For the most part, WWE is a good judge of talent. This has been especially true in recent years. Younger fans may not remember this, but WWE's scouting department has had some less than stellar periods. There was a gap between when Jim Ross was fired from his Head of Talent Relations position, and when Triple H started running developmental. Not a lot of good things happened within that gap.
Triple H, to his credit, does seem to have a good handle on which independent wrestling stars would be able to make it in WWE. For the most part he's been correct, but there have been some truly epic failures along the way, especially when he was new in the role.
This is not to say that all of the wrestlers featured on this article are bad wrestlers, only that they were bad signings. It made little sense for WWE to invest the time, money and effort into these characters considering what they got back from the performers themselves. Often, it was not the fault of the wrestler themselves but rather, the gimmick or storylines they were saddled with.
Regardless of who is at fault for these signings, here are the 15 worst WWE signings since 2010, enjoy!
15 El Torito
El Torito was signed by WWE in 2013. He was immediately added to a team with the Colons, as they were re-packaged as bull-fighters. Why this happened is anyone's guess.
Before WWE, Torito wrestled in AAA Lucha Libre and CMLL Lucha Libre in Mexico. As part of the secretive luchador society, Torito's real name is unknown, much like the legendary Blue Demon Jr. Evidently, such wrestlers are paid in cash or are able to deposit payments under their gimmick name.
There was only one other wrestler in the WWE at the time who was around El Torito's size, and that was Hornswoggle. While El Torito would have Diego and Fernando from Los Matadores by his side, Hornswoggle would join 3MB, making them 3.5MB. Torito would defeat Hornswoggle in a "Wee LC" match, and again in a "Hair Vs Mask match, resulting in Hornswoggle being shaved bald.
14 Sin Cara (Original)
Sin Cara doesn't get much camera time these days, and when he does it's mainly on Main Event or dark matches. The guy they originally signed for the role however, was a huge star in Mexico, and became one again after WWE released him.
Known as Mistico, he had been a big star for the CMLL promotion since 2004, and was signed by WWE in 2011. Unlike other stars who would come after him, Mistico didn't want to start out in developmental, believing himself to be too big a star.
Early into his WWE tenure, he failed a Wellness Policy test and was suspended. WWE, already frustrated with Sin Cara's lack of effort at learning English and refusal to go to developmental, simply put somebody else (Jorge Arias) in the role. WWE would finally cut ties with the original Sin Cara in early 2014.
13 Dana Brooke
There are some who find Dana Brooke to be very talented. She's strong, has personality, and seems like someone who could have a run in WWE. That's probably why the company viewed her as a blue chip prospect when they signed her in 2013.
The now 28 year old had been a professional bodybuilder before signing with WWE, participating in various events put on by the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness. She's even competed at several Arnold Classic events.
When WWE brought her up to the main roster in 2016 as Charlotte's protege, the idea was to build towards a match between the two. Brooke has been labelled as a little sloppy in the ring however, and so the company lost confidence in her and the feud with Charlotte ended with a whimper on an episode of Raw. She's been lost in the shuffle since.
12 Eva Marie
In many ways, Eva Marie represents all that was wrong about how WWE used to scout for talented female performers. Marie was a fitness model before WWE discovered her, a profession that the company has frequently scouted for talent in.
There is a precedent for fitness models doing quite well in WWE however, as this was how Trish Stratus was discovered. Nowadays however, the vast majority of women performers in WWE are there because they grew up wanting to be wrestlers, not models. Eva Marie was not passionate about becoming a professional wrestler, and the WWE Universe picked up on this.
Despite being ridiculously photogenic and stunning, the live crowds turned on her for every botched move or misunderstood rule. She hasn't been seen on WWE television since last August, after she failed a Wellness Policy exam.
11 Simon Gotch
Seth Lesser, better known to wrestling fans as Simon Gotch, spent 11 years on the independent scene before signing with WWE in 2013. While wrestling for smaller promotions, such as Chikara, PWG and Full Impact Pro, Gotch would use a gimmick very similar to the one he used in WWE.
Gotch was immediately put in a tag team with Aiden English, who at that time had been using a singing gimmick similar to the one he's currently portraying on SmackDown.
The Vaudevillians got over in NXT with a unique and entertaining gimmick. The team even won the NXT Tag Team Championships. After getting called up to the main roster however, SmackDown fans couldn't make hide nor hare of what they were supposed to think of the team. Gotch also developed a poor reputation backstage, and got himself released in 2017, after less than a year on the main roster.
10 Zeb Colter
WWE signed Wayne Maurice Keown, better known to wrestling fans as Dutch Mantel or Zeb Colter, in 2013. He had been with the company previously, but in his last stint for the promotion he managed Jack Swagger, and briefly Cesaro.
His gimmick was that of an American who didn't like people "sneaking across their borders". The idea was that he would be the perfect bad guy for a Mexican babyface, such as Alberto Del Rio.
The problem was that Del Rio didn't really catch on as a babyface. Then in 2015, when Del Rio returned to the company after his latest stint in Mexico, they aligned him and Colter as the "Mexamericans". The gimmick wasn't received well and was eventually dropped. WWE released Colter in 2016, and he went on to join the booking committee of Impact Wrestling.
Arguably better known to wrestling fans as Awesome Kong, Kia Stevens was on the WWE roster as Kharma from 2010 to 2012. She served a very minor role in her short-stint despite the hype.
She signed a WWE contract in late 2010, but didn't show up on television until the spring of 2011. She began by attacking any of the females on the roster, until during one segment in where she broke down crying before she attacked anyone. The next week she would announce she was pregnant and would be taking time off.
Unfortunately, Kharma lost her baby and it took its toll on her. She would wrestle her one and only WWE match at the Royal Rumble in 2012, when she was a surprise entrant in the Rumble match. Afterwards, she would request more time off from the company, and when she hadn't returned by that summer, the company released her.
8 The Ascension
Recently it was discovered that The Ascension could not have been the ones to trash Breezeango's office. During the time the incident occurred, the two were at an Eddie Money concert.
Viktor and Konnor were actually quite the popular team in NXT, but when they stepped up to the main roster it became clear they were not an elite level tag team. They've benn more or less jobbers, or the butt of jokes in Breezeango skits ever since.
Konnor was signed in 2010, but had previously been in developmental for a stint in 2007. Viktor was signed in 2011, but had been wrestling on the independents for almost 11 years by that point. That they're both in their late 30s probably suggests this is the best it's going to get for the Ascension in WWE.
7 Elias Samson
Is anyone liking this so far?
As of this writing, Elias Samson is working a small program with Finn Balor. Although it looks as though Balor will now be moving onto a program with Bray Wyatt. In the short time they were working together, Samson managed to almost knock Finn's head off with his guitar. For the sake of Finn Balor, let's all hope that rivalry is finished.
The WWE decided to "walk with Elias" by signing the performer to a contract in 2014. Before WWE came calling, Samson wrestled on the independent circuit as Logan Shulo. Samson debuted in NXT as a jobber, but would eventually adopt The Drifter gimmick in 2015. He would get beaten by Kassius Ohno in a "Loser Leaves NXT" match, which resulted in his WWE main roster call-up shortly after WrestleMania 33.
6 Batista (2014)
Batista retired from WWE in 2010, but made a return in 2014. They couldn't have messed up his return anymore if they tried. The company announced in December 2013 that Batista would be returning at the 2014 Royal Rumble, but forgot to mention that Daniel Bryan wouldn't be.
Unfortunately, that was the year the fans attending the Rumble live turned on the show when they realized Daniel Bryan wasn't in the match. The fans turned on Batista as well, which put a hurting on the planned Batista versus Randy Orton match at WrestleMania. The company would be forced to completely rewrite their biggest show of the year, and turn Batista into a bad guy in the process.
After a few months, Batista decided that his Hollywood career was more enjoyable than being booed in arenas across the country, and left the company once again.
5 Solomon Crowe
This isn't a negative comment on Sam Johnston, the performer who plays Sami Callihan, aka Jeremiah Crane aka Solomon Crowe. Only that if they weren't going to use the guy much from 2012-2015 then why bother signing him?
Johnston has a fairly large fanbase stemming from his days on the independent circuit and in Combat Zone Wrestling. For a period of three years however, none of his fans got to see him wrestle. That's because WWE had him locked up in developmental and hardly ever put the guy on TV. He managed to get a small push in NXT under the gimmick of a deranged hacker, but WWE evidently didn't see much in him and didn't really give the character much air time.
In late 2015, sensing he wasn't going to be used anymore than he had been, he requested and was granted his release.
4 Austin Aries
Before everyone gets upset, this is not a negative knock on Austin Aries. He's obviously a very talented wrestler, but his signing did not work out well for WWE.
The problem with the Austin Aries signing is he refused to help 205 Live. Originally, he had been signed to appear on NXT, but got transferred to 205 Live to feud with Neville. Evidently, Aries was upset that after his feud with Neville, he was going to be put in the mid-card of 205 Live. While it's understandable that Aries thought this was a waste of his talents, it also would have greatly improved the state of the show. Aries refusing to accept the role makes the brand look really bad, and removes one of its most talented performers.
3 James Ellsworth
James Ellsworth got over on WWE television as a jobber guy who had no chin. This made people laugh, and somehow the guy got a multi-year contract with the WWE over it.
Mick Foley has been taking some of the credit (blame?) for this signing, saying that he told WWE management he saw money in the guy. After the first ever women's Money in the Bank match however, some people are hoping they'll never see him again. The response to his involvement in that match was so poor, WWE opted to suspend him in storyline to keep him off TV long enough for fans to forget what happened.
Stone Cold Steve Austin has also said he finds the guy "entertaining as hell", so perhaps there are those who really enjoy Ellsworth. There are definitely plenty who've had enough of him however.
2 Kevin Nash (2011)
Some of you may have forgotten that WWE signed Kevin Nash in 2011. You are the lucky ones.
In 2011, Nash entered the Royal Rumble as Diesel, and was warmly received by the WWE audience. He would return to the company later that year at SummerSlam, attacking CM Punk and allowing Alberto Del Rios to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase. Nash then demanded a match against Punk, but Triple H put himself in the match opposite Punk instead. This infuriated Nash, who said he could still wrestle despite being in his 50s. The angle set the stage for a brief Nash and Triple H program, which few enjoyed.
Nash would once again enter the 2014 Royal Rumble as well, eventually being eliminated by Roman Reigns. He has made other appearances throughout the years, usually alongside his friends in The Kliq.
1 Alberto Del Rio (2015)
Alberto Del Rio left WWE in 2014, but was rehired in 2015. They should have never rehired the guy. Not only did they not get much out of him, they may have also lost Paige.
In 2016, Paige and Del Rio, who had begun seeing each other, but were drafted to separate brands. Del Rio quit the company as a result, and Paige is on the cusp, though she's still under contract. Since then, the two have been something of a hot mess of a couple. There have been frequent concerns expressed by Paige's family that their relationship is toxic, and that they want Paige to leave him.
Del Rio ended up signing with Impact Wrestling, where he won the promotion's World Championship. Paige is still said to be rehabbing a shoulder injury, but there is no timetable for her return.