Sometimes we're surprised by who continues to find work or stick around in WWE while we're shocked when others leave. Maybe we just don't know all that goes into their contracts, the behind-the-scenes conversations or the other opportunities that open themselves up to particular talent, but one thing we do know is that some guys appear to be on the fast track to endless success in WWE while others look they've got one foot out the door and WWE is gently shoving them onto other options. We can think of a handful of WWE Superstars that seem to fit into one of these two categories.
Are names like Brock Lesnar and Ronda Rousey more likely to re-sign with WWE than they are to go back to MMA? Will guys like Cesaro, Rusev, Dolph Ziggler and Sami Zayn find better luck on the indie scene than what WWE seems to be offering? Maybe guys like AJ Styles, Kane and John Cena are just getting too old to think they've got much time left? After all, they've been at it for over 20 years.
When we take a look at 20 different WWE stars, we see a variety of situations, 10 that suggest them may stay put and get another contract and 10 that don't. What some of these names do when all is said and done is anyone's guess while others seem to have their immediate futures clear and waiting for them.
Here are "10 WWE Stars Who Won't Re-Sign Once Their Contracts Are Up (And 10 Who Surprisingly Will)".
20 Will Re-Sign: Brock Lesnar
There's no way WWE should re-sign Brock Lesnar considering both the money they are paying him and how little he seems to provide for that money, but as fans, we really don't know the value WWE and Vince McMahon have perceived Lesnar to be worth. For all we know, they think every time he shows up, it's worth a million for the company.
If so, it's no wonder they keep bringing him in on crazy deals that the fans can't wrap their heads around.
He'll likely act as though he's leaving, everyone will think he is and then, at the final hour, like he always does, he'll re-up with the company. We hope we're wrong but that seems to be the way things play out.
19 Won't Re-Sign: AJ Styles
As much as we love AJ Styles, there seems to be an underlying feeling that whatever length of a contract he's on right now, this could be his last or only in WWE. He's making big money and that's great and as good as he is, he's not what he once was. He seems less likely to big "the man" in WWE and he's got a ticket waiting for him to pursue big money in Japan or in other avenues.
Styles bucket list included a tour in WWE. He's done that now and he can say that. He's been a world champion and wrestled at WrestleMania. What else is there for him to do? He's no spring chicken at the age of 40 years old.
18 Will Re-Sign: Seth Rollins
Perhaps it won't be a surprise that Seth Rollins re-signs in WWE, but what might be a surprise is the length of time or expectations placed upon him when he does re-sign. By the time he's ready to go another round, he may be the man in WWE.
As the Universal Champion and with guys like Lesnar, Styles, Bryan and others potentially gone, Rollins might be viewed by everyone as the man to carry the load for WWE and he seems like the kind of guys who'd relish that opportunity. Rollins could be one of the highest paid WWE performers in a couple of years and his work rate will have shown he's earned whatever he has coming his way.
17 Won't Re-Sign: Dean Ambrose
A former Shield member, at one time, Dean Ambrose was about as popular as they come. Today, he's almost all but forgotten about. A nasty injury has kept him sidelined for some time and that hasn't helped, but prior to that, he was on a downward trend, easily the least successful former member of the group.
There are also rumors that he's not exactly keen on taking the brass ring and since he's married to Renee Young and there are rumors Young might not be too happy in WWE, could this be a situation where both leave around the same time? If Ambrose leaves, it will be a shock, but the WWE Universe might be surprised at how little they miss him.
16 Will Re-Sign: Carmella
Carmella may not seem like much in the ring and surrounded by female talent who dwarf her ability as a wrestler, you might think she'd be in trouble to stay employed but Carmella is extremely good at one thing some of the women are not; that is talking as a heel.
Carmella is so easy to root against and in WWE that's a huge asset.
Guys like Enzo made it much longer than he ever should have due to this skill and from what we known, Carmella hasn't caused any of the trouble Enzo did. She's a student of the industry and wants to get better. She could have a very bright future even if a ton of the fans give her grief for not being the company's best in-ring technician.
15 Won't Re-Sign: Renee Young
It's no secret that Renee Young isn't happy. She wants to do more and have a bigger role with greater responsibility but the company continually kills the projects she's involved in. She's now doing in-ring interviews aside from her job as the panelist on major pay-per-views and kickoff shows.
Young is the type of talent that will have people knocking down her door to work with them. She's attractive, skilled and knowledgeable about sports. She's like a hot guys girl and that goes a long way in this industry. If WWE doesn't provide her with more opportunities, don't expect her to stick around.
14 Will Re-Sign: Rusev
Fans everywhere are standing up for Rusev citing the fact that he should be getting more than he's getting. They may be right. But what fans don't know, is how good Rusve might actually have it. We don't really know his salary, we don't know what other offers might come his way and we don't know how happy both he and Lana are working and traveling the world together.
He seems like an easy going guy with a great personality and despite what people think, he's constantly given good spots and mini-pushes on WWE programming. His time as a champion might come and even if it doesn't, WWE will likely want to keep him around because he's popular. He'll probably sign for the guaranteed contract and money that comes with it.
13 Won't Re-Sign: Jeff Hardy
Jeff Hardy is quickly running out of daylight. Whether it be injuries or outside of the ring issues like a DUI, he's too old and not valuable enough to have the WWE put up with his absences and trouble for too long. He's one of the most charismatic and exciting guys to watch in the ring but if no one gets to see you because you're serving a suspension or sitting out due to an injury, how does that help anyone?
WWE would like to see Jeff make a push and they like him (hence he's the United States Champion) but if he doesn't have a good run of strong matches, injury free tours and he doesn't stay out of trouble, WWE won't ask him to stay.
12 Will Re-Sign: Bray Wyatt
Another guy people feel has been mistreated, perhaps no other WWE Superstar saw a decline from such a prime spot as Bray Wyatt did. There was a time when it looked like he was going to be the next great heel of our generation. Alas, his push stopped, WWE decided to get really goofy with their presentation of him and he wound up dropping down the card like a stone in the Lake of Reincarnation.
But, he's back as Matt Hardy's tag partner and while it hasn't been a run to write home about, he's still getting good television time, he's a third-generation star and he's the guy who could break away from the pairing and do something again. Don't rule out Bray Wyatt just yet. WWE probably still has a plan for him.
11 Won't Re-Sign: Apollo Crews
He's got everything you think you'd want in a WWE Superstar. He's got the look, he's charismatic and we don't really know how good a talker he is because he's not really been given a shot. And, as young as he is, you think WWE would keep a man with such potential around. But, he probably won't stick.
He's not done anything of note since being called up to the main roster and today he's fumbling through the Raw shows with Titus Worldwide.
Crews was a real missed opportunity that was rushed out of NXT and he's likley going to pay the ultimate price for it by not getting another contract offer.
10 Will Re-Sign: Titus O'Neil
Alternatively, one guy who many might think would be on the next future endeavours bus, but won't be, is Titus O'Neil. The typical jobber, O'Neil has a great personality but can't seem to get anything to stick around long-term. Yet, somehow he stays on tv and part of the bigger picture.
What really helps is his willingness to be a part of WWE outside the ring. He's constantly working on WWE initiatives and programs and he's a great ambassador for the company. That's earning him huge brownie points because WWE needs more of those kinds of guys. People may be giving O'Neil the advice to leave but he's doing well and just got a movie deal. None of this would be possible if not for WWE.
9 Won't Re-Sign: Cesaro
We've been talking about WWE Superstars who are often overlooked and Cesaro may be one of the most famous. Where he's different than others, is his ability to leave WWE and make a fortune on the indie circuit wrestling for promotions like New Japan Pro Wrestling or Ring of Honor. As those companies grow, they'll be more attractive to guys like Cesaro and if WWE doesn't start to push Cesaro for what he brings, they may lose him.
Cesaro has a great mix of in-ring skill, creativity, charisma, and brains to make it big. He may be waiting for the day either WWE realizes what they have in him and offers big money to stay or he walks when he gets the chance to other opportunities.
8 Will Re-Sign: Dolph Ziggler
With how much fans have consistently heard that Dolph Ziggler is leaving for comedy or acting or other pursuits, we don't know what's really going on there. After all, Ziggler himself had to shoot down rumours he'd signed a lucrative extension for one-year with the flexibility to do other things. That shows how much we know.
WWE is pushing him right now with his partnership with Drew McIntrye and his contract is coming up very soon.
That seems like an odd time for Ziggler just bail on the company and he probably won't. Expect him to re-sign and likely stay the guy everyone thinks will leave.
7 Won't Re-Sign: Sami Zayn
His good buddy Kevin Owens just re-signed a contract that will allow him to likely finish his wrestling career in WWE. And, while it appears Owens and Sami Zayn do a lot of things together, signing extensions might not be one of them.
Zayn has been continually under-utilized in WWE and it's a shame because he's such a good wrestler in the ring. But, you can tell by the way WWE is treating him now in the Bobby Lashley storyline that they don't view him as much more than a guy that can help put others over. Zayn has too strong a personality not to be successful somewhere else and ROH or NJPW would welcome him with open arms.
6 Will Re-Sign: Chris Jericho
It might appear Jericho is moving farther and farther away from WWE but it's possible that's not entirely true. While he's expanding his resume by working shows in New Japan and he's promoting his own cruise, when it comes to working in the United States, he's still very much a WWE guy first.
Jericho is not looking to slap Vince in the face and wants to continue to work with WWE. Thus, he'll keep signing little per-show contracts and eventually make another run. And for everyone who doubts that, you know what he does when you think he's ditching WWE... he puts you on the list!
5 Won't Re-Sign: Kane
Kane is likely on his last legs as an in-ring performer anyway but his mayoral run in Tennesse is basically the icing on the cake for the Big Red Machine. He's looking like he's going to win his election and if he does, it really doesn't give him time to be an active wrestler, nor would it be a good look if he tried.
Should he lose the election, he's known as one of the smartest guys outside the industry and he's likely set for life with no need to ever come back.
Kane had a great career and one that was much longer than anyone expected. It's probably over now.
4 Will Re-Sign: John Cena
Fans might be watching the career path of John Cena in WWE wind down and, at the same time, watching his trajectory in Hollywood go up but that doesn't mean he's becoming so successful he'll forget about professional wrestling. We already know that we can't necessarily believe everything Cena says. After all, he said he'd never leave wrestling for movies and he's kind of done that. But, he's got another title to win to break the record and he loves the business of wrestling.
WWE also has too much of a history signing guys with crossover appeal to not offer him another contract when he comes due.
3 Won't Re-Sign: Kurt Angle
Kurt Angle coming back to WWE was a very cool moment for WWE. They've capitalized on it too with matches at WrestleMania and his role as the GM of Raw. That said, he's proven that he's a shell of his former self in the ring and the show could easily run without him. He's getting up there in age, he's not bringing a huge value to WWE and at some point, WWE may simply choose to cut bait and give him a Legends contract.
Angle had a good run and maybe he'll get a job behind the scenes working under Triple H and grooming talent. He'd be a great fit there.
2 Will Re-Sign: Daniel Bryan
Recent speculation is that there have been some hiccups in getting Daniel Bryan's next contract done. It's a deal that comes up pretty quickly and at first, people believed it was a simple sign and go since Bryan is happy to be back in WWE and is wrestling again on the largest stage in the world. However, John Cena allegedly told him to ask for a pile more incentives in his deal and that's speculated to have held things up a bit. Still, a deal will get done and WWE has the money to sign him to pretty much any contract.
Bryan wants to stay in WWE even if his options are open on the indie scene. It's best to get the money he can now in the event another injury pops up and WWE is guaranteed money.
1 Won't Re-Sign: Ronda Rousey
It appears the rumours that Ronda Rousey has only signed a one-year deal are false. Ric Flair got that rumour going at a Wrestling Legends conference recently but Rousey herself has said her plan is to make WWE her home for a few years and that this is her life now. It also doesn't make a lot of sense for WWE to put so much weight and money behind something so short-term.
That said, Rousey does want to start a family.
If her contract with WWE is a couple years or more long, she likely won't sign another one with the idea of a baby in her mind down the road.