In 1980, Vince McMahon took over the WWE and quickly built the promotion. It has become the biggest promotion in the business and in 2001, the takeover was completed when he bought out its chief rival, WCW. The WWE is generally seen as the big leagues by wrestlers. Those who manage to enter the “big leagues” usually want to stay there. However, Vince McMahon can be a vindictive boss and performers who get on his bad side are rarely welcomed back. We have made a list of some of the grapplers that we will probably never see in the WWE again.
It seemed like Colin Cassady was made in a Vince McMahon dream. Aside from being gigantic at 6’10”, the former basketball player was also light on his feet and good at cutting promos. When he reached the big stage and got separated from his former partner Enzo Amore, Cassady rose through the ranks quickly and started to wrestle almost at the top of the card. However, there were reports that he was disrespectful to McMahon and the WWE let him go. Cassady has since wrestled for independent organizations like House of Hardcore and Ring of Honor.
Also known as Ryback, Ryan Reaves was another wrestler that perfectly fit the preferred profile of Vince McMahon. Ryback wasn’t really good on the microphone, but he was a good athlete with a physique that seemed borderline impossible. Ryback had a really nice run in the WWE, and he won the Intercontinental Championship. However, other wrestlers weren’t too fond of him, and they complained he was reckless. When he left the promotion, Ryback badmouthed the organization, probably closing the door on any chance of reconciliation.
Even though he was always one of the popular WWE superstars, CM Punk reached the levels of popularity that the Rock/Stone Cold had by the time he left the promotion. At WWE events, particularly those in Chicago, his name is still chanted by fans. Nevertheless, no one should expect him to come back to a WWE ring. His relationship with the management was strained even before he left wrestling to pursue a career in MMA. Things even went as far as the WWE suing Punk and wrestler Colt Cabana for slander. However, Punk took a job with Fox Sports, appearing on WWE Backstage as an analyst and a contributor. He was hoping to mend fences this way.
Cody Rhodes had a lot to offer and the makings of a WWE Champion. The grappler did not only have the looks, but he also had wrestling ability, pedigree and personality. That should have been enough to achieve superstardom, but he never really reached those heights. He had a nice run in the WWE, though. Since he left the promotion, he has started a rival promotion. It is called the AEW and is a big hit with fans. Of course, Vince does not take threats to the WWE lightly, so don’t expect to see Rhodes back anytime soon.
Ken Anderson went by the name Mr. Kennedy during his time in the WWE. His rise to the top was pretty quick. Aside from having significant wrestling ability, he also had a lot of charisma, which allowed him to rapidly win over fans. However, Anderson did not really have skills in locker room politics. He reportedly had a feud with megastar Randy Orton. Post-WWE, Anderson had a bit of success at TNA, but the last couple of years have been rough. At this point, he is probably not on McMahon’s radar.
The Prime Time Players were pretty popular in the WWE. The tag team was composed of Darren Young and Titus O’Neal. It was common for the duo to be in the championship mix and they won the title once. During his run in the WWE, Young came out as gay and was the first WWE wrestler to do so. He was separated from O’Neal and he attempted a singles run but didn’t have much success. He has expressed his interest in returning to the promotion, but those hopes have yet to be realized.
It didn’t seem like the WWE knew what to do with Damien Sandow when he came to the promotion. Although fans sort of liked his cocky genius persona, McMahon wasn’t keen on running with it. He was named a bodyguard to the Miz. It might have been a silly gimmick, but Sandow became one of the company’s hottest stars. Despite his newfound popularity, he didn’t really get a big push. He hasn’t left wrestling completely but it seems he is now more interested in pursuing an acting career.
Before Simon Gotch entered the WWE, he was already a beloved figure in the indies. He was such a unique throwback with his quirky personality and old school catch wrestling ability. He had a partnership with Aiden English, and they were called Vaudevillains, which was killer in NXT. However, when they came to the WWE, English’s star started to shine brighter and they were split apart. Unable to achieve success as a singles wrestler, Gotch was eventually released from the company. Today, he wrestles for Major League Wrestling in New York.
Monster wrestlers are Vince McMahon’s thing and the 6’10 former ball player Morgan definitely qualified as a monster. Aside from being massive and athletic, Morgan was also a really bright guy that could handle himself pretty well on the microphone. He left the WWE after TNA offered him a really large contract. He went on to become a big TNA star and champion but that pretty much shut the doors on him making a return to the WWE. It is likely he won’t wrestle again since he was elected as Longwood, Florida’s mayor in 2019.
Matt Sydal went by the name Evan Bourne when he was with the WWE. During the time that he was with the promotion, from 2007 to 2014, he wasn’t really Vince McMahon’s type of wrestler. Today, the WWE is more open to undersized high flyers. Nevertheless, Sydal still had success. He had a popular partnership with Kofi Kingston and they were called Air Boom. After failing a second Wellness Test, Sydal was released but he has been doing well in the indies. It is unlikely that he would be seen again in the WWE.
Nothing about Enzo Amore would make people think that he could become a successful professional wrestler. He was small for the sport and had no remarkable wrestling skills. However, as soon as he spoke on the microphone, everything made sense. Amore was as the 2018 Cruiserweight Champion, but there were accusations of inappropriate behavior against him and the company released him. Later that year, he caused a scene at a WWE event, which practically ensured the promotion would never open its door for him again.
Another wrestling royalty, Chavo Guerrero enjoyed a successful run in the WWE. His team-up with Eddie Guerrero, his real-life uncle, was memorable. They went by the name Los Guerreros. Chavo also won the Cruiserweight Championship 6 times and the ECW Title. In 2011, the promotion released the 10-year veteran but he’s done great in various promotions like the TNA and indies like Lucha Underground and his very own Nacion Lucha Libre. Since he is a competitor to McMahon, Chavo is unlikely to be welcomed back.
Absolutely everything that a wrestling promotion could want, Wade Barrett was big and charismatic, and he had a brilliant British villain persona. His success in the organization came fast, winning the Intercontinental title five times as well as King of the Ring. However, Barrett suffered from a number of injuries which derailed his momentum. Because of them, he has not done any wrestling since 2016. Sadly, it seem like he won’t be doing so again. However, he has not completely left the world of wrestling and he has taken on non-wrestling jobs with other promotions like Lucha Underground and WCPW.
Alberto Del Rio
Alberto Del Rio’s coming to the WWE was kind of like a baseball superstar from Japan coming over to Major League Baseball. Del Rio’s reputation preceded him since he had been a huge star both in Mexico and Japan. When he was with the WWE, he was also a major star, winning four Heavyweight Championships, a Money in the Bank and a Royal Rumble. After confronting an official that made a racist remark, Del Rio was released from the WWE. He’s done well on the indie scene. It also doesn’t seem like he is interested in a return.
It seemed like Eva Marie was destined for stardom as soon as she entered NXT. Owing to her cocky personality and model looks, she drew a lot of heat from the fans. When Vince McMahon sees fans get riled up by a wrestler, he sees dollar signs. However, the biggest issue with Eva Marie was her very limited wrestling skills. After she appeared on Total Divas, fans further disliked her. In 2017, the company released her and she hasn’t wrestled ever since then.
Known as Hornswoggle in the WWE, Dylan Mark Postl had a leprechaun gimmick when he entered the promotion. He was later given the storyline of being Vince McMahon’s illegitimate son. A good-natured grappler, Postl quickly became a prominent part of the WWE. Hornswoggle spent a decade with the promotion, including a stint as the General Manager of Raw. In 2016, he got suspended for violating the wellness policy of the organization. He has been performing on the indie circuit. McMahon typically has a strict policy when it comes to drug tests.
When Triple H, Vince McMahon’s son-in-law, was assigned to head the NXT Division, he focused on building the sport’s best women’s division. One of the first big success stories he had was Emma, also known as Tenille Dashwood. Thanks to her quirky personality and wrestling ability, she was well received by WWE fans. Sadly, she failed to push through several injuries, which led to her release. Even though she’s been doing great on the indie circuit, McMahon doesn’t see Dashwood as a star.
Coming from wrestling royalty, Carlito Colon is the son of Carlos Colon Sr., who was elected to the WWE Hall of Fame back in 2014. Following in his father’s footsteps, Carlito also became a WWE star back in the early 2000s. While the Puerto Rican superstar was with the promotion, he won the US Championship, the Tag Team titles, and the Intercontinental belt. Sadly, he struggled with substance abuse, and refused the WWE’s help. He signed a new WWE contract in early 2020, but has yet to make an appearance.
Since AJ Lee was very young, she dreamed of becoming a wrestler in the WWE. The promotion often played a video of a tween Lee meeting former WWE star Lita. In spite of Lee’s diminutive size, she achieved her dream fast, taking home the Divas Championship title three times when she was still in her early 20’s. However, by 2015, her career was over at the young age of 28. She hasn’t wrestled again since then. Lee’s husband CM Punk had a dispute with the WWE and she felt like she was caught in the middle. She decided that the best course of action was retirement.
Stylized as MVP, Montell Vontavious Porter had a gimmick that was based on the biggest athletes of the early 2000s. MVP was pretty popular with the fans and won the Tag Team belt once and the US Championship twice. After a while, his gimmick began to wear off and he was released in 2010. He’s had a lot of success outside of the WWE, specifically with TNA. However, McMahon had been unwilling to bring MVP back until recently. MVP returned to the ring at the Royal Rumble on January 22nd, 2020, but Wrestling Observer Live claims that the plan is to keep his new stint very short.
Before being banished, Vince Russo was among the head writers of the WWE for many years. Some would say that he was not really banished, but it’s safe to say that he is unlikely coming back. “No way in the world that this thing would work out,” he lamented after briefly returning to the promotion in 2002. He left the WWE and went to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), where he worked as a writer until 2014. Then, Russo started writing for Aro Lucha in 2017, but he only did that for a year. Today, owing to the storylines he penned for the WWE, fans see him as a controversial figure.
There are some things that simply aren’t meant to be. Better known by his in-ring name of JTG, Jason Anthony Paul initially became famous when he was teamed up with Shad. However, that marriage didn’t really last long. He changed gimmicks multiple times throughout the rest of the time that he was with the promotion, though he never found one which would stick. Eventually, the status of the one-time star with the WWE was re-evaluated by Vince McMahon. Today, JTG continues to perform in the indie circuit.
Rob Van Dam
Even though Rob Van Dam was a fan favorite in the WWE and he enjoyed a long career, he might be too old to return now. Aside from that, he has recently associated himself more with other promotions, such as Total Impact Wrestling, likely “impacting” the way Vince McMahon views him. Still, Van Dam made a cameo appearance during a Raw reunion in 2019, so perhaps he will return to the ring someday. Unfortunately, we don’t think that is going to happen anytime soon.
Melina’s run with the WWE from 2001 until 2011 was pretty successful, and she even won the WWE Divas Championship at one point. Unfortunately, she got released from her contract a week after she lost to Beth Phoenix in a match. Almost right away, Melina went to the independent circuit, where she tried to make her way to the top once more. Since joining the NWA in 2019, Melina has become one of the biggest heels of the promotion.
He may be considered a legendary wrestler, but that status won’t help in opening up the door again for Ken Shamrock in the WWE. When he was still with the promotion, he started working as a fighter in the MMA and he eventually did it full time. After his MMA run ended in 2019, Shamrock went and signed with TNA, which is now known as Impact Wrestling. This decision probably ended any chance of Shamrock reuniting with McMahon and WWE.
One of the few stars in the WWE who might have been too intense for the promotion, Victoria was a wildcard who had a wild attitude. Literally anything could happen when the wrestler was in the ring. When she left the WWE in 2009, Vince McMahon was probably a little relieved. She quickly started an MMA career and even tried to get into Hollywood while making appearances for TNA as well. Victoria has made it known that she would like to go back to the WWE. Her age might hold her back, though.
We can say, without out a doubt, that out of all the wrestlers on this list, Rich Swann will never make a comeback on the WWE stage. Vince McMahon has a strict no crime policy. This is the reason the WWE “mutually parted ways” with Swann in the first place. Today, Swann still wrestles for Impact Wrestling and he has brought home the X Division Championship. His original charges have been dismissed, so he might even dream of a WWE return. However, as we said, that is very unlikely.
D’Angelo Dinero could have been one of the biggest stars in the WWE, but there was one problem – he wasn’t talented enough. For four years, he performed in the WWE before the promotion released him in 2008. Dinero would later sign with TNA, which ended up being a good thing since he was able to hone his talent there. In 2017, that promotion released the wrestler and he went back to the indie circuit. We don’t really see him getting back to the top at this point.
Now that we’re done with wrestlers whom Vince McMahon will unlikely be bringing back, it’s time to check out those who left the promotion!
The wrestling career of Spike Dudley didn’t really pan out like he expected. While he was trying to find his identity inside the ring, he found himself getting thrown around like a doll. Getting up the next morning was probably not fun for Dudley. He later decided to shift his focus and change careers. Dudley is now a financial planner, which doesn’t sound like something as fun as the WWE. However, his new job pays the bills and he has a very positive attitude towards it. You could say that he’s enjoying it. Spike said, “I’m helping people live a better life and take care of their families. It’s beyond rewarding.”
Diamond Dallas Page
A former WCW champion, Diamond Dallas Page always hyped up the crowd. His antics charged the audience up and his finishers were some of the smoothest in the sport. It seems like he used those same skills in his new profession. After he retired from wrestling, Page went on to start his own DDP Yoga Program, teaching his own brand which involves bodyweight exercises. People who have used it praise it for helping them lose weight and add flexibility.
From breaking backs, Shawn Stasiak now corrects them. While he wasn’t really a big WWE star, Stasiak did have some following as “Meat”, who did favors for the trio Pretty Mean Sisters. The WWE stamped a stupid gimmick on him which he would never overcome and they released him in 2002. After he left the promotion, Stasiak started his career as a professional chiropractor. Stasiak said, “It’s such a blessing to be able to make so many positive life changes for people, to get them out of debilitating pain and to guide them to a better quality of life not just physically, but mentally and spiritually.”
Unlike many professional wrestlers, Snitsky had no dreams of fighting in the WWE. The big man wanted to compete in a different kind of venue. He hoped to become a player in the NFL. His high school and college career were pretty big, so it was a definitely a possibility for him. Instead, Snitsky landed in the WWE, where he dominated. He became a part of different storylines, but in 2008, Snitsky asked to be released. He pursued a different career – acting. He said, “It’s similar to wrestling.” He added, “I love the larger-than-life characters, the theatrics, and production. Just becoming a character and getting to perform.”
Scotty 2 Hotty
Scotty 2 Hotty had a finishing move that always engaged the crowd no matter what. Even though the Worm wasn’t really, it was one that a lot of fans adored. Scotty enjoyed a good run in the WWE, though he was released in 2007. Now, rather than causing harm, Scotty is out there protecting others from danger. Another wrestler-turned-fireman, Scotty told WWE Classics, “Not only is the schedule appealing, but you’re doing something good.”
An unstoppable force in the ring, Molly Holly was definitely ahead of her time in terms of skill and technique. She didn’t want people judging her based on her looks. She wanted them to see her talent. She went on to become the Women’s Champion. She decided to leave the WWE in 2005 and take on much more rewarding roles. First of all, she took on a job as a teen counselor. She also earned a license to become a massage therapist. What’s more, she started doing some charity work for organizations which help children.
This list wouldn’t be complete without the one and only. The Rock aka Dwayne Johnson is a trailblazer in terms of venturing outside the ring. Aside from dominating the ring with his Rock Bottom and People’s Elbow moves, the mega-star also crushes the box office. A lot of people think there is nothing that The Rock cannot do. Although we are not sure if that is true, he definitely showed wrestlers that there is more to life than being a steel cage match warrior. The Rock still appears for the WWE every now and then.
On March 19, 2000, Trish Stratus entered the WWE ring for the first time. She went on to become the sport’s most successful female, winning seven championship belts, three WWE Babe of the Year titles and one WWE Hardcore Championship belt. She still makes the occasional WWE appearance, but she’s retired for the most part. The WWE Hall of Famer now has one son and one daughter. The Canadian also opened the yoga center Stratusphere in Toronto.
Kevin Nash is one of the most well-known wrestlers of the WWE. In 1995, he became the WWE World Heavyweight Champion and in 2015, he was elected to the WWE Hall of Fame. After he retired, Nash appeared in 16 films. He currently plays Troy Marshala on the British series Living the Dream. Another memorable role he played was the stripper Tarzan in the 2012 film Magic Mike and its sequel Magic Mike XXL (2015). Aside from acting, Nash spends his time being a philanthropist and actively supporting the LGBTQ community. He has promised that when he dies, he will donate his brain to Boston University’s CTE Center and the Concussion Legacy.
One of the most explosive and exciting wrestlers, Booker had a long career. While he left the ring, that doesn’t mean he is getting boring. Months after he retired from the sport, he made an announcement that he was running for office in Houston in 2019. One of the things he talked about during his campaign was making 2020 a new era in Houston. His plans included the improvement of low-income areas and decreasing homeless numbers. While there’s still a chance he would make WWE cameos, we’ll believe it if we see it.
After he retired from WWE, Shawn Michaels kept busy with his family and the hunting show that he hosts on the Outdoor Channel called Shawn Michaels’ MacMillan River Adventures. Keith Mark also co-hosts the show. In 2015, Michaels published his autobiography titled “Wrestling for My Life: The Legend, the Reality, and the Faith of a WWE Superstar”. Die-hard fans of the Hall of Famer should check out the revealing book!
In 2016, Jaqueline was elected to the WWE Hall of Fame. However, she might be in better shape now compared to when she was still wrestling. She really likes to stay active. She even made a brief comeback in the WWE when she was enshrined. However, she prefers training up-and-coming wrestlers. She is known for her work with Maven and Nidia. Outside of WWE, Jaqueline keeps active too, and she has worked with MTV on different reality series. She has even competed on shows, such as Fear Factor, proving that she isn’t a one-hit wonder!