The state of the wrestling industry currently provided numerous options for performers to make a living. WWE is obviously the biggest promotion with talents needed to fill Raw, Smackdown Live, NXT, the Performance Center and various other projects. TNA, ROH, Lucha Underground, New Japan and various other promotions all over the world also employ wrestlers with the opportunity to make a living. Regardless of if a wrestler is signed to WWE, contracted to another promotion or working the free agent market, there is more than enough opportunity to thrive in wrestling today. That also means the competition is hotter than ever.
Wrestlers have to truly stand out and do something special to make a name among the vast competition of performers trying to steal the show. Unfortunately, some performers are just getting left in the dust in the current landscape. There are a number of wrestlers that are in a horrible position right now. You want to believe any wrestler can improve enough to turn their career around. These current names however just don’t have the ability, time or position to improve or change the issues that haunt them. We will look at the depressing tales of fifteen wrestlers that have no hope to change their struggling ways.
15 Adam Rose
WWE thought Adam Rose could be a relevant member of the roster following his successful NXT character leading the “Exotic Express.” Fans didn’t care about the party gimmick and Rose failed right away. The sad ending of Rose’s career in WWE featured him violating the Wellness Policy by failing a drug test. Rose claimed he had a valid excuse and publicly spoke out against WWE before the release.
The optimism of Rose saw him proclaim it was the best thing for his career. He truly believed he would be a success story on the independent circuit like Drew Galloway, Trent Barreta and other successful stars that were let go by WWE. Sadly, Rose just doesn’t have the same talent and has struggled immensely. There has been no buzz attached to his work. Recent rumors have suggested Rose sees the writing on the wall and plans to retire from the wrestling industry by the end of 2017.
14 The Vaudevillains
Simon Gotch and Aiden English formed The Vaudevillains in NXT. The fans in Full Sail enjoyed them enough for the company to put the NXT Tag Team Championship on them. That was the peak of their careers as it all went downhill when they debuted on the main roster. The Vaudevillains have been arguably the worst of all the teams on Smackdown Live frequently getting eliminated first in various multi-team matches.
It is glaringly obvious that Gotch and English have no hope of achieving success as a tag team. The best case is WWE breaking them up and allowing them to have singles runs. Even that is hard to envision either man having a thriving career in WWE. However, it is certain there is no hope left for The Vaudevillains to continue the failing team. WWE’s brand split gives more time to anyone they feel has potential. Gotch and Simon can’t find any credible screen time showing just where they are in the pecking order.
The WWE tenure of Carlito is one of the more disappointing runs in recent memory. Carlito had all of the potential in the world and the company actually believed he would be a future world champion. Reports stated to reveal that Carlito became complacent causing WWE to question his commitment and desire to the business. After violating the WWE Wellness Policy, the company requested he went to rehab. Carlito refused and was then released to the free agent market.
We are approaching the seven year anniversary of Carlito’s release which may have been his final relevant moment in wrestling. Carlito wrestles occasionally on the independent wrestling circuit. You won’t see him in any of the hot promotions but rather smaller companies willing to overpay for a much needed familiar face to add to posters. Carlito’s work shows the same issues questioned in WWE and there’s no hope for him fulfilling his potential anymore.
12 Jinder Mahal
One person to get a second chance in WWE with nothing to change in between his stints is Jinder Mahal. WWE once viewed him as a potential top heel during his early days on the main roster. It ended once his lackluster work failed to get him over with the fans. Mahal’s most interesting time period came as a member of the enhancement comedy group 3 Man Band before getting released from his contract.
WWE shockingly rehired Mahal in 2016 for depth following the brand split. There was hope of him being effective in the role of a secondary heel aligned with Rusev and Lana. All it did was hurt Rusev rather than help Mahal. Fans just don’t care about Mahal and there’s no upside there. In the time away from WWE, Mahal rarely made any appearances and didn’t improve one bit. There is no realistic scenario that will see him become a successful star in wrestling.
11 Bull James
NXT has created many new stars for the main roster to thrive on both Raw and Smackdown Live. The talented guys to flounder in NXT like Sami Callihan and Chris Hero went back to the independent circuit to have successful runs. The complete opposite effect has seen the former Bull Dempsey/current Bull James. Following his release from NXT, Bull started taking bookings in various promotions promising to show what he couldn’t in the WWE system.
Aside from a few disappointing matches in Ring of Honor, James has not received bookings in the relevant promotions. Bull somehow looks even worse with more creative freedom in smaller promotions. The inability to have memorable matches or deliver captivating character work holds him back from finding a new home in wrestling. Instead, he spends way too much time responding on social media to negative reaction and shows no hope of being able to steer his career in the right direction.
10 WWE's Cruiserweight Division
This may be a cheat pick but it was impossible to pick just one member of the WWE cruiserweight division. The smaller wrestlers showed off their greatness in the Cruiserweight Classic tournament on WWE Network. That led to the cruiserweight division returning to Raw and being given their own program 205 Live. Unfortunately, no one in the division has been able to make an impact other than Neville and Austin Aries.
Talented performers like Rich Swann, Cedric Alexander, TJ Perkins and Tony Nese have failed to get momentum going and everyone comes off the same. The wrestlers all do a good job in the ring but the other top stars on the roster do great moves as well. Time continues to pass and the cruiserweights are still failing to make an impact on the main roster. The division just won’t succeed since it’s not that different from the rest of the roster. A few names could succeed without it but the division as a whole has no chance to succeed.
9 Sin Cara
Sin Cara is in one of the worst spots one can possibly have right now. The best chance for Sin Cara was teaming with Kalisto in the Lucha Dragons. WWE split them up for the brand split out of the belief of Kalisto having far more potential. The placement of Sin Cara in the cruiserweight division seemed like a good fit despite visually looking like he was too big for the weight limit.
A few negative interactions with other stars on the roster saw him get labeled as a hothead. Sin Cara lost his spot and became one of the most hated members of the roster. We rarely see him on television and he may be on the way out. Sin Cara doesn’t have the potential or overall talent as the other underused wrestlers on the roster. It is highly unlikely that he will have a chance of making his name well known in another promotion after WWE.
8 Yoshi Tatsu
New Japan has grown over the past few years to become the clear second top wrestling promotion in the world. The wrestling there is at a high level. WWE signed AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows and Shinsuke Nakamura based off their success in NJPW. One wrestler that struggles to keep up with the best of the best in Japan is Yoshi Tatsu. WWE employed Tatsu for many years and let him go after realizing he’d never improve to where they wanted him.
Many wrestlers to work with Tatsu through the years have insulted his lack of talent. Yoshi is one of the lower card talents that you will often forget is in New Japan. The competition may be even more difficult in Japan considering there’s one roster of hungry talents. It is only a matter of time before Tatsu is gone from that atmosphere. As one of the least impressive wrestlers in the world, there’s no hope for Yoshi becoming a credible star in wrestling.
7 Alex Riley
The potential of Alex Riley was wasted when it became clear he didn’t improve enough to hang with the stars of the main roster. WWE tried placing him with The Miz in hopes of it letting him learn what it was like to be a top heel. Riley and others believe John Cena's hatred of him is what eventually caused him to flop. Anyone with eyes could see the constant botches and inability to get better is what doomed him.
Riley has remained relatively quiet following his release from WWE. In his final year, Riley spent his time taking bitter shots at Kevin Owens, Shinsuke Nakmaura, Finn Balor and others that passed him in the pecking order. The current career path of Riley sees him trying to become an actor much like many others that leave WWE. Riley followed the people in charge of TNA on social after his WWE release but they weren’t interested. That appears to be the overall takeaway from Riley’s career. No one wants him on their card.
6 Bo Dallas
It may be harsh to write Bo Dallas off at the age of 26 but he has nothing going for him. The peak of Dallas’ career came in NXT when his obnoxious, delusional heel character got over in front of the smaller crowd. Dallas also had the benefit of working programs against incredible performers like Sami Zayn and Neville. The main roster run for Bo has however been an absolute disaster with no signs of improvement in sight.
Dallas’ “Bolieve” gimmick did not get over and any chances of revamping his character have been met with similar disappointment. The argument can be made that Bo is the least relevant person on the WWE roster. Dallas doesn’t have the upside as the top names on the roster and the talent is hotter than ever. In a prior era, Bo may have been successful but there’s no chance of him matching the true best of the best in the industry today.
TNA spent a lot of time and effort into making Magnus a top star. Magnus would become a TNA World Champion before having a disappointing run as the top heel on the roster. The look, athletic ability and charisma of Magnus all made it seem like he would thrive in the role but it just didn’t click. Magnus made the decision to leave TNA about a year after losing the title.
The move saw him migrate to Global Force Wrestling to become the face of the brand under Jeff Jarrett. GFW flopped and no other relevant promotion wanted to book Magnus. Many fans understandably forget Magnus is still even in the industry. Unlike AJ Styles, Bobby Roode, Samoa Joe and Jay Lethal, Magnus is one of the TNA names that couldn’t prove he was better than what he was given. Magnus is returning to a dead in the water TNA with Jarrett taking control of the failing company once again.
4 The Shining Stars
Primo and Epico have worked under numerous gimmicks for WWE. The company clearly wants to give them something that works but it just never gets over. They are currently working under the Shining Stars moniker. Both Primo and Epico have athletic ability and can work in great matches under the right circumstance. The Shining Stars sadly lack the charisma and personality that is even more important to becoming popular in WWE.
Unless they break up and one of them gets a great revamp as a singles star, there is no chance in hell of the Shining Stars reaching success. Primo and Epico also have the negative reputation of constant flops associated with them. It would haunt the duo if they tried to continue on as a tag team on the independent circuit if leaving WWE. The Shining Stars have no hope to save their careers as a tag team, especially when it comes to WWE right now.
3 Damien Sandow
Wrestling fans strongly believed in the talent of Damien Sandow when WWE refused to push him. Sandow had a few great moments that showed a tremendous upside that fooled us all. WWE eventually released Sandow in 2016. Most fans assumed Sandow would be a success story that would prove WWE wrong and regret not pushing him to the moon. Instead, Sandow signed with TNA and proved to be overrated by those of us that believed in him.
Under the new name of Aron Rex, he debuted in TNA looking out of shape compared to the look he had in WWE. The work of Rex also managed to regress, making him look like another failed former WWE star residing in TNA. Rex is trying a Liberace-esque gimmick along with Rockstar Spud as his protégé. The once highly popular Sandow is among the most disappointing wrestlers in the business today and it appears to be the end of the line.
2 Eva Marie
The controversial Eva Marie is one of the women WWE badly wants to become a big star. Unfortunately for her, the women’s division has changed with the competition being tougher than ever. WWE expects a high level of in-ring work from their performers and Eva just can’t do it. The more WWE pushes Marie, the worse she appears to be in the ring. At one point, the company even paid for her to privately train with Brian Kendrick in California.
A suspension following a violation of the WWE Wellness Policy back in August may have unofficially ended her career. Eva is still on the WWE roster but they have not made any effort to bring her back into the fold almost seven months later with no return in sight. The new desire of Eva wants to be a successful actress meaning she’s not even training for a return. Both WWE and Marie could benefit from her wrestling career failing considering there’s no chance of saving it.
Ryback was once WWE’s most protected star with an undefeated streak. The look and potential of Ryback caused Vince McMahon to push him in a major way. WWE ending the undefeated streak led to the decline of his push. Ryback turned into another guy on the roster rather than a heavily pushed superstar meant to appear even to the likes of John Cena and CM Punk. A few years of mediocrity saw Ryback grow frustrated to the point where he publicly ranted about WWE and left after his contract ran out.
The post-WWE life of Ryback in wrestling has been a complete mess. Ryback wrestles for lower tier promotions that are usually not on the radar of even the most die-hard fan. The only way Ryback stays relevant in the current wrestling landscape is by talking trash in the lowest form regarding his fellow wrestlers. Ryback is not going to become a relevant player in any noteworthy promotion and the best you’ll get is going for buzz by airing out WWE names in the media.