The WWE roster is quite deep today with a slate of wrestlers on Raw, SmackDown and NXT. Wrestlers like Roman Reigns, A.J. Styles and Kevin Owens are thriving in the era of the brand split, but not all wrestlers have been afforded the same luxury. There have been quite a few stories to come out over the past year regarding wrestlers struggling. Some wrestlers have been unhappy with their status in the company leading to drama between both sides. Others have been on the bad side of WWE due to their decisions. A few have had personal issues outside of the job that impacted their status.
We’ll look at all the stories of “troubled” stars trying to get past their issues to reach their potential. Each individual wrestler will be examined along with what their status is in the company right now. Find out if WWE is planning to use them strongly again or if they are in the doghouse. There are also the cases where certain wrestlers may never wrestle for the company again. Some stories will provide hope while others look bleak. Join us as we look at fifteen troubled WWE Superstars along with an update on their status with the company.
15. Mike Kanellis: Enhancement Talent At Live Events
Mike Kanellis signed a rare WWE contract that allowed him and his wife Maria Kanellis to skip NXT for a debut on the main roster. The couple introduced their Power of Love act on PPV with assumed plans for a push. Mike started losing matches less than a month into his run and was off television within a few months. Most fans forget he is even on the roster if they don’t keep up with the roster additions or subtractions.
Kanellis is working all live events for the SmackDown brand and often appears in the pre-show dark match before SmackDown events. An addiction to painkillers led to Mike needing some time away from the ring. Maria announced her pregnancy shortly after. The timing prevented them from getting any momentum. Mike is currently six months clean and Maria is scheduled to give birth in a few months as both wrestlers remain employed by WWE.
14. Velveteen Dream: Back On NXT TV
NXT fans were shocked to see Velveteen Dream off television for weeks after his breakout performance against Aleister Black at TakeOver: War Games. Velveteen Dream and Black delivered a classic match that made fans realize that Velveteen was a future main event player in NXT. However, he did not appear on a single episode of NXT television in December on the tapings following TakeOver: War Games with zero reference to him.
There have been rumors of a Wellness Policy violation and quiet suspension taking place to punish Velveteen for his error. If true, the thirty-day suspension is over, and he will be on the upcoming NXT television episodes recently filmed in Atlanta. The future is bright for Velveteen Dream as he is once again a fixture for NXT going forward.
13. Rich Swann: Still Suspended For Foreseeable Future
The charges of Rich Swann are quite damaging to his reputation after he was arrested for allegedly physically harming his wife and falsely imprisoning her. These are extremely serious charges that saw WWE suspend Swann right away just days before he was set to be in the finals of a number one contenders match.
Swann’s wife has posted on social media that the two are back together and it seems unlikely he will face prison time for the incident. WWE still has a zero tolerance policy in effect for domestic violence. Swann’s time in court will likely have to play out before they decide, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he was released either way. The future for Swann in WWE is not one worth betting on given all the controversy attached to his name.
12. Lana: Getting Another Chance in the Ring
The desire of Lana to wrestle in the ring rather than just managing has been met with hesitation by WWE. Lana convinced WWE to give her a chance to wrestle in the summer of 2017 with a huge push. Lana’s first three matches as a singles star saw her challenge Naomi in bouts for the SmackDown Women’s Championship.
Lana did poorly in the ring and WWE made her the manager of Tamina within a few months. The controversial Lana has remained insistent that she wants to wrestle, and she will get one more chance. WWE is allowing Lana to team with her husband Rusev in the upcoming Mixed Match Challenge. This may be Lana’s final chance to prove that she can perform in actual matches without ruining it.
11. TJ Perkins: Returned to 205 Live
TJ Perkins was off WWE television for a few months after creative lost all interest in him. Very few people would remember that Perkins was actual the Cruiserweight Champion and winner of the Cruiserweight Classic to start the division. WWE however instantly regretted this choice when TJP lost the fans from his first night on Raw.
Perkins ended up on the shelf with WWE not having any ideas for him. The sub-tweets from Perkins on social media saw him frustrated with his role in the division. A return on the first episode of 205 Live in 2018 saw Perkins defeat Akira Tozawa. It appears TJP is back in the Cruiserweight Division and will be a consistent part of 205 Live as the show tries to find success.
10. JBL: WWE Ambassador
The controversy to follow JBL in 2017 featured him bullying Mauro Ranallo to the point of Ranallo leaving the job on SmackDown. Mauro’s battle with mental illness apparently reached a breaking point due to having to work with JBL every week. Mainstream media outlets picked up the story with many past incidents of JBL harassing other talents coming out.
JBL remained employed by WWE as the SmackDown color commentator until leaving the job on his own accord earlier this year. The decision to leave saw WWE agreed to bring him back for special events such as Tribute to the Troops and the upcoming Raw 25th Anniversary Show. JBL will reunite with Ron Simmons to have the APA on the episode of Raw celebrating the past and present of WWE.
9. Primo and Epico: Enhancement Talent At Live Events
The move from Raw to SmackDown in the Superstar Shakeup gave hope to Primo and Epico. They were failing as The Shining Stars on the Raw brand. WWE has given them multiple character changes from Los Matadors to The Shining Stars with nothing working. The SmackDown character change saw them playing standard heels with less of a gimmick.
An injury kept them off television for a few weeks and they have struggled to find a role since then. Primo and Epico are wrestling on live events and dark matches, but there seems to be no plans for them to get back on television. The SmackDown tag team division is already deep with entertaining and unique teams. This doesn’t bode well for the futures of Primo and Epico in WWE.
8. Nia Jax: Problems Have Seemingly Been Resolved
Nia Jax made headlines when she requested time away from WWE for a few weeks. The disappearance of Jax from Raw and live events led to rumors about her future. Jax was allegedly upset about how WWE used her and felt disrespected by the lack of direction for her character. A return would come at the Survivor Series with Nia trying to show down rumors about her unhappiness.
Jax has been consistently on Raw and live events since her return. WWE has always believed in her potential and it wouldn’t be surprising if she wins the Raw Women’s Championship in 2018. Jax being one of the first women Stephanie McMahon hugged during the women’s Royal Rumble match announcement showed a glimpse into the love shared between the two. The current status of Nia has her respected by WWE with the prior problems in the past.
7. Bronson Matthews: Fired
Bronson Matthews was the winner of the 2015 Tough Enough season on the male side. The former football player was jacked and had a look that both Vince McMahon and Triple H loved. WWE tried to present Matthews as the biggest star on the show and essentially manipulated the audience into voting for him to win the contract.
Matthews became a controversial man in WWE when he mocked a few main roster wrestlers while training at the Performance Center. The Social Outcasts faction was referred to as “jobbers” by Matthews on social media leading to Kevin Owens and Cody Rhodes claiming he was going to be banned from the WWE locker room. Matthews would never make it that far. Following various struggles trying to improve, Matthews received a few injuries. Both parties agreed it was time to end the experiment and Matthews was quietly released in 2017.
6. The Revival: Creative Has Nothing For Them
The Revival was considered one of the top tag teams in NXT history due to a slate of great matches on the TakeOver specials. It became a guarantee that every TakeOver special would feature Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder having the best match on the card. The Revival had classic matches against American Alpha, DIY and Authors of Pain.
Their main roster run has been disappointing since getting called up after WrestleMania 33. Dawson and Wilder each suffered injuries to prevent them from getting any momentum. Both men are currently healthy, but it appears WWE has soured on the act. The Revival have not been on Raw in weeks and are rumored to be in the dog house. WWE has no plans for the team meaning we likely won’t seem doing anything noteworthy for a while.
5. Paige: Back On WWE’s Good Side
The drama between Paige and WWE lasted about a year after she entered a relationship with Alberto Del Rio. WWE tried to keep them apart leading to issues developing between all parties. Paige failed two drug tests to violate the Wellness Policy leading to multiple suspensions while injured. The neck injury and surgery kept her out even longer with hostility growing against WWE.
Paige made a few controversial comments after her then boyfriend Alberto trashed the company that employed her. The relationship recently ended, and Paige made her return to Raw after getting back to full health. Paige is leading the Absolution faction right now with a huge role on Raw. WWE is back to believing in Paige as a huge star for the future of the women’s division after all the issues between both sides.
4. Enzo Amore: Still Banned From Locker Room
Enzo Amore has been a troubled man since coming up to the main roster and annoying most of the locker room. The troubles of Enzo came to ahead when Roman Reigns kicked him off a tour bus in the United Kingdom. Enzo pissed off the rest of the wrestlers by bragging about how much money he made along with badmouthing the wrestling business loudly during a phone call.
Reigns not only kicked him off the tour bus, but the Raw roster kicked him out of the locker room in mid-2017. Enzo has been asked about this in interviews with the answer being that he is still kicked out of the locker room. The comments from Enzo state that he has his own locker room, but this means he likely changes alone in a small room in each venue.
3. Big Cass: Forgotten Man
WWE tried pushing Big Cass in a major way after his breakup with Enzo Amore. The popular tag team ending gave Cass a singles feud with Big Show. Lackluster performances showed that Cass was not ready for the spotlight with atrocious matches and negative charisma following him every week. Cass suffered an injury shortly into the new character keeping him out for many months.
It is unknown when Cass will be back on WWE television, but it doesn’t look good. There was rumored heat on him in the locker room before the injury and fans didn’t care about him one bit. Most people have forgotten he is even on the roster and his return will be met with little interest. To make matters worse, WWE is reportedly going to take the slow approach with pushing him when he returns meaning he will have to start from step one.
2. Lio Rush: Back on NXT Schedule
Social media is a great tool for wrestlers, but it can also negatively impact a career with ease. Lio Rush found this out when he posted a tweet in poor judgment. The immature wrestler made a comment that Emma wasn’t ready for Asuka when the news was announced that Emma was fired from WWE. Many wrestlers in NXT and on the main roster called him out for having a joke at the expense of someone losing their job.
Rush was pulled off the NXT schedule of both television tapings and live events for over a month likely as a punishment for his actions. The youngster has returned to the live event tours and recently wrestled a match on the NXT television tapings. Rush was even on the ballot for the NXT Award of Breakout Star.
1. Neville: Still Home
The news of Neville walking out of Raw after refusing to lose a match to Enzo Amore shocked the wrestling world. A bigger issue emerged as Neville flat out didn’t want to work for WWE anymore. Neville requested his release with the desire to leave WWE and wrestle internationally once again. The cruiserweight division limited both his income and his opportunities to move up the card.
Vince McMahon reportedly responded by refusing to give Neville his release and now wants to freeze him out. As it currently stands, Neville will remain home until his WWE contract expires. That could change if Neville and WWE agree to his return on WWE television. Until that happens, Neville will be spending a lot of time at home away from the ring.
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