“Never say never” are the words you so often hear whenever people are talking about the possibility of a wrestler leaving WWE. After all, who would have really thought that a guy like Cody Rhodes who seemed to be so happy wrestling for WWE would have simply decided to pursue other interests at the drop of a hat? WWE may be the major leagues of professional wrestling, but there are enough wrestling companies out there at the moment to ensure that anyone who wishes to work elsewhere will have plenty of opportunities to do so.
In that respect, implying that someone might only wrestle for WWE for the rest of their life is a bold claim to make. A lot can happen in the world of professional wrestling, and we’ve seen some of the industry’s biggest stars decide to move on simply because they felt it was time to do so or they suffered some apparent slight that inspired them to walk out one day. Still, even in an age of increased uncertainty, there are just some wrestlers that are impossible to imagine outside of a WWE ring. They are the top 15 WWE wrestlers that will never wrestle anywhere else again.
15 Bray Wyatt
Some may find it hard to believe that Bray Wyatt will be WWE lifer. After all, he’s only 29 years old and could still conceivably sell his prime wrestling years to another company for a big payday. Not only that, but some may also argue that WWE’s failure to give Wyatt a sustained push and the way that they’ve diluted his character following an excellent debut may eventually lead to Wyatt simply feeling burnt out. However, you have to look at things from Wyatt’s perspective. In a few short years, he’s had WrestleMania matches against The Undertaker and John Cena, several main event programs, and has been consistently booked into feuds where he has something to do. Not only that, but he’s currently making around $250,000 a year and should be in line for a pay bump very shortly. Most importantly, however, Wyatt would lose his gimmick if he went elsewhere which would be a huge blow to his value.
14 Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens is really the last of a dying breed. He was a “territory” wrestler in a time when the territory system was thought to be dead. Any organization that had him was quick to use him as a top guy, and he was seen as one of those few wrestlers the indie system could rely on keeping around for a while as he never really had the “look” WWE sought in their main eventers. Yet, all it took was a few months in NXT for WWE to realize that Kevin Owens is a one of a kind talent. Owens may not be able to do as much as he would like character-wise in WWE due to content restrictions, but it’s amazing how fairly WWE has treated Owens since he has arrived.
At 32 years old, Owens still has quite a few good years ahead of him and much to accomplish in an organization he loves. Why should he ever leave?
Owens has also done some fantastic guest spots on commentary and that seems to be an avenue he could pursue in WWE once his prime wrestling years are behind him, which will in turn make him a lifer.
13 The Big Show
In the past, The Big Show has expressed disappointment in the way that WWE has handled his character. Despite the fact that he has been gainfully employed by the company for 17 years now (he was even initially offered a 10-year contract in 1999), The Big Show feels that he could have been booked as an absolute terror in his young days and simply never was properly utilized as such. Even now it’s easy to imagine him going to Japan or an indie company and being booked as an absolute terror. It will never happen, however. The Big Show might feel that parts of his career have been wasted in WWE, but he would never be stupid enough to think that he has anything to prove by offering his services to another company. With years of big contract money to retire off of and a skillset most generously described as “diminished,” it’s safe to say that the last match The Big Show has in WWE will be the last match he ever has.
12 Enzo Amore
Enzo Amore may have risen to the heights of WWE popularity rather quickly, but you’re a fool if you don’t believe that this career is just getting started. Enzo may not be much in the ring (at least not yet), but he has the kind of natural charisma and microphone abilities that even some of the greatest wrestlers of all time could have only dreamed of. It’s a bit too early to start comparing him to the likes of John Cena and The Rock so far as electrifying presence goes, but Amore certainly appears to be on-track to become a very big deal in wrestling. The thing about Amore, however, is that his particular set of skills are best utilized in WWE. There’s no other wrestling company in the world that places the same value in live promo abilities the same way that WWE does and, even if he does end up improving in the ring, you have to believe that his microphone skills will be Amore’s bread and butter for some time to come.
11 Chris Jericho
It’s obvious at this point that Chris Jericho views wrestling as something of a secondary life pursuit. Jericho isn’t exactly a household name, but the man does have enough side jobs in his life to ensure that he could walk out of wrestling entirely and never look back should he choose to do so. However, Jericho does still have enough name value to ensure that if he ever did decide to drop by TNA or New Japan for an event or two that he would receive a massive payday that WWE would likely never match for the same work. That kind of offer must be tempting, but it’s difficult to believe that Jericho would ever take it. WWE offers Jericho a relaxed schedule in a comfortable environment as well as the chance to work with young stars he admires. There’s no way that Jericho would ever slam the door on that arrangement for a big pay day.
10 The Miz
You can’t help but be impressed with what The Miz has accomplished in his WWE career, even if you don’t necessarily consider yourself to be a fan of the man. The Miz is a grand slam champion (only the 14th in WWE history), a former WrestleMania main-eventer, and the star of several WWE film projects. He has, in short, done just about as much as someone in his position is likely to do in WWE. Usually, that statement would be used to justify why The Miz might one day walk out on the origination. However, in this instance, you must consider how WWE continues to pay The Miz top dollar and perform favors like bringing his wife back into the fold all in an effort to seemingly keep the man happy. That’s because WWE realizes they have something valuable in what The Miz contributes and The Miz, in turn, must realize that he will never be quite as valuable elsewhere.
9 Mark Henry
In a way, you have to feel kind of bad for Mark Henry. From a fan’s perspective, Henry must be considered one of the most underutilized talents in WWE history. Aside from his run as “Hall of Pain” Mark Henry and perhaps that brief stint as “Sexual Chocolate,” Henry hasn’t really ever had the chance to do anything of note within WWE despite the fact that he’s been in the company for over 20 years. In analyzing Henry’s likelihood of wrestling elsewhere, however, you really need to ask yourself “what would Henry have to gain?” Companies like Ring of Honor and New Japan might be able to use a veteran big man for some storylines, but the market for such stars isn’t nearly as large as it used to be. Besides, if Henry was ever going to wrestle anywhere else, don’t you think that he would have done it by now?
8 Dean Ambrose
From the moment he broke onto the indie scene as John Moxley, wrestling fans have everywhere have been singing the praises of Dean Ambrose as a potential main eventer in WWE. Say what you will about him not having that classic WWE look, but Ambrose is really the exact kind of wrestler that WWE looks for in their stars in every other respect. He’s reliable, he’s marketable, and he is able to play just about any role upon request. However, those are the same qualities that nearly every other wrestling company in the world looks for in their young stars as well. The 30-year-old Ambrose could certainly rise to the top of any other wrestling organization in the world, but he has to recognize that WWE is just now starting to appreciate the role he could play for them in the long term and has built him up in such a way that no other company would ever be able to.
7 Randy Orton
There have been many not so kind words said about Randy Orton over the years. Some say he’s arrogant, temperamental, entitled, boring, and even that has a tendency to phone it in during matches. Additionally, he has had enjoyed something of a roller-coaster ride so far as his career booking is concerned. Whereas he was once positioned to be WWE’s next big star (there were even talks of him beating The Undertaker at WrestleMania early on) now Orton plays a mid-card veteran that mostly gets over younger talent. For a guy that has as much intensity and drive as Orton does, you have to believe that he still thinks he’s got some runs at the top of the card in him whether they’re in WWE or not. Honestly, though, could you imagine Orton ever walking out of a company that clearly loves him so much and will most likely be willing to set him up for life so long as he spends his few remaining years as an active competitor inside a WWE ring?
6 Brock Lesnar
With a couple of possible exceptions, there is no man that could earn more money from a one-off appearance in any wrestling company in the world than Brock Lesnar. Recent and past controversies aside, Brock Lesnar is still one of the most marketable and well-known professional wrestlers in the world. You advertise that Lesnar is appearing on your show, and he will draw in people that may otherwise never watch out of sheer curiosity. For his part, Lesnar probably is more concerned about what he’s getting paid than who is paying him as he’s not one of those guys that considers himself a die-hard professional wrestler or a WWE loyalist. Still, Lesnar signed with WWE because they are the only wrestling company in the world that would pay him the kind of money he wants, to be in the kind of position he wants to be and to work the number of days he wants to work. He’d rather walk away entirely than jump ship.
5 Sasha Banks
Sasha Banks has the world of women’s wrestling at her feet. At 24 years of age, she has already established herself as one of the very best women’s wrestlers in the world and as one of the brightest stars in WWE. There is absolutely nothing that The Boss cannot do inside that wrestling ring, and now she even has the championship to prove it. She’s also in a historically interesting position. For the first time ever, WWE is starting to realize that there is real value in legitimate women’s wrestling. It’s a movement that’s only going to grow stronger as Triple H and Stephanie McMahon gain more creative control. Sasha is primed to become the face of women’s wrestling in a way that no other wrestler in history has ever been so long as she devotes her career to WWE. There is no way that she would ever give that opportunity up.
4 Finn Balor
It took Finn Balor way too long to find his way inside of a WWE ring. If WWE had a different mindset towards professional wrestling, they would have had Balor under contract five or six years ago when he established himself as one of the most incredible performers in the world and was still on the cusp of his in-ring prime. While it is their mistake that they did not sign him then, they still have Finn Balor now, and you can bet they aren’t going to let him go. For Balor’s part, there’s no reason to believe that he would ever find a reason to even be tempted to go elsewhere. WWE has made it clear that they believe in Finn Balor as a main-event attraction and Balor has made it clear that his signing with WWE when he did represented the moment that he believed he could rise to the very top of the company.
3 Seth Rollins
For some time, Seth Rollins was seen as the “third man” in The Shield in terms of top prospects. Dean Ambrose had more presence than Rollins did and Roman Reigns seemed to have more of the qualities that WWE looks for in their biggest stars. From the moment that Rollins turned on his fellow Shield members, however, it was clear that WWE recognizes the potential of Rollins to be “the guy” for WWE. He’s been cited as a five-tool wrestler that is capable of having a great match with anyone and even standing his own on the microphone as need be. At the very least, you have to believe that Rollins is on track to become a new Randy Orton in that he will be the guy that is always there when they need a reliable hand in a major storyline or to take a run at the top. WWE loves Rollins and Rollins loves WWE. What else do you need to know?
2 John Cena
Do you ever wonder what would happen if John Cena turned up in TNA one day? Could you imagine what lengths they, or any other wrestling company in the world, would go to be able to advertise that the world’s most marketable wrestler is appearing in their company? Even if it meant risking bankruptcy, you have to believe that Cena could simply just name his price and watch as it is matched. Let’s be realistic for a moment, though. The reason that people only imagine the thought of Cena leaving WWE is because it is as close to a guarantee as possible that he will never provide his services to another wrestling company. WWE affords John Cena the kind of opportunities that he would never be able to get elsewhere and, despite the fact that he still has some doubters, there is nothing that this man has left to prove by pulling a Hogan and helping the competition.
1 The Undertaker
When Sting stepped into a WWE ring to face Triple H at WrestleMania, he seemed to verify that you can never say never when it comes to wrestlers performing elsewhere. After all, Sting spent 14 years since the fall of WCW avoiding the call of the largest wrestling company in the world and seemingly had passed the point of no return in terms of his timeframe to ever actually wrestle for WWE. That being the case, why is it so unlikely that The Undertaker would ever make an appearance elsewhere? Well, it’s because he has no more worlds left to conquer. Sting had one box on a considerable career accomplishments list to check and he checked it before settling down for retirement. Is there anything that The Undertaker (who works two days a year at the most) could possibly need to prove to anyone? He’s as close to a WWE lifer as a wrestler can get.