If I had to put a guess estimate on how wrestlers have walked through WWE's doors over the years I would have to put my number in the several thousands. With a history of over 50 years (counting its days as Capitol Wrestling Corporation), the company has seen it all in terms of wrestling. They have ruthless brawlers, captivating showmen, skilled technicians and a whole bunch of weirdos (mostly coming from the mid-90s, that was a weird time).
So you would think that the WWE would have a handle by now on how to deal with and analyze their performers to get the best of them right? Well not exactly. You see at one point in them all 15 men and women on this list were contracted WWE performers and could have stayed with the company for years to come if they were treated properly by Vince McMahon.
What we're getting at here is that McMahon has fired or let some people walk out of his company when they could have been used much better than he perceived. Some were legends who deserved better than what they were offered and others were hard-working up and comers who just needed a little more time. Either way, McMahon must have been insane for letting them go. Oh right, I forgot this is Vince McMahon we're talking about.
So for this list it isn't necessarily guys who were straight up fired, it could also have been ones who felt slighted by the company or who asked for their release. The point is, here are 15 guys who the WWE were crazy to not keep on their roster.
15 Brodus Clay
Only a man of such charisma like George Murdoch could take a gimmick as dumb as the Funkasaurus on paper and turn it into something worthwhile, but he did.
Debuting in the WWE as Generic Monster #3, Clay eventually took up his dancing gimmick with Naomi and Cameron and actually drew solid cheers from fans. WWE though never really did anything with his heat and instead just kept him lingering around the mid-card.
14 Evan Bourne
I'm going to manage at least two marijuana-related references in this entry. Ready, set GO!
One of WWE's premier HIGH-flyers (there's one), Evan Bourne debuted back in 2009 on ECW and impressed everyone in his first few with his fun moveset and killer agility. Aside from a few tag title runs though the company never really did much with him likely due to his wellness policy violations and seemingly lack of promo skills.
I'm not saying that he was going to be your next world champ, but a nice run with a midcard title should have been given to Bourne just on the basis of his lucha-libre offense and spectacular Shooting Star Press. I mean the company would have to be HIGH to let him go.
13 Drew Galloway
On-air, Drew McIntyre was set to be the next big thing in WWE but eventually he faded into a fake rockstar gimmick with Jinder Mahal and Heath Slater. Huh?
From what I gather there were several reasons for Galloway's demotion ranging from his incident with his ex-wife Taryn Terrell to an injury delaying the company's plans for him but nowadays he's champion of the decaying TNA.
12 Maria Kanellis
Ahhh Maria... hmpff what? Sorry I had a dream there for a second. ANYWAY...
Maria might not have been the best bell to bell wrestler, but it's undeniable that she had a charm and star-quality about her. She is beautiful and was one of the better female talkers on the roster. If anything could be shown by her current position as a manager, she could have easily been repackaged as a manger in the WWE with no problem.
Before there was a Divas Revolution, Victoria was one of the measuring sticks for talent in the Women's Division. While she was gorgeous, she had the skill in the ring to back it up.
Aside from a couple of Women's Championship runs in the mid 2000s though, the company never did much with her. Because of the constant travel and lack of support from creative, Victoria left the company in 2009 and found herself in TNA soon after where she wrestled there for years.
10 Johnny Mundo
John Hennigan is a handsome man, there I said it. Moving on, present-time Johnny Mundo is wrestling now in Lucha Underground but at one point in time he was one of WWE's rising stars. Instead of turning out like the next main event star, he became just another high spot guy who fell in the midcard limbo.
9 Mickie James
WWE in reality could have cast just about anybody in the role of Trish Stratus' stalker and it would have been instantly believable but they went with Mickie James. What a perfect call.
James made her debut in 2005 and lasted with the company till 2010. In a time when WWE's Divas division was in a sorry state James stood out as one of its highlights with an entertaining gimmick and solid ring work.
The exact reason for James' release has never been explicitly given but it remains a big mistake on their part. James left for TNA and had a solid few years with the company and is now floating around the indie scene and Jeff Jarrett's Global Force Wrestling.
8 Ultimo Dragon
Possibly an unknown name to anyone outside of Japan, everyone should know of the legend of Ultimo Dragon and more importantly, they should know that the WWE were completely inept in using him.
Despite having one of the most legendary crusierweights of all time on their roster, WWE didn't push him at all back in 2004 and ultimately let him go after placing him in a multi man match at WrestleMania XX. It seems possessing amazing technical and high-flying ability plus one of the coolest looks in wrestling history isn't enough to even get you a midcard title in the WWE.
7 Sean O'Haire
I'm not telling you anything you don't already know; the WWE gave up too quickly on this charming powerhouse.
Signed by the company from when WCW went belly-up, O'Haire seemed like somebody who checked off all of McMahon' boxes. Ripped, 6-foot-6, and a decent enough wrestler, one would think he would be a surefire star in WWE. Not so much.
6 Gail Kim
The WWE had two cracks to utilize Gail Kim's talent and swung out both times. Inconceivable.
For two stints in the 2000s, WWE had Gail Kim on their roster and only gave her a one-month reign as Women's champ. This despite the fact that A) she can wrestler her ass off and B) is hot. I really don't see any reason why she wasn't given the chance to have a run with one of the two Women's titles in her second run.
5 Bobby Lashley
"Black Lesnar" as some people called him, Bobby Lashley has an athletic background which should have made the WWE go bananas for him and by all accounts they did. WWE pushed him to the moon fast from his debut in 2005 and in short time he headlined WrestleMania 23's Battle of the Billionaires. Then he was released kind of out of nowhere in 2008. So, what happened?
4 Alberto Del Rio
He might be back in the company now, but at one point in time the WWE released Alberto Del Rio for standing up for himself. Let me explain.
One Cody Barbierri, at the time WWE's social media manager, apparently made a joke about Del Rio being the one who has to pick up his garbage. Del Rio confronted the guy and told him to apologize. After smirking back at Del Rio and not apologizing, Barbierri got taken to Slap City.
3 Shelton Benjamin
Speaking of insane, how in the hell did WWE screw up Shelton Benjamin?
Possibly the best pure athlete to ever walk through their doors, Benjamin had it all. Charisma, in-ring talent and a great look should have been enough to keep him atop the cards for years. Instead, Benjamin never made it past the Intercontinental Title and his career path was stalled from a terrible Momma's boy gimmick in 2006.
2 Randy Savage
If you have Randy Savage in your company and he wants to wrestle, you better damn well let him wrestle. Apparently not if you're Vince McMahon though.
While McMahon wanted to push forward with a new generation and keep Savage as a commentator, the Macho Man still had some fight in him to wrestle. Now I can understand McMahon's desire to push forward with young talent but Savage is a little different than Hogan.
1 Kurt Angle
If I have to list all of Kurt Angle's accomplishments we would be here for a while so for brevity's sake, let's just say he is REALLY REALLY amazing.
Sound good? Okay now then... Kurt Angle was released/quit the WWE in 2006 seemingly out of nowhere. But Angle just couldn't handle WWE's punishing schedule anymore and asked for a part-time schedule, probably something similar to Shawn Michaels' schedule at the time (close to no house shows but Raw every week).
Vince McMahon disagreed; he wanted Angle to stay on full-time. Due to this disagreement, Angle asked for his release and got it.
So just because Angle wanted less dates, the WWE released him. Why the hell was McMahon being this stubborn with one of his top stars? Only Vinnie Mac knows the answer but he should given Angle what he wanted and because he didn't, this is the guy the WWE was craziest for letting go.
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