Professional wrestling is all about big moments, like when wrestlers make their unexpected returns. We have seen guys join (or re-join) the WWE throughout the years that we never would have expected, including Sting, Bruno Sammartino and The Ultimate Warrior. For years leading up to their surprise entrances, we thought we would never see the day where the beef was squashed between the talent and the WWE.
Then, there are those people that you can almost bank on never coming back to the WWE. Whether it be because Vince McMahon screwed them over, they screwed Vince McMahon over or they just flat out weren’t good at their job, these people shouldn’t be expected to make a surprise entrance at Monday Night Raw... ever.
Clearly, WWE has been able to squash a lot of the beef that they have had with former employees, but some are too far gone to salvage a relationship with. Things change between people and you never know, but you definitely wouldn’t want to put your money on it. Who are we talking about, exactly? Here are 15 former WWE employees that will never return. As much as we might want some of them to make a comeback, it’s just not going to happen.
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15 Kurt Angle
The former Olympic gold medalist, Kurt Angle, became a huge part of the WWE as a main eventer from 1998 to 2006. Angle won five world titles while with WWE and even added a multitude of other title runs, including being the 2000 King of the Ring. Angle departed the WWE in 2006 due to multiple injuries and went over to TNA. Over the past decade, there seem to be rumors about Angle making a return to the WWE ring, but it has never come to fruition.
So why wouldn’t they be willing to bring back such a popular name who might be able to put on a couple of memorable matches? If you ask the man himself, he seems to have the answer. Angle had been arrested multiple times since leaving the WWE, a publicly traded company, and has had other issues with substance abuse. Angle said that the WWE has “the reputation they have to uphold, so you really have to be careful who you hire.” Angle has claimed that he will return, but we're not holding out breath. If it hasn't happened yet, we wouldn't expect it. If anything, he'll return for a Hall of Fame induction in the future.
14 Zahra Schreiber
Zahra Schreiber definitely wasn’t as well known as Kurt Angle and was struggling just to get on television. Schreiber started out with WWE in 2014 as a member of the NXT roster where her highlight at first was being one of Adam Rose’s Rosebuds. She then became a ring announcer after a collarbone injury and eventually became a manager in 2015. Later on, photographs made their rounds on the internet of Schreiber having some Nazi memorabilia in her house.
Two days later, Schreiber (who was dating Seth Rollins at the time) was fired by WWE. Schreiber said that “I am in no way, shape or form an anti-Semite, nor do I condone anti-Semitism.” While that may or may not be true, hiring her back would result in the WWE having to do a lot of damage control and she wasn’t close enough to a big name to warrant bringing her back.
13 Colt Cabana
Colt Cabana is one of those indie darlings that has been popular all over the world, but never found long term success with the WWE. Cabana had wrestled for many different promotions before finally landing a gig with WWE in 2007 and moved up to the main roster the next year. Cabana wasn’t there very long, lasting just five months before getting released from his contract after he had primarily been a jobber.
Cabana has returned to the independent circuit and has found success again, so he probably wouldn’t even want to return to the WWE if given the offer. However, you can expect the WWE to not make that call, anyway. Cabana, CM Punk’s best friend, had Punk on his “The Art of Wrestling Podcast” where Punk made a lot of comments about WWE’s inner workings. WWE doctor Christopher Amann named Cabana as a co-defendant in his case against Punk.
12 Josh Mathews
After trying out as a wrestler with Tough Enough in 2001 (and finishing second), Josh Mathews was eventually offered a job at WWE as an announcer. Mathews had been a backstage interviewer for the first four years before becoming a commentator for some of the “B” shows like Main Event and Saturday Morning Slam. Mathews wasn’t exactly the most well liked announcer that the WWE has had and he was released from his contract in June 2014.
Since then, Mathews has been working with TNA as their primary play-by-play announcer and the WWE is not in a rush to bring him back. Not only do WWE fans not really miss Mathews, but Mathews hasn’t been afraid to make comments about the WWE on behalf of TNA. Mathews has been frustrated with WWE multiple times, especially when they brought up the past of wrestlers like Sting (who was said to be in “obscurity”) and Samoa Joe, without mentioning TNA.
At the time of writing this, it has only been a few days since Ryback was officially released from the WWE and it felt right to include him. Ryback showed a lot of promise after being repackaged from his Skip Sheffield Nexus days. After squashing jobbers left and right, Ryback had gotten himself into the main event scene with title matches against the likes of CM Punk. Although Ryback never won the big one, he did win five Slammy Awards and an Intercontinental Title.
Ryback’s release was a pretty messy one and it started back in May 2016. Ryback posted online that he was having a contract dispute and that wrestlers weren’t being paid nearly enough for what they do. Vince McMahon and the other higher ups didn’t appreciate that very much and they finally decided that it couldn’t be worked out. Now Ryback is going to be wrestling in the independent ranks as The Big Guy and probably won’t be returning to WWE.
10 Earl Hebner
If there were any big WWE matches happening throughout the late 1980s to the mid 2000s, Earl Hebner was sure to be the official. Hebner was certainly the most famous referee that the WWE had, and he was included in the infamous 1997 Montreal Screwjob. Things seemed to be going well until 2005, when his career in WWE quickly came to an end. Hebner and his brother, Dave, were both released from the company after selling WWE merchandise without permission.
Hebner had knowledge of the sales and was part owner of the shop that was selling the merchandise. Hebner has been an official with TNA ever since. Now, Hebner is part of a recent class action lawsuit against the WWE that has said the WWE covered up the impact that injuries could have. Between selling merchandise without permission and suing the company, there’s no way WWE calls Hebner back.
9 Mike Adamle
A former NFL running back that played in the league for six seasons, Mike Adamle was more well known for his time as an announcer, particularly for American Gladiators from 1989 to 1996. Adamle had announced in two Olympics on top of that and was hired by the WWE in early 2008. It was there that he started as a backstage interviewer and was completely out of his element. In his first ever segment, he called Jeff Hardy “Jeff Harvey.”
It was all downhill from therem as Adamle was pulled off of the ECW announce team and for some reason became the General Manager of Monday Night Raw. Adamle continued to struggle in the position, needing to read off of a physical script at times. Within months, Adamle’s WWE career came to an end and he went back to sports announcing. Adamle seems like a nice enough guy, but he was so horrendous during his time in WWE that they won’t want him back.
8 Mr. Kennedy
It’s hard to see someone with so much potential squander it all, but that’s what Mr. Kennedy did while with WWE. Kennedy made his debut on the WWE main roster in 2005 and quickly won the United States Championship. It appeared that Kennedy was in line for a huge push in 2007, but it was all for naught. Injuries ruined his time as Mr. Money in the Bank and then he started to flounder in the midcard before eventually being released in May 2009.
Kennedy said that Randy Orton complained to management about Kennedy’s safety in the ring, which led to him being fired. It probably didn’t help that Anderson lied at one point about quitting steroids once he joined the WWE, but it was found out that he was still on the juice while with the company. As Kurt Angle mentioned, WWE is a publicly traded company and steroids are awfully frowned upon. Just to make matters worse in 2016, Kennedy was released from TNA after failing another drug test.
7 Jim Ross
Pretty much every WWE fan out there will tell you that Jim Ross is their favorite all-time announcer. The Oklahoma native and BBQ connoisseur was a big part of The Attitude Era and called some of the biggest matches in WWE history. Ross had come back part-time earlier this decade, but was released after the WWE 2K14 roster announcement. Vince McMahon said that Ross’ behavior at the event was unacceptable. McMahon even added that there was “no heat” between the two, but we’re not likely to see Good Ol’ J.R. back.
In the years since his release, Ross has been very critical of the WWE, including in an Ask Me Anything thread on Reddit. Ross used words like “EPIC FAIL” to describe the company’s production and also said that “WWE has spoken and (they) don't want me on their broadcasts. End of story.”
6 Vince Russo
Vince Russo started his career with WWE as a freelance writer for the magazine and then became the editor. After the ratings hit their lowest in 1996, Russo was asked to become a storyline writer and was promoted to head writer in 1997. Throughout that time, the ratings for Monday Night Raw started to climb and it became more watched than WCW Monday Nitro. A dispute with Vince McMahon led to Russo parting ways and he joined WCW.
Russo came back to WWE in 2002 for a very brief time, but there was a huge power struggle once his storylines were immediately shot down. Since then, Russo had been writing on-again and off-again with TNA, including doing so in secret. Russo has been critical of the WWE product over the past few years and even offered up his services. The WWE had no interest and it appears that they never will in the future.
5 Justin Roberts
A fan favorite among the WWE ring announcers since Howard Finkel’s departure, Justin Roberts joined the WWE in 2002 and was the ring announcer for pretty much every show. Roberts had some big moments, including doing the main event at WrestleMania XXIV, and was known for his signature announcements for whenever John Cena or The Undertaker were making their way to the ring.
In 2014, Roberts was released from the WWE and it left people scratching their heads. Apparently it had to do with the charitable organization that the WWE started for Connor “The Crusher” Michalek. Roberts basically claimed that the charity was only set up to try and stir up some goodwill for the WWE and that he was much more involved with Michalek than Daniel Bryan, who was promoted as basically being Michalek’s best friend. Roberts called out Stephanie McMahon and Triple H in a tell-all that scathed them for trying to grab some good press in what might have been a lie.
4 Jeff Jarrett
Jeff Jarrett started out his time with the WWE back in 1993, but left briefly for the WCW in 1996. The next year, Jarrett would return to WWE, but it would end in a messy fashion. Jarrett’s contract expired in October of 1999, but he still wrestled a day after it ended to lose his Intercontinental Championship to Chyna. Chyna would claim that it was Jarrett and Russo that colluded to push back the match so that Jarrett could extort WWE for more money.
Jarrett wouldn’t drop the title without receiving a large amount of money from McMahon and it’s believed to be in the neighborhood of $300,000. For years, McMahon has hated Jarrett with a passion for basically conning six figures out of him. Not only that, but Jarrett has been in the upper management with several direct competitors since leaving WWE. This is one grudge that Vince will never let go of, certainly.
3 CM Punk
While you don’t want to say “never,” it seems that the likelihood of CM Punk returning to a WWE ring gets less and less with each passing day. Punk was given a long reign as WWE Champion, lasting 434 days until it came to an end in January 2013. Punk would stick around for another year before he seemingly disappeared in January 2014. Vince McMahon said that he was “taking a sabbatical,” but there appeared to be a lot more to it than that.
Punk then went onto Colt Cabana’s podcast and absolutely laid into several people involved with the WWE including McMahon, Triple H, Ryback and physician Chris Amann. McMahon would apologize after the podcast, but Punk said that it wasn’t a sincere one. Punk has shown no interest in coming back, though if there was anyone on the list that the WWE would be willing to have back (at least in terms of money potential), it’s him.
2 Bill DeMott
A lifetime jobber that wrestled under interesting monikers that include General Hugh G. Rection and Hugh Morrus, Bill DeMott wrestled with the WWE from 2001 to 2004 until retiring from the ring to become a trainer, instead. DeMott was also doing booking for the developmental Deep South Wrestling and it was there that the seeds of abuse allegations were planted. DeMott was let go in 2007 after Kenny Omega’s accusations of abuse and DeMott worked away from the WWE for four years before being rehired.
DeMott started working on Tough Enough and was the head trainer for what would become NXT, but 2015 would see him get let go again. DeMott was being slammed with allegations of abusing wrestlers that included Curt Hawkins, Briley Pierce and Derrick Bateman. DeMott was said to be using racial slurs, being a homophobe and making wrestlers do dangerous stunts. He has since been replaced by Matt Bloom, formerly known as Albert, who is doing a fine job without any of the controversy, so DeMott’s services aren’t needed or wanted.
1 Jim Cornette
After working with multiple promotions across the United States, Jim Cornette was hired by the WWE in 1993 and worked in a lot of different capacities over his 12 years there. Cornette had been a booker, commentator and manager, though things didn’t always go smoothly. Cornette and Vince Russo got into it countless times over creative decisions (and still do despite not working together anymore).
Cornette was suspended by WWE in 2005 after slapping Santino Marella and was eventually let go by the company. Cornette has since worked with TNA, Ring of Honor and Global Force Wrestling while also making the rounds on the internet as a podcast host. Cornette has been willing to blast the WWE at pretty much every opportunity since leaving, including saying that the WWE would have “been a lot better off if Vince had gone to prison” as a result of the steroid scandal of the 1990s.
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