WWE currently has one of the deepest and most talented rosters in wrestling history, with talent on RAW, SmackDown, NXT, and NXT UK. I’s clear that while their creative team isn’t currently the best, the talent may be the best they’ve ever had (the roster as a whole). Sure, there are no megastars like The Rock, Hulk Hogan or Stone Cold Steve Austin on the roster, but in terms of match quality, WWE has never produced better on a more consistent rate, and that’s due to all the immense talent and the amazing blend of styles that this massive roster boasts.
But for some, WWE just isn’t what it was meant to be, as plenty of indie guys have come in, dominated in NXT and failed on the main roster, and these people could potentially follow in the footsteps of Cody Rhodes and bet on themselves. On the other hand, some guys have used their looks, talent, and hard work to become irreplaceable members of the roster, and wouldn’t dream about leaving the spotlight in the worlds biggest wrestling company.
So read on, as we look at 10 WWE Superstars who will leave the company when their current deals expire, and 10 that will at least take one more shot at superstardom with World Wrestling Entertainment.
20 Leave: Apollo Crews
When Uhaa Nation signed with NXT, it was seen as a very big deal, but given how he has panned out compared to other big indie names, it’s nothing but a disappointment. He was rushed to the main roster due to his amazing athleticism and great physique, and it’s cost him dearly, as he could have used that time to develop his charisma, character and connection with the WWE Universe. We’ve seen guys like EC3 and Drew McIntyre use their departures from WWE to fuel them into becoming better performers, and that’s what will happen when Crews returns to the independents.
19 Re-sign: Andrade “Cien” Almas
WWE have been looking for Rey Mysterio’s Latino replacement in WWE since he was at the height of his popularity, and despite several failures, they may have found that man. The former La Sombra ditched his mask when joining tWWE, but he has the natural looks and charisma needed to become a mega-star in the company. His wrestling ability may not be at the level of a prime Rey Mysterio, but he has all the tools to become a future WWE Champion, and with Zelina Vega by his side, his future with WWE is very, very bright.
18 Leave: Hideo Itami
NXT has been the best thing WWE produces for many years, and the constant high-profile independent signings have kept the momentum going, but KENTA, who should have been a sure thing, was one of the biggest disappointments of this era. He had classic matches with Chris Hero, Daniel Bryan and everyone in between during his career, but injuries and lack of translation between Japan and NXT derailed what should have been a promising career. He’s now performing on 205 Live, and while he’s had some great matches, it’s clear that he’s not going anywhere in WWE, and he will likely return to the red-hot scene in Japan when his contract expires.
17 Re-sign: Ricochet
Ricochet has been all around the world amazing audiences for 15 years, but in 2018, he made his way to NXT and immediately won over a whole new audience. Sure, most of the NXT audience would be familiar with Ricochet by now, but every single match he has managed to step it up to the point where he has people like The Rock claiming that he will be a future World Champion in WWE. It remains to be seen how he goes on the main roster, as the booking between the two shows is very different, but The Future of Flight has star written all over him, and if handled right, he will be a mainstay in WWE for years to come.
16 Leave: The Revival
The Revival are a perfect case of how great NXT’s booking can be compared to RAW, as the two were the hottest team in the world down in developmental. In the present, though, they are treated as nothing on the main roster. Sure, they’ve had opportunities at the RAW Tag Team Titles, but nothing has come of it, and for a team that was so, so good down in NXT, they deserve more. It's true that plenty of people have been in this situation and remained patient, but Cody Rhodes proved that betting on yourself can pay off big time, and if these two did decide to enter the independent scene, they’d be big stars in every company they work for.
15 Re-sign: Aleister Black
WWE still has a tendency to push the bigger guys with traditional looks, but we’ve seen people like CM Punk and others break through that barrier, and the next in that line is the Anti-Hero, Aleister Black. He’s embroiled in one of the most interesting stories WWE have produced in years, but it’s only a matter of time until he hits the main roster, and if the reports are true that the higher-ups are high on him, he’ll be big for years to come. There are plenty of spots up for grab in the main event, and someone with the aura and ability of Black should step up and take one of them.
14 Leave: Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson are two of the baddest men on the planet, and their run in New Japan helped the propel Bullet Club to the top of the mountain. But like we expected when they joined WWE, they were treated very poorly. Sure, they get to travel the world, making money and competing on big stages, but these two are so much more than WWE have allowed them to be. When presented as true tough guys, these two are almost unmatched in the tag team division, and with WWE holding them back, a return to the ranks of New Japan would be fantastic for their careers.
13 Re-sign: Tyler Bate, Trent Seven, and Pete Dunn
This one is hard to predict, as three men will always have their own needs and desires, but the trio of Tyler Bate, Trent Seven, and Pete Dunne seem to all have one goal in mind – elevate the UK scene to the highest possible point. Because of this, they will likely be with WWE for years to come, and even if they break up, the three of them are essential to WWE’s expansion into the UK. As individuals, these three can all be superstars in WWE, especially Pete and Tyler who are 25 and 21 respectively, with many legends in the wrestling business predicting them to be WrestleMania headliners one day.
12 Leave: Alicia Fox
Alicia Fox has been with WWE for over 10 years now, and in that time hasn’t really stood out much, so with all the talent for the future that was on display at Evolution, it seems that her time with the company is coming to an end. That’s not to disrespect Fox, as she is quite a talented performer, but with everyone down in NXT and NXT UK, there’s just going to be no room for her in the near future, and it’s clear WWE isn’t doing anything with her anyway. Working with the world's top wrestling company for 10 years is nothing to scoff at, and although many other women accomplished much more than Fox, she should be proud of her achievements and improvements over time. It’s just time for the new generation to step up and shine.
11 Re-sign: Toni Storm
Toni Storm has been making a name for herself in more than 15 countries for the past 10 years (despite only being 23), and that hard work has culminated in her being crowned the winner of the second Mae Young Classic, but that’s only the beginning. Storm may not be the WWE UK Women’s Champion, but she’s easily the biggest star in the division, and when she’s done there, she will take over the main roster. The Australian-born star has the ‘IT Factor’, and if she’s treated right on the main roster, she could be just as big a star as the likes of Becky Lynch or Ronda Rousey.
10 Leave: Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn was once the heart and soul of NXT in the same vein that Johnny Gargano is right now, and it seemed like he was destined for greatness on the main roster. But yet again, the overexposure and poor booking on the main roster has cost him. His injury has derailed what was quite a promising heel turn, and it’s uncertain what his role will be when he returns (a potential Cruiserweight run?), but it’s clear that he could have a bright future on the independent scene. Whether it’s in New Japan or strictly ROH and UK indies, he should take a chance on himself like Cody did, because he has so much potential as a top star.
9 Re-sign: The Undisputed Era
It’s always hard to predict if four separate people are all going to re-sign, but in this case, it’s quite easy, as The Undisputed Era are one of the most promising groups to come through NXT in quite some time. With two singles stars in Adam Cole and Roderick Strong and the tag-team duo of Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish, this unit could go all the way to the top on the main roster, and it makes sense for them to re-sign. Sure, things could definitely change once they are called up to the main roster, but together they have an aura and X-factor that we haven’t seen in a group since The Shield, and together, they’ll run roughshod over WWE for years to come.
8 Leave: Goldust
Despite the odd gimmick that many feared wouldn’t catch on when it first appeared, Goldust has gone on to have quite an impressive career in WWE, but unfortunately, Father Time is undefeated, and his career is coming to an end. He had one final fantastic tag team run alongside his brother Cody, but since then, it’s clear that he’s been slowing down, and with a recent knee injury, it’s clear his days are numbered. He isn’t going to go down as one of the all-time greats, but Goldust is a sure-fire WWE Hall of Famer. However, this will be his last contract, as he just can’t go in the ring anymore.
7 Re-sign: Drew McIntyre
Drew McIntyre was announced as the "Chosen One" almost a decade ago by Vince McMahon, but his first run didn’t live up to those lofty heights, and after a return to the red-hot UK indie scene, the Scottish Psychopath is back and looking like a future Universal Champion. After winning the Tag Team titles with Dolph Ziggler, it’s clear his future is much bigger and brighter, and with Brock Lesnar on top, there’s a definite chance he could dethrone him. Whether it happens now or in the future, it’s clear that Vince is still high on Drew, and when he re-signs, he could be cemented as the face of the company in the absence of Roman Reigns.
6 Leave: Shinsuke Nakamura
The King of Strong Style carved out an incredible career over 15 years in New Japan Pro Wrestling, and like so many other indie stars, his WWE career started with a bang. Despite being the current United States Champion, he just doesn’t feel special. At his best, Nakamura has an aura and a presence that is unmatched in professional wrestling, and like most expected when he was called up to SmackDown, he’s now just another face on the card. Sure, things can turn around in a hurry, but his style is way too toned down now, and it just doesn’t work, so a return to New Japan Pro Wrestling with a plethora of new opponents would be fantastic.
5 Re-sign: AJ Styles
AJ Styles travelled the world for 20 years honing his craft, becoming the best wrestler in the entire world, and while some worried he wouldn’t translate to the big leagues, he has smashed those doubts out of the park, becoming a dominant WWE Champion. Styles is now in his early 40s, and a return to the hard-hitting independent scene just isn’t on the cards, as he will continue to be a valuable star for WWE going forward. If AJ can maintain his health and wrestle for several more years, he will cement his legacy as one of the greatest wrestlers of all-time, and he’s not going to leave WWE.
4 Leave: Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler and his contract was a big talking point in professional wrestling, but he managed to re-sign with the company, and the way he’s been treated alongside Drew McIntyre, it was a great decision for his career. However, after more than a decade tearing it up week after week for WWE, Ziggler’s career may be coming to an end, and as his contract is reportedly a two-year deal, he’s still got a bit of time left. This latest run alongside Drew, no matter how it ends may go down as one of the best in his career, may be his last, and with pursuits in stand up comedy, he will be just fine once he leaves WWE.
3 Re-sign: Seth Rollins
Ever since the days of Tyler Black in ROH, Seth Rollins has been seen as a future star in WWE, and after his arrival with The Shield in 2012, he’s been living up to the hype. During his five years on the main roster, Rollins has won every title in the company, and he has put on some incredible matches, and with his current standing in the company, it’s unlikely that either side will want to part ways. All three men from The Shield are valuable parts of WWE, and it makes no sense for any of them to leave, and with the Intercontinental Championship and RAW Tag Team Championship around his waist, he’s going to be a megastar for years to come.
2 Leave: Finn Balor
Finn Balor entered WWE off an amazing tenure in New Japan Pro Wrestling as Prince Devitt, and while he killed it in NXT, his momentum has completely stalled on RAW, and he’s in dire need of a restart. His debut on the main roster came with a Universal Championship victory, but ever since that injury, he has failed to recapture the momentum and aura that his name once carried, and it’s going to be hard to get it back. Drew McIntyre, Braun Strowman, Bobby Lashley, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose all seemingly sit ahead of Balor on the roster on RAW, and it just makes sense for him to walk away, as he could put an even bigger spotlight back on the company where he first made his name.
1 Re-sign: Braun Strowman
WWE Performance Center is a state of the art facility that is the home of WWE’s future generation and NXT, but they’ve yet to produce a consistent amount of home-grown talent. There are a few exceptions such as Carmella, Alexa Bliss, and Elias, but no one has taken to the ring like The Monster Among Men, Braun Strowman, who is one of the company's biggest stars. He’s yet to win the big one, but Braun has the look, the size, the ability, the charisma, and the athleticism to become the face of the company for years to come, so he’s not leaving.