Vince McMahon is as big on celebrities as he is on pro wrestlers. What Vince McMahon really craves more than anything else is star power. Whether said star power is manifested in a pro wrestling match, a reality TV program, a WWE Studios movie, or even in the XFL is of little concern to Vince McMahon. The stars are what matter and not the medium with which the star is created.
Long before he got into wrestling, Vince McMahon promoted Muhammad Ali vs Antonio Inoki on closed-circuit television in the United States. One guy was a wrestler and one was a boxer but they were both stars and that is what drives Vince McMahon. One needs only look at the first ever WrestleMania to see what celebrities mean to the company. That first year, there were more celebrities than wrestlers and had business not gone well that night, WWE would have ended before it truly even had a chance to begin.
With Vince's star craving mentality in mind, here are 15 non-wrestlers Vince wants to bring into WWE but can't.
15 Gina Carano
WWE has previously expressed interest in bringing Gina Carano into the company. They don't want Gina Carano the former MMA fighter, however, they want Gina Carano the star of several straight-to-DVD movies.
Since getting defeated by Cris Cyborg, Carano has made a name for herself as an actress. While she has appeared in blockbuster films such as Deadpool, she has also starred in several B-level movies. WWE Studios specializes in B-Level movies and in 2011 expressed interest in signing Carano as an actress. It's notable that WWE never felt Carano could do for women's wrestling what they are undergoing currently with Ronda. Carano was very popular for a period when women's MMA first debuted on television.
Carano never did sign with WWE studios. She has recently expressed she'd be open to an MMA return if the deal was right, however.
14 Terry Crews
Actor Terry Crews revealed in 2012 the WWE had reached out to him. He asked his Twitter followers if they thought he would make a good fit in WWE. Although nothing was ever publicly said about the negotiations, Crews never did end up signing with WWE. Perhaps his Twitter followers voted "No" on the idea.
Crews' name popped back up in wrestling circles earlier this year. Member of Titus Worldwide, Apollo, recently dropped the last name "Crews" from his moniker. Terry Crews chimed in that they had stolen the name from him anyway, though he was only joking.
Considering Crews' size and popularity, he would make an excellent fit in WWE if only he were younger. He was already 43 when WWE reached out to him and is pushing 50 now.
13 Paige VanZant
It is believed WWE tried to get Paige VanZant for SummerSlam 2016 but a deal couldn't be made. Vince McMahon had allowed Brock Lesnar to compete at UFC 200 and requested Paige VanZant make an appearance on WWE programming in exchange. PVZ had just appeared on Dancing with the Stars and pulled in monster ratings so WWE was obviously interested.
Unfortunately, VanZant had a fight coming up at the time and so she declined to participate. She has since expressed she is opened to working for WWE somewhere down the line. As for if Rousey would allow this, PVZ did appear on a podcast and talked about an altercation she had with Rousey at one time but there has never appeared to be a rivalry between the two heavily-marketed MMA stars. VanZant's MMA career is starting to slide, she could end up in WWE sooner rather than later.
12 Shaquille O'Neal
Shaquille O'Neal was supposed to be a part of WrestleMania 33 in Orlando but the deal ended up falling through. The former NBA great even appeared in the WrestleMania 32 Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal to set-up a future WrestleMania match between him and the Big Show.
Following WM33, Shaq blamed WWE for the two sides not being able to reach a deal. According to Shaq, WWE kept changing what they wanted to do. First, they wanted to do a 1-on-1 match between him and the Big Show and then later they wanted him in a tag team match. Finally, Shaq said he had to just make other plans for that weekend. When WWE tried to smooth things over with the big man, Shaq said he rebuffed all of their efforts.
11 Rob Gronkowski
WWE wants New England Patriot, Rob Gronkowski, on their roster but there are quite a few hurdles in the way of making that happen. Triple H and Stephanie, who are both Patriots fans, have rolled out the red carpet for the star athlete whenever they can get him to attend their shows. His friendship with Mojo Rawley even led to the company giving Rawley the win at last year's Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal after Gronk got involved.
The problem is Gronk is signed to the Patriots and there is nothing in the world which can break those NFL contracts. By the time WWE gets their hands on Gronk, it won't be until he's well past his athletic prime and the Patriots have no more use for him. Perhaps come that time, Vince will recruit him to play in the XFL.
10 Miesha Tate
Miesha Tate has stated she would love to work for WWE but there is one major hurdle which would need to be cleared before that could ever happen.
Tate is Ronda Rousey's mortal enemy. Rousey is also someone who values loyalty and will turn on someone if they feel they haven't done right by her. If WWE signs Tate, consider Ronda Rousey gone. Rousey is more valuable to WWE than Tate so Rousey is in WWE and Tate never will be, at least not while Rousey is still there.
Tate has close to a million followers on Twitter and there is no doubt WWE would love to cash in on that. Unfortunately, she is off limits if they want to continue using Rousey. A company such as Impact or ROH could bring her in as a non-wrestling personality but it would cost them a lot to do so.
9 Hafthor Bjornsson
In 2015, WWE went all-out to sign Icelandic professional strongman, Hafthor Bjornsson. The 29-year-old is most famous for playing the role of Gregor Clegane in Game of Thrones. He also appeared in the movie Kickboxer: Retaliation.
WWE is said to have invited the near seven footer to their Performance Center in order to get a look at the guy. Unfortunately, despite WWE offering a chance to be a world-famous figure who performs in front of tens of thousands of people every week, Bjornsson was said to not be interested.
Wrestling fans must think it's such a waste that a physically imposing performer had no interest in WWE but Game of Thrones fans probably feel it would have been a waste if things had turned out any differently.
8 Chael Sonnen
According to Chael Sonnen, WWE was willing to break the bank to get him to jump ship from UFC to their company. Keep in mind Sonnen himself is the source on this one and he hasn't always proved to be the most honest fellow. Still, Sonnen claims at one point he was offered $5 million to leave the UFC and join WWE. It's not clear if he was to do this as a wrestler or commentator, as he performs in both roles. Sonnen is currently a broadcaster and fighter for Bellator MMA.
Sonnen is a longtime wrestling fan and frequently covers it on his podcast. He has recently been critical of how Ronda Rousey has been handling the sports media since she left for WWE. Jeff Jarrett signed Sonnen to be a part of his Global Wrestling Federation, although the company has failed to secure a TV deal.
7 Justin Bieber
WWE was interested in bringing Justin Bieber for SummerSlam 2014 in a big way, though a deal never materialized.
According to former WWE writer Kevin Eck, the idea was to have Bieber team with John Cena and the Big Show to face the Wyatt Family at SummerSlam. Eck continued to say that Bieber's public behavior during that time likely was what led to a deal never being made. He expressed uneasiness placing John Cena next to Justin Bieber in such a way because of the risk Bieber might make a horrible PR move shortly after. Eck also said he would not be surprised in the least if WWE brought Bieber into the company at a later date, however.
Low and behold, just weeks after SummerSlam 2014 Bieber was arrested and charged with dangerous driving for ramming a mini-van with his ATV.
6 Danica Patrick
Vince McMahon would love to have NASCAR's Danica Patrick in his company but it doesn't seem like the feeling is mutual.
WWE sent out a poll to their fans last year asking about celebrities they would like to see on WWE programming. Danica Patrick was listed on that poll and the reasoning for her inclusion could use some explaining.
When WWE signed their last television deal in 2014, Vince McMahon was said to be furious that they only got half as much money from the deal that NASCAR gets despite WWE having much higher rankings. NASCAR's biggest star at the time was Danica Patrick, though she retired last year. It's believed Vince McMahon wanted to try and steal NASCAR's biggest star to show his organization is better than theirs.
5 Freddie Prinze Jr.
WWE had Freddie Prinze Jr. under their employ twice but both times he got away from them. Prinze Jr. and WWE first began working together in 2008 when he began writing blogs for the WWE website. The company eventually hired him to work on their creative staff. So, Prinze Jr. put his Hollywood and TV career on hold and joined up with WWE.
In 2009, he left the company to play the role of Cole Ortiz on the show 24. Stephanie McMahon was said to have been surprised by his departure as she had wanted to give him more responsibility.
He returned to the company as a producer in 2010 following filming of 24 but was gone again in 2012 to continue his acting career. He lives with his wife, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and their two children in Los Angeles.
4 Miley Cyrus
You may not have heard about this or you may have selectively forgotten about it. WWE once tried really hard to get Miley Cyrus to appear on Monday Night Raw. In 2010, Cyrus was going through something of an interesting stage in her career and the Bella Twins decided to call her out.
Nikki and Brie were at a release party in Los Angeles when Hollywood Life reporters caught up with them. The two said they wanted Miley Cyrus to appear on Raw as a celebrity guest host. Unfortunately for those who hoped her downward spiral would continue inside the squared circle, Miley never did accept the invite.
WWE is always looking for mainstream celebrities to attach themselves to. It's been a Vince McMahon strategy ever since the first WrestleMania.
3 Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos
The first time WWE and Cyborg's name were mentioned together was actually back in 2011. Cyborg and WWE were reportedly involved in contract negotiations before Cyborg signed with Strikeforce.
Since later signing with the UFC, Cyborg has gotten into Twitter beefs with both Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch. Cyborg has also mentioned she would love to face Ronda Rousey in WWE. She is said to be a pretty big fan and knowledgeable concerning the product.
UFC has Cyborg locked into a tight contract, however. Cyborg is someone the company knows they can put in the main event of a PPV so there is little chance they will be loaning her out to WWE anytime soon. Unlike with Miesha Tate, it's unlikely Rousey would block Cyborg from coming to WWE. Cyborg would make an excellent heel against Ronda.
2 Wladimir Klitschko
When WWE sent out a fan survey regarding celebrities in WWE earlier this year, one of the names mentioned was the boxing great, Wladimir Klitschko.
Before the rise of MMA, the biggest combat sport to rival pro-wrestling was boxing. Before WWE was going after MMA stars to switch sports, big name boxers such as Mike Tyson, James Douglas, and Muhammad Ali were showing up at wrestling events.
While the popularity of boxing has decreased in much of the United States and Canada, it is still quite popular internationally. Part of the reason why WWE included the Russian heavyweight boxer's name on the survey would be to see how much of a draw champion boxers are these days in comparison to MMA athletes or other kinds of celebrities. WWE would have to break the bank to get Klitschko, however, and it's not certain he would draw much interest from wrestling fans.
1 Conor McGregor
WWE has made it no secret of their desire to sign Conor McGregor but unless they are able to put forth a significant investment to get him to appear on their programming, you can forget about Conor showing up in WWE.
He's is worth too much money in the UFC for him to start dabbling in pro wrestling as well. Don't get us wrong, Conor will eventually show up in WWE but not for many years. Conor's career will have to be winding down before he decides to go the fictional combat sports route. There are rumors he made over $100,000 million in his last fight, so Conor is not cheap. WWE will have to spend a considerable amount of money to get him but it would guarantee their product is seen by more people internationally. Conor will probably be pushing 40 by the time he ends up in WWE.