One of the overarching philosophies of professional wrestling is fans should never say never. That applies to just about everything—two wrestlers locking up, rivals becoming friends, friends becoming rivals, or even seemingly blackballed superstars showing up in WWE and reigniting their careers. However, that last one is pretty uncommon, especially when those superstars blackball themselves in particularly spectacular fashion. Because professional wrestling is all about the spectacle, quite a few former WWE employees have done exactly that, and can pretty much say never on the idea of returning to the company.
There are plenty of different reasons a former wrestler may not want to return to the most successful wrestling company on the planet. Perhaps they didn’t enjoy their time there, or maybe it was WWE who didn’t quite enjoy their stay. A few have done things in their personal and professional lives since leaving WWE that might make the company want to distance themselves as much as possible, while others still have simply been public that WWE simply isn’t for them anymore. We already covered 14 superstars who probably won’t return to WWE, and the only thing to prove us wrong so far has been an early death. Hopefully that won’t be the case here, but keep reading if you want to find out 15 more superstars who will require drastic measures before WWE ever mentions them on television again.
15. David Hart Smith – Family Problems
David Hart Smith is a close member of one of wrestling’s most prominent families, so he might pop up in a reunion style capacity way down the line, but his days as a WWE superstar are well behind him. Smith is the son of The British Bulldog, and his time in WWE reflected upon that, as he formed The Hart Dynasty tag team with Tyson Kidd and Natalya Neidhart. The team was moderately successful, but behind-the-scenes Smith apparently hated his job. Smith was so unhappy the experience was causing him to nearly lose his passion for the business. He later rejuvenated his career in Japan, but said when he left WWE he thought his career was finished of his own volition. Making matters worse, after he left, Smith requested WWE return various personal items his family lent to the WWE Hall of Fame, which WWE basically ignored. WWE relations with the Hart family in general have always been varied and strained, and it seems like Smith will end up in the strained category with his mother.
14. Rey Mysterio – Bad Blood From A Contract Dispute
Rey Mysterio is one of the most famous and popular wrestlers in the world today, due in no small part to the 13 years he spent as a major talent in WWE. Rey had already wowed crowds in Mexico, ECW and WCW, but WWE was the first company to take a chance on him as a main event performer and start awarding him with World title reigns. Despite this, Rey eventually became unhappy during his time in WWE, and by 2014 he was hoping to end or at least renegotiate his contract. Rey discovered that WWE had extended his contract without his approval, which extremely upset him, causing him to switch gears from a possible renegotiation to immediately cutting ties with the company. Things were so heated, during his last few months with WWE, Rey had stopped cashing his paychecks as a nonverbal protest. He had already felt his character was going nowhere, and disrespectful business practices were the last straw. By no means would we rule out Rey eventually returning to WWE for a Hall of Fame induction, but considering he’s lock into a several year deal with Lucha Underground, any type of return probably won’t come until after he’s retired as a wrestler.
13. Vince Russo – Venomous Memories
Vince Russo is one of the most controversial names in the history of wrestling. His onscreen impact was very brief and thankfully relegated to WCW and TNA, meaning WWE audiences were never subjected to his thick New Yorkah accent telling them how great and important he was, but fans of those other companies got more than their earful. Russo was the Head Writer of WWE television during the peak of the Attitude Era, and as such, he does deserve some credit for changing the course of wrestling history. However, the big strength of that era was letting the performers be themselves and have control of their characters, so Russo’s actual influence is debatable. Less arguable is the fact once he was given free reign in WCW he did such a terrible job he tanked the company in under a year. Things were bad in WCW, but salvageable—Russo willfully drove the ship into the iceberg at full speed. Despite the fact he won’t stop giving his “advice” on the Internet, fans shouldn’t have any doubts in their mind that the McMahon family has stopped listening to it, and he’ll never be WWE personnel again.
12. Headbanger Mosh – He Hates Vince McMahon, and WWE Hates Him
Considering how terribly he was treated during his time in WWE, it’s really no surprise Mosh/Chaz/Beaver Cleavage would never want to return. In fact, WWE probably wouldn’t want him back, either, but his relative youth, the fact his famous tag team still wrestles, and the never dying force that is nostalgia makes him a relevant entry into our list anyway. Since leaving WWE in the early 2000’s, Mosh has since given several shoot interviews badmouthing the company and Vince McMahon in particular for saddling him with several horrible gimmicks. Worse than that, he feels Vince was very disrespectful to him on the day he was fired, and simply doesn’t like him as a person. On the WWE’s side, they never mention the Headbangers on television, and in the rare mentions they receive on WWE.com they have perhaps unreasonably been referred to as one of the worst tag teams in history.
11. Scott Steiner – Violent and Dangerous
Some people may not even realize Scott Steiner is still wrestling, but when he’s not busy running his Shoney’s franchise, he still steps in the ring for Global Force Wrestling and other independent companies. Regardless of whether or not Big Poppa Pump gets back in the ring, plenty of fans have voiced their feeling that Steiner should at least be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame along with his brother Rick. Even that kind of a return seems pretty unlikely, considering how poorly Steiner’s run in WWE went. His most recent interaction with the company wasn’t particularly positive, either, as WWE actually had Steiner banned from the Hall of Fame ceremony in 2015. That particular incident seemed to stem from comments made to Hulk Hogan and his wife, and although Hogan is also in WWE’s bad graces, everyone still views Steiner as a violent and potentially dangerous person.
10. Batista – Does Have The Money, Doesn’t Have the Time
WWE would bend over backwards and cater to his every whim for a chance to get Batista back in a wrestling ring, and Batista himself seems slightly willing to consider the idea if the terms are right, but we’re going to be the ones to face facts and just admit the terms are never going to be right again. Batista first left WWE in 2010 because he didn’t like the direction the company was going in, and his return in 2014 was marred with broken promises and false expectations. More recently, Batista has taken to Twitter to call out Stephanie McMahon, mocking her on-screen character and her self-aggrandizing belief she’s actually doing what’s best for business by slapping top talent. To top things off, Batista’s current success as a major action film star is evidence he has other options for work.
9. Torrie Wilson – Controversial Relations and Unfortunate Angles
Torrie Wilson was arguably the top diva in WCW during its dying days. She debuted in a major way with the nWo Wolfpac and continued to be a big part of storylines with Shane Douglas and The Filthy Animals, and later represented the female contingent of WCW during the Invasion storyline. Unfortunately, her career was a downward spiral after that, as she appeared in several embarrassing storylines, the worst of them seeing her father marry Dawn Marie and die from the subsequent sexual exhaustion. Torrie left WWE in 2008 and has never made any inclination towards a return. Although she recently turned 40 she’s still in fantastic shape, and fans would no doubt love to see the three time Playboy cover girl once again—but then again the fact she’s a former Playboy model is part of why they don’t want her back. Beautiful as Torrie still is, she wasn’t a huge WWE star, and she was marred with controversy.
8. Stacy Keibler – Moved On in Life
Stacy Keibler stood alongside Torrie as the other major WCW diva during the last few years of that company through the Invasion. Keibler was more successful post-Invasion, managing several prominent superstars to tag and singles title success. Stacy’s final appearance in WWE was in 2005, after which point she left the company to appear on Dancing With the Stars and pursue an acting career. Her acting career never quite took off, but she did experience the thrill of a high profile relationship with George Clooney from 2011 to 2013. The next year she married a wealthy CEO and gave birth to her first child, further showing she’s moved far passed wrestling. Stacy’s even younger than Torrie and still has a lot to offer the younger generation of women in wrestling, not necessarily in the ring, but certainly in the interview and performance department. However, her life has clearly moved on, and it’s highly unlikely she’ll ever look back.
7. Ted DiBiase, Jr. – Prefers His Family Time
Ted DiBiase, Jr. is obviously the son of the legendary Million Dollar Man, and he had his own glimpse of superstardom as part of The Legacy from 2009 to 2010. Teaming with fellow famous progenies Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes, DiBiase seemed poised to overtake his father’s role in the wrestling world, but as occasionally happens, his passion quickly disappeared. While he might be the only person on this list with absolutely nothing bad to say about WWE or the wrestling industry, when he left the company in 2013 it seemed pretty obvious to everyone he wasn’t coming back. DiBiase’s stated reason was that he wanted to spend time with his family, but considering he stopped wrestling entirely, maybe it’s possible it was just wrong of us to assume wrestling was in his blood in the first place.
6. Kenny Dykstra – Public Problems With John Cena
Kenny Dykstra unwittingly made history when he was only 17 years old by being one of the youngest wrestlers to appear on WWE Raw during the Ruthless Aggression era. He lost a squash against Rodney Mack on Raw in 2003, but far more notably, a few years later he re-debuted as a member of the much-maligned Spirit Squad. He started a brief solo career after that ordeal finally ended, but he ruined himself behind-the-scenes by adding serious fuel to the fire surrounding an alleged relationship between John Cena and Mickie James. Dykstra was actually dating James at the time, and claims she cheated on him with Cena, and that the Piggy James gimmick was her punishment. Whether or not any of that is true, talking about the WWE cash cow in that light was a good way to get himself blackballed from the company for life.
5. AJ Lee – Married to CM Punk
AJ Lee is the youngest person on our list, and in certain ways one of the people most likely to change her mind about her personal WWE boycott, but it would take a couple major changes in her life that have an equal chance of never happening before she reaches that point. AJ left WWE in 2015 amidst concerns over the health of herself and her husband, CM Punk, but not before getting into a very public Twitter battle with Stephanie McMahon over WWE’s treatment of female talent. AJ claimed she was paid and featured less than male talents, despite regularly being an important and popular part of the show, all of which sounds accurate and is a solid reason to complain. Women’s wrestling in WWE has already made massive strides since her departure, but the fact she remains married to CM Punk means she probably won’t make a return until he does—which, according to Punk, will never happen.
4. Earl Hebner – Blackballed For Stealing
WWE has no problem ripping off the rest of the entertainment world, but they’re brutal and unforgiving if they find out anyone has been ripping them off in return. For decades, Earl Hebner was considered arguably the most trusted and famous referee in professional wrestling. He was a WWE icon who presided over nearly every main event wrestled by names like Ric Flair, Bret Hart, and Steve Austin. He was the referee when Andre the Giant defeated Hulk Hogan, and was a part of WWE history since. That came crashing to a halt in 2005 when Hebner and his brother were fired for selling WWE merchandise out of a store they owned, without permission from the company. Hebner denied any wrongdoing and called the operation legal, but he took the firing to heart and vowed never to return to the company. He has worked for Total Nonstop Action since, and even if that company ever teeters off the brink and actually goes out of business, we doubt Hebner will ever be welcomed back to WWE in any capacity.
3. Brad Maddox – Not PG Enough When Live
Brad Maddox debuted in WWE in August of 2012, and by February of 2013 he had already risen up the ranks to be the Assistant Managing Supervisor of Raw. That title didn’t mean much, but it meant a whole lot when he was promoted to acting General Manager a few months later. Maddox went from a virtual unknown to one of the top positions on WWE television in only a few short months—and he was off television nearly as fast. He was relieved from his duties as GM in April of 2014, and barely made any appearances for a full year. He finally got a chance to speak to a live crowd during a non-televised segment and made the mistake of calling the audience “cocky pricks,” which is apparently too PG-13 for the modern era of WWE. Vince McMahon fired him almost immediately, and though these words might seem tame to us, WWE’s commitment to PG triumphs over all, so call us cocky, but we think Maddox is gone for good.
2. Jeff Hardy – Drug Problems and Lack of Faith
Jeff Hardy was quite possibly the most popular wrestler in WWE when he was last seen in the company. The high flying risk taker who lived for the moment caught on with fans in a very powerful and personal way, but unfortunately, his demons kept getting the best of him no matter how much faith WWE would put into his career. His last appearance was a loss to CM Punk one week after SummerSlam 2009, but more relevant is the fact that only a few weeks after that, Hardy was arrested for the very serious crime of drug trafficking. Once the case finally went to trial, Hardy plead guilty and served a short prison sentence. Though that was well in the past, WWE doesn’t forget burns like that, and although Hardy has seemingly been cleaning himself up lately, the stain of Victory Road 2011 is also forever in the mind of every wrestling fan. Maybe Jeff has a better chance than most on this list at a return, but we still say it’s extremely unlikely—but at least Jeff will always have a ready-made opponent everywhere he goes…
1. Matt Hardy – Lies and Legal Problems
Like his brother Jeff, Matt made a lot of money for WWE, but unlike Jeff, he might have completely burned his bridges with the fanbase at large, so even more so than his brother we highly doubt he’ll be back in WWE. While Jeff was a huge solo star, Matt’s greatest brush with fame came when he told Edge he wished he had died in a car accident, immediately flushing down all the promise and good will he had built over the years. Matt somewhat recovered from there, maintain a decent level of success in WWE for several more years, but his career since leaving that company and joining TNA have practically been legendarily misguided. Matt has faked both a suicide attempt and career ending injuries, not to mention actually going through a series of drug and alcohol related arrests and at least one domestic violence incident. For whatever reason, TNA has kept him as one of their top stars, but it’s highly unlikely WWE will ever get that desperate.