The WWE has recently added numerous talented individuals from a wide array of backgrounds. For instance, there's "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles, who the WWE lured away from TNA after they lowballed him in contract negotiations. There's former independent talent such as current WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens and his arch nemesis, Sami Zayn. There's more international flavor such as Europeans Finn Balor and Neville as well as Japan's Asuka and Shinsuke Nakamura. Point blank, the WWE is stacked with an immense amount of talent, and looking at the recent brand split is the perfect example of having too much talent.
But can you ever have too much talent? Most would say no. The WWE would certainly say no. The rosters on Raw, Smackdown and NXT may be stacked but this doesn't mean that the WWE isn't still actively scouting for more talent to add to each of their programs.
Here, we take a look at fifteen hottest free agents that WWE will sign.
18 James Storm
Bobby Roode's former tag team partner in Beer Money actually made it to WWE's NXT prior to the now "Glorious" Roode. Storm had a short two month stint in NXT in October 2015 to December 2015. Storm however determined that it would be best for him to return to TNA as opposed to staying on the NXT brand. Storm's achieved literally all that he can in TNA as he has held the promotion's highest tile, the TNA World Heavyweight Championship once, the TNA World Tag Team Championships seven times, five of those being with Roode and the now defunct TNA King of the Mountain Championship. There's nothing more left for Storm to prove in TNA. Not to forget, with TNA likely headed the same way as the defunct King of the Mountain Championship, look for the E to swoop Storm up.
17 Drew Galloway
The man known as Drew McIntyre goes by his real name, Drew Galloway within the TNA ranks. Galloway enjoyed success right off the bat within the WWE with his highest honor arguably being Mr. McMahon proclaiming him as the "Chosen One". Before he became a fake rockstar within 3MB, Galloway was a former Intercontinental and Tag Team (with Cody Rhodes) title holder. Galloway has also been TNA'S World Heavyweight Champion once. Galloway is still in wrestling years a very young thirty-one years of age. Galloway may have gone out of WWE as being on the bottom rung of the ladder, but he was once one of the promotion's most promising talents. The WWE is no stranger to rehiring those its released in the past and McIntyre will be just another name to add to that list.
15 Gail Kim
Kim is the least likely name on this list that WWE will be able to poach; she is also the lone female talent. The Toronto, Canada native was vocal in 2011 when her deal expired that WWE was holding back female talent. As a result, it was impossible for her and other females to grow within the company. Not to mention, she adamantly proclaimed that she would never return to the promotion. The direction of the women's division has drastically changed since Kim departed in 2011 (look no further than Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks main eventing Hell in a Cell in October 2016). Kim also may not have much of a choice if she wishes to continue to wrestle with TNA's bankruptcy woes looming.
14 Jay Lethal
The former "Black Machismo" and boyfriend/trainer of AJ Lee has been all over the independent scene as well as TNA. His Black Machismo gimmick is one of the better things to come out of the company. In TNA, Lethal was a staple in the X-Division as he hoisted the belt a total of six times. He also had a tag reign with Consequences Creed who most know better as the WWE's Xavier Woods. He is a 1x ROH World Champion and a 2x ROH World Television Champion. PWI recognized him as the fifth best singles wrestler in 2016, coming in right behind AJ Styles. Lethal's mileage for a thirty-one year old may be a little concerning, but he has not shown any signs of slowing down any time soon.
12 Kenny Omega
Many will point at Omega as being the most charismatic of the Bullet Club stable, at least the current stable. Omega has been with New Japan since 2014, but is no spring chicken to the independent scene. The Winnipeg born Omega is yet to hold New Japan's most prized possession; this does not mean he hasn't enjoyed success within the company. Omega has been the IWGP Intercontinental Champion once, he is a two time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, a former tag champion with NXT's own, Kota Ibushi and a six man tag champ with Matt and Nick Jackson, the Young Bucks. Omega was recognized by putting on a 5-star match this past August with Tetsuya Naito and also made PWI's best singles wrestlers list at number 23 for 2016.
11 Matt Hardy
Hardy has really come into his own with his "Broken" Matt Hardy gimmick in TNA. As a result of this new persona, Hardy is taken much more seriously than he was in the past when he was out on his own. Hardy is one half of one of the most decorated tag teams in WWE history along with brother Jeff, the Hardy Boys. The brothers are synonymous with the TLC tag matches along with the Dudley Boys and Edge and Christian. Matt and Jeff held the WWE's tag belts a total of seven times. If the WWE can bring Jeff along for the ride (and maybe even Gangrel, as Hardy teased a "Broken Brood" on his Twitter account), the Hardys would be an ideal tag team to put over new talent such as Enzo and Cass or American Alpha.
10 Brother Nero
When/if Brother Nero makes his return to the WWE, it's a given that he will not be referred to as he is in TNA currently; he will be referred to as the persona WWE fans were so accustom to loving, "The Charismatic Enigma", Jeff Hardy. Hardy stands out on this list as no one on else comes close to achieving the amount of success Hardy achieved within WWE. Hardy's held each and every belt in WWE that he possibly could've with the exception of the WWE United States Championship. It's been five years since he showed up to his match at Victory Road intoxicated which gave him the unenviable honor of working the worst worked match of 2011 according to the Wrestling Observer. Nero looks to have put those demons behind him and a return to the WWE would be welcomed by the fans.
8 Kazuchika Okada
Arguably the most coveted title in the wrestling world asides from the WWE Heavyweight Championship (sorry WWE Universal Title) is the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Okada has had the honor of holding this belt four times, good for fourth overall in the history of the company. This is more than AJ Styles and Brock Lesnar...combined. He also one the promotion's G1 Cup in 2012 and 2014. He not only is the highest wrestler on PWI's best singles wrestlers for 2016 that isn't within WWE, but he comes in at second overall just behind "the guy", Roman Reigns. Okada has paid his dues overseas and the Japanese market would likely covet seeing Okada feud with Nakamura and Itami at the highest stage.
7 7 & 6. The Young Bucks
The real life siblings, Matt and Nick Jackson are arguably the hottest tag team not within the WWE ranks. The Southern California born and bred brothers have enjoyed success in a wide array of promotions (with the exception of TNA, which is more so on the promotion rather than the Bucks) such as, but not limited to, ROH, IWGP, Chikara and Dragon Gate USA. Negating TNA from the equation (where they worked under the Generation Me gimmick), the Young Bucks have held gold in practically every independent promotion they've participated in. With the Cruiserweight division showing plenty of promise for the E, the two could also be brought in for its division as both tip the scales in the 170s. The two are fairly young as well with Matt being 31 and Nick being 27.
6 Kurt Angle
Many would be concerned with Angle's age as he is forty-seven years of age. However, this isn't to say Angle would be brought back to be an everyday wrestler; on the contrary, Angle could thrive in a managerial role. How about a World's Greatest Tag Team 2.0 with Kurt Angle leading American Alpha, everyone? This would be extremely beneficial for Jason Jordan and Chad Gable as neither is particularly strong on the mic. As for in the ring, Angle could be used to wrestle (if needed) on the big four PPVs of the Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam and Survivor Series. There's no shortage of matches WWE fans wouldn't want to see Angle in. You could rehash the rivalry with Lesnar for one. You could have him feud with new talent such as Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens.
5 Ethan Carter III
EC3 never really got a shot in WWE and many most wouldn't remember that he was previously in the company under the name Derrick Bateman. He was also the rookie of Daniel Bryan. EC3 is one of the most polarizing figures in wrestling with many detesting him and others loving his character. He has achieved much more success in TNA than he ever did in WWE as he is a former two-time TNA World Heavyweight Championship. While Bateman didn't succeed in WWE, this isn't to say that the EC3 character, or a gimmick similar to it can't succeed within WWE. Carter is only 33-years old and could prove to be a serviceable mid card talent for the company with the right gimmick and opportunity. P.S. he probably won't miss being Dixie Carter's storyline nephew either.
3 Will Ospreay
England's own Will Ospreay is the youngest member on this list at a ripe twenty-three years of age. Despite this he has been wrestling on the independent scene since 2012, since he was nineteen-years-old. Ospreay captivates the casual fan and the hardcore fan almost instantaneously as a result of his move set, particularly his finishers. His 630 Senton, Diving Corkscrew and OsCutter finishers not only give him arguably the best array of finishers on the independent scene but for wrestlers as a whole. Ospreay has been with New Japan since March of 2016 and will begin working for ROH in December of this calendar year. He placed 16 on PWI's best singles wrestlers of 2016. At 174 pounds, Ospreay would thrive in the WWE's Cruiserweight Division.
2 Adam Cole
One of the newest members of Japan's popular stable, Bullet Club is Adam Cole. Cole may be new to the Bullet Club but he is no stranger to the independent scene, or New Japan Pro Wrestling for that matter as he has been with the company since 2014. Asides from New Japan, Cole is most known for his tenure within Combat Zone Wrestling (a promotion Dean Ambrose once a part of) from 2008 to 2013 and ROH where he has been on the roster since 2009 until present. Cole has achieved any and every accolade he possibly could have in ROH and is currently in his second reign as the promotion's ROH World Champion. Pro Wrestling Illustrated recognized him as the ninth best singles wrestler in 2014. Cole has more than paid his dues on the independent scene for close to a decade; it's only a matter of time before the WWE realizes his skill set and worth.
The man more frequently billed as Ricochet, and less frequently billed as Prince puma, is the most renowned name not on the WWE roster. Ricochet was named the 15th best wrestler on PWI's top 500 singles wrestlers for 2016. In an interesting twist, Ricochet may have some pull if he decides to make the leap to WWE as he currently resides in Orlando, Florida with none other than Smackdown superstar, Apollo Crews. The Wresting Observer named Ricochet the best flying wrestler in 2011, 2014 and 2015. By the way, Ricochet hits the scales at 197 pounds. Cruiserweight division, anyone? Ricochet has torn up the independent scene in promotions such as, but not limited to, Chikara, Dragon Gate USA, House of Glory and New Japan Pro Wrestling.
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