Wrestling is one of the most popular sports in the world. Every week, viewers tune in to watch their favourite wrestlers duke it out in the ring. Wrestling just like any sport can be unpredictable. One week your favourite athlete in on television, then the next week they’ve completely disappeared. In recent months, a large number of wrestlers have been taken off TV. The number one reason for their disappearance is due to injury. With wrestlers putting their bodies on the line, they’re prone to injuries. Sometimes the injury is so severe that the wrestler requires surgery and needs time off.
Another reason wrestlers disappear from television is due to storyline. If they’re in a major storyline, the creative team may write them out for a while then have them return as a tough contender for a championship. The final reason for a wrestler to disappear is due to backstage trouble. It’s not uncommon for these stars to find themselves in trouble with the higher-ups. As punishment, officials may remove them from television or in some cases, the wrestler may get frustrated and walk out.
This list is compiled with wrestlers who recently disappeared from television. Whether it’s due to injury or another reason, these stars are missed by fans. While some of these wrestlers will return, others could be gearing up to disappear from television for a while or possibly forever.
So let’s take a look at the wrestlers who were taken off television and who could be next.
16 Disappeared: Jeff Hardy
After an eight-year hiatus, Jeff Hardy and his brother Matt made their surprise return to WWE. The two made their triumphant comeback at WrestleMania, where they won the tag team championships. Jeff proved he hadn’t missed a step when he entertained the crowds with his high-flying moves.
Just as their return was getting off to a good start, a setback derailed Jeff and Matt’s storyline plans. In September, Jeff suffered a shoulder injury, which required surgery. The injury would cause him to miss the remainder of the year along with a few months heading into 2018. It was a bummer to fans of the Hardy Boyz, but they shouldn’t worry. Jeff’s recovery is going well and he’s due back soon, which is good news now that matt’s Woken angle has started.
15 Will Soon: Samoa Joe
In 2017, Samoa Joe made his debut on the main roster. The wrestler had a successful year as he feuded with Seth Rollins, then challenged Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship. Heading into the new year, Samoa Joe was red-hot. He was involved in a big storyline with him injuring Dean Ambrose and challenging Roman Reigns for the Intercontinental championship. But Joe’s ongoing storyline is now going to take a backseat.
On a recent episode of RAW, the wrestler suffered a foot injury after his match with Rhyno. The injury will cause him to miss Royal Rumble, but it shouldn’t derail him missing WrestleMania. Reports suggest Joe will only miss 4 to 6 weeks of action. While the recovery time is short, it is a setback to Joe’s current storyline. Hopefully, when he returns the WWE will continue with his monster push.
14 Disappeared: Paige
Paige’s string of bad luck continues. In November, the anti-Diva returned following a year-long hiatus from the company. The star underwent surgery for a neck injury and came back ready to show the WWE Universe she was better than ever. Immediately she was thrown into a big storyline as she formed the new stable Absolution with Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville.
But Paige’s comeback story was cut short a month later when she suffered another injury at a house show. During a match with Sasha Banks, Paige took a kick to the back, which was so severe it caused her to collapse in the middle of the ring. Paige was immediately pulled from TV and all upcoming events, and if the current reports are true, the extent of the injury may force the young star to retire.
13 Will Soon: Absolution (Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville)
NXT stars Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville made their main roster debut when they joined Paige to form the group Absolution. The trio set out to prove that they were a dominant force. Fans immediately got behind the group and Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville were on their way to becoming stars. But now that Paige is out with a career threatening injury, Mandy and Sonya’s futures are in questioned.
Mandy and Sonya are two talented ladies, and so far they’re succeeding in Absolution. But if WWE decides to disband the group because of Paige’s injury, Mandy and Sonya’s main roster tenure may be short-lived. At this point, Mandy and Sonya don’t have enough star power to stand on their own. At the moment, the company is still contemplating what to do with Absolution, but if the group splits, expect Mandy and Sonya to disappear for a while.
12 Disappeared: The Miz
The Miz is undoubtedly one of WWE’s best stars. He’s not only a good wrestler, but a great talker as well. The WWE seems to think so too as they’ve cast him in many of their movies, including The Marine franchise. With a talent for wrestling and acting, it’s no wonder that he’s in high demand.
For the past two years, The Miz’s career has been rejuvenated thanks to his reigns as Intercontinental champion. Yet, on a recent episode of RAW, Miz’s seventh reign as Intercontinental champion came to an end when he lost to Roman Reigns. But being the A-lister that he is, Miz had to go off to film the latest instalment of the Marine franchise. Thankfully, he was only gone a month and now that he’s returned to RAW, expect him to be back in the Intercontinental championship battle.
11 Will Soon: Mickie James
Mickie James was one of the top Divas during the Golden Era. The six-time Women’s champion made a return to WWE following a seven-year hiatus. However, her return has been less than spectacular. While longtime WWE fans felt nostalgic seeing her onscreen, many of the newer fans weren’t familiar with her work, although they got a glimpse of how good of a wrestler she is.
James did get a few championship opportunities and helped put over some of the younger talent, yet the star’s second tenure hasn’t been too memorable. With her contract rumoured to be up soon, it seems like Mickie may be leaving soon. Add in the fact that she has a young son at home, the star may feel like it’s time to hang up the wrestling boots to concentrate on being a mother.
10 Disappeared: Rich Swann
Rich Swann was one of the stars in the Cruiserweight division. He was featured prominently on RAW and 205 Live. The former champ was on track to possibly becoming a big star in and out of the Cruiserweight sect. Yet, his arrest for battery and false imprisonment has put his WWE career in jeopardy.
With WWE having a zero tolerance policy against domestic violence, Swann was immediately suspended. His absence was never mentioned on television and WWE is slowly beginning to remove traces of the wrestler from their content. Stephanie McMahon recently went on record saying that Swann would be fired if convicted. While Swann awaits a decision about his trial, WWE fans are going to wonder what the company will do once a verdict is reached in the case.
9 Will Soon: The Cruiserweight Division
The Cruiserweight division is seen as unpopular by the WWE Universe. Since its creation in 2016, the division has struggled to find fans. Stars like Neville and Enzo have brought some attention to the roster, yet that’s not enough to help the floundering division. Ratings for 205 Live have faltered and most recently the company had to scrape plans for a 205 tour.
With fans showing little interested in the Cruiserweights, it wouldn’t be surprising if WWE decides to do away with the division. That leaves the future of many of the wrestlers in questions. Talents such as Mustafa Ali, Cedric Alexander, Jack Gallagher, and Drew Gulak could be out of a job if WWE doesn’t find anything else for them. Let’s hope for the sake of the Cruiserweights, officials have backup plans for them. It’d be such a shame to see these talented wrestlers disappear from TV.
8 Disappeared: Becky Lynch
As the first woman drafted to Smackdown, Becky Lynch has become the star of the blue brand’s women division. The fiery Lass Kicker has fans on their feet when her music hits and she comes out to kiss lass. Nothing could take down Becky, except for the new stable The Riott Squad, who attacked Lynch during their Smackdown debut. Following their attack, Becky disappeared from television for a while.
But fans of The Lass Kicker shouldn’t worry; she didn’t suffer a serious injury. Instead, she’s been in London filming the new Marine 6 movie with The Miz and Shawn Michaels. This will be the first film for Lynch, another huge milestone for the star. With filming complete and the women’s Royal Rumble coming up, Becky Lynch will be returning just in time to show why’s she a true Lass Kicker.
7 Will Soon: Randy Orton
The Viper is one of WWE’s top stars. For over fifteen years, he’s been entertaining fans by delivering RKOs to his opponents. Whether fans love him or hate him, Randy Orton is still a draw with the WWE crowds. Last year, Randy was back in top form as he won the WWE championship from Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania. The match showed why Orton is still a main event star. Yet, this year Orton may not have a match at the biggest PPV of the year.
Recent reports have stated that Orton has requested some time off for the next couple of months. It’s not known why Orton made the request, but he’s not scheduled for shows after the Royal Rumble. This is upsetting news for fans of The Viper, who were hoping to see him in a big WrestleMania match.
6 Disappeared: Neville
Neville is a perfect example of one of those stars who shine in NXT, then falter once they get to the main roster. Like most of his NXT brothers, Neville suffered from the creative team’s lack of ideas. Instead of pushing him as a potential main event star, they stuck him in the Cruiserweight division. Despite the setback, he made the most of his situation. He became a huge star in the division by winning the Cruiserweight championship twice. Whether he was a face or a heel, Neville commanded the division.
Yet, Neville like so many other wrestlers became frustrated with his role in the company. When he lost the championship to Enzo that was the final straw for the high-flyer. In September, Neville walked out during an episode of RAW, never to be seen on TV again. Since the rumoured negotiations between Neville and WWE aren't doing so well, don't expect the star back onscreen anytime soon.
5 Will Soon: Daniel Bryan
One of the biggest storylines heading into 2018 is Daniel Bryan’s future with WWE. As fans are well aware Bryan retired in 2016 dues to a series of concussions. Despite being in a non-wrestling role as Smackdown’s GM, Bryan still wants to step back into the squared circle.
The former champ has been vocal about how a new set of doctors have given him permission to return to wrestling. Unfortunately, WWE doctors haven’t cleared Bryan and due to the wrestler’s medical history, it looks like they never will. The ongoing battle between Daniel Bryan and WWE has fans speculating on what’s going to happen when the star’s contract expires later this year. With Bryan’s desire to wrestle going strong and WWE hesitant to clear him, the wrestler could be disappearing from TV soon to join another promotion.
4 Disappeared: Dean Ambrose
Dean Ambrose is well-known as WWE’s workhorse. The star hardly takes a day off and shows up every week to wrestle. But a triceps injury has taken Ambrose out of action. The Lunatic Fringe first became injured during the TLC PPV when he hurt his elbow. For the next few weeks, he tried to work through the injury with the help of an elbow pad. But the injury got so bad that Ambrose was required to undergo surgery for a torn triceps.
He was written off television in early December when Samoa Joe and The Bar attacked him in a backstage segment. Ambrose is expected to miss 9 months, although given his passion for wrestling and WWE’s tendency to exaggerate stuff, don’t be surprised if Dean Ambrose reappears sooner rather than later.
3 Will Soon: Brock Lesnar
As a part-timer, Brock Lesnar has a history of coming and going as he pleases. Being the Universal champion, you’d figure he’d be onscreen every week defending the title, but no. Since Brock is WWE’s number one draw, they let the star do as he pleases. Brock as the top champion in the company doesn’t set well with fans, who are tired of him disappearing and reappearing from television every couple of months.
With WrestleMania season heating up, Lesnar will be appearing on TV more often to set up his eventual match with Roman Reigns. After WrestleMania, don't be surprised to see Lesnar disappear again, this time maybe permanently. With his contract set to expire this year, speculation is running rampant on whether the star will renew or walk away from the company.
2 Disappeared: Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler is definitely one of WWE’s best stars, although it’s a shame the company doesn’t view him that way. Ziggler showed he had main event potential when he won the World Heavyweight Championship. But after losing, he found himself back in the mid-card scene. Although, he was frustrated with his treatment, Dolph showed he could be a star no matter what the company threw at him.
At Clash of Champions, Dolph Ziggler won the United States Championship. Yet, two days later Ziggler shocked the audience by vacating the title and disappearing from TV. Fans were left scratching their heads. Was this part of a storyline or did a frustrated Ziggler finally quit WWE? Well, according to reports, this is part of a storyline and Ziggler is set to return to television soon.
1 Will Soon: John Cena
John Cena made his triumphant return during the Christmas edition of Monday Night RAW. The star has taken on a part-time status within the last few years due to his Hollywood career taking off. Despite being a Hollywood star, Cena’s first love is and will always be wrestling. Now that he’s back, officials have a big match for Cena planned heading into WrestleMania.
While fans are excited about his upcoming WrestleMania match, they shouldn’t get too comfortable with Cena being around long. With him landing more film roles, John will be taking more time off after WrestleMania, leaving the wrestling community to speculate when or if he's going to return. Given his age and part-time status, fans are wondering if John Cena's wrestling career is slowly winding down.