World Wrestling Entertainment now has a monopoly over the wrestling business. Their closest competitors are New Japan Pro Wrestling, Impact Wrestling and Ring of Honor, but even a collaboration of those three will be insufficient to even challenge WWE.
However, toward the tail end of the last century, Vince McMahon was playing second fiddle to another wrestling promotion, World Championship Wrestling, that he eventually purchased. With major stars such as Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Ric Flair, Bret Hart, Lex Luger, Sycho Sid and Scott Hall all making the jump at various points and WCW themselves producing the likes of Goldberg, WCW often found themselves on the verge of running WWE out of business.
With business tycoon Ted Turner willing to spend big money on talents, WWE was unable to compete with WCW. However, with Triple H, Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker promising to stay with the company and WWE signing WCW’s underutilized stars such as Steve Austin, Chris Jericho and The Radicals, WWE managed to stay afloat until WCW’s lunacy ran them out of business.
The McMahons bought WCW, and the rest is history.
The following article discusses which current WWE wrestlers would elect to make the jump or remain loyal to the McMahons if WCW were around. AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins have been left out of this article as they all are in similar situations; the company is putting belts on them while they are making millions, so there is no reason for them to leave.
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16. Leave: Luke Harper
Luke Harper has slowly grown into a fan favorite, and his character work has been excellent. His tweets only make his character eerier, and with the monkey in Bray Wyatt off his back, he can now work on becoming a singles competitor himself in the coming weeks. His change of costume makes him a legitimate fighter unlike the white undershirt that made him look a hillbilly before.
However, the WWE has never shown any intention to book him as a serious threat despite his standing at 6ft 5in tall and weighing over 275 pounds, they make him job to wrestlers of a smaller frame. Under a different umbrella, he can ostensibly be a upper midcarder at the very least. He would have fancied signing a WCW contract to achieve at least half as much as his former tag-team partner Seth Rollins has done in WWE.
15. Stay: Curtis Axel
Many allege that the WWE has been wasting Curtis Axel’s potential as he has only won a solitary singles title – the Intercontinental Championship. At 37, it is too late for the company to repackage him as Curt Hennig’s son; it is safe to assume that he will not be getting a push in the near future. However, it is a given that he is a company guy despite not being considered a good in-ring talent.
The WWE confided in him to train The Rock, Brock Lesnar and Goldberg when the part-timers were returning to in-ring action. They also offered him a role in the recent WWE Studios movie The Marine 5: Battleground. Even if he were to hang his wrestling boots, he would warrant a job as a producer, agent or trainer with the company, by the looks of things.
14. Leave: Emma
One can hardly recover from portraying the girlfriend of a jobber. However, Emma did not just stop with recovering as she ended up becoming a fan favorite by wearing aviators and shoulder pads and pulling off slick moves inside the squared circle. However, what many feel was merely a rib saw Emma be repackaged as Emmalina; thanks to underwhelming response, she reverted to the badass role.
Despite her outstanding promo and wrestling ability, she has been forced to play second fiddle to the Four Horsewomen and Alexa Bliss. However, another women’s division can definitely flourish, with the Australian gorgeous badass being the primary heel. WCW would love to lure her to Georgia in a deal that would benefit either party. With WCW now defunct, though, she can only make Jeremy Borash wonder what – a washed up – Emily does in the Impact Zone.
13. Stay: Kane, Big Show and The Undertaker
Kane, Big Show and The Undertaker have been WWE guys through and through despite the latter two wrestling in WCW before moving to WWE.
Kane has already had a few on-screen authority roles. Given his ability to speak in front of journalists and grasp of professional wrestling psychology, the WWE will hand him a backstage role even if he chooses to call it a day. His on-screen brother was one of the few stars who were determined never to leave WWE even during WCW’s Ted Turner era, and he would never even think about it now.
Big Show has been WWE’s ambassador for a long time now even though he has not been designated as one. With his toning his body, he may wrestle for a few more years, and he will likely remain a WWE employee even after his WWE retirement. Even if the McMahons make him cry on live television again, he will remain loyal to the company.
12. Leave: Braun Strowman
Braun Strowman has grown in prominence in the wake of the Brand Split as he has since been booked as unbeatable monster. Although he only vanquished an already torn apart Roman Reigns, a victory over the wrestler who owns The Yard speaks volumes about how the company views him. Despite becoming a popular wrestler recently, he seemingly views wrestling as a job while most of his colleagues breathe wrestling; he even runs an alternative Instagram profile under his real name, Adam Scherr, in which he hardly posts stuff about wrestling.
Should the hypothetical present-day WCW offer him an improved contract, he will likely jump at that as he will only want to make money after drawing the curtain upon his strongman career. In any other promotion, he will definitely be booked as a serious threat as well, so he hardly needs to worry about the prospect of becoming the next Brodus Clay.
11. Stay: The Miz
The Miz has now enjoyed a decorated career as a wrestler after only signing on the dotted lines to be the host of bikini contests on SmackDown. In his 13 year stint with WWE, he has won the WWE Championship once, tag-team titles six times and the mid-card titles a whopping eight times. Aged 36, he has achieved more things than many expected him to when he first earned his promotion to the main roster.
The WWE now has immense faith in him, as evidenced by their decision to feature him in eight WWE Studios movies. He often represents WWE in talk shows and press conferences thanks to his poise and charisma. He has appeared in 26 different television shows after signing with the E, including Fear Factor and Total Divas. He may not be respected as he is done inside the McMahon empire, so he will likely choose to work for the McMahons for a long time.
10. Leave: Paige
At a tender age of 24, Paige has already seen it all – winning the NXT Women’s Championship and Divas Championship, featuring in three WWE Studios movies and seeing her sex tapes leaked online. However, thanks to the latter and her being in love with Alberto El Patron, who regularly bashes Triple H and WWE on Periscope after having a few. Thanks to her life being made into a movie, though, WWE might have decided to see out her contract that runs until 2019.
Even in the event of her fully recuperating from her neck injury, the McMahons will never do business with her. However, should a competitor in WCW come calling, she will not turn down an offer as that will be her only opportunity to wrestle in front of thousands. Additionally, WCW can also cash in on her notoriety.
9. Stay: Bayley
None on the current roster takes pride in working for the WWE as much as Bayley does. She often recollects watching WWE as a kid in her hometown San Jose. Although wrestlers often exaggerate past events or feelings to further their characters, Bayley’s love for WWE seems organic. Even if she were offered a fatter paycheck, she would likely snub the offer as she would want to perform in a WWE arena for as long as she could.
She will not be sacrificing much, either. She is already booked as the biggest female babyface in the company, and no other wrestler garners babyface love as much as she does. With only Becky Lynch rivalling her, she will likely be the women’s division’s Hulk Hogan for at least a couple more years.
8. Leave: Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler possesses everything one needs to possess to headline Pay-Per-Views every once in a while. However, WWE only views him as an enhancement talent to the main-eventers. Baron Corbin announced himself thanks to his feud with him. Shinsuke Nakamura went over him at Backlash. Although he finds him feuding with the company’s top stars, he is almost always fed to them. In a way, he is Bray Wyatt without the neckbeard, fedora and 100 extra pounds.
A worked shoot in which he bashes WWE after putting pen to a WCW contract would definitely make him look like a million bucks. Given his excellent selling, promo and, most importantly, exquisite dropkick, he would definitely find himself holding World Championships more frequently at WCW than he does at WWE.
7. Stay: Chris Jericho
None has been as proven more inventive than Chris Jericho in a long time. To reinvent himself every time he returns to wrestling and actually be over is no mean feat, but he makes it look a piece of cake. He manages to top his previous run every time he returns, and his latest run has been nothing short of spectacular.
Y2J does wise business with the E as he decides when to go on tour with his band Fozzy while the company gets hold of a huge draw when he puts on his wrestling gear. Much like other wrestlers, whom I think will continue being WWE guys, his relationship with the E is symbiotic. Besides, his being WWE’s spokesman speaks volume about the trust the company has in him; his defending the company on the back of the Chris Benoit murder-suicide is certain to ensure he gets a contract whenever he flips a pen out.
6. Leave: Cesaro
Vince McMahon, while being interviewed by Steve Austin, stated that Cesaro’s limited verbal ability and charisma had been stopping him from ever earning the push that the IWC had been clamoring for. Not a lot of wrestlers can bounce back from being the recipient of such criticism from the promoter, and unsurprisingly, he has not. Teaming up with Sheamus has made him slightly more relevant than he has been in the recent past, but it looks as though he will never be anywhere close to big titles at WWE.
However, given the number of fans he has, a short-term program that sees him win titles shortly after jumping ship is certain to draw huge money. WCW would surely not pass up an opportunity of that size, and the Swiss would likely not turn down a WCW offer as he is severely underrated at WWE now.
5. Stay: Brock Lesnar
One needs to be a superstar to earn more than John Cena in the wrestling industry. No one has been able to surpass him in WWE-related earnings in a long time barring Brock Lesnar. Pocketing $12 million last year, he has remained a huge star. WWE’s faith, if not, reliance in him is evident from the schedule he works. He only fights a handful of matches per year, and every single appearance of his garners widespread attention.
WWE’s doing business with him almost always results in a win-win situation due to his drawing power and the amount of money the McMahons are ready to depart with to keep him. In the event of WCW trying to sign him, WWE will surely enter a bidding war they will not lose.
4. Leave: Randy Orton
Randy Orton has managed to feud with Brock Lesnar before winning the World Championship from long-time foe Bray Wyatt. Even those who hate on him for being a bland babyface will agree that he has earned his title, especially after electing to be legitimately hurt by the Beast Incarnate. His feud with Jinder Mahal drew huge amounts of interest as well. However, his pocketing less than what The Shield members, AJ Styles, Shane McMahon, Triple H, John Cena and Brock Lesnar had made in 2016 should upset him, considering the fact that he has been more important to WWE than most others.
At 37, he does not have many years of top-level wrestling and, given his need for supporting two kids and three step-kids, he will look to make as much money as possible while he can. Accordingly, the 13-time World Champion will not mind jumping ship to secure a better deal. At this point in his career, it would provide Orton an opportunity for a fresh start.
3. Stay: John Cena
John Cena would have been exactly the kind of star WCW would be chasing. He’s established, in his 40s and he’s as big a draw as ever. Bret Hart appeared on WCW. Kevin Nash appeared on WCW. Scott Hall appeared on WCW. Even Hulk Hogan appeared on WCW, but John Cena will never wrestle in a non-WWE ring. Despite his being on the wrong side of 40, he still has a few more years of top-level wrestling in him. Given the character he chooses to portray in front of the television screen and his reiterating that his on-screen persona mirrors his real-life character, he will never choose to jump ship.
Besides, he will not be losing out on much as he is currently the second biggest earner; he takes home $8 million per year. He is WWE’s franchise guy, and the McMahons already know what happened when they let their old franchise player in Hogan jump ship. They will not mind throwing a few more millions at him or designing him a easier schedule to keep him happy.
2. Leave: The Club
The Club shook the wrestling world when they debuted, attacking The Usos in April 2016. With Bullet Club founder Finn Balor and former leader AJ Styles already on board, many expected Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows to dominate like Kenny Omega and co. dominate New Japan Pro Wrestling; however, Balor’s untimely injury ensured the initial plans for The Club did not come to fruition.
Now jobbing to Enzo and Cass, The New Day and The Hardy Boyz, they now look just another bigmouth tag team who always fail to deliver in the ring. WCW would definitely want to have the spiritual successor to the New World Order on their roster. With the hope of being booked better, The Club may jump ship with or without their former leaders.
1. Stay: Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns is easily the biggest heel in the WWE right now. Despite the smart marks branding the heat he receives a more intense version of X-Pac heat, he continues to sell merchandise like only a very few wrestlers. No wrestling discussion ends without his being mentioned. Fans turn up to boo him. Fans watch WWE to bash him online. Undeniably, he is the most polarizing figure in professional wrestling right now.
WWE will never want to part ways with him as losing him will be bigger loss than turning him heel. He should enjoy working for WWE as well as he is their third biggest earner, only behind Brock Lesnar and John Cena. He will remain contracted to WWE as long as he manages to be booed out of the building.
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