The 2018 World Wrestling Entertainment Royal Rumble pay-per-view event was historic, in that the company presented the first ever women’s Rumble during that January show. Opinions on battle royals, in general, vary per fan and observer because of the amount of inactivity that occurs during any such match, but the women’s edition seemed to get over with the in-person audience and with those watching at home via the WWE Network or some other outlet. Asuka winning was probably the biggest single highlight from the actual match, but the debut of former Ultimate Fighting Championship Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey and multiple noteworthy returns to the ring ultimately stole the headlines away from the Empress of Tomorrow, something that may not be sitting well with all members of the current WWE roster.
For all the emotional returns we saw on that big night, followers of the WWE were left wanting more because of the former performers who were left off the card for whatever reasons. A combination of female wrestlers who appeared at the 2018 Royal Rumble and some who weren’t there could make for eight big WWE returns during the current calendar year. Unfortunately, such returns coupled with inevitable NXT call-ups that are scheduled to take place after WrestleMania and during the summer months means some women currently signed by the company would have to go. Just like in real sports, the WWE is competitive, and there are only so many roster spots available at any given time. Remember that just because a wrestler is released in 2018 doesn’t mean she couldn’t return, perhaps as as soon as later this same year.
15 Emma: Return
We don’t understand why Emma was released from the WWE in the first place. Per what has been reported, she did not ask to part ways from the company. She has a great look, she is a better wrestler than many of the women currently on Raw, SmackDown and NXT, and she got over as a heel. Sure, the original dancing gimmick she had in NXT and, later, in WWE did her zero favors, but her ditching it and going heel was a massive improvement.
It’s absurd to believe she couldn’t find a home somewhere in the WWE in 2018. Truth be told, the reactions she’s received working outside of the company as of late seem to indicate her return to the promotion would be received well by fans.
14 Sarah Logan: Got To Go
Truth be told, we were downright shocked to see Sarah Logan get called-up to the main roster in 2017 to begin with. Logan never received anything even resembling a push down in NXT, she was essentially a jobber to bigger stars on that brand, and little, if anything, about her performances as a member of SmackDown have stood out.
There’s something to be said for Logan being given opportunities to improve. That’s all well and good, but she is currently holding a roster spot that could be used for somebody better in NXT or a woman who could make a return to the WWE in 2018. In time, Logan could become something of note within the company, but the promotion rushed her push to the main roster. Thus, she’s got to go in this scenario.
13 Gail Kim: Return
Former WWE women’s performer Gail Kim retired from in-ring action following one final match in February 2018, and it has been reported that she has a behind-the-scenes gig in Impact Wrestling. Kim turns 41 years old in mid-February, but there is no sign that she has slowed down, physically speaking, to the point that she couldn’t go and produce multiple memorable matches in the WWE this year.
Kim’s return wouldn’t have to be a long-term thing to draw a pop from fans and for the WWE to do right by her considering the company somewhat dropped the ball with her persona on multiple occasions. Kim could have dream matches with the likes of Charlotte, Asuka, Bayley, Sasha Banks and others who are on the main roster and in NXT.
12 Lana: Got To Go
Take one glance at Lana — and also her social media pages — and you will quickly understand why the company would want to keep her around and allow her to work bouts on SmackDown and the Mixed Match Challenge. Unfortunately, she hasn’t shown any significant improvements as a wrestler during her time in the company.
Splitting Lana up from Rusev has been a better idea that some originally thought in that it has gotten the “Rusev Day” idea over and allowed him to become a babyface in the eyes of fans. Unless the company is also going to turn Lana and have the two become a babyface tandem, she is merely taking-up space on the blue brand. There’s better options than Lana available in NXT and outside of the WWE in 2018.
11 Vickie Guerrero: Return
We begin with an emotional return we want to see that involves somebody who wouldn’t be an active wrestler on the roster. Vickie Guerrero did well to improve as an on-air character during her first full-time stint in the company, and she managed to draw real heat among fans who booed her out of arenas. That’s something that is noticeably missing from the WWE at a time when fans boo supposed babyfaces such as Roman Reigns, and cheer for heels.
Down in NXT, the company has proven it is willing to allow managers to serve as mouthpieces for acts that could use the help. Imagine Guerrero being either in NXT on the main roster working as a heel manager, particularly for a wrestler fans have turned on for one reason or another.
10 Dana Brooke: Got To Go
Dana Brooke can stay in the WWE as a member of the Raw brand under the condition that her in-ring career comes to an end so a better performer can take her place on the roster. Brooke was first introduced to audiences on the NXT program in September 2014, and she hasn’t made many positive strides as a worker since that time. To her credit, she has proven to be a useful member of the “Titus Worldwide” stable as a mouthpiece and somewhat of a manager.
She could continue to play that role if the WWE wishes to retain her services in 2018. As a wrestler, however, she is holding-down a roster spot that will eventually be taken either by a returning figure or by somebody who is having more entertaining matches in NXT.
9 Beth Phoenix: Return
Beth Phoenix left the WWE in 2012 for what were reported, at the time, as “family reasons,” and it was later learned that she wanted to start a family of her own with her husband, former WWE performer Edge. Phoenix, who once appeared in the men’s Royal Rumble, was a surprise entrant in the 2018 women’s Rumble, and her brief work during that match has caused some fans to hope she will make an emotional return to the company for one final run this year.
While Phoenix seems to be content and enjoying life away from wrestling on a weekly basis, she and the company could work out a deal that were allow her to have several matches with Raw and/or SmackDown performers before a retirement bout that would give her and fans, alike, a chance to say a final farewell.
8 Sonya Deville: Got To Go
Sonya Deville being added to the Raw roster may be an example of the WWE’s figurative left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. The company is pushing the previously mentioned Ronda Rousey as the biggest female star ever acquired by the promotion, which she undeniably is at this point, and Shayna Baszler is being presented as a monster heel in NXT. Rousey and, to a lesser extent, Baszler, made their names as actual mixed martial arts performers. Deville, meanwhile, had a few fights just about everybody reading this sentence never saw, and yet the company is also booking her as a legitimate fighter.
Unless her gimmick is going to involve her getting destroyed by Rousey before her departure from Raw, Deville, unfortunately, has got to go.
7 Victoria: Return
Victoria recently turned 47 years old, but she remains active on the independent scene this winter. For reasons those of us who do not work with the WWE do not understand, Victoria was left off the Raw 25th anniversary show and also left out of the women’s Royal Rumble.
She may be closer to 50 than 40 at this stage of her life, but she would immediately be better than multiple women on the main roster once the ink on her final WWE contract dried. Just imagine what some of the more green wrestlers in the company could learn from such an accomplished and talented veteran during her final run in the promotion. If Mickie James can get one more push as a top star of the division, Victoria also deserves an emotional return.
6 Tamina: Got To Go
Tamina is one of the women on the roster who is just kind of there. Not to be harsh, but we’re not sure some fans would even realize if the WWE parted ways with the 40-year-old following the WrestleMania show. While she is a fine worker, you would probably struggle to think of a single outstanding match she has had on the main roster, and it’s clear the promotion is interested in pushing multiple other performers over Tamina in 2018.
The likes of Ember Moon, Shayna Baszler, Kairi Sane and the Iconic Duo should all receive call-ups from NXT this year. Those additions to the main roster mean that performers such as Tamina may have to go to make room for the influx of talent that’s coming.
5 AJ Lee: Return
We know this is a complicated situation because AJ Lee is married to former WWE Champion and current UFC fighter CM Punk, who had a messy public divorce from the promotion years ago. It’s also possible the WWE wouldn’t clear AJ because of damage to her cervical spine that she discussed following her initial retirement.
AJ has, in the past, refused to fully squash the notion she would be willing to make an emotional return to the WWE. Fans around the world would love to see her have a final go as either a babyface or a heel. She would draw a huge pop from an audience, particularly one at the Raw or SmackDown show following WrestleMania, and her working with the WWE once again could result in Punk possibly showing up down the road.
4 Alicia Fox: Got To Go
Much of what was said about Tamina rings true for Alicia Fox. Fox has received “on-again, off-again” pushes throughout much of what has been referred to as the “Women’s Revolution,” and she was already an overshadowed figure on the roster when she picked up an injury in January 2018, potentially while she was training for the Royal Rumble.
Nobody should expect the WWE to release an injured Superstar, but Fox’s spot on the roster is going to be occupied by either a returning star or an NXT wrestler sooner rather than later. Once she is healthy and able to return to in-ring action, the WWE may have to make a difficult decision regarding her future on either the Raw or SmackDown brands for the rest of the year.
3 Kharma: Return
In January 2018, former WWE performer Kharma, also known as Awesome Kong and Amazing Kong for her work in other promotions, stated that she wanted to make a return to the company and perform in the first women’s Royal Rumble. That, as you know, didn’t happen, but we are hoping that doesn’t mean the door is closed on her having a final run in the company as a monster heel.
Like Beth Phoenix, Kharma once appeared in a men’s Royal Rumble, but she never enjoyed a long-time stint on the main roster. There’s no question she would be a unique performer on any of the WWE’s brands. Heck, we would even like to see a future “mean girl match” between Kharma and Nia Jax at a major show.
2 Lita: Got To Go
It doesn’t feel as if it was all that long ago when we dreamed of seeing Lita make an emotional return to the ring, perhaps for one final run as a champion before riding off into the sunset. Then, we watched Lita perform at the 2018 Royal Rumble, where she nearly botched a moonsault and came uncomfortably close to landing directly on her head. It was at the point when everybody should have realized that, sometimes, you have to leave the memories alone.
The WWE can continue to utilize Lita as a trainer and during pre-show programs. As it pertains to working even a single match in the ring or as a color commentator for WWE Network shows, it, sadly, must be said that she has to go.
1 Trish Stratus: Return
There is no indication that former WWE Women’s Champion Trish Stratus has any real itch to make a lengthy return to the promotion. Still, watching Stratus compete in the 2018 Royal Rumble served as a tease for fans who have been longing to see her have a last run within the business. She still looks great, and she can still perform at a high level despite being away from any major wrestling roster for over a decade.
The potential dream matches Stratus could work within what is, currently, the deepest women’s roster in WWE history makes us want to turn the clock back to 2006 so Stratus, in her prime and at her best, could wrestle against Sasha, Asuka, Charlotte, Natalya, Becky Lynch and others. Come home for one more stint, Trish.