The WWE is inarguably the top dog in the world of wrestling world. For the most part, Vince McMahon and company have their pick of the litter in wrestling’s talent pool, which means a spot on their roster is an incredibly coveted possession. That is why it is all the more shocking that there are some wrestlers who manage to stay employed with them for years, without having their abilities capitalized on.
By no means, do we wish any of the men and women who found their way onto our list lose their jobs, instead we just want them to actually be used in a meaningful way. In order to make our list, you have to be currently listed on the WWE.com main roster page. So you won’t find the legendarily, baffling long-term employment of former Cryme Tyme wrestler JTG mentioned anywhere.
10 Mark Henry
First appearing on WWE television way back in 1996, Mark Henry has been paid by WWE for his services for twenty years. In that time, he was a Nation of Domination member, had a short-term run in Smackdown main events against the likes of The Undertaker and Batista and then created the hall of pain. Of course, nobody could forget his time as Sexual Chocolate, which is pretty hilarious to look back on but was a truly atrocious gimmick. They disrespected an entire community when he threw up after unknowingly kissing a transsexual, gagged and whipped him on national television and had him sex up an old lady who gave birth to a plastic hand.
The rest of his career in the WWE is pretty much forgettable, including when he did strong man feats on Smackdown or when he was managed for a short while by Teddy Long. We could list a few other of his storylines but we don’t really care and neither do you. We absolutely loved his salmon colored jacket wearing, fake retirement promo, but over twenty years we can only come up with a few storylines of any real worth.
9 Alicia Fox
A beautiful woman, who signed her contract with the WWE in 2006, she briefly played a wedding planner who was romantically linked with Edge before becoming a manager and competitor. Paired with the likes of DJ Gabriel, Elijah Burke and JTG over the years, she always seemed to be trying hard but never caught any breaks.
Eventually given the Divas Championship for a short moment, out of nowhere, her reign was short-lived and she quickly faded into the background again. Developing a gimmick where she freaked out after matches and poured drinks and snacks on herself, her strange behaviour receded after a few weeks. Currently teaming with The Bellas, in a faction that serves as heels or babyfaces depending on the week, she is the least focused member of a trio that is going nowhere.
8 Wade “King/Bad News” Barrett
This one is just a shame. After winning the first season of NXT, Wade seemed poised to be a huge star and when he led The Nexus, as they ran roughshod over the WWE main eventers, we thought we had a new main-eventer. Then he lost to Cena again and again, had his authority in the group usurped by CM Punk and created one of the worst factions in years, The Corre (the second r stands for redundant), before falling to the mid-card.
Since his initial run, Wade has suffered several injuries, gone through several reboots and mostly traded wins and loses with all of the rest of the go nowhere talent. He took the Bad News character, one that was loathed at first, and made it hugely popular. Handing that gift to a company that desperately needs to fill time on their three-hour show, they reacted by stripping him of the gimmick, since they didn’t want people to cheer it. That is so stupid, it is unbelievable.
7 Zack Ryder
If Bad News Barrett feels bad that his efforts weren’t capitalized on, he can rest easy by reminding himself that at least he isn’t Zack Ryder. A lifelong wrestling fan who was called up to the main roster as part of a non-descript tag team, after a short run as a follower of Edge, he was left to wallow in the dredges of WWE’s undercard.
Unsatisfied with his role in the company, Zack worked hard to create a fervent fan base online, without the help of the company that he worked for. Becoming insanely popular with a huge portion of the so-called “WWE Universe”, he seemingly forced the hand of WWE creative to give him a prominent role on television. After winning the United States Championship, his biggest accomplishment to date, he became John Cena’s little buddy. Thrust into a goofy love triangle storyline, he was turned into a joke when Eve Torres mocked him, pounded into the ground by Kane and has never been focused on again.
6 Tyson Kidd
An incredible cruiserweight wrestler, who grew up alongside the famed Hart wrestling family, Tyson debuted on WWE television as a part of The Hart Dynasty. Teaming with his long-time girlfriend and her cousin, to carry on the legendary name, they were never given strong characters and before too long, his partner was released.
“Demoted” to NXT, for the first time in his WWE career, Tyson developed a personality that many diehards adored. Playing off the strange character he played on the “reality” show Total Divas, he became an egotistical, cat obsessed weirdo who happened to be one of the best workers in the world. So of course, when he was called back up to the main roster, a lot of his progress disappeared and he was barely given an opportunity to speak. Teamed with Cesaro, they formed a fantastic before suffered a major injury that has put him on the sideline for the foreseeable future. Hopefully, once Tyson is healthy they can regain that momentum the team once had.
5 Damien Sandow
Debuting on Smackdown as a part of the tag team, The Teacher’s Pets, Idol Stevens as he was known at the time seemed to only be there to give Michelle McCool someone to lead. Recreating himself, he re-debuted as Damien Sandow, the intellectual saviour of the masses and instantly showed more personality than almost anyone on WWE television.
A throwback to the over-the-top gimmicks of the 80s, Sandow was the type of guy you loved to hate, including when he created a team with Cody Rhodes that ended too soon. To everyone's surprise, Damien won the Money in the Bank briefcase he is the first person to cash in and lose. After going on a several-month losing streak, he began to come out in goofy outfits week after week, before a throwaway team with The Miz became popular despite it all. As a stunt double, he mimicked The Miz’s every move in a hilarious to watch role that made everyone look forward to his every appearance. Dropped after the duo’s eventual feud was blown off in record time, Damien is all but gone from WWE television.
4 Cody “Stardust” Rhodes
The son of Dusty Rhodes and brother of Goldust, Cody had gigantic shoes to fill and despite showing a ton of charisma and potential, he hasn’t been given the chance to rise to the occasion. His first noteworthy storyline was as a part of The Legacy, under the tutelage of Randy Orton, it did little for the groups lesser stars when it was disbanded.
In the years since, Cody has been “Dashing” Cody Rhodes, who was obsessed with his good looks until a minor face injury made him believe he was hideous. Then, performing as one-half of The Rhodes Scholars, alongside Sandow, he became an afterthought once they broke up. Eventually fired on screen, he teamed with his family against The Shield in an attempt to hold onto his job, in a storyline that stole the show for a few months. Finally becoming Stardust, a play on his brother’s Goldust character, he gives silly seemingly silly, cosmic promos and we can’t wait until he finally drops the act.
A rapping and dancing wrestler who teamed with Road Dogg after his partner’s time in DX had run its course, K-Kwik was fired, after a very short time. After a far more impactful run in TNA, that including winning the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, he was brought back to the WWE and rechristened R-Truth.
All of these years later, we still have no idea what that name means but that is beside the point. Currently played for comedy, Truth had a short run with The United States championship, somehow wrestled in a tag team match against The Rock and John Cena and had an imaginary friend for a while. That is not much of a resume for someone who has been around for so long.
2 Curtis Axel
The son of a WWE Hall of Famer, he had everything going for him when he came out as a new member of The Nexus. Unfortunately by the time he joined the group, it was definitely on a downturn and when it disbanded, his first impression was less than stellar. Next tapped to become a Paul Heyman guy, that association went nowhere fast and did nothing to make him the star his fans hoped he would become.
Having clearly fallen short of the lofty place he seemed to be destined for at one time, he spent a while teaming with Ryback, was in the Royal Rumble for a year and imitated Hulk Hogan for a while. A member of The Social Outcasts, alongside several other wrestlers who were going nowhere, the faction is entertaining but we can’t help but notice he seems to be in the backseat in even that group. One of these days, lightning hopefully will strike and they will finally find the character he was born to play. Hopefully, he has a much better name by then.
1 Rosa Mendes
A member of the roster for a decade, Rosa competed in the WWE Diva Search and was given a contract despite losing the competition. Since then, she acted as Beth Phoenix’s intern, managed Primo and Epico, served as Fandango’s dance partner for a few weeks and appeared on Total Divas. Even on the Divas show, she is barely ever seen, after a short time of prominence.
Last seen as a backstage correspondent on Smackdown, she is on maternity leave as this article was written. Wrestlers in much more prominent roles, with far more memorable achievements, have been told creative has nothing with them while Rosa remains gainfully employed. The craziest thing is that she seems like such a likable person who could have potentially added something to the show and hopefully when she returns to work she is finally given that opportunity. It is amazing that she has managed to stay employed this long while doing so little onscreen for the company.