The WWE has grown to be bigger than anyone (except for Vince McMahon) could have ever imagined. This is great for business and the sport. The rich get richer and wrestling continues to thrive, which is obviously great for wrestling fans. But there are some problems for some with the growth.
The WWE roster is massive right now. You would think that the bigger the better when it comes to how many wrestlers the WWE can use in their programming, but it doesn’t always work that way. In fact, for the programming to be effective, only a small portion of the roster can be regularly featured. To build feuds that draw money for a big PPV blowoff, the WWE has to focus the viewers attention. A PPV should only be around three hours for maximum enjoyment. Matches also need a certain amount of time to tell a story. This means many wrestlers have nothing meaningful to do.
Look at the mid card right now. We’ve got former world champions like John Cena and Daniel Bryan holding secondary titles just to keep them active. There’s already a logjam up front in the main event after WrestleMania’s Lesnar-Rollins-Reigns swerve, and don’t forget that Randy Orton beat Rollins that night too.
Below them are the under utilized tag and Diva’s division vying for time. Mix in the burgeoning NXT pushing up from underneath and the WWE has created something akin to the trash compactor walls in the first Star Wars. It’s easy to see who could be on the way out. Why not have a secondary Royal Rumble where the last man in the ring gets to stay in the WWE? Thrown over the rope and you’re out of the company!
Included on this list are a few surprising names as well. It’s not all about the forgotten bottom-feeders, there are some near the top that I’d like to discuss as well. And don't say John Cena! You'd have to be the dumbest businessman in the world to release him.
So get to it!
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10 The Miz
His WrestleMania main event was a disaster. He hasn't earned credibility among the hardcore fans. The Miz spends most of his time talking on WWE produced shows that are more similar to something you would see on VH1.
So get him off the in-ring roster and use him that way exclusively. If not purely as an interviewer or social media personality, how about trying him in the broadcast booth? I’m not a fan of the Miz in the ring, but I would definitely give him a shot replacing either Cole or Lawler.
Not so much a release as a rearrangement.
9 Big Show
He had a great run and he’s a loyal soldier, but it feels like his time has come. After Roman Reigns was victimized by the Seth Rollins WrestleMania swerve, he seems to be relegated to a feud with the Big Show; which feels like a major step back. The Big Show is still a decent enough performer, but with an overflowing mid-card, the Show is taking up a spot that could be used to elevate a younger wrestler.
Instead of Show and Reigns, how about Cesaro? He's good enough to eventually break out on his own again when his tag team with Kidd fizzles out and the internet fans love to cheer Cesaro as much as they love to boo Reigns. It could be an ultimate IWC vs WWE feud.
Big Show's tenure also commands a high salary which is money the WWE could use elsewhere. To use a sports analogy, you could look at Show as a cap casualty. Thanks for the memories Big Show, but a new era is coming, and it’s time to make room.
8 Mark Henry
Vince loves weightlifters. Henry was given such a hilariously bad (though it was GREAT for Henry) contract in the 90’s that we’re still talking about it today. Henry did show improvement to his severely lacking skills, and even pulled off a few funny gimmicks, but he’s always felt out of his depth.
Henry was fortunate to have an incredibly long run, but at 42, it’s time to fully relinquish his duties. There are far more young guns that need a shot. Again, he just feels like a guy who's been around too long in a business that screams for constant change.
7 Rosa Mendes
Divas careers are usually short in general. Whether it's due to the women wanting to start a family, fizzling out with the fans or just decide to pursue other ventures, not many divas are around for long. Heck, AJ Lee and Beth Phoenix were some of the best in years, yet each barely lasted five years on the main roster.
Rosa debuted in FCW back in 2008 and hasn't shown much improvement in the ring. The WWE seems to be confused as to what to do with her, as she was recently paired with Fandango. Either make her strictly a valet, or cut your losses and move on. There are plenty of capable ladies on NXT hungry for a main roster spot.
It's quite a mystery how R-Truth manages to stick around. His "what's up?" schtick is old and tired. The only time he was really entertaining was when he was talking to "Little Jimmy" and was the paranoid, crazy Truth.
At 43 years old, he's clearly peaked in the WWE. Wins over him mean little and him beating any newcomer is a headscratcher, as it does nothing to enhance them. They clearly don't have major plans for him, so what's the use in keeping him around? WWE is supposed to be a young man's game, unless you're actually a top draw, which Truth is not.
Along with the Big Show, Kane is a loyal soldier who deserves a nice paycheck. But his corporate gimmick is pretty lame and fans are getting pretty bored of these two old villains. Kane has been unmasked for so long that we’re getting too far away from his amazing fire and brimstone days. I don’t want his time in dress pants to be on equal footing as his best years.
We’re always hearing about how smart Jacobs is, so perhaps a role as management/creative would suit him. Vince can reward a company guy with a great job post-wrestling, and the old bugger can get out of the ring and stop risking injury.
The Royal Rumble’s final battle between Big Show, Kane, and Reigns told you everything you needed to know. The fans are just not into it.
4 Jerry Lawler
Another part of the problem with the current weak broadcast team. I liked Lawler as the over-the-top heel color man. His high pitched hyena laughter was an excellent foil for Jim Ross's voice of reason. His perverted attitude was highly believable, and the man was a part of wrestling history from the territory days. His character was fun to dislike, a perfect heel.
Lawyer’s current incarnation is bland and dull. He sounds like he’s calling a pre-season basketball game. Lawler just doesn’t get how to be a face commentator. He seems to think that he should give the action somber reverence, draining the excitement and fun from the matches. He’s a giant downer, and it doesn't appear to be getting any better.
Lawler’s history and knowledge could be better utilized behind-the-scenes. But as a commentator, the time has come to relieve him of duties.
3 Jack Swagger
He had his big run and that seems to be completely in the past. Swagger’s mugshot and problems with the Wellness Policy are not doing him any favors. He’s buried on low cards in meaningless matches. Is it better to just let him move on somewhere else? ROH is a viable alternative and even TNA is still kicking around. Swagger is still a great wrestler and the fans were behind him. A release from the WWE could be an excellent boost for his career.
2 Zack Ryder
It just doesn’t seem like the WWE are too keen on this guy, (although it looks like they cherry pick some of his best ideas). After Ryder had been relegated (again) to lower status, his Youtube channel took off, amassing millions of views (perhaps the idea for the WWE Network as well?). He was the self-proclaimed Internet Champion, which is a belt playable in several WWE games YET Ryder himself is not even in WWE 2k15! 2K Representatives were asked why Ryder was missing and they said they could only feature wrestlers that were regularly scheduled on WWE programming; ouch.
Ryder has fought back several times to revitalize his own career and the WWE relents each time to give him a sliver of a push. Yet, it always seems to flatline into lameness.
Ryder is obviously a talented self-promoter and might even do better on his own or with another wrestling company that has room for a social-media relevant superstar at the top of their ranks. Another release that could actually turn out to be the best thing for the performer.
1 Michael Cole
Ever met a Michael Cole fan? Cole is either overworked and burnt out, or he just lacks talent. Cole is hopelessly mediocre compared to legends like Jim Ross, Gorilla Monsoon, and even Vince McMahon. He’s off-topic most of the match, highlighting with glee any mistakes his partners make instead of professionally breezing past them (as he ironically bumbles through his own broadcast.) Cole is simply not good enough, and it’s an incredibly frustrating mystery as to why they don’t replace the guy.
The most logical reason I can think of is that he works a crazy schedule for average money, while doing whatever is asked. It’s either that McMahon/HHH love the guy like family, or heck, maybe they think he’s just that good. I myself find that hard to believe and lean heavily towards it being a money issue.
It’s a damn shame really. Becoming a professional sports broadcaster is tough enough, and that’s with upwards of 30 teams in each pro league. But to be the WWE’s main guy? Well that’s just one spot. One would assume that to fill just one coveted spot you could have your pick from a very large group of talented broadcaster aching to call some wrestling.
And that’s what is missing, the ache and desire to call the best damn match. Jim Ross made matches sound like life or death, and that can’t be understated as to how important it is. It’s about suspension of disbelief, entertainment, and excitement. I want JR, I want Monsoon, I’ll take Vince’s weird announcing voice. I just can’t stand any more Cole.
Come on WWE, take a poll, get rid of Cole.
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