WWE's roster is so stacked that they find themselves unable to offer screen time to even big names like Bobby Roode, Tye Dillinger and Chad Gable. Their NXT roster is also equally stacked; in fact, it has as much star power as SmackDown Live. However, that hasn’t stopped the company from signing Keith Lee and Matt Riddle. The company isn't going to stop any time soon as well, as they're said to be always on the lookout for new talents.
The following article looks at eight signings WWE must make for their Raw and SmackDown Live, and NXT. They're put under two categories: Main Roster and NXT.
WWE may not be able to sign some of the talents we've listed below due to a multitude of reasons; this article only lists those wrestlers whom we think would improve their product significantly.
Thanks to the constant influx of new talents, we see a good number of wrestlers leaving the company ever so often for various reasons. Enzo Amore was released after his failing to inform WWE of his personal issues while Big Cass was released because of a lack of professionalism.
With the arrival of new signings, we'll see a host of wrestlers becoming the newest wrestlers to be released by WWE. We'll also be looking at eight wrestlers WWE should release to make room for new signings.
If you think we should have mentioned a wrestler we haven't, use the comments' section on our Facebook or Twitter to point them out. Also, feel free to share the article with your friends should you enjoy it.
24 Main Roster: Rey Mysterio
Many believed Rey Mysterio's appearing at Royal Rumble and being a part of 2K19 marked his much-anticipated return to the company. Thanks to reported differences during contractual negotiations, though, he continues to be involved on the indie circuit.
His drawing power and ability to still put on spectacles must entice WWE into entering the free-agent market for him again sooner than later.
Also consider the fact that all their masked luchadors, save for Kalisto, are struggling to gain a fraction of his popularity. He, a former WWE Heavyweight Champion, could be one of the biggest attractions on SmackDown Live, especially before their move to Fox.
23 NXT: Jay Lethal
With AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins and Bobby Roode all wrestling for WWE now, very few big indie names have been left behind. Even Austin Aries and Neville have had their shot at WWE money. One wrestler who's been unfairly overlooked is Jay Lethal. The ROH World Champion has been a mainstay on the American indie circuit for a long time now, with his winning major titles with Impact Wrestling and ROH Wrestling, among other promotions.
WWE will soon be promoting Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa and Aleister Black to the main roster, so they must look at the Black Machismo to restock the NXT roster.
22 Release: No Way Jose
Although No Way Jose was predominantly only jobbing in NXT, he found himself featured prominently on Raw. His promotion was touted to do what Elias' call-up did to him, with Vince McMahon and co. said to be fans of cartoonish gimmicks. However, he's only been used in filler feuds, against Baron Corbin and Mojo Rawley.
No Way has already been demoted to Main Event, a show where's there's no coming back from, and it looks as though he'll only be used sparingly, perhaps to break up fights between Roman Reigns and whoever he feuds with, until his WWE contract comes to an end.
21 Main Roster: Kazuchika Okada
WWE finally are buying into the Japanese wrestling craze. The company has been pushing every Japanese name on their roster, including Akira Tozawa, Hideo Itami, Io Shirai, Kairi Sane, Asuka and Shinsuke Nakamura.
It's only a matter of time before they raid NJPW for more high-quality talents, and topping their list of potential signings must be former IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada.
He's been seen backstage in WWE events, so it's likely that WWE have already expressed their interest in signing him. He won't need to go through the developmental, as he can already hang with the best performers WWE has to offer today.
20 NXT: Will Ospreay
One non-Japanese NJPW wrestler WWE must be keen on signing is Will Ospreay. The young high-flyer has been setting the indie scene alight with his unorthodox style, even having three of his matches rated five stars by wrestling critic Dave Meltzer. He's been so exceptional that he already has admirers on the WWE's decision-making panel.
Let’s face it; it’s not difficult to be mesmerized by his fantastic high-flying ability. For WWE to open negotiations, though, he must avoid major injuries, which is one aspect of he's struggled with, despite proving to be one of the best in the world otherwise.
19 Release: The Ascension
Alongside Bo Dallas, The Ascension are easily one of the poorly-booked former big NXT names. After going on a long NXT Tag Team Championship run, much was expected of Konnor and Viktor.
The duo have been massively under-booked on the main roster, with their only performing in filler matches and feuds.
Their highly entertaining mini-run with The Fashion Police was a double-edged sword as it destroyed their chances of ever making a comeback as a serious tag-team. With Authors of Pain, Heavy Machinery and Sanity proving solid big-men tag teams, it's now only a matter of time before WWE releases them.
18 Main Roster: Chris Jericho
When Chris Jericho told Vince McMahon he was going to go on an indie run, he couldn't have foreseen his having as much impact as he's had. Winning the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, he's proved a solid addition to the NJPW roster, putting numerous casual eyes on the product.
Additionally, his making a surprise All In appearance legitimized the show in case it already wasn't.
There are murmurs that he's set to make his Impact Wrestling debut as well. WWE would love to sign him to Raw or SmackDown Live not just to add spice to their programming but also to ensure the indies don't gain any more traction.
17 NXT: Matt Sydal
Matt Sydal's substance usage was considered one of the key reasons why WWE never looked to bring him back to the company. However, it seems the company has loosened up their substance policy given their recent signing of Matt Riddle, who's said to be Rob Van Dam's replacement for certain reasons. Plus, he, who wrestled as Evan Bourne in WWE, must have matured enough in the recent times to cut down on the amount of drug he consumes for the betterment of his career. However, he won't sign for the main roster straightaway and will need to go through the developmental, like Drew McIntyre did.
16 Release: Rowan
Rowan has enjoyed tonnes of success for a wrestler who's as limited as he is. Winning numerous Tag Team Championship titles as a part of The Wyatt Family and The Bludgeon Brothers and having a match against The Rock at WrestleMania are two highlights of his career many deem him undeserving of.
The only thing going for him is his size, and WWE now has numerous more talented big men on their roster that they can now choose to axe him.
As his departure could finally see the super-talented Harper go on a much-deserved singles run, WWE should let his contract run out.
15 Main Roster: Hiroshi Tanahashi
We discussed earlier how WWE into finally giving into the wrestling craze out of Japan. One wrestler in NJPW, however, must have been on WWE's radar for some time now: Hiroshi Tanahashi. The wrestling ace has been the biggest NJPW wrestler since the start of the millennium; he's even considered John Cena's equivalent.
At 41, he hasn't got a lot of top-class wrestling ahead of him and, despite his loyalty to NJPW, he must consider signing for WWE. He wouldn't need to go through NXT as well, as he'll fit in with WWE’s Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, AJ Styles and Seth Rollins.
14 NXT: Dalton Castle
Dalton Castle has had an amazing few years on the indies, winning the ROH World Championship and ROH Six Man Tag Team Championship titles. Despite his recent success, many deem him unworthy of ever wrestling for WWE given his gimmick. However, his gimmick and ability to develop a multilayered character is what will secure him a NXT contract.
His playing a "flamboyant showman with an androgynous personality" might not have been appropriate a few years ago but, with WWE now embracing characters like Velveteen Dream, he can actually prove a big hit at least on the Full Sail University brand.
13 Release: The Colons
With the exception of Roman Reigns, WWE has never tried to get a character over as they've done with The Colons. Vince McMahon and co. have made them wrestle as Los Matadores, Primo and Epico, The Shining Stars and more recently, The Colons.
Despite their numerous gimmick changes, it seems as though they'll never get over with the WWE audience.
It's quite possible that WWE are holding on to the cousins only to cater to their following in Puerto Rico; that said, with Zelina Vega and Lince Dorado working for them now, WWE no longer needs to rely on them. They're better off releasing them unless they sign Carlito to lead them.
12 Main Roster: CM Punk
It’s unknown if CM Punk will take as much time as The Ultimate Warrior and Bret Hart to return to WWE, but WWE must know the company would gain more than they’d lose if they brought him back. The Chicago-born UFC fighter does have attitude issues but, having dealt with characters like Shawn Michaels, Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash before, Vince McMahon and co. must know a thing or two about dealing with big characters. It’s been four years since his WWE departure, and a lot of things he had a problem with no longer have their place in WWE.
11 NXT: Zack Sabre Jr.
Zack Sabre Jr. reportedly turned down a contract from WWE in 2016 after their Cruiserweight Classic tournament. His becoming more relevant and excellent since, the dearth of legitimate tough guys on NXT, his being open to tweaking his wrestling style and a big company like NJPW’s booking him to win big matches must have only made WWE’s interest in him more concrete.
That said, it’s going to take more than a big-money contract, as the New Japan Cup holder, who receives plaudits from left, right and center for his work, must already be making more than what most NXT wrestlers do today.
10 Release: Mike Kanellis
Not a lot was expected of Mike Kanellis when he signed for WWE, with his coming off a not-so-great Impact Wrestling.
Although he defied expectations to look a solid Damien Sandow replacement for a week or two, he’s now nowhere to be seen these days.
His personal problems and Maria Kanellis’ pregnancy put a dent in his WWE career and he hasn’t recovered since. With WWE struggling to find television time for even more talented wrestlers like Tye Dillinger, Bobby Roode, Sin Cara and Chad Gable, one can’t help but think that they must have given up on the former Impact Wrestling talent.
9 Main Roster: Batista
Batista hasn’t been secretive about how he feels about a potential WWE return. "I miss it daily,” he confessed recently in an interview. “I love it, I have a passion for wrestling. I feel that at the core of me that's just who I am. I'm a physical performer, and I miss it every day." For some reason, WWE have been refusing to pull the plug on The Animal despite his Guardians of the Galaxy fame. However, it’s now only a matter of time before WWE brings him back, as no other wrestler on their roster, perhaps with the exception of John Cena and The Undertaker, matches his drawing power.
8 NXT: Tessa Blanchard
When Ricochet signed for NXT, many expected Tessa Blanchard to follow suit. However, things didn't work out that way. Since then though, she’s racked up numerous accolades, with her winning the Impact Knockouts Championship title being the biggest highlight of her career thus far.
She’s also been featured prominently featured on the indies, and her wrestling on All In bears testimony to her indie fame. When WWE eventually calls up Shayna Baszler and Kairi Sane to the main roster they’ll want her to replace them. It's long overdue for Blanchard to be in NXT and it's now only a matter of time before it happens.
7 Release: Dana Brooke
Dana Brooke being finished Titus Worldwide isn’t going to help her in any way. She hardly looked impressive when she was teaming up with Charlotte Flair and The Club. Goofing around with Titus O’Neill and Apollo Crews gained a modicum of relevance, but she couldn’t get over with the crowd.
The fact that she is neither an excellent promo nor a fantastic wrestler hasn’t helped matters, either.
When her WWE contract expires, WWE won’t likely offer her an extension, as they can replace her with more talented NXT wrestlers, including Shayna Baszler and Kairi Sane or give under-appreciated wrestlers like Ember Moon and Mickie James more television time.
6 Main Roster: John Morrison
It’s surprising how WWE haven’t brought John Morrison back yet. He now looks ready to finally make his WWE comeback after seven long years. During his time away from the company, the three-time Intercontinental Champion has won the AAA Championship, Lucha Underground Championship and Lucha Underground Gift of the Gods Championship titles.
Aged only 38, he still has a good WWE run left in him, and he could make his return in a few months’ time at Royal Rumble in 2019.
He will also potentially bring along with him his wife Taya Valkyrie, who’s also a top-class wrestler in her own right.
5 NXT: Eddie Edwards
Eddie Edwards is seldom mentioned when discussing the best names on the indie circuit. However, the Impact Wrestling talent has been putting on excellent matches consistently since a very long time. His winning the ROH World Championship and Impact World Championship bears testimony to his popularity. His recent feuds with Davey Richards, Tommy Dreamer and Sami Callihan bear testimony to his ability to tell excellent stories, and WWE would be foolish not to pay close attention to his rise. However, he still needs to work on his mic skills, and there’s no better place than NXT to work on it; he must know it.
4 Release: Zack Ryder
Very few wrestlers on WWE’s payroll has been with the company for as long as Zack Ryder has been. Starting out as one of the Edgeheads, he’s become a WWE veteran, winning the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania and being pushed off the ramp by Kane along the way. While he knows how to get over with the crowd, as evidenced by his fantastic YouTube series, he now finds himself working only bottom-card feuds or breaking up fights between whoever’s feuding for the WWE Championship or Universal Championship titles. WWE must let him go, so he could rediscover himself on the indies as his pal Cody Rhodes did.
3 Main Roster: The Bullet Club
Yes, this, indeed, is a cheat entry of sorts. The point, however, still stands. WWE will largely benefit from signing the entirety or at least the key parts of The Bullet Club, especially names like Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega.
However, as the key members proclaimed after the end of All In, they belong to no wrestling promotion.
It will be incredibly hard for WWE to even sign any of them at this point but, if WWE does somehow pull off a move for the hottest act in the history of indie wrestling, the wrestling world will explode.
2 NXT: Walter
Only hardcore wrestling fans seem to appreciate the genius that is Walter. He’s everything that Kevin Owens isn’t. While they both are fantastic big-men wrestlers, Walter has an aura of badassery that makes him as good as any other big-man wrestler the industry has ever seen. At 31, he already has the indie wrestling world in his hands given his recent PWG World Championship win, and it’s only a matter of time before NXT, which is run by some of the smartest minds in wrestling today, comes calling for the 310-pounder. He’ll undoubtedly make NXT programming much better than it already is, as they have none like him on the roster now.
1 Release: Hideo Itami
Much was expected of Hideo Itami when he first signed for WWE. Frequent injuries, however, has derailed his chances of ever showing WWE Universe what he’s truly capable of. A proper main-event talent, he now languishes in 205 Live which, despite putting on fantastic matches every week, is only considered the D brand in WWE today.
In Japan, though, he’ll be treated with as much respect as he deserves, and he’s certain to make enough money to be well off as well. WWE must release him so they can bring in a fresh face while also helping a talent become as relevant as he deserves to be.