As much as your worst friend wants you to believe otherwise, pro-wrestling has a lot in common with other competitive sports.
Pro-wrestling, however, works slightly differently; it respects contracts, as almost every contract ever created by a wrestling promotion has been allowed to be run out. Even if a big wrestling promotion scouts a talent for a very long time, they wait until their current contract expires before opening discussions with them over a move. Hardly have we ever witnessed a wrestling promotion buying out a wrestler's contract, and it's likely that the landscape isn't changing even in the distant future.
Anyway, WWE is now what most aspiring wrestlers and indie wrestlers deem the holy grail despite what the Bullet Club members may force you to believe. Of course, Impact Wrestling, Lucha Underground, NJPW and ROH Wrestling raid the smaller promotions from time to time, but WWE remain the global leaders in that regard.
Naturally, the principal owner of WWE will always have jotted down a few names, whom he wants to perform for his promotion; however, he may not be able to get them all. The following article looks at eight such individuals The Evil Genius has reportedly been zeroing in on likely in vain. Plus, we'll also be looking at eight names the fans, or WWE Universe, if you will, want to see perform for WWE but won’t probably get to see them on Raw, SmackDown Live, NXT or 205 Live in the near future.
17 Vince McMahon: CM Punk
It goes without saying that Vince McMahon is the best businessman to ever be involved in the pro wrestling business. You don’t have a net worth of about $2 billion without being an absolute genius and a mad one at that. The Evil Genius hardly lets his ego get in the way of doing good business, as he’s never been against bringing back a wrestler whom he never rated if said wrestler is capable of making his company, WWE, a few extra millions.
CM Punk is one wrestler he clearly resented at one point, given his decision to release him on his wedding day. However, recent CM Punk interviews and other out-of-character interviews by notable WWE personalities suggest that the Chicago-born wrestler only seemed to have a problem with Triple H. With the influx of talent that the company has brought in, it's only logical to have CM Punk mix it up with them. The company has also avoided talking poorly of him since his release. Thus, it’s apparent that he wants to bring back CM Punk, but the wrestler has maintained that he doesn’t want to return to the same company that he feels sabotaged his mental and physical well-being.
16 Fans Want: Rosemary
Impact Wrestling has been ahead of WWE when it comes to women’s wrestling. The top-class Knockouts Championship matches Angelina Love, Awesome Kong, Gail Kim and Mickie James had when WWE was having their women wrestle four-minute PPV matches for the butterfly-shaped Divas Championship title. While WWE clearly seem to be treating their women better in the recent times, very few Impact Wrestling women seem to be as revered as the Four Horsewomen, Asuka and Alexa Bliss.
One Impact Wrestling veteran who clearly is on the same level as the above-mentioned six is one-time Knockouts Championship winner Rosemary.
WWE fans have been clamouring for having Rosemary, the centerpiece of critically-acclaimed stable Decay. However, Rosemary apparently doesn't subscribe to the thought that WWE is the holy grail. "Hivelings, let us make something perfectly clear," wrote Rosemary, in January 2018. "We are tired of being told to be Sister Abigail. We roll our eyes at the insistence to be in the Women’s Royal Rumble match." Given the fact that WWE now has constant fresh supply of top-class female performers thanks to the success of the Mae Young Classic tournament, Vince McMahon and co. will likely not lose sleep over missing out on Rosemary.
15 Vince McMahon: Conor McGregor
Conor McGregor has been no strange to the WWE Universe. The multiple-time UFC champion stirred controversy in August 2016, when he took a jab at the WWE wrestlers. "I didn't mean no disrespect to the WWE fans," he wrote on Twitter. "What I meant to say was that I'd slap the head off your entire roster and twice on Sundays."
His response triggered almost every WWE wrestler, as they retaliated, essentially working themselves into a shoot, as Hulk Hogan would put it. The WWE officials now seem to have done a 180 as they now seem interested in bringing the Ric Flair doppleganger to WWE. John Cena spoke highly of him in a recent interview, and so did Becky Lynch. Triple H seems supportive of WWE’s signing the trash-talking Irishman as well. “I think if it’s the right business opportunity for him and the right business opportunity for us I think we would both be open to conversations,” said Triple H, while speaking to Daily Star, a British newspaper. “He is custom-made for what we do so if that’s something he wants to do, we’ll be happy to talk.”
Vince McMahon has a strong penchant for signing or working with mainstream stars, and he’s no exception. However, unlike Ronda Rousey, he isn’t a big fan of pro wrestling and treats his brand quite seriously, so it’s unlikely that WWE will sign him.
14 Fans Want: Marty Scurll
WWE has recently been showing immense interest in British talents, given their making United Kingdom Championship Tournament a yearly event, introducing UK Championship, signing numerous British indie talents such as Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate, Trent Seven, Wolfgang, Danny Burch, Mark Andrews, Wolfgang, Drake Maverick and Nigel McGuiness, among others in the recent times.
WWE will definitely be looking to sign more British talents, especially with the company reportedly looking to establish a new NXT United Kingdom division. One British wrestler that WWE Universe have been wanting to see in WWE for some time now is Bullet Club member Marty Scurll.
Although he’s only a part of the junior heavyweight division in NJPW, he has the talent, charisma and looks to be an absolute star in any promotion, even one as big as WWE.
Even Paul Heyman, a wrestling genius who has a knack for identifying talent, heaped praise on him recently. "I am, indeed, a huge admirer and fan of Marty Scurll," wrote Brock Lesnar's advocate on Twitter. "Anyone who is not, is simply not paying attention to the trends in the industry nor the proper villain who will show us the way into the future." However, as any Bullet Club member, the Cambridgeshire-born wrestler will want to have superior control over his travel schedule, making a WWE move unlikely.
13 Vince McMahon: Batista
Batista has made no secret of his wanting to return to WWE. The Guardians of the Galaxy star recently told several media outlets that he had talked to Vince McMahon about the possibility of returning to WWE, stating he still had a good working relationship with WWE despite his gripes with them. We have discussed elsewhere in the article that WWE likes being associated with mainstream stars, and it's baffling how they don’t want to do a program with Batista. Had Batista just wanted a quick payday by showing up at Royal Rumble, WrestleMania or The Greatest Royal Rumble, we might have already seen him wrestle for WWE again; however, Batista apparently isn’t a big fan of cheap pops.
The Animal wants to do a program with a Triple H, and it's likely that WWE is sitting on Batista's offer, hoping to do the Batista vs. Triple H program somewhere down the line. However the common consensus is that Vince McMahon already wants the Batista vs. Triple H feud to happen, but it's likely that Vince McMahon will not be able to book a feud between his son-in-law and Batista at least in the near future.
12 Fans Want: Io Shirai
In October 2016, it was reported that Io Shirai was on her way to WWE. Dave Meltzer even reported that WWE had offered her a full-time contract after her impressing the WWE officials in a WWE tryout at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando. WWE even featured her in their website, but she didn’t end up becoming a WWE Superstar. The veteran wrestling journalist later reported that a WWE medical examination had discovered a neck injury that would delay her signing with the company. WWE, however, later rescinded their offer, as they weren’t keen on bringing on board a talent who has concussion, neck and heart issues.
The Japanese wrestling sensation is easily one of the best talents the world has to offer today and the fact that she’s won 13 championship titles with World Wonder Ring Stardom, becoming the first-ever Grand Slam Champion of the promotion proves that. Fans have been sympathetic toward her, as they saw her dream of performing for the biggest American wrestling promotion being crushed because of adopting a dangerous brand of wrestling in the past. However, they won’t get to see her in a WWE ring ever, as Vince McMahon and co. are quite wary of concussion issues of late.
11 Vince McMahon: Alberto Del Rio
No other wrestler who is as popular as Alberto Del Rio has had as tumultuous a career and life as the Mexican sensation. After being pushed to the moon by Vince McMahon, he threw it all away, by carrying a poor attitude around in the locker room, and Triple H and Vince reportedly saw him as a bad influence on others. Since being released by WWE, he's gone on verbal tirades against the company and Triple H, in particular. Many wrestling insiders seem to be of the opinion that his being in a relationship with Paige resulted in the deterioration of her career. He hasn't been taking his career seriously as well.
The former WWE Heavyweight Champion even squandered what many deemed his final chance to redeem his career by being no-showing an Impact Wrestling show.
However, it's only one of the many shows he's no-showed in the recent times. Despite all the troubles he causes, Vince seems keen on bringing him back to WWE. Despite his being the principal owner of the company, Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and everyone who has a say in who the company signs will ensure he doesn't get close to a WWE ring at least for a few more years.
10 Fans Want: The Young Bucks
No other tag team on the independent circuit is as popular as The Young Bucks. Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson have found a way to make huge money outside of WWE, and it won't be an exaggeration to conclude that the one of the biggest reasons why independent wrestling is on the rise as of today. The Jackson brothers clearly don't need WWE, as the number of independent bookings they receive and the t-shirts they sell kids then as busy and as rich as the WWE wrestlers. However, that hasn't stopped WWE Universe from dreaming of having the Jacksons perform for WWE in the future.
The WWE fans want them to square off against the veterans of WWE such as The Shield, New Day, The Bar, The Usos, The Bludgeon Brothers and Breezango. The Young Bucks' signing for WWE will definitely change the landscape of professional wrestling, as they'll surely bring along with them Kenny Omega, Cody Rhodes, Marty Scurll and the other Bullet Club members, and Vince McMahon and co. will never want that to happen as that will result in their losing their stranglehold on the industry at least to an extent. The time also isn't right for them to join WWE yet, as they can continue to milk their popularity on the indies for many years to come.
9 Vince McMahon: Desi Hit Squad
Impact Wrestling earlier this year promised to unearth and promote rare Indian talents. They even signed wrestling legend Gama Singh to lead a stable of Indian wrestlers, named Desi Hit Squad. The stable consists of Rohit Raju, Vikas Kumar, Gursinder Singh and Bhupinder Singh. The fact that they've managed to bring in a veteran wrestler, two English-speaking indie wrestlers with Indian roots and two Indians means that the stable has a huge chance of becoming a hit. We all know that Vince McMahon is keen on catering to the Indian market and, as there's also talks of WWE opening up a sub-brand, NXT India, he'll definitely need men to have a roster that can go.
While he surely can't send Jinder Mahal, The Singh Brothers and Authors of Pain's Akam down to NXT India, they'll surely be open to having Desi Hit Squad be a force to reckoned with in India. Plus, these men, should they be a hit in Impact Wrestling or at least get a little bit of exposure, will put a few American eyes on NXT India, which isn't bad as well. However, he likely won't get to sign him as quickly as he may want, as Impact Wrestling, having only recently lost Mahabali Shera, will want to keep hold of Desi Hit Squad for a while.
8 Fans Want: The Motor City Machine Guns
How The Motor City Machine Guns still haven't been signed up by WWE is anyone's guess. Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley have the looks, style, charisma, talent, marketability and every other factor that WWE looks for in their wrestlers. They have had immense success with Impact Wrestling, NJPW and ROH Wrestling, winning IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, ROH World Tag Team Championship and TNA World Tag Team Championship, among many other tag-team titles.
WWE fans are an emotional bunch, especially when it comes to wrestlers whom they have watched on the indies.
A majority of them want MCMG to be signed up by WWE in the near future and, as the average age of the tag team is 35, there isn't much time left for the Michigan-born wrestlers to make a significant impact in WWE. The WWE careers of fellow Impact Wrestling legends AJ Styles and Bobby Roode has only kicked on in their 40s, so there's still hope for MCMG. However, while everybody would totally love to see them tear up the tag team division in WWE, there's only little chance of that happening in the immediate future.
7 Vince McMahon: Paige VanZant
Vince McMahon is a big fan of monster ratings. He's known to do never shy away from doing things, except for super immoral things that will hurt the repute of the empire he's built, that will boost Raw and SmackDown Live's ratings. He, a senior citizen, even didn't mind bleeding the hard way as he did in a segment with Kevin Owens only to further a storyline. When he sees an opportunity to make money, he grabs it. In UFC star Paige VanZant, he seemingly has seen money as well. After knowing that she pulled in monster ratings while appearing on Dancing with the Stars, he reportedly talked to UFC about the prospect of using her at 2016's SummerSlam.
With WWE allowing Brock Lesnar to compete in UFC 200 around that time, they were close to having her wrestle inside the squared circle, but the UFC fighter rejected their offer, stating that wrestling a pro wrestling match then could be a distraction while practicing for an important UFC fight that summer. She's said in recent months that she definitely wants to go to WWE if the right opportunity comes up, but she's entirely focused on her MMA career right now.
6 Fans Want: Jimmy Jacobs
Fans were head over heels in love with Jimmy Jacobs and his booking, with many claiming that WWE, for only the first time in a long time, produced multi-layered storylines during his time with the company. However, a breach of an unwritten rule meant Vince fired him, and the writer-wrestler doesn’t seem to hold a grudge against the company:
"I am a-okay with the way that everything went down. It [the photo] was given to me as the reason [I was fired],” he said. “I’ve read that there were things leading up to it or it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. If it was, I’m not aware of any of that.” The quality of WWE’s writing has gone down in the recent months, with many blaming Road Dogg and other old-school producers for the dip. Fans clearly want to have him back, especially given the stellar work he’s reportedly been doing with Impact Wrestling of late. However, having only been sent out of the company unceremoniously over a petty reason, he won’t want to return as of yet. Fans needn’t worry, as they have Ryan Ward still on WWE’s payroll.
5 Vince McMahon: Rob Gronkowski
When the WWE lets a non-wrestling talent have an upper hand over any of their full-time employee, it’s an indication that they have at least an ounce of interest in signing them. For instance, they had Ronda Rousey have the upper hand over Stephanie McMahon and Triple H at WrestleMania 31, tagging alongside fellow mainstream attraction The Rock before finally working a full-fledged program with the duo at this year’s WrestleMania.
Rob Gronkowski recently had one such moment when he helped his pal Mojo Rawley win Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 33. Following the Super Bowl this year, Gronk openly said he was contemplating retirement, and even The Rock urged Gronk to pursue a career in Hollywood.
Dave Meltzer reported in February that WWE was then actively trying to sign him after seeing how successful their Ronda Rousey experiment turned out to be.
Not only does he have the mainstream appeal, for he, who weighs 265 pounds and stands at 6ft 6in, also boasts the looks Vince is known to drool over. However, at 28, the New England Patriots tight end seems to want to keep playing at least for a couple more years before trying his hand at pro wrestling, or perhaps acting.
4 Fans Want: Christopher Daniels
To succeed in professional wrestling you need to have an ounce of luck. Who would have ever thought that a jobber like Jinder Mahal good and the winning the WWE Championship and United States Championship, beating the likes of AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura and Randy Orton? Similarly, we have seen a nobody like James Ellsworth not just be called back to WWE after his squash match with Braun Strowman but also handed a contract that would keep him at the company for over one year. However, there are many other talented wrestlers on the other side of that luck spectrum. One such unlucky wrestler is Christopher Daniels.
After working for WWE as an enhancement talent between 1998 and 2001, he worked with many notable wrestling promotions such as ROH Wrestling, Impact Wrestling, NJPW and AAA. Although he would win TNA X Division Championship four times and IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship and become the first ROH Wrestling Grand Slam Champion, a WWE call-up has always eluded him. The sympathetic wrestling fans want him to have a proper run with WWE before it's too late but, given he's 48 already, it's unlikely that WWE will want him a wrestling capacity.
3 Vince McMahon: Kazuchika Okada
Kazuchika Okada is easily one of the most talented wrestlers who is not under the WWE umbrella today. He has earned the backing of wrestling promoters, journalists and fans. NJPW, whom many deem the second biggest wrestling promotion in the world today, are clearly behind the 30-year-old Japanese wrestler, as they have made him the longest-reigning IWGP World Heavyweight Champion with the most number of successful defences. Veteran wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer has rated five of his matches five stars and three other matches six or more stars. The fans are also clearly behind the wrestler, while his WWE counterpart Roman Reigns has been struggling to win over a large demographic of the fans.
Given his age, talent, popularity, looks, marketability and being able to connect with the fans, he has already won over Vince McMahon.
Rumour has it that Vince was impressed with the Japanese sensation's looks; he stands at 6ft 3in tall and has a few pounds on WWE's Seth Rollins. Additionally, he knows that signing him would weaken NJPW at least to an extent. However, NJPW is only beginning to reap the rewards for pushing him, so it's unlikely that they'll want to let him go at this point.
2 WWE Universe: Kenny Omega
Both WWE and WWE Universe would love to have Kenny Omega on the WWE roster. The NJPW stalwart, with the help of his Bullet club buddies, has proved that independent wrestlers need not consider WWE the be-all, end-all of pro-wrestling. He's making more money than half the WWE roster without having to follow the grueling WWE schedule. He's told the press time and again that he currently isn't interested in signing for WWE, stating that he enjoys the freedom that comes with working on the indies. No one can blame him either considering the fact that even the major WWE PPVs have a good number of wrestling fans donning the Bullet Club merchandise in the audience.
While the fans seem appreciative of the work on the indies, they have constantly been asking him to sign for WWE, so they can get to watch their dream matches during his prime. For instance, his locking horns with WWE originals such as Roman Reigns, John Cena and Randy Orton will definitely have the sporting world buzzing. However, as The Cleaner is doing so well away from WWE and doesn't have to travel 300 days a year, it's unlikely he'll make the jump until he's exhausted all his options on the indies.