Fans would be quick to assume that working for the WWE must be a dream job for all Superstars. And while that may be true towards the early parts of their career, the business eventually takes its toll on all performers who become more concerned with simply being there. Wrestlers always complain about WWE's exhausting tour schedule, which is why the lifestyle isn't suitable for everyone. There are some Superstars who may not be satisfied with their position on the card, believing that they are being held back.
And while they realize they could leave the company, they also know how great they have it in WWE. And that is why so many wrestlers choose to stick around even when they are totally unhappy. They put up with the grind for as long as possible to earn hefty salaries in return, as well as plenty of air time on television. In the world of professional wrestling, there are opportunities to succeed all over the world from the United States to Japan, but the WWE remains the top promotion with a remarkable following in nearly every country.
In the world of professional wrestling, there are opportunities to succeed all over the world from the United States to Japan, but the WWE remains the top promotion with a remarkable following in every country. If the money is right, most wrestlers are more than happy to follow the script. And with today's list, we look at 15 frustrated WWE stars who are only sticking around for the paycheck:
15 Randy Orton
Randy Orton's WWE journey has been full of ups and downs, but he has remained on the roster throughout the entire period. In the past few years, he has been criticized for supposedly not giving full effort and being bland, but Orton remains one of the top Superstars in WWE.
He doesn't appear to be thrilled at the moment, but certainly not upset enough to leave yet.
He is a family man more than ever these days, so Orton is probably cashing in on as much money as possible before he retires to spend more time with his wife and children. He is no longer a needed presence on the roster, but as long as he is willing to compete then he will always have a job in the WWE. Most of his peers have either left, moved to part time or retired but Orton hasn't had enough of those paychecks yet.
14 Tye Dillinger
Tye Dillinger made a big name for himself in NXT, striking gold with the "Perfect 10" gimmick, but he has since struggled to capture attention since joining the main roster. It's not really his fault, as the WWE has kept him from really shining on television. There were even reports earlier this year that the company was keeping Dillinger off TV because they wanted the "10" chants to stop. That's not just holding someone back, that's sabotaging their value, if in fact those rumors were true. However, being 37 years old, Dillinger is still making good money in WWE at an age where wrestlers tend to start trending downward. It just wouldn't be a wise financial move to leave WWE at this point in time
Cesaro has done everything in his power to get over but WWE booking hasn't been in his favor thus far, especially during his solo run. He may not be among the best on the mic, but he certainly has a case as a pure wrestler. During a past interview, Vince McMahon said that Cesaro was being held back for his lack of charisma, claiming that he didn't have "it". That comment probably didn't go too well with Cesaro, who was said to be already upset with his WWE stint.
He has recently found success as a tag team wrestler, forming one of WWE's premiere partnerships with Sheamus.
But what's really keeping Cesaro around has to be the pay more than anything else. As great as he may be in the ring, he wouldn't earn nearly as much money on the independent circuit.
12 Zack Ryder
Zack Ryder is someone who has been working for the WWE for the sake of the paycheck for a while. His momentum was killed by the company years ago after managing to get over with the fans on his own. Since then, there has been plenty of questionable decisions regarding his booking which hurt his credibility.
Ryder was upset for many years and even attempted to turn it into a storyline through his tweets in 2013, but the company just never gave him a real chance to shine. At this point, he has come to accept his fate on the roster and has no reason to stick around aside from the high salary that he could only dream of earning elsewhere. There are always wrestlers who may not be stars but manage to stick around for a while, Ryder is probably going to be one of them.
11 Sami Zayn
If it was easy to earn the same level of fame and money outside of the WWE, then Sami Zayn would have already left. His move from NXT to the main roster hasn't been as great as initially expected. He was misused for a while before landing on SmackDown, where Zayn has been allowed to display his personality through his character. But the company still doesn't seem to really believe in him, he has yet to receive a major push and hasn't won any titles yet.
It's always easy to forget your problems when you are earning the salary of a WWE Superstar.
Zayn gets to tour the world doing what he loves, and still brings in a large income. That justifies him staying in the WWE for as long as they are allowing him to remain on the roster.
10 Dolph Ziggler
In the past few years, fans have questioned why Dolph Ziggler has remained in the WWE since he has been frustrated with the creative team. Ziggler has been misused in storylines, derailing his momentum at times. And lately, he has gotten lost in the shuffle as the creative team hasn't offered him much. And while Ziggler may be upset with his position on the card, those hefty paychecks tend to make him feel better.
Ziggler probably realizes that his best days are likely behind him, but that doesn't mean that he can't remain on the roster. He might not reach his full potential, but Ziggler is good enough to remain employed by the company. Ziggler's contract is set to expire soon, and he has engaged in negotiations with the company. Reports suggest that he may be getting a nice raise to keep him around since he teased a potential departure in the past.
9 Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe was finally recruited to WWE a few years ago primarily because Triple H has always been a huge fan of his and felt Joe belonged in the world's top promotion. Joe had a great run in NXT but his time on the main roster has been a little murkier, and he only recently came back from a prolonged injury. It seems a mini-feud with Roman Reigns is coming, as Roman needs someone to feud with when Brock Lesnar isn't around, but WWE seems reluctant to pull the trigger on Joe as the top draw he's proven to be throughout his career. While the creative direction is off with him, Joe is still making top money as he's pushing 40 and after years of being underpaid in TNA, it'd be hard for him to walk away from WWE now.
8 Kevin Owens
A lot has changed for Kevin Owens in the past couple years. From being an independent wrestler to the reigning WWE Universal Champion, Owens overcame all odds by reaching the top of the mountain. But despite having previously been the face of the red brand, Owens' push was put on hold after switching to SmackDown.
Not only he has lost a large chunk of his matches, but Owens also had backstage heat for a while due to an incident on tour.
Owens would easily succeed in any promotion, especially since he has previously done so in the past, but it may not be the wisest career move for him right now. He is currently moving up the ladder in WWE even if he isn't achieving the same level of success. Like so many wrestlers on this list, Owens is currently capitalizing on his potential earnings as much as he can.
7 Bray Wyatt
For many years, fans thought that Bray Wyatt would be one of WWE's top Superstars for years to come. And while his career did get off to a great start, he never really succeeded in transitioning to the top tier. Wyatt has lost many of his major feuds, making him appear as a less intimidating force. That's not to mention WWE's questionable booking direction of Wyatt's character, which hasn't helped his case.
His role has diminished further in recent months, and he now has to rely on Matt Hardy to get a reaction. He probably feels as if his career should have been on a much better path than it currently is, as he went from reigning World Champion to an afterthought in a short time. But Wyatt is among WWE's highest paid performers, so he doesn't have too many reasons to complain at the moment.
6 Finn Balor
There was a time when the top wrestling stars all had to work for the WWE to make a living. But that has changed once again with the rise of various promotions around the world. We have seen many former WWE Superstars leave and rise to the next level through their outside success. And that is why plenty of fans feel that is the path Finn Balor should be pursuing based on his current direction in the WWE.
Last summer, reports were suggesting that Triple H was frustrated with the Raw creative team for misused Balor on the roster.
And if Triple H was upset then you can only imagine how Balor has felt since returning from injury. But at 36 years old, he doesn't have too many years left on top so he is probably taking advantage by earning his maximum potential with the WWE.
5 Mickie James
Mickie James probably imagined her WWE return going much better than it did. But it's evident that she was brought to provide a veteran presence in the women's division, as she has remained involved in various angles on Raw. But James has mostly been used to help younger wrestlers get over, which is never the ideal situation even at an advanced age. James is still good enough to be booked better, but it seems like that ship has sailed.
And given that she is finally earning the WWE money following a hiatus, we predict that James won't be complaining anytime soon about her role. Not only does she get paid get to wrestle occasionally, but she also has the time to pursue her outside ventures. James continues to put out music, and her latest single was promoted by the WWE. Regardless of how she may be booked, the money and spotlight are enough to keep her around.
4 Gallows And Anderson
Gallows and Anderson have been misused throughout their WWE stint. It seems like the creative team have no clue what direction they want to take with the tag team division, which has been very inconsistent in recent times. There are many quality teams around, so one would assume that the division would be in a decent position. The booking of Gallows and Anderson show everything that is currently wrong with how tag teams are being treated in the WWE.
They are mostly used for filler matches, and haven't been given the opportunity to really connect with the fans.
It can be difficult to generate fan interest when you are never featured in a storyline, which has been the case for The Club. But they aren't ready to return to NJPW just yet as there is plenty of money left to be earned with the WWE.
During her time on NXT, many thought that Bayley would end up being the top face of the women's division for many years. Upon her move to the main roster, she was pushed to the top of the mountain almost immediately and did manage to get the fans' support. That didn't last too long since she has been lost in the shuffle for the past year, struggling to really stand out.
But as disappointed as she may be with her push, including the fact that she was snubbed of a singles WrestleMania match against Sasha Banks, Bayley is unlikely to pack her bags just yet. If she were to leave the WWE, she would be leaving plenty of money behind. And regardless of how much she may be upset with her position on the card, the paychecks make it easier to get by.
2 Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan had grown upset with the WWE since being forced to retire due to his injury. And while he was cleared by various doctors, there was a long battle as WWE doctors refused to clear him until recently.
With his contract set to expire in September, Bryan was ready to leave the company in order to be able to compete in the ring again.
And while many questioned as to why Bryan never requested a release, it is fairly simple when you look at how much he is currently earning.
That was also during the time when he had been out of action. Bryan would probably love another run on the independent circuit, but based on his potential earnings with the WWE and the hype he has received, it's safe to say that he will be sticking around for many more years to come. However, you wonder if WWE will ever push him back to the top again.
"Rusev Day" chants may be raining in every WWE arena, but management hasn't bought into the hype just yet. Being a top merchandise seller hasn't helped his case much, getting him a last minute addition to the US Title match - in which he would end up getting pinned in.
Rumors suggest that Rusev has been frustrated with his push in the WWE, believing that he has been held back.
Eating the pin at WrestleMania is probably not going to make him any happier, and while Rusev could succeed outside of the WWE - there is a good reason why he isn't pressing for a release. Even if WWE doesn't capitalize on Rusev's momentum, he is still earning a major paycheck while also having hefty bonuses off his merchandise. Not to mention a guaranteed job for his wife Lana as long as Rusev is around.
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