Every year, the WWE roster undergoes major changes as many performers are recruited from various promotions, while some NXT Superstars get called up to the main roster. There are also names who leave the company for different reasons, some of whom want to retire while others are simply unhappy in the WWE. And we can't forget that the company chooses to part ways with many Superstars to cut budget as much as possible. Now that 2019 is approaching, fans can't help but speculate regarding the next major changes on the roster as many wrestlers have already been linked with a move to the WWE.
As we have witnessed in past years, WWE continues to recruit top names on the independent circuit and elsewhere in order to form the strongest roster. There are many names who are have resisted a move thus far, but if the past is any indication - it's only a matter of time before the WWE make an offer that they can't refuse.
At the moment, there are also multiple Superstars on the verge of retirement, and while they have extended their lengthy careers as much as possible - 2019 could be the year in which they move on to new ventures. But of course the wrestling world is unpredictable when it comes to such decisions and nostalgia continues to be a strong selling point to this day. With today's list, we look at 7 wrestlers who may leave WWE in 2019, 7 who will retire and 7 new signings
21 Leaving: Luke Gallows
Luke Gallows' contract is set to expire in the upcoming months and rumors have it that he may be looking for a way out.
There is mutual interest between him and NJPW, making his return a strong possibility as Gallows hasn't had the best of times in the WWE.
As for his tag team partner Karl Anderson, his contract is also supposed to expire around the same time although he has indicated a preference in remaining in the United States due to his family. It remains to be seen whether Gallows end up leaving the WWE after all, but based on how he has been booking - the odds are very favorable right now.
20 Retiring: Kane
Now that Kane is in public office, it seems like his days in the WWE may be numbered. As his appearances continue to decrease by the year, the time may have come for Kane to hang up the boots. He has been employed by the WWE for more than two decades, but considering his latest career journey, as well as the fact that he has turned into a glorified jobber - it seems like it would be a wise decision for both sides to move on. 2019 is likely to be the last time in which Kane is an active Superstar as he has teased retirement in recent interviews.
19 New Signing: Eli Drake
Eli Drake had a tryout with the WWE a decade ago, which didn't result in an opportunity as he showed up late that day. Fast forward to 2018, the WWE is now making efforts to recruit him to the company as Drake has been one of most important figures for Impact Wrestling. He would make a great addition to the roster thanks to his all-around talent, but especially the ability to cut promos.
Although he has been linked with a move in the past two years, it may not come to fruition until 2019 as WWE continues to add more talents to the roster.
18 Leaving: Asuka
If Asuka were to leave the WWE, we can't imagine many questioning her decision since she appears to be unhappy with her booking. After having been one of the faces of the women's division, Asuka has struggled in finding a role on the roster since her devastating loss at WrestleMania 34.
Based on her creative direction in the past six months, Asuka would find more success elsewhere where her talents could be put to good use.
She surely will have many suitors on the market so there is a strong possibility that she explores options outside of the WWE.
17 Retiring: Mickie James
Mickie James' return hasn't been particularly memorable as she wasn't pushed nearly as much as expected. It didn't take long for the company to ruin her buzz, finding herself lost in the shuffle. These days, James has been used to put over younger Superstars as she is constantly being pinned. With a number of ongoing ventures in her real life, as well as the fact that she is getting older, James may not be a WWE Superstar beyond 2019. Since many female Superstars are currently coming up, others are bound to lose their spot on the roster.
16 New Signing: Walter
Earlier this year, reports indicated that Walter was heading to the WWE with the possibility of making his debut after WrestleMania 34. However, he would end up denying the rumors by claiming that he hadn't inked a deal with the company. While the two sides had engaged in negotiations, it seems like they couldn't reach a deal at the moment. But with the WWE having high interest in acquiring Walter, it seems like it is only a matter of time before they come to an agreement. With 2019 looming around, we wouldn't be surprised to see him join the company.
15 Leaving: Brock Lesnar
When Brock Lesnar's reign as the WWE Universal Champion came to an end, it became clear that he would dedicate plenty of time towards his UFC return. As his suspension is going to be up soon, Lesnar has began training for his upcoming fight - meaning that he will be away from the WWE for the most part.
Since Lesnar is unlikely to hold the Universal title for long, and there aren't many worthy challengers around - then he may leave the WWE for the time being.
Considering his pay and schedule flexibility, Lesnar may not be gone from the WWE for an extended period.
14 Retiring: Goldust
With Goldust's role diminishing over the past few years in the WWE, it appears that he may not be around for too long. His consistency is already impressive as it is with a career that spans two decades. Goldust has teased retirement in recent times, making it a likely outcome by 2019. His interviews indicate that Goldust has already started preparing for the next chapter in his life, knowing that the clock is ticking. And while he still has plenty to offer the WWE behind-the-scenes, he is no longer needed as an active Superstar, especially when you consider how stacked the roster is today.
13 New Signing: Pentagon Jr.
In September, reports were heating up regarding a deal between Pentagon Jr and the WWE. He had been on the company's radar for a while with many believing that they would finally reach a deal in 2018. But Pentagon Jr has gone on record to deny agreeing to a deal with WWE, informing fans of his intentions to remain with Lucha Underground for the time being.
At 33 years old, there is still enough time for him to make the switch and achieve plenty of success should he join the WWE. And 2019 seems like as good of as a time as any for the two sides to ink a deal.
12 Leaving: Apollo Crews
When Apollo Crews joined the main roster, there were hopes that he could become a top Superstar for the WWE. Despite having the ideal appearance and skillset to be a huge name, Crews hasn't been able to connect with the WWE Universe.
While his booking hasn't exactly put him in a position to maximize his potential, Crews' lack of charisma has affected his status.
Now that Crews has been mostly used to put over other Superstars on Raw, while also being apart of Main Event, it seems like his days in the WWE may be numbered. If he doesn't leave on his own in 2019, then we wouldn't be surprised to see him released.
11 Retiring: Big Show
Earlier this year, rumors claimed that Big Show had retired from the WWE and wouldn't be cleared to return due to injuries. He would go on to deny the reports and sign a new deal with the company. With Big Show recently making his return to SmackDown, he may be gearing up for a final run. It would make sense for him to hang up the boots in 2019 given that he has become an injury prone in recent times. There had been discussions regarding a possible final match at WrestleMania in previous years, which may finally come to fruition next year.
10 New Signing: Dalton Castle
Dalton Castle has been one of the most important figures for Ring of Honor in the past few years, generating plenty of buzz among fans all over the world. WWE has also taken interest in him with persistent rumors that the company would be looking to bring him over.
While Castle has left the door open, he has always expressed his intentions in helping ROH grow as much as possible.
He is set to be 33 years old in 2019, making it the perfect timing for Castle to join the WWE while he is still in his prime years.
9 Leaving: Dana Brooke
With the rise of women's wrestling in WWE, many Superstars have been granted opportunities to shine. Dana Brooke has been one of them although she hasn't been as successful as her peers. Upon her arrival to the company, Vince McMahon was reportedly high on her - believing that she could be one of the most dominant forces in the WWE. But it seems like the company no longer views her as such since she has been demoted to a lesser role. With many Superstars expected to move up from NXT in 2019, Brooke could be on her way out of the WWE.
8 Retiring: Ronda Rousey
Ronda Rousey is having one of the most impressive rookie years in WWE history but her journey may come to an end in 2019. She signed a one year deal with the company in hopes of realizing her dreams of being a professional wrestler. But she has been planning for a future away from the ring as Rousey wants to devote time to her family especially since she has dreams of being a mother. While the WWE may have hoped for a lengthier run, it has reportedly been an understanding between the two parties before they inked a deal.
7 New Signing: Tessa Blanchard
Tessa Blanchard is one of the hottest names outside of the WWE and would make a great addition to the women's division.
She had a tryout in 2014 in which she failed to earn a contract as she was still very green inside the ring at the time.
Not to mention the reported attitude issues were supposedly unappealing to the company, believing that Blanchard was immature. Blanchard has gone on to have success for different promotions around the world, and now it seems like 2019 could be the year where she finally makes the switch to WWE after having proved herself.
6 Leaving: Rusev
For the past year, reports have suggested that Rusev has been unhappy with his creative direction, believing that the WWE had failed to bank on his buzz. With Rusev's frustrations growing due to the lack of opportunities, there is a possibility that he leaves the company in 2019. Since he doesn't seem to be content with being just another name on the roster, Rusev could explore opportunities elsewhere. He would be a welcomed addition to several companies out there, although the WWE paychecks may be tough to leave behind, especially since his wife Lana is also part of the company's programming.
5 Retiring: R-Truth
R-Truth has been a comedy act for a number of years now, but he still manages to book air time on constant basis. He is supposedly highly viewed by a number of top WWE officials, including Vince McMahon, which explains as to why he is still around. AWhile R-Truth's retirement has been rumored for the past two years, 2019 may be the year in which he officially closes a chapter as an active Superstar. We wouldn't be surprised to see him transition into a different on-screen role, or perhaps make a move to a backstage official behind the scenes.
4 New Signing: Marty Scurll
As one of the hottest talents outside of the WWE, it is no surprise that Marty Scurll has become a top target for the company. And while initial talks have been held between the two sides, they haven't led to a deal with Scurll preferring to continue his current journey.
At 30 years old, time is on his side to make the jump to WWE whenever he is ready, and he will undoubtedly be one of the company's biggest acquisitions.
Scurll has already had a remarkable run in Ring of Honor and New Japan, so it would be intriguing to see him take his talents to the WWE in 2019.
3 Leaving: Shinsuke Nakamura
Reports suggest that Shinsuke Nakamura's contract is coming to an end in the upcoming months, and there is a possibility that he may exit the WWE. NJPW has shown great interest in bringing him back to the company which might take place given how Nakamura's run has turned out in the WWE. While he has had a respectable stint, it has fallen short of expectations as Nakamura wasn't booked to become the WWE Champion despite winning the past Royal Rumble. NJPW would be a suitable fit for Nakamura as he would be able to close his wrestling career on a high note.
2 Retiring: The Undertaker
The Undertaker has been teasing retirement for the past four years although he continues returning to the WWE for another match every few months. He just teamed up with brother Kane to take on Triple H and Shawn Michaels at Crown Jewel, but that is unlikely to be his final WWE match. Taker's retirement could take place in 2019 - most likely at WrestleMania - as he has significantly slowed down.
With his 54th birthday coming up, it would be a good time for Taker to step away from the ring before his wrestling legacy ends up being tarnished by father time.
1 New Signing: Kenny Omega
Kenny Omega has resisted a move to the WWE in the past two years despite becoming arguably the most popular wrestler outside of the company. But in recent months, he has teased a potential move through a series of tweets and interviews - although it is also possible that he was just trolling with his comments. But considering the WWE's strong interest in him, as well as his wish to work with many Superstars on the roster, we may finally get to see Omega make the jump. He recently exchanged tweets with Seth Rollins, leading to excitement among WWE and Omega fans.