For the longest time, the WWE was the only way for wrestlers to make real money. However, in the past few years, wrestlers like the Young Bucks, Cody Rhodes and Colt Cabana have shown that you don't need the WWE to make a good living. In fact, the top indie stars are making a substantial amount of money and it leaves some WWE workers to question whether they should leave. Sure, it isn't the millions of dollars that some of the WWE's biggest stars are earning, but it is a great salary that sees them work an easier schedule.
Ring of Honor, New Japan Pro Wrestling, Impact and the plethora of other indies that dot the world allow many of today's wrestlers to work without needing Vince McMahon and his family. It is a great position to be in, and one that was nonexistent 10 years ago.
While there are the wrestlers that will never do business with the WWE, there are plenty of others who are just waiting to get that phone call to join. These wrestlers may be eager to join due to the security of a regular paycheque or thanks to the opportunity to become bigger names in the business. Whatever the reason, these grapplers are ready to chase the cash and work for the WWE.
16 Never Do Business: Briscoe Brothers
The Briscoe Brothers are one of the most exciting and entertaining tag teams to enter pro wrestling in the last two decades. The Briscoes aren't just great in the ring, but the duo is brilliant on the microphone and are a rare throwback to wrestlers from a bygone era. The brother duo has had tryouts with the WWE, and in 2009, it looked like the tag team was about to join.
However, the WWE eventually passed on the brothers as they were said to not be "cosmetically pleasing".
Due to the WWE's decision to not sign the Briscoes, they missed out on a great tag team. Although in reality, the Briscoe Brothers would have been unable to cope with the WWE censoring them.
15 Will Chase The Money: Kenny Omega
Kenny Omega splits the opinion of wrestling fans. Some see him as a top-level performer who is one of the best in wrestling today. Others seem him as an average competitor and can't get over Omega's previous match against a little girl in Japan (yes, this did happen, if you didn't know). Omega is still under contract to New Japan and has made the company his home. In interviews, Omega has stated he doesn't want to be a robot in the ring and feels the WWE would make him just that. At 34, Omega's time for high-flying, risk taking maneuvers is coming to an end. He may want to prolong his career and a move to the WWE would be a way to do it.
14 Never Do Business: Jay Lethal
Jay Lethal is not only synonymous with ROH, but he is the glue that holds the company together. Lethal is the type of wrestler the company can depend on for whatever it needs. Lethal is in the second decade of his career and he is still going strong on the indie scene. The grappler has stated in interviews he won't be upset, if he never works for the WWE. According to Lethal, he has re-prioritized his career and signing with WWE isn't as important as it was in 2000. While Lethal isn't worried about joining the WWE, the company may not be that interested in him either. Former WWE producer Bruce Prichard didn't have many kind words to describe Lethal on his Something to Wrestle With podcast. He stated Lethal was only good for doing an impression of "Macho Man" Randy Savage.
13 Will Chase The Money: Tessa Blanchard
The daughter of the Four Horsemen's most underrated member, Tully Blanchard, Tessa Blanchard has worked with the WWE at least three times in her young career already. At just 22, Blanchard is young and has plenty of time to carve out a successful career. However, the WWE may want the women's grappler to get more experience under her belt before getting a full-time contract to work for the company.
Blanchard previously wrestled in the WWE's Mae Young Classic and she featured in a six women tag match the following evening.
Recently, rumours have persisted that the WWE may be ready to offer Blanchard a full-time contract and send her to NXT. It would be a good move by the company as there is already a storyline that can be written between Blanchard and Charlotte Flair thanks to their fathers' relationship.
12 Never Do Business: Dalton Castle
It has been reported for some time that the WWE is interested in Dalton Castle. The current ROH World Champion would be a perfect fit in the WWE due to his flamboyant persona, customs and wrestling ability. But it seems the WWE has plenty of other active wrestles, and some let go over the last few years, that have attempted their own flamboyant gimmicks. In a 2018 interview, Castle stated joining the WWE is not his next career step and it doesn't look like something he will likely due; despite the WWE's previous interest. Castle also stated he is under contract to ROH until at least 2019. A move to the WWE could also see him work far more and make far less as a contracted wrestler. Which could keep him away from the WWE.
11 Will Chase The Money: Don Callis
Don Callis is the current Executive Vice-President of Impact Wrestling, having joined the company in 2017. Callis was out of wrestling for over 10 years and had little – if anything – to do with it. However, the Canadian got a taste for the business once more when he met up with friends Lance Storm, Lenny St. Claire and Chris Jericho for Jericho's 25th anniversary podcast. Suddenly, Callis was back in the business with his own wrestling podcast and New Japan Pro Wrestling hired him to do English commentary.
Callis is a former WWE wrestler and manager, and he worked under The Jackal gimmick during the Attitude Era.
Vince McMahon was high on Callis and wanted him out of the ring and to work in creative. However, Callis didn't want to make the transition yet, and due to his reluctance, he was fired in 1999. Callis could get hired by the WWE, if he can turn Impact around and make it more of a competitor in wrestling. McMahon wanted him once, he may want him once more.
10 Never Do Business: Michael Elgin
Michael Elgin is a beast in the ring. First making his name in Ring of Honor as the company's world champion and later moving to New Japan Pro Wrestling where he won its Intercontinental belt, Elgin has become a staple on the United States indies and in companies around the globe. Elgin's rugged style is not WWE-friendly as the power man is a throwback to the likes of former gaijin greats like Steve Williams and "Bam Bam" Terry Gordy. Just as Elgin wouldn't fit into the WWE, the company will most likely stay away from the wrestler.
In 2017, Elgin was accused of mishandling a claim against a fellow wrestler he trained. Elgin sold his own indie wrestling promotion and school due to it. Just as the WWE has distanced itself from employees who have been accused of similar things this year, Elgin will be one the company stays away from in the future.
9 Will Chase The Money: Marty Scurll
Marty Scurll is one of the most popular and sought after indie wrestlers today. Scurll has worked for all the major indie promotions including ROH and Pro Wrestling Guerilla. He also works regularly for New Japan. Scurll says he wants to see how far his career can go without the WWE machine behind him.
However, Scurll knows that if the WWE lets him use his own creativity for the "Villain" gimmick, then he would join right away.
As a native of England, Scurll could be tempted to sign with the WWE, if he is used as a major attraction on European tours. Scurll is currently under contract to ROH and he is doing well financially as a member of the Bullet Club.
8 Never Do Business: Rocky Romero
Rocky Romero has been a staple of New Japan Pro Wrestling since 2010. It was expected by many fans that he would join good friends Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson in the WWE when the tag team signed with the company. Romero was often said to be an unofficial member of the Bullet Club and was one third of the podcast that he, Gallows and Anderson produced for MLW Radio. However, Romero stayed in NJPW and continues to work in tag team matches for the company. Romero has worked as a guest trainer at the WWE Performance Center, and the company was ready to offer him a contract at one time; but the grappler declined. Romero wants to remain an in-ring worker for now.
7 Will Chase The Money: Truth Martini
Truth Martini was an exciting wrestler in the 1990s that almost got his big break in the original ECW. However, after his tryout and before joining up with the company, Martini broke his neck in an indie match. He was paralyzed for hours following the contest, and finally got the feeling back in his arms and legs while in the emergency room. Martini went on to become a manager and he was a key figure in ROH from 2010 to 2016. He worked as a guest trainer at the WWE Performance Center in 2017 while running his own House of Truth wrestling school in Michigan. Martini has a reputation of training good professional wrestlers that are solid hands. In addition, he is a dying breed when it comes to managers. The WWE needs people like Martini.
6 Never Do Business: Sonjay Dutt
Sonjay Dutt's name is synonymous with TNA/Impact Wrestling. Dutt is not only a fixture with the company, but he has been working the American indie wrestling scene for nearly two decades. Dutt had the opportunity to join the WWE as a full-time trainer or to work with ROH in the last two years, but he returned to Impact in 2017 due to the company not holding him to a strict contract. Now 35-years old, Dutt is working backstage and in front of the camera as a commentator with Impact. After suffering an injury in early 2018, it looks likely that Dutt won't return until 2019. His opportunities to join WWE may have evaporated. However, Dutt has worked hard and saved his money over the years. Working with Impact and its schedule has worked well for him, and changing that for the WWE seems unlikely.
5 Will Chase The Money: Cody Hall
The son of WWE Hall of Fame member Scott Hall, Cody Hall has the size and look to be a WWE wrestler – or at least an NXT performer. Hall has worked for New Japan Pro Wrestling and he cut his teeth with the promotion early in his career. A serious injury forced Hall to take a year off, and when he returned, he joined Pro Wrestling NOAH. Wrestling rumours suggest Hall had the chance to work with the WWE before he joined NJPW, but he chose not to, so he could get more experience before signing with the company. At 26, Hall will be entering the prime of his career soon. A move to the WWE would be the logical step and it would prevent Hall's body from taking the punishment it does on tours of NOAH.
4 Never Do Business: Joey Ryan
Joey Ryan has become famous for using his body in wrestling matches. The spot has made Ryan a disliked figure amongst hardcore and old-school wrestling fans. Regardless, Ryan has become a much sought after indie wrestler. Ryan appeared in the WWE before his breakthrough on the indie circuit, but in each appearance the grappler was used to put over WWE stars. Ryan has already stated he would make far less money in the WWE than he does now on the indie scene. He would also most likely have to give up the spot that has made him famous. Ryan, who is nearly 40, also stated he didn't want to depend on some writer without wrestling experience to dictate his career. The wrestler would rather have his own future in his hands.
3 Will Chase The Money: Hannibal
Hannibal, real name Devon Nicholson, gained fame when he filed a lawsuit against Abdullah the Butcher for giving him hepatitis C in a wrestling match. Hannibal is the only person to make the claim despite Abdullah bleeding on various wrestlers for some five decades. When he was diagnosed, Hannibal supposedly had a deal with the WWE pending, but the company pulled it when it was known the grappler had hepatitis C. Hannibal won his lawsuit against Abdullah but hasn't received any of the money won. While Hannibal has carved out a niche for himself on YouTube with shoot interviews and continues to work indie shows, his dream was to work for the WWE.
According to interviews, Hannibal has said WWE representatives – Gerald Briscoe and Ric Flair – told him on two occasions he would get an NXT tryout in 2014. Those tryouts never occurred, however. Hannibal also says he was invited to an NXT tryout in 2016. But just days before leaving for Florida, the company emailed him to say they were taking the original offer back. Hannibal will continue to fight for a chance at a tryout.
2 Never Do Business: Young Bucks
Some wrestling fans believe the Young Bucks are the greatest tag team to ever lace up a pair of boots. Meanwhile, other fans think the Young Bucks are killing the business. No matter which camp you fall into, the Young Bucks will not be joining the WWE now or anytime soon. The tag team has got over for a style that would be stomped out by many of the agents in the WWE. The company's road schedule would be completely different to the one the Young Bucks currently have, and whether they would translate to the "big time" is debatable.
There is also the fact that the Young Bucks are making good money wrestling on the indies and in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Add in the amount of money they get in merchandise from Pro Wrestling Tees and joining the WWE would see the Bucks take a large pay cut.
1 Will Chase The Money: Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes made his name in wrestling with the WWE. Rhodes was under contract to the promotion for a decade, and when he left, it was under strained circumstances. Since then, Rhodes has made a major name for himself working for ROH, NJPW and whatever other promotion will have him. Rhodes has proven a wrestler doesn't need the WWE to make a living. However, that doesn't mean he won't go back if the price is right. Rhodes may decide he wants to prove himself at the WWE's level. At the end of his time with the company, his gimmick was more of a joke than a serious grappler. That has changed since leaving and he has created new fans all over the globe. Rhodes could go back to the company to show he is a wrestler the WWE should have put more faith in the first time around.