The WWE is in a bizarre state right now with various talent all over the map. There are part-time stars that show up for a few matches each year such as The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar and Triple H. The true elite full-time main event superstars are John Cena and Roman Reigns, with Seth Rollins on the bubble when he’s healthy. Just about every other credible star is located in the next tier. Names like Kevin Owens, Dean Ambrose, Alberto Del Rio, Sheamus and many others make up the majority of the rest of the roster. This is how a roster is usually constructed but it gets more interesting with NXT.
NXT has introduced a new variable into the world of WWE. The developmental system ran by Triple H has rapidly evolved into a full-fledged traveling promotion with red hot momentum. Fans want to see NXT and treat the wrestlers like they are bigger stars than the names on Raw. The NXT brand has already created stars like Owens, Bray Wyatt and Neville to give the main roster new talent to showcase. WWE’s roster only has so few spots and with this many hot young talents in NXT, they are ready to get called up and make more money for the company.
The main roster wrestlers have to watch their back with fans demanding new stars on Raw and SmackDown each week. Hell, the free agent market has even shown to be booming with A.J. Styles debuting, along with Shinsuke Nakamura, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows rumored to be coming in. Competition between the athletes will see new levels in 2016. Everyone wants a spot but there are quite a few wrestlers that are trending downwards in WWE. Some are past their prime nearing retirement, many have seen their slim chances at success end and a couple are just awful. We’ll look at all and pick fifteen wrestlers that should not be on the WWE roster in 2017.
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13 Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho was once the most beloved wrestler among wrestling fans but he has officially lost his luster. The art of the surprise return was Jericho’s specialty and would cause excitement going forward with many dream matches. That no longer exists as Jericho returns far too often and gets placed in mediocre programs. It doesn’t help that Jericho has flat out looked less impressive than we’re used to while sporting a look that comes off as a middle-aged dad trying to remain “hip” with his kids. His current run seems to be going into WrestleMania at least but this should be his final tenure as an active performer in WWE.
The WWE Divas division is reaching a new high with tremendous talents changing the perception. NXT is creating new stars with the emergence of Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and Bayley. The days of eye candy getting featured on television without having to be a good worker are over. Cameron seems to be losing out in the change. Most known as one of the Funkadactyl dancers, Cameron is a terrible wrestler in the ring. Cameron once covered her opponent while the opponent was flat on her face and didn’t understand why the referee refused to count. With very minimal signs of improvement back down in NXT, pro wrestling is just not for Cameron.
13. Los Matadores
Research had to be done to double check that Los Matadores were still actually in the WWE to place them on this list. The tag team has talent but lacks the personality to stand out on WWE television. The only time you ever see them resurface is when the company is booking a four-team match at a WrestleMania or SummerSlam show. Primo and Epico have been in the company long enough where nothing will change for them on the main roster. It may be beneficial to both parties if they left or were released. The duo could build their brands in other companies and WWE just has no use for them.
11 Rosa Mendes
You can’t coldly fire a pregnant woman, so Rosa Mendes is safe for another few months but one would have to imagine her time in WWE is all but over. Mendes has been employed by WWE on some level for a decade now but it’s a difficult task to remember any noteworthy moment from her career. Aside from being Paige’s friend on Total Divas, she contributes nothing to the company and it’s unlikely to see her returning to the road full time once she becomes a mother. WWE likely will wait a few months before trying to reach an agreement on the split, but Mendes has no role in the company.
10 Zack Ryder
Leaving WWE has been a great thing for the careers of many wrestlers such as Drew Galloway, Matt Sydal and Trent Baretta. There’s other options out there and a lot of money to be made if the wrestler can hustle hard enough to travel the world and sell merchandise. Zack Ryder would be another success story given how popular he was in the past before he was buried. The rare case of WWE sabotaging a wrestler’s popularity occurred when Ryder was thrown off the stage by Kane and positioned further down the card when returning from injury. WWE shows no use for him other than a lower-tier NXT tag team wrestler, so Ryder should just be let go while he’s still young enough to rebuild.
10. D-Von Dudley
The excitement of the Dudleys returning to WWE lasted a month or two before they jumped the shark and were irrelevant. Nostalgia only lasts so long and The Dudleys are officially on the lower tier of the main roster. Bubba still has hopes of getting a singles run after his successful TNA stint as Bully Ray, since the company is seriously lacking credible heels and Bubba could fill the gap as he’s in the best shape of his career. D-Von doesn’t fit in the equation and has no true way to contribute to WWE aside from the tag team act that’s already played out.
9 Sin Cara
Another example of a tag team wrestler that may be missing out on television time due to his partner’s singles run is Sin Cara. The character has always been disappointing but the wrestler change from Mexico to Hunico helped give him new life. The problem is that his upside was severely limited due to his tag team work with The Lucha Dragons. Kalisto is now the United States Champion and appears to be on the road to a successful singles career. The tag team act would just bring him down and that leaves Sin Cara without a purpose in WWE.
R-Truth is 44 years old. He hides it well and still looks relatively young but he’s definitely past his prime as a wrestler with an act that's growing old. The comedic aspect has improved lately but that will have a short shelf life before they run out of ideas or it gets tired. R-Truth doesn’t have the fan support or credibility as a character to enter true storylines on television, so his time in WWE in ticking. The aging veteran seems like one of the guys that is very popular in the locker room and may have a job in the company after retiring but the days for R-Truth as a wrestler should be over by next year.
Wrestling fans love the idea of fantasy matches involving legends against current stars because the former aren’t typically around very often. Kane showcases the other side as a full-time active legend that appears on television every week. The big red monster is almost 49 years old and way too old to continue doing this. Kane has to be nearing retirement and it is likely the upcoming WrestleMania 32 may be his final big show. Fans are no longer excited to see Kane and he’s one of the older active wrestlers in company history. The timing makes sense that Kane will be gone very soon.
6 Eva Marie
Many of the talents on this list are no longer great fits for WWE due to their impressive careers ending or because they would benefit from being in another situation. Eva Marie is the exemption as she’s just a terrible wrestler. Eva is valued in WWE due to her great looks and promotion desirability but she is one of the worst in-ring performers in the company. The company sent her down to NXT to improve her wrestling ability but it has not improved at a noteworthy level. Eva’s character work has become impressive as the athletically awkward woman that the Full Sail crowd heckles relentlessly but she doesn’t have what it takes to be a credible wrestler.
5 Mark Henry
Mark Henry has been one of the longest tenured wrestlers with various character changes but he’s improved in the final years of his career. The 44-year-old Texan has been hinting at retirement in various interviews and WrestleMania 32 taking place in his home state may be the perfect timing. WWE could give Henry the Andre Memorial Battle Royal win on the pre-show and give the longtime employee a nice moment to end his career. Given his age, body and the amount mileage, Henry can’t possibly continue doing this too much longer. The World’s Strongest Man is a very safe bet to be out of WWE by 2017.
4 Alex Riley
There once was a time that Alex Riley was viewed as a promising star with a world of potential. That time has ended. Riley is one of the biggest wastes of space on the WWE roster today and is wasting a spot in NXT. The former prospect failed to develop the ring skills or personality to match his look and has quite frankly regressed over the years. Riley’s claim to relevance in the past year was losing to Kevin Owens on NXT and getting destroyed by Owens on Twitter. The hopes of Riley ever rebounding and making his way back to television in a relevant manner are very slim.
3 Big Show
The Big Show falls under the category of aging stars that should retire very soon. As a future Hall of Famer, he has already accomplished everything he can in WWE. Show is one of the least exciting wrestlers in the ring and it’s getting worse with each passing week. This is another example of a wrestler that has to be off the roster soon but could serve another role in the company. With the WWE Network, Big Show has the personality to host a show or contribute some form of unique content. The days of him being able to come off as an entertaining in-ring act on WWE television are completely over and he’ll need to get off the road by 2017.
2 Brie Bella
Why Brie Bella but not her twin sister Nikki Bella? Well, they have finally separated themselves into becoming their own brands without completely relying on the other. Brie has been very vocal on the Total Divas show of her desire to have a child with Daniel Bryan in the very near future. The master of Brie Mode has been used as an enhancement talent on television for the last few months and the writing is on the wall with the new female talents coming up. Nikki is still positioned in a higher standing as a singles act when she returns from injury but Brie appears to be ready for her life after wrestling. This will likely be the cause of her leaving the company.
1 Daniel Bryan
Brie Bella’s husband Daniel Bryan joins her at the top of the list for different reasons than anyone else selected. Bryan is one of the best wrestlers in the world and one of the most popular with a legion of diehard fans. The problem is he will likely never be able to wrestle for WWE again. Bryan has dealt with a couple of concussion issues and WWE doctors apparently don’t think he should be competing in a ring. The flip side is his own doctors are saying he is fit to wrestle and he’s been very open about his hopes to continue wrestling regardless of what WWE tells him. If they don’t think he’s able to compete now, they never will. The company and Bryan should agree to an amicable split and he’ll end up wrestling in other promotions like New Japan and ROH.
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