Now onto the peak period of 2019, the WWE has the most stacked roster that they have ever had. With one of the biggest stars in recent years, Daniel Bryan, back to being an in-ring performer and people like AJ Styles, Seth Rollins, Drew McIntyre and others, the WWE roster has never been so full of talent. Currently, they have former IWGP, ROH, and Impact champions under contract. Regardless of what other promotions you watch, it is hard to say that any other roster could even compete with the WWE when it comes to the amount of raw talent they have.
However, due to the landscape of the WWE, there is not room for everyone. Even with 5 hours of programming on television every week, they can’t book everyone properly. Additionally, with the growing popularity of NXT, every developmental callup is hyped as the next best thing, whether his or her in-ring or mic work is worth the hype. This makes a stacked roster feel bloated. Also, while some of the NXT callups truly are exciting and deserving of hype, some of the main roster competitors could use some time in NXT, whether they came up through the black and yellow brand or not.
While some superstars could use a stint in NXT and some should have been called up already, some performers fall into another category altogether: they should be released. While it is never a good thing for someone to lose their job, some wrestlers have benefited from being released, as we have seen in the past few years with the likes of Austin Aries and, most notably, Cody Rhodes. The main roster needs a shakeup now more than ever, and these are some wrestlers that should be released, some that should be promoted, and some that should go back to developmental.
21 Demoted: Tyler Breeze
As a part of the Fashion Police, Tyler Breeze was more over than he had ever been in his entire WWE career. His run in NXT was nothing special, and he hasn’t captured gold in any form or fashion since his main roster debut. His match with Ricochet for the North American Championship on NXT was loved by both casual and hardcore fans alike, and this match was a clear sign that Tyler Breeze should definitely get another run in NXT. While he may never be NXT Champion, Breeze would be a great N.A. Champion, as that belt was not active during his initial run in the developmental brand.
20 Promoted: Aleister Black
When Aleister Black dropped his NXT Championship to Tommaso Ciampa when he was caught in the crossfire during the Ciampa/Gargano feud, it seemed like his callup was inevitable. Gargano and Ciampa seemed to be the top NXT feud heading forward, but everything changed when they wrote Black off of NXT television and turned Johnny Gargano heel. Gargano seemed tailor-made to be the top babyface in the promotion, but Black appears to be sticking around to take that spot now that Gargano can’t. If Gargano hadn’t turned heel, it is highly likely that Aleister Black would have already been called up to the main roster.
19 Released: Big Show
This is not a knock against Big Show. The Big Show has dedicated practically his entire life to the world of professional wrestling. He is a great brand ambassador for the company, as he was a prominent figure in the B.A. Star program that the company promoted for years. However, for years now, Big Show has become a punchline in the world of wrestling when it comes to heel turns and face turns, with his most recent surprise turn happening late last year in the feud between The Bar and The New Day. Big Show has been in the world of pro wrestling for decades, and it is time for him to retire. He deserves it.
18 Demoted: Aiden English
Aiden English is one of the biggest reasons as to why Rusev Day got as over as it did and, while Aiden English is not the wrestler that Rusev it, it is sad to see the man that helped to get the gimmick over kicked to the curb before Rusev even won a championship. Since leaving the Rusev Day team, Aiden English has barely been seen on television, and the Rusev/Aiden English feud never even got a proper ending. Aiden English’s character needs a revival, just like he got with Rusev. However, this time, his character revival should happen on NXT.
17 Promoted: Kairi Sane
The Mae Young Classic really was an important landmark in the WWE Women’s Revolution, and it happened to coincide with the signing of Kairi Sane, a woman that many fans saw as not only one of the best women wrestlers in the world, but one of the best wrestlers in the world, man or woman. Kairi has been steeped in a never-ending feud with Shayna Baszler for months now, and the feud is becoming a little stale. She is a former NXT Women’s Champion, and she has really perfected the WWE style, as shown in NXT. Her main roster debut is long overdue.
16 Released: Dana Brooke
Do you remember when Dana Brooke was set to take on Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania? Many people felt that Dana Brooke was called up from NXT far too soon. Her ring work has never been spectacular, her mic work was never anything special, and her character has always been fairly bland. When she was put with Titus Worldwide, it looked like her career might be on an upper mid-card trajectory, but Titus Worldwide hasn’t been on television for months. Dana Brooke isn’t a bad worker, but the independent circuit would do wonders for her, as it has done with many former WWE women’s wrestlers.
15 Demoted: Curt Hawkins
Ever since Curt Hawkins has returned to the WWE, he has been severely misused. Hawkins was part of La Familia during the original brand split, and, with Zack Ryder, Curt Hawkins had a fair amount of success. He could have been a strong upper mid-card star in the WWE, but he has been on an infamous losing streak. While his losing streak is occasionally played for laughs, he is more than likely never going to see the levels of success that he had before his return. The one thing that could save Curt Hawkins would be a run in NXT. Hawkins could even go back to his tag team roots as a member of The Forgotten Sons.
14 Promoted: Street Profits
If The Street Profits were used properly, they could be the biggest babyface tag team in the company, like a more talented Cryme Tyme. While Angelo Dawkins may not be the most talented in-ring performer, he has charisma and Montez Ford is NXT’s hidden gem. Currently, The Undisputed Era are the tag team champions in NXT, and The Street Profits will not be the ones to take the titles, and they will not likely lose the titles anytime soon. Ford and Dawkins are clearly championship material, as they are the Evolve Tag Team Champions, and they would make a welcome addition to either brand’s tag team division.
13 Released: Joseph Conners
From the hidden gem in NXT to the hidden gem in NXT UK, Joseph Conners is one of the most underutilized talents on the entire NXT UK roster. Anyone who saw him in WhatCulture Pro Wrestling knows how good of a heel he can play, almost on the levels of Tommaso Ciampa and Chris Jericho. However, when the first NXT UK TakeOver show happened in Blackpool, Joseph Conners was nowhere to be seen, and he even makes limited appearances on weekly television. Conners would likely benefit from another stint on the independent scene, as he is not used to the extent that he could be on WWE television.
12 Demoted: Tye Dillinger
Tye Dillinger’s gimmick as The Perfect Ten got him insanely over in NXT. The chants of “Ten” any time a referee was counting for any reason was something that plagued the WWE main roster for years. When Dillinger debuted as number ten in the Royal Rumble in 2017, he was more over than any other time. However, since his callup, he has had barely any matches on SmackDown. While his ceiling was probably a mid-card championship, Dillinger doesn’t deserve to be a jobber, and that is what he is now. Perhaps some more training down in NXT would help Dillinger get recognized by the bookers on the main roster.
11 Promoted: Kassius Ohno
During his first run in NXT, Kassius Ohno was heavily criticized for not being in shape in the WWE, even though many hardcore fans knew how good of a wrestler he was, as he made a name for himself in brands like Chikara as Chris Hero. Ohno was pitched as the third member of The Shield along with Rollins and Ambrose, but was ultimately passed over. He has spent more collective time in NXT than nearly every other wrestler, and he definitely should have been called up to the main roster. Perhaps his current feud with Matt Riddle will end with Riddle going over as Ohno is promoted.
10 Released: Apollo Crews
Apollo Crews is one of the most talented members of the WWE roster. Men with his build don’t often have a standing shooting star press in their arsenal. He has all of the tools needed to succeed in the WWE, but his most notable feuds have ended with him putting over heel Intercontinental Champions, like Dean Ambrose and The Miz. As Uhaa Nation on the independent circuit, Apollo Crews was heavily hyped, but he has fallen flat on the main roster, and, with the announcement of AEW earlier this year, Crews could find a lot of work on the independent circuit.
9 Demoted: The IIconics
Billie Kay and Peyton Royce are not bad wrestlers; they are good wrestlers in a roster full of great wrestlers. With women like Charlotte Flair, Asuka, and Becky Lynch starring in the title picture on SmackDown since WrestleMania 34, so it is hard for two wrestlers who are good to get noticed when all of the attention is on these other women. While they could likely benefit from a transfer to RAW, they would benefit even more from a move to NXT. They could even be the ones to bring a women’s tag team championship to NXT, as it is just a matter of time before that brand gets their own version of those titles.
8 Promoted: Ricochet
At one time, Ricochet, also known as Prince Puma in Lucha Underground, was one of, if not the most exciting wrestler in the world, WWE superstar or otherwise. Now, in NXT, Ricochet has had a successful run as N.A. Champion, as he and Adam Cole have put on stellar matches over the championship. Ricochet has been a very vocal fan of the WWE even before signing with the company, and he is one of the few high-flyers with an arsenal that could properly be transferred to the main roster. While he has not been with the WWE for very long, as his first TakeOver was New Orleans in 2018, he would be a great fit for the main roster.
7 Released: Baron Corbin
While he has been very entertaining as a background player on UpUpDownDown and the host of Baron Corbin’s Haunted World, his character on Monday Night RAW has been boring and one-dimensional. Like with the IIconics mentioned above, Baron Corbin is merely a good wrestler on a roster full of spectacular talent. While many wrestlers on the main roster paid their dues on the independent circuit and made a name for themselves that way, Corbin did not. Due to that reason alone, Corbin could largely benefit from a run on the independent circuit, honing his skills and perfecting his character out from under the thumb of WWE's creative.
6 Demoted: Zack Ryder
This one hurts to say, as Zack Ryder has had his fair amount of ups and downs on the main roster, but is a constant fan favorite. Zack Ryder got himself over through his YouTube series, winning the United States Championship on the back of his popularity. He even had his WrestleMania moment, winning the Intercontinental Championship in a ladder match. However, Ryder hasn’t had a televised match in months, something that he has been very vocal about on social media. If Ryder went back down to NXT, he could get himself over again with a small crowd and have televised matches again, solving both of Ryder’s problems.
5 Promoted: Johnny Gargano
Johnny Gargano was, at one point, the most over babyface on the NXT roster. He has main event-ed plenty of NXT TakeOvers, and it does not look like the WWE will ever pull the trigger on making Gargano NXT Champion. Even though Gargano is currently a heel, his popularity would get him cheered regardless of his booking or the brand they put him on. Additionally, Gargano is one of the only wrestlers to put on a 5-star match in the WWE in 2018, and his opponent in that match, Andrade, is already on the main roster. Gargano’s talents would make him a welcome addition to either brand.
4 Released: The B Team
When The B Team won the RAW Tag Team Championships, their “fluke” gimmick could only last so long, and everyone knew it. Their popularity was properly capitalized on, as they were given the tag team championships, but they were never treated as credible champions. However, with their family pedigree, both Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas could get jobs with any independent wrestling company.
They are both talented, as they have each won singles championships on their own – Curtis Axel won the Intercontinental Championship and Bo Dallas won the NXT Championship – but they have not been used properly ever since the dissolution of the Social Outcasts. A run on the independent circuit would do both men a lot of good.
3 Demoted: Nia Jax
Whether it is true or not, Nia Jax has faced criticism of being an unsafe worker. When Nia injured Bayley, everyone wrote it off as an accident, but it did cause Bayley to miss her PPV Championship match. Then, when she injured Zelina Vega, it was a bit more serious, as Vega sustained a concussion, but everyone moved on. However, caving in Becky Lynch’s face was the last straw for many fans, and the outcry for Jax to be fired was extremely severe afterwards. As previously stated, it is not a good thing for anyone to lose their job, and, while Nia should not be fired, she could definitely use some time in developmental.
2 Promoted: Adam Cole
Adam Cole has been called “the next Shawn Michaels” and it's not hard to see why. Cole has the in-ring talent, the mic skills, the charisma, and that “it” factor when it comes to being a superstar. Many think that Adam Cole will be the wrestler to break the curse of NXT callups flopping on the main roster, so it is imperative that the WWE get his main roster debut right. He has had plenty of high-profile matches on NXT and on TakeOvers, and Cole also gets some of the loudest cheers on weekly television. Since he dropped his N.A. Championship, Adam Cole has been set for the main roster for months.
1 Released: The Revival
It is practically universally accepted by this point that The Revival have been extremely mishandled on the main roster. They tore the house down in NXT with their matches against DIY, but they haven’t had any matches of significance on Monday Night RAW. It has been widely rumored backstage that The Revival want to leave the promotion, and the kayfabe antagonism between The Revival and Cody Rhodes has associated the two for years, with The Revival even getting “#FTR” on their trunks. With the announcement of All Elite Wrestling and this weird relationship that The Revival seem to have with Cody, The Revival should definitely leave the WWE.