The time a professional wrestler has to make an impact within World Wrestling Entertainment can be short. There are thousands of athletes who come and go through tryouts and evaluations just to have a chance to be invited to the WWE Performance Center. The WWE is also looking at the best independent wrestlers throughout the world who are already established veterans – just like when they signed AJ Styles, Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura.
With all of that in mind, many wrestlers in WWE only have so much time to solidify their spot in the company. Even then, there’s a never-ending risk of being a cost-cutting casualty that is known affectionately as being “Future Endeavored.” Many wrestlers who come to the WWE know they have to make their mark quick because not everyone gets a second chance on the main roster.
There are several young wrestlers on the WWE roster under the age of 30. Some have been in wrestling for a few years and some have done it for much longer. They are sprinkled between the main roster and NXT. Not everyone can win championships before they turn 30 like Bray Wyatt has done. But there are still goals to connect with the crowd and show potential at that age.
The following 15 wrestlers are young wrestlers currently working for WWE who may find themselves leaving the WWE before their 30th birthday. Some will benefit from a departure and have opportunities outside the WWE. Others just haven’t lived up to expectations.
17 Tyler Breeze, 29
Bo Dallas isn’t the only NXT superstar who would be quickly buried on the WWE main roster. Tyler Breeze had everything one would love to hate about a heel in professional wrestling. It also provided a flamboyant character who wasn’t necessarily derogatory in nature. In fact, the supermodel gimmick should have been a huge success once Breeze was called up from NXT in 2015.
Breeze had established himself as a great wrestler who even had the honor of wrestling Jushin “Thunder” Liger during NXT Takeover: Brooklyn. But the main roster powers that be didn’t seem to have much faith in the character as he fell down the card. His career in WWE has been on life support teaming with Fandango. A good sign that the WWE has run out of ideas is having a wrestler dress up as a woman – e.g. Santina Marella.
16 Patrick Clark, 21
Patrick Clark is only 21 and has a long career in professional wrestling in front of him. There is something to be said about being considered a favorite for WWE Tough Enough when you are just 19 years old. Ever since he was signed to a developmental contract in 2015, Clark has barely been seen on NXT television. Outside of a match with Rich Swann and getting beaten up by Shinsuke Nakamura, his impact is absent.
He spends most of his time touring in NXT Live events with what seems to be an androgynous version of the late pop star Prince. A departure from WWE would give Clark a chance to go around the world and learn from other great promotions to become a better overall wrestler. Consider this release to be more of a “see you later,” since he could return to WWE with more experience.
15 Angelo Dawkins, 26
The WWE has usually found some success in bringing in athletes from various sports to turn into WWE superstars. Angelo Dawkins first came to WWE developmental (Florida Championship Wrestling back then) with championships in football, wrestling and track. However, he has been in the WWE’s developmental for almost five years. When they moved from their old training center for FCW to the new performance center, Dawkins unfortunately went with them.
The only noteworthy thing about his WWE “career” is that he was part of the Shoot Nation faction. But the top two stars in that group – Chad Gable and Jason Jordan – were called up to SmackDown Live. This left Dawkins, Sawyer Fulton and Tucker Knight, back in NXT. Regardless of how much potential Dawkins may have, five years is too long of a time period to invest in a developmental talent.
14 Bo Dallas, 26
Bray Wyatt has done a lot before turning 30, including the WWE Championship and a big match spot at WrestleMania 33. But his younger brother has not had the same luck in his WWE career. Bo Dallas could have had something special with the inspirational speaker gimmick. Despite how over the gimmick was as a villain in NXT and early in the WWE main roster, it didn’t seem like enough people “Bo-Lieved” in Dallas.
Dallas has since become an outcast with other lower-tier wrestlers with Heath Slater and Curtis Axel. With all of the changes, it seems the WWE doesn’t know what to do with him. It’s unlikely to send him back to NXT to repackage himself. The best thing to do is cut losses and at least say one of the Windham brothers worked out.
13 Ho Ho Lun, 29
While he’s not technically with the WWE in terms of an actual contract, Ho Ho Lun has been working with the company with matches here and there. It all started when he was one of the wrestlers competing in the first ever Cruiserweight Classic tournament. He also teamed with Tian Bing in the NXT Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. He was announced as one of the wrestlers in the WWE 205 Live roster back in November.
The problem is, he hasn’t been seen on WWE programming except for a loss to Andrade Almas in an episode of NXT earlier this month. While Lun might be a talented striker, he hasn’t been able to outshine a lot of the talented cruiserweights the WWE currently has on their roster. Lun will likely be expendable in the very near future as the WWE continues to look for more talent.
12 Liv Morgan, 22
Liv Morgan is a young woman who has a lot of potential in the world of professional wrestling. Since first being discovered at a gym in 2014, Morgan has grown to be a pretty okay female wrestler. Unfortunately, Morgan is likely to be cut from the WWE because of a number of factors beyond her control. Morgan is part of an overall women’s roster – combining RAW, SmackDown Live and NXT – with several established stars.
Many of her peers have worked in Japan, the United Kingdom and other parts of the world. Morgan is just a 22-year-old who first entered the WWE Performance Center at age 19. It also doesn’t help that her current look is very similar to SmackDown Live’s Carmella. She may have a chance to remain in the company if she can do a gimmick overhaul.
11 Drew Gulak, 29
Drew Gulak was offered a contract last November around the same time as fellow cruiserweight Tony Nese. Gulak would come into the WWE with an established resume that included time spent with Combat Zone Wrestling and various independent wrestling promotions. There were expectations after being trained by indie stars like Chris Hero (NXT’s Kassius Ohno) and Chikara founder Mike Quackenbush.
Outside of a six-man tag team win and two wins over Cedric Alexander, Gulak does not have a good track record on the Cruiserweight Division. He has been viewed as a throwback wrestler, but doesn’t quite have a character to help him stand out. This could be his undoing in the WWE when you look at the rest of the cruiserweight division and acknowledge the talents WWE is currently scouting.
10 Andrade Almas, 27
While the WWE has a pretty good overall track record of brining in quality talents from all over the world, there are a few busts. One that might have had a lot of expectations coming from Mexico is Andrade Almas, formerly known as La Sombra for Mexico’s CMLL promotion. He also branched out to become quite a start for New Japan Pro Wrestling. It wasn’t a big shock to know that WWE was interested and eventually signed him in late 2015.
But since coming to NXT under the Almas name, he hasn’t quite found the success many were hoping for. The character is pretty bland. Some would say the WWE has been limiting him. Former WWE star Alberto Del Rio said late last year that he’s friends with Almas, claiming that the latter is very unhappy in WWE. It might be best for Almas to go back to Mexico where he can wrestle in the way the WWE allegedly wants him to leave behind.
9 Tyler Bate, 20
There is nothing wrong with Tyler Bate as a wrestler. At just 20 years old, Bate has shown just about everything you would want in a professional wrestler. While very small at five feet and seven inches, he’s got the potential to be a big star in the WWE’s Cruiserweight Division. Fans have raved about how great he’s been in the United Kingdom since he first debuted in 2014 at age 17. This might be why he was booked to be the first WWE United Kingdom Champion.
The reason he makes the list has more to do with having a lack of faith in the WWE’s booking staff. In a world where the WWE tries to make changes to incoming talents to make them fit their style, Bate might be a square peg being shoved into a round hole. While he has all of the intangibles, the WWE hasn’t necessarily booked him properly. He’s only appeared on WWE programming a few times after winning the U.K. tournament.
8 Cedric Alexander, 27
Cedric Alexander was one of the talented indie wrestlers who were part of the first ever WWE Cruiserweight Classic last year. He’s developed quite a big reputation for promotions like Ring of Honor and other independent promotions throughout. Alexander can likely be described as someone who is a very talented athlete and deserves a spot on the card. However, he hasn’t really been able to stand out successfully in the WWE.
Alexander’s microphone skills leave a bit to be desired. He’s still going to entertain through the match, but in the WWE, a great athlete has to have the other components to be a successful WWE superstar. Unless he can develop a character that stands out from the rest of his peers, Alexander won’t be in the WWE for very long.
7 Emma, 28
Emma had been one of the most talented women in WWE’s developmental system from 2011 to 2014. She had that kind of quirky dance to the ring that was infectious enough for fans to start doing it at events. This followed her up to the main roster in 2014, but she was sent back to NXT shortly after she was arrested for attempting to shoplift a phone case. Since then, we’ve seen Emma go through a few transformations.
The best one was being transformed from Emma to Emmalina in February, right before announcing she would go back to Emma after months of vignettes being shown on RAW. Either the WWE is trolling us to make Emma a heel or they can’t come up with something long-term for her, leading to the back-and-forth over her direction. Eventually, the WWE will let her go and that will be a benefit for her career.
6 Ariya Daivari, 27
Professional wrestling has a history of creating characters based on race, religion and other similar traits. This had led to some of the biggest legends in the 1980s like Nikolai Volkoff, and The Iron Sheik. But since the controversy surrounding Muhammed Hassan in 2004, it seems the WWE might not want to go too far with an Arab heel on television. Shawn Daivari was unable to maintain success after Hassan’s departure. The same could be said for his younger brother Ariya.
Ariya is a young wrestler who has plenty of technical and high-flying abilities, much like his older brother. Unfortunately, his status as a heel in the WWE’s Cruiserweight Division can be best described in words like stale, dull, boring and “meh.” Just like some of the other young wrestlers on this list, good in-ring work can only take someone so far in the WWE Universe.
5 Aiden English, 29
Essentially, this post is about both members of The Vaudevillians. However, Simon Gotch is 34. So this entry is going to be more focused on Aiden English. The former Illinois native actually went to major in stage production and acting. The team developed quite a positive reputation on the NXT roster. But a call-up to the main roster has been met with inconsistent booking and the inability to stand out as a top-tier tag team.
The two will likely break up and English could try to be saved as a singles star. But with how the Vaudevillians have been handled in WWE, an English singles run won’t likely end very well for the Thespian superstar. English could very well benefit from going to another promotion where he can have a little more creativity with his performance. Or he can go into theatrical acting and find a way to Broadway.
4 Apollo Crews, 29
The WWE is the home of a variety of athletes. But Apollo Crews might be the most likely to be labeled as a hybrid wrestler. At 260 pounds, he certainly has the size and the build of a powerhouse. At the same time, Crews is also a very talented athlete with the ability to hit flips and spins across the squared circle. So why is someone like Apollo Crews struggling to succeed in the WWE?
The lack of microphone skills is once again the biggest concern that puts a damper on a young WWE superstar’s overall career. He’s not great on the microphone and in promos. This was covered up while he competed on the independent circuit as Uhaa Nation. Unless he can make a surprise turnaround, Crews is likely gone from the WWE by August.
1 Paige, 24
Paige likely isn't going to be fired from the WWE because of her recent suspensions for the Talent Wellness Policy. Nor is she going to be fired over her reported marriage that is expected with former WWE Superstar Alberto Del Rio. Nor will the recently leaked sex tapes be a real factor in her eventual termination. She’s also going to have to have a chance to come back once she is cleared after her neck injury that has kept her off television since last year.
The fact is that the WWE has a strong women’s division. It’s much stronger than when she was first called up the night after WrestleMania XXX in 2014; defeating AJ Lee for the WWE Divas Championship. The roster now features rising stars in Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Bayley and Alexa Bliss. That’s just a few of the stars and there are more in NXT. Paige now finds herself expendable in terms of overall talent; not because of her personal decisions.