While more and more publications are focusing more on the positive side of wrestling and looking at the best champions, best heels, best faces, etc. of any given promotion, we can also say it's too easy to go that route, especially when it comes to the WWE. There are typically more lower-carders in the WWE than there are main eventers, and with that in mind, we feel that it's more challenging – and dare we say, fun – to sift through those (mostly) glorified enhancement talents and determine which man and woman had less use for the promotion than anyone else in the WWE at that time.
Before we move on with our list, keep in mind that this is not your usual list of the worst wrestlers per year in terms of in-ring skill, promo skills, or both. While most, but not all of the wrestlers in our list were at the bottom, or close to the bottom of WWE's card in their respective year, there are some who may have been substantially higher up in the card, but were still used very questionably by the WWE and in such a way that fans and experts alike didn't take kindly to their booking. With that, let's not waste any more of your time – let's look back at every year in the 2010s and forecast what could happen in 2019, and see who ended up as WWE's least useful male and female wrestlers for each of those years.
20 2010 Male: Michael Tarver
To be fair to NXT Season 1 rookie Michael Tarver, he was not without potential. But at the end of the day, the skills he showed as one of the first two rookies to be sent home (along with Daniel Bryan) left a lot to be desired, and he just wasn't very interesting as another angry big guy with a chip on his shoulder, but little else to define his character.
When The Nexus invaded WWE in June, Tarver remained bland and limited when compared to most of his stablemates, and despite WWE making some efforts to book him strongly (he did beat Bryan on the Raw after SummerSlam), the company knew the score and wrote him off television (and The Nexus) in October 2010. He was released in mid-2011 after spending several months in the developmental promotion then known as FCW.
19 2010 Female: Katie Lea Burchill
Fans may know her better for her TNA/Impact runs as Winter and Katarina, but from 2008 to 2009, she was known as Katie Lea Burchill on WWE television, and given one of the more tasteless gimmicks of the past decade along with her storyline brother, Paul Burchill. When the ECW brand folded in February 2010 and the former "Pirate" Paul was given his walking papers, Katie Lea was retained and sent to the Raw brand, but that move saw her sink deeper into on-air irrelevance.
In the months before and after her storyline brother's release, Katie Lea was used sparingly on Raw and barely had a character to speak of. With no direction and no creative plans for her, she was released by WWE in April 2010.
18 2011 Male: Kevin Nash
It would've been too easy to name someone from the NXT rookie search like Percy Watson or Derrick Bateman. As this list isn't exclusive to bottom-of-the-barrel lower-carders, we now present to you the returning Kevin Nash, who gained this dubious dishonor for his return as a regular onscreen character, which was most notorious for his confusing role in the CM Punk vs. Triple H feud. You know, that part where it was revealed he was texting himself. (Seriously, who does that?)
Aside from that head-scratcher, Nash did wrestle a few matches as a 52-year-old WWE returnee after he was mostly used in house show tag team matches to hide his diminished skills and athleticism. This included a match versus Triple H at TLC, which wasn't THAT bad (but definitely not good), even if it was obvious who was carrying who.
17 2011 Female: Tamina
This was a bit of a tough one, but in the end, it was either her or Gail Kim. Despite her bloodlines, Tamina has always fallen a bit short in the talent department, and that was especially true in her earlier years in WWE, 2011 included.
Whether in singles or tag action, Tamina was mostly booked to lose in 2011 and was arguably farther than any other non-NXT rookie search woman from Divas Championship contention. Coupling her relative lack of success since then with the fact she turns 41 in 2019, it's a bit surprising WWE still has her on their payroll, but WWE seems to like her well enough to keep her employed for about a decade, while also pairing her with a red-hot Nia Jax in recent months on Raw.
16 2012 Male: Derrick Bateman
Outside of the NXT rookie search's seemingly never-ending "Redemption" season, Derrick Bateman was a largely forgettable part of the SmackDown roster. Aside from a couple of matches as battle royal fodder, the would-be TNA World Heavyweight Champion did the job in singles action to Brodus Clay, and later on to Antonio Cesaro (back when he still had his first name) on Saturday Morning Slam. Anyone remember that show?
The loss to Cesaro marked Bateman's last appearance on the main roster, as he spent the months prior to his May 2013 release as a lower-card guy in NXT – the developmental promotion, not the reality show. Here's hoping WWE has made the right decision to call him up and give him a second chance at main roster stardom under his EC3 ring name.
15 2012 Female: Kharma
We hate to include a talented worker like Awesome Kong in a list like this, but Kia Stevens' WWE run as Kharma was a wasted opportunity. Most of it was through no fault of hers, but still – she should have achieved much more if not for WWE's mishandling of the issues that kept her out for most of 2011.
To be fair, Kharma's one and only WWE match – the 2012 Royal Rumble match – was memorable because of how she quickly did away with Michael Cole, who was then at the peak of his run as an annoying heel commentator. However, the fact WWE didn't give her a chance after that and quietly released her at some point between then and July 2012 sadly qualifies her as the female wrestler WWE just didn't have much use for that year.
14 2013 Male: Evan Bourne
One year after a motorcycle accident put him on the shelf, Evan Bourne, who had been one-half of the WWE Tag Team Championship-winning Air Boom with Kofi Kingston, was back in the ring, competing at an NXT live event against a guy called Sammy Sane. Yes, you read that right – before the former El Generico truly settled in as a WWE developmental talent, he was rocking an alternate spelling of his current ring name.
The past and future Matt Sydal did end up beating the would-be Sami Zayn, but that was the last anyone saw of him as a WWE Superstar. The once-promising high-flyer was included in WWE's (slightly belated) 2014 spring cleaning, and sure enough, he was making his presence felt in the indie scene just weeks after his release.
13 2013 Female: Eva Marie
We could argue that Eva Marie's hiring marked the end of an era, given how she was the last high-profile female hire with zero wrestling or combat sports experience to join WWE. We're still wondering, though, what WWE was thinking when they started booking her in matches on the main roster straight away, instead of having her go through NXT first.
Yes, it was true WWE was so high on her as well as a cast member on Total Divas, hence the need to feature her as much as they could on TV. But aside from keeping her away from the ring due to her lack of experience, couldn't they have at least oriented her on who's who on the roster? We still can't forget that time she referred to 3MB's "air sitar" guy as "Ginger Mahal."
12 2014 Male: JTG
You can ask Curt Hawkins about it – people made jokes because of how long he remained employed without being seen on TV, but JTG really hide out in the locker room and in catering in order to avoid getting booked for the night. Or, we guess, to avoid one of the McMahons spotting him and going, "I thought we fired you last year!"
Without Shad Gaspard by his side as one-half of Cryme Tyme, JTG was lower-card fodder the moment the controversial tag team split up, and in 2014, he was months removed from his last match, where he oversold Santino Marella's Cobra on an episode of Superstars. By June, he did get his pink slip, leaving him to wish he never picked up his phone, as he so memorably tweeted on the day of his release.
11 2014 Female: Aksana
The all-female third season of the NXT rookie search hinted at the direction WWE ultimately wanted for its women's division, as Kaitlyn, AJ Lee, and Naomi all developed into competent in-ring workers or better. The same applies to Maxine, though as we all know, she gained greater fame as Catrina on Lucha Underground. Aksana, on the other hand, was very much cut in Vince McMahon and John Laurinaitis's preferred "Diva" mold, where learning in-ring skills is merely a polite suggestion.
Four years after her NXT rookie search debut, Aksana still hadn't improved that much in the ring, and her subpar promo skills and charisma weren't helping. As such, she was a strictly bottom-of-the-card female talent until her release in June of that year.
10 2015 Male: Brad Maddox
It didn't matter what role he was playing – rogue referee, assistant authority figure, lead authority figure, or wrestler – Brad Maddox was not good in any of these. After being fired as Raw GM in 2014, Maddox was taken off television and confined to WWE Live events, and as of 2015, he was still working the house show circuit and struggling to find an identity.
Whether he was going by Brad Maddox, Joshua Kingsley, or Lord Ruffles, nothing seemed to be working, and the end finally came for his WWE run in November 2015, when WWE fired him for misconduct during a dark match. As far as we know, nothing has really come out of his move back to the independent circuit.
9 2015 Female: Rosa Mendes
After JTG's firing in 2014, Rosa Mendes sort of became his female equivalent as that one wrestler who miraculously kept escaping WWE's future endeavors list. Let's be fair – she gave birth early in 2016, and that was definitely a valid reason for her lack of activity that year. But as far as the first eight months or so of 2015 were concerned, Mendes' WWE career prospects certainly did not look good.
While Rosa did start the year off as Fandango's dance partner/manager, that was during a particularly unmemorable stage in his run as a kayfabe ballroom dancer. She did ultimately leave his side, but after that, it was on to an even lower-upside guy in Adam Rose. Does anyone seriously remember that time during Rose's WWE run?
8 2016 Male: Damien Sandow
From new, improved version of Lanny Poffo's Genius gimmick to failed Mr. Money in the Bank to silly impersonator to man without a gimmick or ring theme, i.e. a pure jobber with little TV time. Such was the rise and fall of Damien Sandow, as 2016 marked the nadir of his WWE career. Being the masked Easter Bunny at the APA's invitational brawl at Vengeance 2003 was preferable to what Sandow went through in the months before his 2016 release. Which was pretty much nothing.
After leaving WWE, Sandow tried to reboot himself in Impact as Aron Rex, but unlike EC3 and Drew McIntyre, he was even worse for the wear after his Impact run mercifully ended in the spring of 2017.
7 2016 Female: Cameron
We could have included Eva Marie, but we gave her a pass because her gimmick of delaying her debut was somewhat entertaining. Paige, likewise, was injured for most of the year, and we can't fault her for that (in specific, if those reading know what we mean). Former Funkadactyls member Cameron, on the other hand...was only on TV twice in 2016 before she was released that spring.
In case you're wondering, both TV appearances were on NXT – a battle royal and a singles defeat to Alexa Bliss. Everything else was on the house show circuit, and when you're losing multiple six-woman tags in these events, you know that creative simply doesn't have anything for you.
6 2017 Male: Darren Young
The wrestler once called "Mr. No Days Off" sure had a lot of days off in 2017. Injury problems aside, creative simply didn't have anything for Darren Young in his final year with WWE, and they weren't going to pair him up once again with his usual friend/rival Titus O'Neil. They especially weren't going to repeat the Bob Backlund experiment, on account of their paring having some of the worst manager/wrestler chemistry fans have seen in recent history.
Young being stuck at the bottom of the card and creative being all out of ideas for him were both good enough reasons for WWE to part ways with the former Nexus member. He's recently hinted at a return to the company, though he did mention that it will probably be in a non-wrestling, "ambassador" role.
5 2017 Female: Summer Rae
Like Young (and Emma/Tenille Dashwood), Summer Rae was one of three main roster wrestlers whom WWE let go of in October 2017. And it's very easy to see why she was a slam-dunk choice for "least useful" female wrestler of 2017 – she didn't compete in a single match that year. No, not even one. Nada. Zilch. Bupkis.
Although injuries were the main reason Summer was not used that year, her lack of in-ring and on-mic skills and creative's lack of ideas also combined to make her the least surprising of the three late-2017 releases. Props to her, though, for remaining active in the independent scene and not just focusing solely on her modeling projects post-WWE.
4 2018 Male: Tye Dillinger
Nobody was ever going to confuse Tye Dillinger with a future main event talent when WWE called him up to the main roster last year. But he was really over with audiences, thanks to those "10" chants that WWE reportedly grew uncomfortable with at some point. By now, this should be no surprise to anyone who knows WWE is seldom keen on wrestlers getting over organically.
While Dillinger dealt with injuries for a good part of 2018, it's also worth noting that he had been in only fourteen matches all year long, including house shows and both men's Royal Rumble matches. Right now, it's no longer a matter of whether WWE will be releasing the Perfect 10 or not. It's a matter of when.
3 2018 Female: Dana Brooke
It's been more than a year since WWE released a woman from the main roster. With NXT stars such as Shayna Baszler (and her fellow MMA Horsewomen), Kairi Sane, and Bianca Belair all looking like potential call-ups at some point in 2019, a few main roster ladies may soon be wished the best in their future endeavors, and WWE might start with 2018's least useful female wrestler, Dana Brooke.
From bland babyface beginnings to an ill-fitting role as Titus Worldwide's "statistician" to her present role as a generic heel jobber, Brooke's upside has never been lower. She just hasn't been able to improve in any facet of wrestling, and that's why she ended 2018 at the bottom of WWE's totem pole as far as the women's division is concerned.
2 2019 Male: Heath Slater
Now we're moving on to the final stage of this list and making some predictions for the new year. Slater's recent involvement in Baron Corbin's "General Manager" storyline was the first relevant thing he had done since moving to Raw in the last Superstar Shakeup, but as far as 2019 goes, we could see him showing up even less on our TV screens as he did in 2018.
All things considered, Slater has had a good long run as a comedy wrestler, and WWE seems to like him. The influx of talent expected in 2019 might claim some casualties (Mojo Rawley, The Colons, Tye Dillinger, et al.), and while Slater might once again be spared (he's got kids, you know), it'll probably be at the price of being a true main roster afterthought.
1 2019 Female: Sonya Deville
The seeds are being planted for a women's mid-card feud between Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville, and you won't get any prizes if you guess who Vince McMahon would favor in such a rivalry. Yes indeed, WWE has some big plans in store for the Golden Goddess, but as far as her former Absolution stablemate goes, her upside seems to be capped at "lower-card babyface underdog" once the (expected) feud with Rose is over.
To be honest, this could go either way – if WWE cleans house in 2019, Deville could easily be included in the spring cleaning, but she could also stick around as a hardly-utilized main roster wrestler or hone her skills down at NXT in 2019. The youth is there and so is the potential, but NXT has more than a few women who could push her to the background when they get called up.