want that experience on their roster.
4 Kane - Retirement
Kane has had some outrageous gimmicks over his career. He performed as a Christmas creature, a fake-Diesel, a psychopathic dentist but most notably the brother of The Undertaker known as the Big Red Machine. At 50 years old, the former WWE Champion has set his eyes on a different type of fight and that’s in the political ring. If you haven’t noticed, Kane has been away from the WWE for a very long time due to running for the mayoral seat of Knox County, Tennessee.
The election will take place in 2018 so don’t expect to see the big man that often this year. If he wins the seat, Kane most likely won't ever return for one last match because he'll have no time to perform in the ring. Kane deserves one last farewell tour and big match but if that doesn’t happen, it’s been a great pleasure to watch one of the greatest.
3 James Ellsworth - Impact Bound
James Ellsworth’s life dramatically changed when the WWE decided to give him a full-time contract in 2016. Before then, the local wrestler from the Baltimore area was hired by the WWE as one of Adam Rose’s “Rosebuds.” He neither has the look of a wrestler nor the in-ring capability to be a top performer in the company, however, the WWE put him in the top storyline between Dean Ambrose and A.J. Styles in September of 2016.
Ellsworth’s momentum is all but gone these days as he performs as the manager of Carmella. His stock has dropped and he may not be re-signed by the company. When Ellsworth does leave the WWE, companies will want to have one last taste of Ellsworth’s unprecedented fame. The writing is on the wall for a match between Hornswoggle and/or Rockstar Spud in Impact Wrestling.
2 Paige - Impact Bound
It’s unbelievable how much attention Paige has gotten over the years while still being very young. At just 24 years old, it seems like Paige has done everything you could do in the WWE already. Go through the developmental system, check. Win the Divas Championship, check. Become involved in a highly controversial subject outside of wrestling, check. Rumors swirling of leaving the company, check.
All she needs to do now is be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. We joke, but Paige leaving the WWE is not an “if” but a “when.” Paige and her fiancé, Alberto Del Rio, have been vocal about the WWE and their problems outside the ring. With Del Rio leaving and jumping ship to Impact Wrestling, Paige leaving and following him seems like a no-brainer.
1 Big Show - Retirement
Well, it’s the Big Show, so how do you not expect him to be on this list? Although he’s involved in a storyline with Enzo and Big Cass, Big Show has made it clear his days as a wrestler are coming to an end. In an interview earlier this year, Big Show announced that he'll be retiring once his contract is over in February of 2018. As one of the longest active Superstars in the industry, the Big Show made his debut in 1995 for WCW.
He was put on the top spot of the card right off the bat and surprisingly held his own with legends like Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair. Since signing with the WWE in 1999, Big Show has always remained loyal to the company. Although he'll be retiring in the ring, we think will see him make appearances once in a while.