WWE has this knack of buying of buying talent from around the world, as snatching away or buying out the competition is what has made Vince McMahon’s mammoth company so successful. Their own development program wasn’t underway before the late 2000’s, so WWE had to rely on buying talent from other promotions and make them into the stars they are today. Legends like The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, Hulk Hogan were all signed from other wrestling promotions and made into the stars they are today, much to Vinny Mac’s credit. But if WWE has constantly reminded us that if they can make a star, then they can break one as well, as many ‘superstars’ who arrived in the promotion with much promise and hype were ‘degraded’ and wasted, as the company discreetly tries to push away their WWE reign under the mat.
Only a low percentage of the signed talent are actually catapulted to the very top of the WWE, as the others are given weird roles after a slight push in the beginning of their WWE run and then it’s mostly downhill from there. We’ve seen so many talents being signed and then released by the WWE over the years, as things don’t seem to work out at times plus talent can’t blend in with the hectic schedule of the company. Some of the loyal talent who stick to the promotion inspite of being treated horribly manage to get a role in the production process, while some of the more unfortunate guys have to manage to fend for themselves by doing odd jobs in order to make their ends meet, and a lack of an educational degree for most of these pro-wrestlers hampers their career’s beyond the mat.
40 Snitsky (then)
Gene Snitsky was this maniacal ruthless wrestler who was built as a proper monster heel during his time in WWE, having memorable rivalries with Kane and destroying smaller opponents in his path. Snitsky's feud with Kane included him being responsible for Lita miscarrying her baby, only for Snitsky to go around persisting "it wasn't my fault!". Following that, he was saddled with a foot fetish gimmick. Wow, that's rough.
39 Snitsky (now)
Snitsky had short runs in TNA and World Xtreme Wrestling after being released by the WWE, and tried to make a career as an actor trying his luck in commercials and film. He became a pitchman for a Youtube cooking show where he made dishes using advertising a pressure cooker. Well it’s safe to say that taking a weird choice of acting is Snitsky’s fault after all. Needless to say, it definitely has been a bizarre transition for Snitsky after wrestling.
38 Matt Morgan (then)
Not many actually remember watching Matt Morgan in WWE TV, but he was there for three years, mainly as a part of the SmackDown brand. Morgan was part of some tag teams (once with Brock Lesnar) and given an odd gimmick after that. The gimmick involved him stuttering, which not only was insulting to those with speech disorders, it ruined his WWE career. Due to that, he failed to really make his mark in the WWE, in spite of his intimidating nature.
37 Matt Morgan (now)
He was snapped up by TNA, who gave him some good years of stardom until he left the sinking ship towards the end to do some indie dates and focus on his ‘acting’ career. Morgan is now a regional manager for a medical device company. Some might say he's way better off holding a job like that over the grind of a professional wrestler but in recent interviews explains of his love for the profession of wrestling. Either way, he definitely found more success post WWE.
36 Chris Masters (then)
‘The Masterpiece’ was hot stuff after debuting in the WWE as he was treated as such during his first year in the company. With his Masterlock challenge and muscular looks, he was like Vince McMahon’s fantasy coming true as he was handed opportunities at the WWE title as well, but was toned down in his second year. He was still booked quite strong, but was fired for substance abuse and violating WWE’s wellness policy. Masters returned to the company in 2009 but couldn’t really find his ground again with his stale gimmick.
35 Chris Masters (now)
Masters is now a part of the Global Force Wrestling (GFW) roster trying to help Jeff Jarrett’s promotion rise with his ‘masterpiece’ looks. As part of The Global Force stable in TNA, Masters appeared a few times on Impact, where he participated in a King of the Mountain match for the vacant TNA Heavyweight Championship. Alongside Jarrett, Brian Myers, Eric Young and Sonjay Dutt, the GFW stable lost to Team TNA, featuring Drew Galloway, Bobby Lashley, Eddie Edwards, Bram and Davey Richards in a Lethal Lockdown Match.
34 Muhammad Hassan (then)
Being part of a life-threatening story-line in his three years in the WWE, you wonder if the Italian-American Mark Copani realized what he was getting into when donning the gimmick of Muhammed Hassan. Booked as an Arab-American looking to change the public's stereotype of Arabs, it gathered genuine heat for the man. He was booked in an angle involving masked men attacking The Undertaker that was eerily similar to a terrorist event. It coincided with the London bombings as well which forced WWE to take him off TV and out of the company.
33 Muhammad Hassan (now)
Once can't help but feel some sympathy for Copani, as it was unlikely he had anything to do with booking that tasteless angle. Copani considered pursuing an acting career after professional wrestling but that never came to fruition. He is now enjoying life with his family, being a high school history teacher and never wants to go back to the dark hole of wrestling ever again. He is also a Vice Principal at the high school in Fulton, New York.
32 Billy Kidman (then)
Kidman was among the hoard of wrestlers which jumped ship after WCW was bought by Vince McMahon, but his technical prowess made him quite an entertaining watch. He was a hit in the cruiserweight division, winning the title four times in the five years he spent in the WWE before being released in 2005. Kidman stated the reason for his release was an argument with officials over their decision to stop booking wrestlers on first class flights overseas.
31 Billy Kidman (now)
After a short stint on the indie scene, Kidman returned to the WWE as a trainer for the FCW promotion. He soon became a producer/road agent for the company, where he now times matches and segments in an event to make sure they don’t go over the allotted time. He's made some on-screen appearances you may not have noticed, including breaking up a brawl between Brock Lesnar and John Cena during their 2012 feud. He also played Paul Heyman's doctor on a European tour under the name "Dr. Weisenburg".
30 Gail Kim (then)
Gail Kim had one of the weirdest runs in WWE. She was reportedly hired after Jim Ross compelled to a hesitant Vince McMahon that many guys like Asian women, on the account that there’s a lot of Asian adult film stars. She had a stunning beginning by winning the Women’s championship in her first televised match, but creative couldn’t find anything for her after dropping her title. She spent two years in the company before she was released because the WWE ‘wanted to take the division to a new direction’.
29 Gail Kim (now)
Following her release, she joined TNA and quickly became a focal point of their impressive women’s division. She would actually return to WWE in 2008, but after a few years, she got herself released. During a battle royal on RAW, Gail Kim eliminated herself and informed management she was quitting. She has since returned to TNA and found even more success, as a five-time Knockouts Champion. She has said that she has no intention of ever going back to WWE.
28 Vader (then)
Big Van Vader arrived in the WWE with tons of experience wrestling in Japan and WCW as he was promoted as this dangerous heavyweight who could crush any other wrestler. He was put into prominent rivalries and matches at first, even receiving a WWE title opportunity which he lost and then matches against The Undertaker. But after a defeat to Kane, Vader lost his marbles and in a post-match interview made some degrading comments which resulted in him jobbing to others in the next weeks. He soon found himself released from the WWE.
27 Vader (now)
Vader fell on some hard times, including his wife leaving him in 2007 over his alcohol abuse. Following complications from a knee replacement surgery, Vader was in a coma for over 33 days, losing 112 pounds. He has since recovered well, and has worked with other promotions, even wrestling to this date in TNA and other indie promotions. He recently inducted his old rival Stan Hansen into WWE's Hall of Fame.
26 Mason Ryan (then)
Debuting during the Nexus days of CM Punk as the powerhouse of the group, Mason Ryan was built as a very strong man in his early days as he was the brute force of the new Nexus. After the Nexus angle was removed, Ryan found it difficult to maintain any persona for himself and creative couldn’t draw together a promising outlook for him. He was released in 2014.
25 Mason Ryan (now)
Mason Ryan moved on to the independent scenes over the world, but recently he announced to WWE.com that he would be working in the Cirque du Soleil, as his muscular body seems to be the only moneymaker for him. Just what is his role in the Cirque du Soleil? He is the chief archer of Kà. Ryan may have had the look, but clearly he just wasn't cut out to be a professional wrestler. Let's hope he's now found his true calling.
24 Gangrel (then)
Gangrel had a genuinely creepy gimmick during his infamous ‘Brood’ days with Edge and Christian as the three terrorized and dominated the tag team division for a short period in the Attitude Era. After some years in the indie circuit, Gangrel was called back to the WWE where he had a short stint before being fired for not tucking his shirt in (you heard that right).
23 Gangrel (now)
Gangrel has one of those stories that will catch your attention. If things couldn’t go anymore crazier for him, he signed on to direct 12 pornographic films. All of those films were set to be vampire themed. His last appearance on WWE television was back on the 15th anniversary of RAW in late 2007 where he participated in a battle royal. He attended the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015 in support of his friend Rikishi, who was being inducted.
22 Raven (then)
A highly decorated superstar in wrestling, Raven has held gold in almost every promotion he has gone too, but with WWE it was something special for him as he won the Hardcore Championship a mammoth 27 times in his time at the company. Unfortunately, after the hardcore championship was removed, so was Raven. He was probably one of the most underused stars in WWE history. He never really got a chance to shine above the hardcore division.
21 Raven (now)
Raven returned to other promotions and is still a prominent figure in the indie scene despite being 51 years old and this spooky master of extreme has shown over the years his ability to put on some classic matches. He has essentially gotten himself blacklisted from WWE by attempting to sue them back in 2010, although the case was dismissed. In any event, it doesn't really look like he needs WWE's help anymore.
20 Sin Cara/Mistico (then)
Mistico was quite the sensation in Mexico and was the perfect Luchador for the WWE to gain its Hispanic fans. Rey Mysterio was aging and WWE needed to find their next Hispanic star. Donning the cape and name of Sin Cara, he was advertised heavily and had a unique vibe to his matches, making him a star mid-carder. But his poor attitude and penchant for botching doomed his WWE career. Triple H has made many great signing but this wasn't one of them.
19 Sin Cara/Mistico (now)
He fought on for the rights of his name with WWE, while working in Mexico and is still working as a lucha libre master in Mexico under the name of ‘Caristico’. The idea is that the name is a combination of Sin Cara and Mistico. He seems to be doing well for himself back in Mexico. Perhaps he's just a great wrestler whose style didn't mesh with WWE's. It's a shame his WWE run didn't work out as a feud with Kalisto could have been epic.
18 Albert/Tensai (then)
Matt Bloom has been quite the servant for the WWE ever since debuting in 1999 as this solid worker has a phenomenal knowledge of wrestling and evolved his character in accordance to the needs of the company. After spending some good years in Japan, Bloom returned with the gimmick of Lord Tensai and again played the role of a monster heel to perfection, before playing that off a goof dancing with Brodus Clay hilariously too.
17 Albert/Tensai (now)
Bloom is now the head trainer of the WWE performance center and helps Triple H with the booking of NXT, as his time in Japan has availed WWE to bring in stars like Finn Balor, Hideo Itami and Shinsuke Nakamura. He was brought in to replace Bill DeMott, who was accused of bullying tactics when training new talent. Bloom seems to be the complete opposite as he has received glowing reviews from those who have trained under him.
16 Bobby Lashley (then)
A specialist in mixed martial arts, Bobby Lashley came into the WWE as a powerhouse like Batista or Kevin Nash, but his superb athletic ability made him into a beastly athlete who used his raw strength and agility to down his opponents. Booked in some prominent matches including winning for Donald Trump at WrestleMania, Lashley was moved to ECW where he held that title for a time being. Lashley got a WWE title opportunity after that, but an ‘injury’ had him laid off for six months after which he was released.
15 Bobby Lashley (now)
Lashley has accomplished quite a bit since his departure, both in and out of wrestling. He moved onto TNA where he became World Champion quite soon enough and has been in TNA for quite a long time now, always staying in the title picture and being treated like a star. He's also built up a fairly successful MMA career. He holds a record of 14-2 and has won his first four fights in the Bellator promotion. He seems to be doing just fine without WWE.
14 Scott Steiner (then)
Scott was once part of an exciting tag team with brother Rick. He showed shows signs of freakiness after becoming a singles competitor as his hilarious promos and illogical explanations were extremely dumb yet entertaining in the same time. A very talented wrestler in his own right, Steiner came to the WWE with his brother but then returned in 2003 as a singles competitor who was an entertaining tweener. Still, he was a complete bust, as he would get gassed during matches and was booed despite being a babyface challenger to Triple H.
13 Scott Steiner (now)
Steiner has since moved onto TNA after WWE where he had quite a hilarious run as well, as controversies never seemed to be far away from him. Just last year, he was banned from attending WWE's Hall of Fame ceremony for allegedly threatening to kill Hulk Hogan, according to Hogan's wife, Jennifer.
Steiner now owns a restaurant near which he witnessed a shooting recently, but that can’t deter him from his hilarious loudmouth approach.
12 Rhyno (then)
The Master of the Gore is a definitive face of ECW in its prime, as he put on some memorable matches for the promotion and guys like him made it into something special. After ECW shut up shop, Rhyno joined WWE as a part of the ‘invasion angle’ which was pretty disappointing. Rhyno then turned face after moving to SmackDown which didn’t suit nor help his cause. He was unceremoniously released in 2005 after a public argument with his wife that took place at the WrestleMania 21 afterparty.
11 Rhyno (now)
Following his release, he moved on to TNA and even ROH in the long run, before returning to WWE in NXT as an established wrestler to put others over. A main roster return did come, but he disappointed in that as well. He has now announced that he's running for Michigan's House of Representatives, representing his hometown of Dearborn. He has the approval of Vince McMahon, who knows a thing or two about political campaigns.
10 Kharma (then)
Kharma is a colossal wrestler who made a terrorizing impact on the main roster after her debut in the WWE. But soon after destroying every diva in the division, one day Kharma began to cry and soon announced that she was pregnant and had to take a leave of absence from WWE. She returned in the 2012 Royal Rumble, becoming only the third women to do so but couldn’t really hold her position in the WWE.
9 Kharma (now)
She soon had to return to Japan and then eventually to TNA. She was released earlier this year following a backstage altercation with Rebecca Hardy. As now she says herself to be ‘retired’ taking care of her family. She has also lost a lot of weight since her WWE release. At 38 years old, and with her having burned some bridges, her wrestling career is likely over, so we'll have to see what her next move is.
8 Ken Shamrock (then)
‘The World’s Most Dangerous Man’ was snapped up by the WWE after a solid MMA career at UFC, and was billed to be this maniacal, destructive man. Shamrock brought the same attributes to the company which Brock Lesnar did after his return in 2011, as he was also reckoned by many to be one of the best in his early times in UFC and is considered as a legend there. But WWE didn’t really treat him that well, making him a bodyguard for The Corporation to extreme matches and could’ve easily pushed him to the main event status.
7 Ken Shamrock (now)
The lack of stardom made Shamrock quit the WWE as he returned to the UFC, where he wasn't nearly as successful as his first sting. Now, even at the age of 52 he is still grinding his body to the limits and competition in the dangerous environment of MMA. He has lost his last three fights and since his WWE release, he has only won five of his 17 professional fights. It's time for Shamrock to hang up his gloves for good, but he doesn't seem to want to let go.
6 Dean Malenko (then)
Dean Malenko is regarded by many to be one of the best technical wrestlers of all time. Termed as ‘The Man of 1000 holds’, Daniel Bryan regarded him as the ‘number one guy’ as Malenko has maintained a cult status among wrestling fans to this day. After eventful years in ECW and WCW, WWE finally came calling for Malenko in 2000 as he debuted as part of the Radicalz. But as his fellow Radicalz in Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero would reach greater heights in WWE, Malenko found himself in some horrible story-lines which didn’t suit his ‘Iceman’ character at all.
5 Dean Malenko (now)
Malenko now works as a road agent for WWE and was also inducted into the Hardcore Hall of Fame in 2015, as what could’ve been a five star career was restricted by poor booking on WWE’s behalf. Still, it seems at least WWE respected Malenko's knowledge of the business enough to keep him around in some capacity.
Malenko has had some health scares in his time as an agent, including a heart attack in the latter half of 2010, although he made a full recovery.
4 Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat (then)
‘The Dragon’ was one of the first real high flyers to have arrived and lit up the scene in WWE, as he put on some classic matches with his exciting moveset and fiery personality. Ricky Steamboat is considered by many to be the most unlucky wrestler in WWE, as he only won one Intercontinental Championship when he definitely deserved a shot at the WWE title. Needless to say, he's not on this list through any fault of his own.
3 Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat (now)
The Dragon is now an ambassador for the WWE, after having short terms as a trainee in NXT and making cameos on WWE TV, as his love for wrestling and unbridled spirit shows the inner dragon in him. He has also come back to the ring since his full-time retirement, taking part in the Chris Jericho vs. Legends match at WrestleMania XXV. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009. While his WWE tenure wasn't so successful, he's still a wrestling legend.
2 Goldberg (then)
Goldberg caused quite an uncontrollable frenzy among the wrestling fans of the 90s, as he was this unstoppable force in WCW who had a streak of 173 victories and even squashed the mighty Hulk Hogan to win his first World Title. Goldberg got a big money offer from WWE after WCW went out of business and arrived in the scene. He had some memorable matches and rivalries, but didn’t stick around for much. Backstage problems and a misuse of the WCW icon led to his departure from the company after just one year.
1 Goldberg (now)
Goldberg went on to act in some movies and now also hosts his own television show on cars. In a recent interview promoting Legends of Wrestling, he said that he could come back for one more match if the price and place is right as we’re left to wait to see ‘who’s next’. Goldberg also now hosts his own podcast called Who's Next?! With Bill Goldberg. Whether he ever returns to the ring or not, he seems to have set himself up for life.