The brand extension got fans excited for various reasons; not only did it mean the call up of various NXT stars, but it was also indicated that several former talents were to be contacted. Well, fast forward and one month in there are minimal signs of older wrestlers joining. According to recent news, many former Superstars who were contacted weren’t too pleased with the terms and wages given by the company, which caused most to ultimately decline.
With that in mind, the company is still very active looking for talent; whether it be to join NXT or the WWE's main roster. The popular Indie talents are likely to debut on NXT, while the former Alumni will make an immediate main roster jump likely during a big PPV. As of now, all we can do is speculate as to when, who and how some of these wrestlers will join.
This list of 15 wrestlers features both sides of the coin. Some are likely to join the main roster during WrestleMania season, while others are likely to join NXT bolstering the developmental roster even further. No matter how you look at it, we are very excited to hear these names come up in conversations for a possible debut or return to the WWE.
Let us now begin to take a look at who made this high profile list of names linked to the company. Here are 15 rumored names on their way to the WWE. Enjoy!
With the launch of 2K17, the rumors of Bill Goldberg continue to surface online about a possible return to the WWE in the very near future. The rumors intensified at a recent 2K launch party when Goldberg called out Brock for being on the cover of the game and went on to challenge The Beast to a future matchup. Lesnar, at the same launch party, responded to Goldberg saying, "anytime, anywhere and any place".
With Brock’s character at a stalemate with the WWE for the first time in a while, it seems like a logical choice to bring Goldberg back and have the two work a long term storyline which will only bolster the depth of the Raw brand. Lesnar needs a credible opponent and Goldberg is certainly at least still a credible draw even if he is entering his 50s in December. At this point, it seems more likely than not to see Goldberg back in a WWE ring shortly.
14 Prince Puma
Came across this amazing post from a man who's out there grindin' and chasing that greatness. Thank you so much @kingricochet for your kind words. I'm a lucky dude to have had the success I did in the world of pro-wrestling. A world that I grew up in and will forever be in my blood. I'm honored to be your inspiration as you go down that long hard road for success. Remember these important things: Always stay above the garbage of backstage politics and always give the audience what they want. Whether you're a heel or baby face - going over or doing a job. Doesn't matter.. always give them what they want. And most important.. HAVE FUN! Wish you all the success in the world brother and hope you become a big star in our business. I've seen a few of your matches - you're an incredibly gifted/athletic worker. Keep workin' hard and chasing your greatness. And I thought I was cool doing a little candy ass forward roll into an arm bar. 😂 👊🏾 #Repost @kingricochet ・・・ Anyone that knows me knows how much #therock has influenced me. He's literally the reason I wanted to become a wrestler. He had it all, the look, the mic skills, the charisma, the in ring work. He was a 10x world champion but he wasn't afraid to lose. He knew how to work a crowd, he could make them hate him then love him then by the end hate him again. And still to this day he continues to inspire me to be better in every way. There will never be another like him. There's a reason why he was called "The Great One."
Not only is Ricochet one of the hottest acts outside of the WWE, but his stock blew up even greater when The Rock posted a tribute to the wrestler on his social media account (Instagram) that is followed by no less than 65 million people… Talk about a platform. The picture was put up by The Rock one month ago and has over half a million Likes on social media. I think it’s safe to say that Puma’s star power reached another level.
His work rate and popularity is off the charts. It seems like a matter of time before we see Ricochet battling it out inside a WWE ring. The only thing prolonging that process is some restrictions he had on his Lucha Underground contract, which prohibit the wrestler from joining the WWE until 2017.
For now, Puma will continue to work on his craft independently. He was with Lucha Underground since September of 2014, but that has now officially ended. He’ll be enjoying the next couple of months alongside his familiar foe Will Ospreay over in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
13 Tony Nese
The CWC was a huge coming out party for several new Superstars; some were rewarded with contracts immediately to join Raw’s Cruiserweight Division, while the others were back on the Indie scene following their elimination from the tournament.
Nese was not signed to a deal but certainly turned more than a few heads during his participation in the CWC tournament. The 31 year old New York native showcased his tremendous mixture of speed, agility, aerial and power skills, all in one. He is also very smooth and has a great work rate.
His journey came to an end after losing to popular WWE veteran Brian Kendrick. Following the tournament Nese immediately went back to the Indie circuit refocusing on his craft as an individual performer. He didn't get a deal on the spot like his other peers but some believe it’s only a matter of time before Nese gets another opportunity with the company, but this time as a full time member. Look for a possible NXT debut for the “Premier Athlete”.
12 The Briscoe Brothers
It seems very puzzling as to how and why The Briscoe Brothers still have not debuted with the WWE after all this time. Some believe their antics are too edgy for the big company, while others still claim it’s only a matter of time before the duo finally joins and helps to revolutionize the culture of the WWE product to something a little edgier.
Since last year rumors died down when the popular Tag Team turned down the WWE and a developmental deal. According to the team they wanted to help further build ROH and were just simply not ready to make the jump to Orlando, which would require moving their families down there as well. The duo not only would reject the contracts, but would sign a two year extension with ROH in the process.
Although the notion of them joining was shot down last year, the possibility remains very high, after all the dream of any pro wrestler is to one day make it in the WWE. The company is extremely high on established Tag Team acts, so look for McMahon and his company to make another high end offer once the teams ROH deal comes to an end.
11 The Young Bucks
Similar to the Briscoe Brothers, the Young Bucks are another popular duo that are somehow still not employed by the WWE. The team is the self-proclaimed “best tag team on the planet”, and they certainly have the credentials to saying so, taking their performances to newer heights under the New Japan banner joining forces with Kenny Omega and The Bullet Club. The team still remains hot as ever and is making a great living outside of the WWE at the moment.
The team last auditioned for the WWE back in 2011. The skill was there, according to agents, but the attitude was not. The audition was met with serious controversy after an apparent dispute between the team and Booker T, for showing a lack of respect to some of the older and established wrestlers that were watching the teams tryout. Many believe this is the reason why the WWE has not reached out in the last five years. No matter what the case might be, the WWE will surely put that aside and contact the team eventually. After an interview with Sports Illustrated, the team made it clear, they're ready for anything.
10 Trish Stratus
When the WWE draft was first announced rumors ran rampant online about several former faces returning to the company. The goal was simple, keep NXT Superstars down in developmental while adding veteran faces to the mix on the main roster.
Well, as you probably know, this did not happen and the WWE was forced to pull up a big chunk of the NXT roster. The only wrestlers the company was able to sign as of now were Rhyno, Jinder Mahal, Shelton Benjamin and Curt Hawkins. The likes of MVP and Tommy Dreamer were also apparently approached but turned down deals because of financial reasons. According to rumors, the company was apparently giving out low end deals for pretty much full time contracts, which didn’t sit well for most.
This leads us to Trish. High profile names like Stratus are rumored to being saved for a big event like Survivor Series or WrestleMania. The likes of Trish, Goldberg and Angle are more likely to see limited dates which will build up towards a big event like Mania. Trish has in fact expressed interest to return if the timing and storyline was right, so this means we can expect to probably see the Hall of Fame Diva in early 2017.
9 The Hardy Boyz
It seems like since the brothers departed from the WWE, rumors have swirled pertaining to a possible return. Both Matt and Jeff have acknowledged the claims and admit that a WWE return does intrigue the duo. The brothers have no doubts that they will in fact be back in a WWE ring before they ride off into the sunset for good.
As of now, the brothers are enjoying a fantastic run with the lackluster TNA product. Particularly Matt, has done a great job in resurfacing and creating an entirely different character under his new persona of “Broken” Matt Hardy. Matt would launch this new “depressed and broken” gimmick after he claimed brother Jeff, ruined him. The entire persona started off as weird but is really beginning to find its footing as a brilliant angle that TNA has really done a great job with. This can only help Matt and possibly add more value to a future WWE return under the "Broken" Matt alias.
8 Matt Sydal
With rumors already swirling about the WWE agreeing to a second CWC tournament, the name of Matt Sydal continues to make headlines pertaining to a possible tournament entry for the second CWC as a tournament veteran.
His use in the WWE was quite poor and infuriated pockets of wrestling fans. The company failed to understand his excellence, thus making Sydal a lower to mid-card guy at best. After failing a series of Wellness exams, Matt was finally let go by the company in 2014.
Since leaving the WWE ranks, the move has proved to be a blessing for the high flyer. Sydal managed to resurface his brand value independently working the indie scene alongside Evolve, Dragon Gate, ROH and his current promotion with New Japan. One of his memorable highlights in Japan included a Super Jr. Tag Tournament win alongside Ricochet back in 2015.
Whether it be with the CWC or NXT, getting Sydal back into the mix seems like a great possibility. At the age of 33, we hope the WWE pounces on him now while he’s still in his prime.
7 John Morrison
When Morrison departed from the WWE back in 2011, both parties made it clear that the door would always be wide open for a future return. Ultimately, creative differences set the two sides apart. Morrison wanted creative control to his new deal while the WWE just wasn’t willing to give him that type of power. John wanted to move up in the cards as a big time player but the WWE just didn’t see him in that light and rather wanted to keep the talent in a mid-card role.
Since leaving Morrison has absolutely thrived with Luca Underground, becoming the face of the promotion. His work is still going very strong today.
A couple of months ago, Morrison surprisingly fired a couple of shots particularly to Roman Reigns. When asked who he’d like to face with in the company, Morrison said he was interested in fighting Roman if “he was still there in 10 years and if he learned how to wrestler by that time”. The shots fired by Morrison were not addressed by Roman, but were acknowledged by Rikishi which caused a mini Twitter war.
Take that for what it’s worth; whether it was intended to be a shoot or work.
6 Jay Lethal
Seeing the pro wrestling evolution of Jay Lethal is truly something to behold, what makes it all so much more noteworthy is the fact that he’s only 31 and just now entering his prime.
Lethal remains very high on the WWE’s radar and is more than likely to join the NXT ranks sooner rather than later. A possible feud with Nakamura would be breathtaking to say the least, knowing the two’s strengths in the ring.
For now, Lethal is enjoying the best work of his career evolving from a comedic wrestler with TNA to the face of ROH, which is stacked with some serious talent at the moment. Just recently at the Death Before Dishonor XIV event, Lethal finally dropped the Championship to Adam Cole in the main event, ending his remarkable ROH World Title run at 427 days. He was given the ball for over a year and certainly thrived. The WWE is well aware of this and we can expect to see this performer under the WWE lights real soon.
5 Adam Cole
Speaking of ROH’s new Champion, Adam Cole seems to be one of the hottest commodities outside of the WWE at the moment. According to various rumors, the company as had their eyes on Cole for quite some time.
The rumors began to surface when Kevin Owens apparently threw his name out to WWE officials. The company is very high on Indie talent at the moment, and has gone on to ask several wrestlers to write a list of established Indie names they think they should be on the lookout for. Owens put Cole on the very top of the list, claiming he was the most WWE-ready guy in the entire world. Now that’s certainly saying a lot, especially when you factor in that Cole’s still only 27, but obviously such a hot commodity. If you haven’t seen his work yet, it is quite reminiscent to the one of Seth Rollins. You can expect the wrestler to take a similar path to Seth once he joins the company, starting off with NXT and later rising to the top of the WWE's main roster scene.
4 Kazuchika Okada
The influx of Japanese talent to the WWE has thrived in more ways than one. The likes of Kenta (aka Hideo Itami), Nakamura and Kota Ibushi, have all in some fashion taken the WWE Universe by storm, receiving immense praise for their work. Ibushi has dazzled crowds in the CWC with his breathtaking aerial abilities mixed in with his insane kicks and brutal Last Ride powerbomb. Nakamura recently reached new heights by being crowned the new NXT Champion, in his short stint with company. Oozing with charisma, you can expect the same from the Japanese star once he reaches the WWE’s main roster.
With such names receiving so much praise, you can’t help but to think that Okada is next in line to join the WWE ranks as another popular Japanese star. He was a former two time winner of the prestigious G1 Climax and a former IWPG Heavyweight Champion. At the age of 28, it seems like he’s already accomplished so much. Like the others we mentioned from Japan, look for Okada to possibly branch out with the WWE and focus on a new goal in the very near future. At this point, the WWE would welcome Okada with open arms.
3 Rey Mysterio
Watching the CWC tournament, you can’t help but to fantasize on how great it would be to see Mysterio take on some of the Superstars in what would be a dream matchup. After all, Rey is regarded as one of the greatest Cruiserweights of all time.
The recent CWC tournament has sparked conversations amongst fans pertaining to a Mysterio return, particularly to Raw joining the Cruiserweights. Back in February, Konnan discussed the possibility of Mysterio returning, claiming he does want to return but contract restrictions with AAA Mexico have caused some setbacks to that return. Once the smoke and dust finally clears up from his AAA contract and he ends his Lucha deal, you can expect to see Rey back in a WWE ring, although this time it might be on a part-time basis. Either way, we’d love to have the veteran back in a WWE ring. Look for early 2017 to be a major possibility for a return.
2 Kurt Angle
Asides from helping Rhyno with his run as State Representative, Angle is enjoying some well needed time off at the moment.
When recently asked about the current situation, Angle discussed the fact that talks between himself and the WWE pretty much stalled after a sit down between the two parties. Hunter and Angle finally sat down months prior discussing a possible return. Both appeared to show interest but talks ended at the point. Angle admitted he is in absolutely no rush at the moment and is enjoying his time off.
The WWE has done this several times in the past, where they sit down with a wrestler only to contact them months later. Many believe this is done to see how the wrestler is doing and if a return would work. Some speculate the WWE wants to give Angle time to recover before officially rejoining the company. Either way, we can expect Kurt to possibly join the company once the WrestleMania window starts to intensify. I think we can all agree Angle will be in a WWE ring again very soon. We can see it now, AJ versus Angle: WrestleMania 33!
1 Kenny Omega
There is not a wrestler in the world (WWE included) hotter than Kenny Omega at the moment. He made history recently winning the G1 Climax, becoming the first ever non-Japanese winner in the tournament's history; not to mention he won on his first attempt.
His stock is sky high at the moment and the WWE certainly has made it clear his accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Omega admitted the WWE told him that the minute he was ready, he’d have a spot on NXT television that very week. So it’s safe to say a job is already there.
Omega is already thinking about a possible debut and would love to do so alongside his Elite members, The Young Bucks. The trio have taken to Twitter several times calling out The New Day. Man, would that be something.
As of now, we can only thank the WWE for Omega’s failed previous stint with the company. Had it not been for that, who knows what mess the WWE would have made of the star. Instead, he is now the hottest commodity in all of wrestling and someone we cannot wait to see years down the road main event WrestleMania!