It's been a whirlwind year for the WWE. In the span of the last 10 months, AJ Styles has come to WWE and already won the WWE Championship. Kevin Owens has a Universal Championship reign under his belt. The brand split has returned this year and as a result, the WWE has reshaped their rosters.
So far this year, over 10 talents have been released, while the company also brought in many new and former talents to help stack up their rosters for this new era of the brand extension. Names released this year included Wade Barrett, Ryback, Cody Rhodes, Eden, Cameron, Alex Riley, Alberto Del Rio, Adam Rose, Santino Marella, heck even Hornswoggle.
Massive layoffs tend to happen shortly after WrestleMania every year and throughout the year, there may be a release here and there, depending on how a working relationship is between a wrestler and the company.
Being that we're in a New Era, you would think it'd be all about disposing the remnants of previous eras and going all in with new talent, right? Well, the fact is, you still need some established faces on the roster. Guys like Chris Jericho definitely still have a spot in this era.
Finally, there are some guys that just make you scratch your head and say: "why is he/she still on the roster?". Certain wrestlers just don't seem to belong anymore and seem to just be toiling away in the WWE with no creative direction.
This list won't necessarily be about attacking wrestlers. It's more of a case of wondering why WWE chooses to keep these talents around when they clearly don't have anything for them to do. Here are the 15 current wrestlers we can't believe are still employed by the WWE.
15 Jinder Mahal
Well, Jinder Mahal finds himself on this list even though he's only been back in WWE for a couple of months now. Released a couple of years ago Mahal was brought back to help boost the roster for the brand split. The only question is, what kind of boost does he really give? His run to this point in 2016 has been predictably awful, as he's no better than he was a couple of years ago. Heck, I thought he was more entertaining as part of Heath Slater's 3MB. It's hard to see Mahal ever really winning a championship of any kind, and putting him as a jobber isn't really useful either, as the WWE has brought in local jobbers to build their stars.
Even now, it's easy to picture Mahal being an early 2017 release.
14 Jerry Lawler
Jerry Lawler was finally taken off the commentary booth after doing color commentary for over 20 years in the WWE. It was well overdue, but WWE has kept him on to be an analyst on kickoff shows. While I appreciate The King's earlier commentary work as much as anyone, I really felt it would have been better had WWE just released Lawler and signed him strictly under a Legends Contract. Lawler is now in his mid 60s and there's not anything more for him to do in WWE.
There are plenty of recently retired wrestlers that could fill the void. To find Lawler's replacement you could even look to the current roster. See who has some mic skills but isn't quite going anywhere as a wrestler and throw them in as an analyst. That's how Lawler's commentary career started, after all.
13 Erick Rowan
The Wyatt Family was split up in July due to the RAW/SmackDown draft and many fans were left disappointed with the group's splitting. The group had split before and it didn't work out, so it's hard to see Bray's former sidekicks thriving, unless they rid themselves of any association to the family.
Rowan has proven to be the inferior former Wyatt to Luke Harper and while WWE seems set on building Braun Strowman, there are clearly no big plans for Rowan. His babyface run bombed in late 2014 and he can't get any heat on him as a heel.
The WWE may just want to do Rowan a favor and let him find himself as a performer in other companies. Perhaps even a stint in NXT could be a solution, as a chance for Rowan to reinvent himself.
12 Summer Rae
I'll be the first to say that Summer Rae has in fact improved a lot since first being called up to the main roster. However, since that terrible storyline in 2015 involving Summer, Rusev, Lana and Dolph Ziggler, she hasn't been given much to work with on television. Given that Summer is now 32 and not going anywhere, it's a little surprising that WWE chose to keep her in this year's round of cuts.
Once again, this is the case of not hating on the talent, but just being a little baffled as to why WWE keeps her if they're not going to use her. Do you see Summer ever winning the Women's Championship? What other male could she possibly be paired with?
I think if she got a fresh start elsewhere, Summer could actually show how much she has improved over the past few years.
I feel like we've been saying the same thing about R-Truth for the last five or six years. After a brief stint with the company in late 2000 to 2001, Truth spent several years away from the WWE and grew as performer in TNA and on the indies. He's now been employed by the WWE since 2008. He's gotten some midcard titles on the way and he even had a short main event feud with John Cena back in 2011. Once that heel run in 2011 ended, Truth began going to a comedic gimmick, as a guy who seems to be out of his mind.
While Truth is entertaining at times, I feel like his act has now worn thin. Even in teaming with Goldust, I really don't see why WWE feels the need to keep a 44-year-old lower midcarder employed.
10 Sin Cara
When the Lucha Dragons split up earlier this year in the draft, you just knew that was because WWE wanted to push Kalisto while Sin Cara would continue to toil away in the lower midcard. Kalisto has battled injury problems since the draft, but there's still a very high ceiling for him and there's potential for him to be the Mexican star WWE has been looking for since Rey Mysterio.
Sin Cara has some hope with the cruiserweight division now on RAW, but after all this time in WWE, it's hard to see the upside in him. The character wasn't even initially meant for this Sin Cara (Hunico) and was merely given to him when Mistico bombed in WWE.
With the abundance of cruiserweights coming in, Sin Cara's likely going to remain lost in the shuffle.
9 The Ascension
The Ascension has been a catastrophe since getting called up in late 2014. Right away, the gimmick they were given on the main roster felt like a ripoff of the Road Warriors and to their defense, they were booked horrendously, engaging in a feud with the New Age Outlaws.
Since then, they've been perhaps the worst tag team on the main roster and Konnor has even been suspended for a wellness policy violation. They can't cut interesting promos and their matches do nothing to capture the attention of viewers. Random pairing teams like Miz/Sandow, Slater/Rhyno and Jericho/Owens have all been more entertaining than this duo.
Perhaps the only reason they're still around is because the SmackDown brand is already low on credible tag teams and can't afford to release any right now.
8 David Otunga
From the moment David Otunga arrived in the WWE, he has yet to do anything to entertain viewers. He was subpar in NXT, was a forgettable component of the Nexus and even in his gig as a sidekick to John Laurinaitis, he failed to make a lasting impression. He's barely even competed in the ring, even though he's technically still an active wrestler.
For some reason, WWE felt the need to place Otunga in the SmackDown announce booth alongside Mauro Ranallo, who has been a breath of fresh air on broadcasts. Otunga's commentary has been so bad, I'm starting to miss Lawler calling SmackDown alongside Ranallo.
Is it really because he's married to Jennifer Hudson that WWE keeps him around? I know WWE loves any celebrity tie-in they can get, but this is just ridiculous. Maybe that's not the reason, but can you find a reason why Otunga is still in WWE?
7 Jack Swagger
Jack Swagger has been given several opportunities to rise to the top of the mountain in WWE, but every time he's gotten there, it hasn't stuck. He was given the Money in the Bank win at WrestleMania XXVI, but his subsequent title reign was a massive flop. In 2013, he was primed to become the new World Heavyweight Champion, but shortly before WrestleMania, he was caught with marijuana.
With Zeb Coulter now out of WWE, Swagger has no mouthpiece for him and the results have been dreadful. While Swagger's always been a solid talent in the ring, the WWE has plenty of solid performers that are over with the audience.
Besides eliciting chants of "We The People" it's hard to see what Swagger's purpose is. He's been with the company for eight years now. It might be time to move on.
6 Titus O'Neil
Titus O'Neil was unjustifiably suspended earlier this year for an innocent act of playfully grabbing Vince McMahon following Daniel Bryan's retirement speech. While O'Neil was suspended 60 days, his real-life buddy Batista suggested he should quit the company over being suspended like that. Since coming back, Titus has not been given much to work with, rehashing a feud with his former tag team partner Darren Young.
Given that he's pushing 40 and the time is ticking for him to make a big name for himself on the main roster, it may just be best to move on. Titus is an outstanding human being and in no way do I want him to be out of work. I'm just surprised that WWE is keeping him on, if they're clearly not doing anything important with him.
5 Mark Henry
Mark Henry has been saying for some time now that he is close to retirement, but when exactly will that be? One would have assumed that Henry would have retired at WrestleMania 32 in his home state of Texas, but he's still on the active roster. Henry's been a loyal soldier to the WWE for 20 years now, having put up with many horrendous storylines and was fed a lot of crap backstage. Literally. He was actually once fed a sandwich full of feces by X-Pac.
Perhaps since he's been loyal to WWE for so long, they're just going to let Henry leave on his own terms. Given that he's 45 years old, it's hard to believe WWE has any world title runs left for him. He'll likely never get back to his 2011 level when he started the "Hall of Pain".
4 Alicia Fox
Her recent feud with Nia Jax was the most relevant piece of television we've seen out of Alicia Fox in the past few years. She revived the 'crazy' gimmick that we saw out of her a while ago, but the fact is Alicia has been with the WWE for nine years now, and that's an eternity in the WWE.
Given that she seems to disappear off television for months at a time, it sure doesn't feel like she's been there a long time, but sure enough there she still is.
With Alicia Fox now on RAW competing with the likes of Sasha Banks, Bayley and Charlotte for screen time, it's hard to see her ever winning the Women's Championship. On the plus side, I do enjoy her as a part-time cast member of Total Divas.
You knew it was only a matter of time before we got to Kane, right? Including his runs as Isaac Yankem and Fake Diesel, Kane has now been employed by the WWE for over 20 years. There's no doubt he's had an amazing career, but the amazing part was in the 2000s, not in the 2010s. Now in his late 40s, it's a mystery as to why Kane is still on the active roster.
Kane is definitely worth keeping with the company as part of a Legends Deal over even becoming a coach in NXT. He has a wealth of experience to teach younger wrestlers and particularly big guys on how to get over with a crowd.
I think WWE should have transitioned Kane into a part-time attraction about five years ago. Seeing him sporadically on WWE television, much like The Undertaker would have kept some mystique around him. Now, it's all gone.
2 Rosa Mendes
Somehow, someway, Rosa Mendes manages to stay employed with the WWE year after year, even when the massive round of layoffs come every spring. She's never won a title in the WWE and in her nine years with the company, I haven't seen any improvement in the ring.
She's now on maternity leave and it'd probably be best if she pursues another career at this point. She doesn't cut it as an interviewer, she can't be a manager and she definitely can't wrestle. I hate to attack her like this, but it's not like other fans haven't been thinking this.
When you look at Rosa's time in WWE, do you really see her as someone who should be employed for nearly a decade? Maybe she's now around to solely remain on Total Divas.
1 The Big Show
Yup, this one was a no brainer. There have been 'please retire' chants for The Big Show in recent years and it's because he's simply been there too long for us to remain interested in him. Like Kane, the WWE should have transitioned Show into a smaller role. Big Show's drawing power isn't what it used to be, but it could have been higher if WWE used him better.
If WWE had begun using Big Show as a part-time attraction 5-7 years ago, making occasional appearances as a mystery partner, or participating in comedy skits, fans would have appreciated him a lot more.
The truth is, he's been overused and fans really don't care about anything he does anymore.
Big Show's also a well-paid wrestler, having been on the payroll for 17 years now. Why wouldn't the WWE cut the cost of such a massive contract and use it to sign new talents?