World Wrestling Entertainment is the mecca of professional wrestling. It has been such for at least the past 30 years, and likely will continue to be for a long time to come. Virtually every young wrestler dreams to one day step foot in a WWE ring, whether it is their ultimate goal or not, and almost every wrestler who’s had the honor to do so will admit it was a highlight of their career in one way or another. However, quite a few wrestlers who have entered WWE left on grounds that were somewhat acrimonious to say the least. Others left on decent enough terms, but then years later did changed their mind about their former employer and don’t want anything to do with them anymore.
Despite fan protests, there are a few former WWE superstars who you should absolutely never expect to make nice and return to the company. A long-lived adage in professional wrestling is “never say never,” so we admit anything is possible and virtually any of these performers could pop up on Raw tomorrow and prove us wrong. That said, we’re pretty sure we have enough to convince you on these 14 former WWE wrestlers not returning any time soon—probably ever.
14 Colt Cabana - Podcast and Famous Friends
Colt Cabana is decently well known on the Internet and the independent scene, but WWE fans might not even realize he spent a cup of coffee in the company performing as Scotty Goldman in 2008. On the indy circuit, Cabana is a bit more noteworthy, as a long time partner of CM Punk in Ring of Honor. Continuing that association with Punk, Cabana is also the host of The Art of Wrestling podcast, and on that podcast, Punk gave a lengthy interview documenting the various reasons he retired from wrestling and will never return to WWE. WWE went on to sue both Punk and Cabana over comments made during the podcast. While WWE have made nice with plenty of people who sued them, the other way around depends more on the person being sued, and Punk and Cabana don’t present themselves as the forgiving types. Since we brought it up…
13 CM Punk - Crusaded Against WWE Doctors
Cabana was really only the messenger when he had CM Punk appear on The Art of Wrestling in November 2014. Punk complained at length about WWE doctors refusing to give him proper treatment for various injuries, claiming they always forced him back into the ring before he felt healthy and ready. His most damning accusation claimed he was forced to wrestle while suffering a potentially deadly MRSA infection. Once Punk finally decided to walk out on the company and take time off to heal, WWE responded by officially firing him on his wedding day. Concurrent with the story of how the company treated him going public, Punk announced his retirement from wrestling and claimed he would never ever return to the sport. Punk has also made plenty of negative comments about Triple H, implying he would never want to work for a company where The Game was in charge.
12 Gail Kim - Hates WWE, Married A Celeb
Gail Kim won the WWE Women’s Championship in her debut match with the company on June 30, 2003. She only held the title for four weeks, then floundered for another two years before being fired. The company hired her back in 2008 and she spent another three years with them before essentially walking out during a live episode of Raw and never coming back. The night she quit, Kim was booked to be eliminated from a battle royal in under a minute, and she felt this was the straw that broke the camel’s back in terms of her talents routinely being disrespected by the company. Gail now works for TNA, where she worked during her hiatus with WWE. Gail said she left TNA to return to WWE the first time mostly due to the size of the contract WWE offered her, but now that she’s married to celebrity chef Robert Irvine, chances are she’s not too worried about money and will continue to work someplace she feels respects her.
11 Palmer Cannon - Bullied Out of the Business
Brian Mailhot only worked for WWE for a few years, and despite being a trained wrestler, he didn’t participate in a single match during his time with the company. Mailhot played Palmer Cannon, an executive authority character said to be a representative of the “The Network,” who was mandating a variety of PC chances on SmackDown. Cannon appeared out of nowhere in a pretty major role, and he left as abruptly as he came amidst allegations Bradshaw, Chris Benoit, and undisclosed others were intensely bullying him during a WWE tour of Europe. Things almost got physical between Cannon and Bradshaw, but Cannon decided to be the better man and simply quit WWE and leave the wrestling business behind him forever instead of trying to deal with someone who treated him so poorly.
10 Josh Mathews - Says He Has Other Options
Josh Lomberger first appeared within the WWE Universe as a contestant on the first season of Tough Enough. Approximately one year after that, he began appearing as a backstage interviewer and announcer, changing his name to Josh Mathews. Mathews stayed with the company for nearly 12 years before suddenly and unexpectedly getting released in 2014. Six months later, Mathews became the lead play-by-play announcer for Total Nonstop Action. In a series of tweets, some of which have been deleted, Mathews has spoken out against his former employer, criticizing their treatment of TNA stars like Samoa Joe, and also saying he had no intention of ever returning to the company. It’s not like they really needed him—he was apparently let go because they had way too many announcers already, and he was kind of clouding up the bottom. Ouch.
9 Mr. Kennedy - Heat With Top Stars
Mr. Kennedy is pretty much a professional bridge burner at this point in his career, so not only should fans not expect him back in WWE any time soon, but he probably won’t be returning to TNA, either. Kennedy wrestled for WWE from 2005 to 2009, at which point he was let go by the company rather suddenly while seemingly about to start a main event push. Kennedy claims John Cena and Randy Orton especially repeatedly complained to Vince McMahon about his work in the ring and unfairly called him dangerous, which made Vince fire Kennedy. Kennedy stills complains about the WWE top stars whenever he gets a chance, and the fact he was fired from TNA due to failing a drug test means he’s unwanted goods wherever he goes.
8 Chyna - What Would Aurora Think?
The relationship between Chyna and Triple H is well known, so we’ll sum it up as briefly as possible. They dated until Stephanie McMahon came along, at which point they either broke up and Triple H moved on to Stephanie almost immediately after, or Triple H started cheating on Chyna with Stephanie. Either way, the result is obvious, as Triple H is still the figurehead of authority and McMahon appointed greatness within WWE, and Chyna hasn’t been mentioned on television since 2001. It’s getting to a point where she’s too old to return to the ring and make a real comeback, but fans are desperate for the only woman to ever hold the Intercontinental Championship to finally get inducted into the Hall of Fame. It’s not very likely, though—Triple H has directly addressed the idea and shot it down, for fear his daughter might find out about Chyna’s adult film career. Of course, this opens up a whole bunch of new questions, but we’ll keep it kayfabe and leave it there.
7 Abraham Washington - Out of the Company Faster Than...
Abraham Washington was a strange albeit somewhat popular part of ECW during his short tenure with WWE. He hosted The Abraham Washington Show with his sidekick Tony Atlas, and the segments were decent comedic distractions, at least insofar as WWE is capable of such a thing. A few years after the ECW branch was shut down, Washington began appearing on Raw and offering wrestlers his managerial services. Primo and Epico accepted Washington’s offer, but he then turned on them to instead manage The Prime Time Players. While managing the Players, Washington claimed Titus O’Neil was “like Kobe Bryant at a hotel room in Colorado—unstoppable.” Obviously, mainstream media reacted in shock and horror at this blatant rape joke, and WWE agreed, firing Washington a few weeks later. Washington made things worse for himself by going on an angry rant on Twitter, ensuring the company wouldn’t ask him back if the controversy ever blew over.
6 Dawn Marie - Public Relations Nightmare
Dawn Marie doesn’t seem too bitter towards WWE herself, but she openly admits they probably won’t ever ask her back. Dawn spent several years in ECW as the manager of Lance Storm, and finally made her way to WWE in 2002. She was the victim of several truly horrible gimmicks, but her beauty and her commitment to character always shone through. In a pretty disgusting corporate move, WWE fired Dawn Marie while she was pregnant in 2005. Anyone who knows anything about business knows that was a ridiculously bad move on WWE’s part, and it’s pretty amazing it wasn’t made into a bigger deal. Dawn sued the company and reportedly settled out of court. Though she said she still loves wrestling and thinks anything’s possible, she “could probably say never” about returning to WWE in any capacity.
5 Jeff Jarrett - Founded TNA, GFW
Jeff Jarrett seems to be in a downward spiral these days, but at one point he was a talented and respected wrestler who won the WWE Intercontinental Title a then record six times. He also held Vince McMahon up for an amount of money rumored to be as high as $300,000 before agreeing to lose said Intercontinental Championship to Chyna on his last day in WWE. Jarrett has only made matters worse for himself with his business ventures since. Jarrett is also the co-founder of Total Nonstop Action, the closest thing to competition WWE has had in years, and after he gradually lost control of that company, Jarrett opened Global Force Wrestling to compete as well. Things aren’t looking too hot for those companies these days, but Jarrett has gone way down the river to be let back into WWE, even as an agent.
4 Muhammad Hassan - Screwed By Doing His Job
Mark Copani is one of the most interesting and controversial figures in WWE history. He competed for the company only for a few years, but in those years, he immediately became one of the most visible and hated heels in wrestling history. At the time, Copani was known as Muhammad Hassan, an ostensibly Arabic wrestler who complained about the xenophobia and Islamophobia omnipresent in the United States after September 11th.
Copani was in his early 20s and rapidly shot up the wrestling world with his groundbreaking character, but WWE showed they have no idea where the line is as per usual, and ran an angle where his sidekick Daviari was “martyred” by The Undertaker only three days before the 2005 London bombings. Worse than the fact they filmed it three days before the tragedy was the fact they aired it the day of the tragedy, and the media backlash was astronomical, as would be expected. It’s worth noting in all of this, all Hassan did was exactly what WWE told him to do. Hassan was quickly forced off television and then fired from WWE. Copani retired from wrestling shortly thereafter and has vowed never to return. He began a teaching career since retiring and is now a Vice Principal.
3 Goldberg - Feels WWE Ruined Him
Goldberg was arguably the biggest success story in WCW history. In two short years he went from giving up on a failing football career to becoming one of the biggest names in wrestling, at a time wrestling was more popular than ever. The Undertaker’s streak is more iconic to WWE, but the first undefeated streak in wrestling that had fans counting and celebrating for years was Goldberg’s 173-0 record in WCW. The number was exaggerated and staged, but nonetheless, the point was Goldberg was an absolute monster, and fans loved watching the monster destroy his prey. Goldberg made the jump to WWE in 2003, and it was only a few months before Vince McMahon put him in a wig. Goldberg apparently recently reached out to Triple H and discussed returning under his terms, but was quickly shut down, and said he felt Triple H doesn’t respect him since he isn’t a WWE guy. Goldberg says he’s open to a Hall of Fame induction one day, but just doesn’t seem interested enough to mend the fence and make a grand return.
2 Paul London - Seriously Hates Triple H
Paul London was never a huge name in WWE, but he is a former multi-time WWE Tag Team Champion and WWE Cruiserweight Champion. London wowed audiences with his highflying style in an era shortly after the cruiserweight craze of WCW was ending, making him standup and soar in the division for a few short years. His popularity burst when he began teaming with Brian Kendrick, and the two flirted with the main event, but the duo were randomly squashed by Triple H for no reason in 2008. London was released from the company later that year. He has since made constant complaints about Trips, both in relation to Triple H burying himself and Triple H burying his friend, Rob Van Dam. London has gone on record to say he would never work for a company where Triple H was in power, and it’s unlikely Triple H would really want someone who speaks about him like that back in the first place.
1 Místico - Gimmick Infringement
Let's top things off with a slightly confusing entry. Místico is quite possibly the biggest draw in the history of Mexican wrestling, and he spent about two years attempting to transition that fame to WWE. Suffice to say, it didn’t quite work out for him. While in WWE, he competed under the name Sin Cara. If you’re reading this article around the time it was written, you might be thinking to yourself “Wait a minute, Sin Cara still works for WWE,” and that’s where things get confusing. Místico’s version of Sin Cara feuded with the new Sin Cara and won, but somehow Sin Cara II still uses the name today. The situation even lead to a lawsuit, due to the fact Místico claims he still held ownership of the character after his release. Given the fact he didn’t really like his time in WWE and the fact he was very literally replaced without his full consent, it’s very possible he’s least likely to return out of this whole list. But then again, WWE just might have Hunicio start calling himself Místico and we’ll be wrong about this one on technicality. Never say never in wrestling.