Any wrestler's ultimate aim is to earn a contract with World Wrestling Entertainment, but only a few go on to have meaningful runs with the company. For every Rock, the McMahon empire has produced a Rocky Maivia. For every Kane, the WWE has created an Isaac Yankem. However, the WWE roster currently boasts a multitude of wrestlers who can hardly be repackaged in spite of the fans' fading love for them.
Vince McMahon has often released the wrong wrestler. Ethan Carter III for example, after his release from the WWE, has grown in prominence to become the face of Total Nonstop Action. Whilst some fans allege that it is a huge step-down in his career, the WWE will take him back in a heartbeat as he would undoubtedly add muscle — pun intended — to the mid-card.
WWE recently released Damien Sandow, Alex Riley, Hornswoggle, El Torito, Zeb Colter, Cameron, Santino Marella, and Wade Barrett, but they have too much deadwood that they should offload sooner or later. It seems with the influx of talent from the NXT system, WWE is now flooded with brand new blood, which may force many WWE veterans to hit the bricks; not to mention all of the former TNA talent who are jumping ship to the WWE.
The writer will only analyze the situation of those wrestlers whose futures look bleak; the following list will be based on their relevance, sustainability of the gimmicks, and their connection with fans, besides the age-old wrestling attributes such as microphone skill and in-ring ability. As usual, if you disagree with the inclusion of any of the entrants or feel they should be replaced with another wrestler, feel free to drop the names in the comments section.
In the following list, the writer will take you through 15 talents who have no future in WWE.
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15 Rosa Mendes
Rosa Mendes has managed to stay in WWE for a long time despite never possessing any wrestling ability or ever really cutting a strong promo. Now having given birth to her first child, it doesn't seem like Rosa should be sticking around. Why be away from your child for a life on the road when it's obvious you'll never be Women's Champion or given a major storyline. Perhaps Rosa can stick around on Total Divas, but her run on the roster should come to an end.
14 David Otunga
Hey, remember this guy? It turns out David Otunga is still on WWE's payroll, even though he hasn't wrestled a match in years and has mainly been used as a pre-show host. It's weird that he's been kept around this long in WWE, despite there never seeming to be a role for him. Otunga is obviously a bright guy, as he graduated from law school at Harvard. Perhaps his time would be better served in a legal firm, rather than on WWE television.
13 Alicia Fox
Throughout her whole WWE career, Alicia Fox just seems to be 'there'. She's not a bad wrestler, but she just doesn't stand out. That's partly the fault of creative for not coming up with anything interesting for her, but it's telling of how much of a future she has in WWE. With the new wave of women flocking onto the main roster, there seems to be no space for Fox to stand out. She's had a surprisingly long run in WWE of almost a decade, but it doesn't seem there's much left for her to do.
12 Curtis Axel
Not every third generation wrestler goes on to achieve greatness. Despite a good start to his WWE career as a part of the Nexus, Curtis Axel's career trajectory has not been admirable. Even making him a Paul Heyman guy and handing him an Intercontinental Championship reign could not get him over. Unlike other badly booked talents, he lacks the backing of the WWE Universe and, without a fan base or a sustainable gimmick, he has sunk into mediocrity and has been rightly teamed alongside other jobbers such as Heath Slater, Adam Rose and Bo Dallas.
WWE ditched another third-generation wrestler in David Hart Smith not so long ago, and should release Axel, as has never been able to connect with the fans during his nine-year association with the WWE.
11 The Miz
With Seth Rollins and Randy Orton sidelined with injuries, the WWE has only a handful of wrestlers who could be heels at its disposal. Given the circumstances, the Miz has earned yet another push and is flaunting his Intercontinental Championship alongside his wife in Maryse Ouellet. However, with the Miz is aging and the WWE Universe is growing increasingly tired of his performances both in the ring as well as the microphone.
The WWE should begin molding a new generation of heels. Kevin Owens has been captivating the audience; the likes of Dean Ambrose should be made heels in order to make The Miz a distant memory. For a sports entertainer with a limited wrestling background, he has had a 12-year career with the most followed wrestling promotion; it is high time Vince McMahon drew the curtain upon the "Hollywood A-Lister's" career.
10 Darren Young
WWE Hall of Famer Bob Buckland has taken Darren Young under his wing, but his gimmick cannot last long, as it basically mimics the political campaign of Donald Trump. Since his main roster breakthrough in 2010, he has held only the WWE Tag Team Championship once with Titus O'Neil as the Prime Time Players.
The tag team had been used to put other tag teams over more often than not; his singles career has featured more downs than ups, and with his new horrible gimmick, it is highly unlikely that he will ever achieve great heights with the company. At a tender age of 32, however, he may become a good mid-carder, but given the status quo, the WWE should release him and replace him with deserving NXT talents.
9 Adam Rose
Although Vinnie Mac has been known to be appreciative of wrestlers who stand up for themselves, Adam Rose may have infuriated the WWE head honchos for bashing the WWE's Wellness Policy publicly. If the WWE had chosen not to trash the Leo Kruger character, the WWE Universe would have regarded him as a credible wrestler, but his watered down Party Pooper gimmick has made the fans lose faith in him.
Although a Bray Wyatt-esque rise to prominence is likely if he is repackaged as a deranged hunter, he may remain a WWE employee for long. However, if the WWE does not scrap Rose's current gimmick, they will be left without a choice but to release him as his character is neither marketable nor profitable.
8 Jack Swagger
Winning the World Heavyweight Championship at a tender age of 28, many expected him to become the next Kurt Angle of professional wrestling, but Jack Swagger has become irrelevant in the wake of his arrest for DUI and possession of cannabis. Even though working with Zeb Colter helped him raise his stakes, he has again been demoted to the lower-tier as he hardly gets any Raw or SmackDown minutes lately.
WWE can now replace him with the likes of Apollo Crews; his services are no longer required as fans are seemingly ready to cheer for new faces more than washed up talents like the All-American American.
7 Sin Cara
With the WWE releasing Santino Marella and Damien Sandow — who may elicit a positive response from the audience — they should choose to cut ties with Sin Cara as fans are no longer interested in the masked wrestler. With the other half of the Lucha Dragons in Kalisto captivating the WWE Universe with his lucha libre wrestling moves, Cara's performances have largely been underwhelming.
The fact that the Sin Cara character is performed by a Hunico — a wrestler who once performed as the fake Sin Cara — only makes the fans indifferent toward the character. By the looks of things, even a washed up Rey Mysterio may entertain the crowd more than he does.
6 Heath Slater
Heath Slater has forever been an irrelevant figure or an intensifier in the tag-team division. After the Nexus disbanded, he has been a part of numerous tag teams, including the Corre, 3MB, Slater Gator, and the Social Outcasts. His relevancy is clearly on the wane as evidenced by the descending relevancy of his teammates with the passage of time.
In 2011, he was teaming up with Wade Barrett; in 2013, he performed with Drew McIntyre in his corner, but he is currently working alongside other jobbers, who form the worst-booked stable in the WWE today. With the WWE Universe head over heels in love with a poorly booked Tyler Breeze, it is about time they sacrificed the Crimson Werewolf for the Prince Pretty.
5 The Ascension
"As for the Ascension, there are a million and one things I can think to say about you, but the absolute worst thing I can say is that you're the Ascension," said Enzo Amore before defeating the Ascension on SmackDown last month. Even though it was a scripted promo, the "Smacktalker Skywalker" was right on the money.
Since their debut, the WWE Universe has been indifferent toward them as they even branded them as a horrible rip-off of the Road Warriors. Konnors' violation of the Wellness Policy may as well be the nail in the coffin as they had only been used as jobbers even before his suspension.
4 Mark Henry
Vinnie Mac paid ludicrous amounts of money and offered Mark Henry a 10-year contract when World Championship Wrestling was seducing him with a big money deal. It seemed a good move as losing every single emerging performer would have psychologically debilitated the Chairman.
However, on a performance level, he has never been so good as the Chairman would have expected him to become, and his partner in Mae Young giving birth to a rubber hand still remains his most memorable segment in the WWE. He has not been performing much lately, and the WWE should release him as Rusev and Big E look ready to replace him in the long term.
Despite not performing on the independent circuit, Cody Rhodes became an internet darling thanks to his family history and slick move set. However, he has never been able to convince the top shelves to hand him a push. the Internet Wrestling Community believes his physique is the main reason why the WWE has kept him from the main event picture.
Much to his fans' dismay, the Stardust character has been horrible, and his attempts to replicate Goldust's early success with a bizarre gimmick has greatly backfired. Currently, fans can only empathize with him as the career of a good wrestler is going down the drain. With that being said, the WWE is better off without him as they have a multitude of talented wrestlers in the NXT waiting for a chance to impress the WWE Universe.
2 Zack Ryder
Touted to become a mainstay of the upper midcard, Zack Ryder is enjoying a surreal career with the WWE, as the creative books him to lift the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania only to dethrone him hours later. To add insult to the injury, he was swiftly demoted to NXT days later. The only possible explanation to his ridiculously short-lived push should be the pressure from Snickers, who had him feature in one of their advertisements alongside Ric Flair and Charlotte. Although he still comes out to a decent pop, the WWE should release him to conceal their creative incapability.
Standing at 6-foot-4, Fandango should have gone on to achieve greatness with the WWE as he possessed both WWE-esque looks and good in-ring ability to back that up. However, in one of those rare cases in which the gimmick kills a good wrestler, his ballroom brawler persona has made him look weak and has been forced to feature in awkward segments with Goldust, R-Truth, and Tyler Breeze (who narrowly missed out on an inclusion).
Despite getting off to a memorable start to his WWE career with a debut win over Chris Jericho at WrestleMania XXIX, he hardly captivates the audience, though his entrance music still makes the crowd go bananas. WWE should either release him or repackage him before things get out of control.
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