In recent years, professional wrestling fans have been shocked by the amount of talent that has been released from their WWE contracts. When WWE hires Superstars, they have the intention of making the partnership between the two mutually beneficial. Being a WWE star puts you in the national spotlight, so therefore they really have to make sure the star has what it takes to represent their company.
For the people that have been released, it has opened doors for many other stars and promotions to make money as well. Those stars are free to work everywhere and the fact that they are formerly a WWE Superstar will likely draw big numbers. The problem is that, in some cases, WWE will release stars that are very talented just to keep other stars for far too long.
10 Rosa Mendes
Rosa Mendes signed with WWE in 2006 after competing in the RAW Diva Search competition. She was with the company for over 11 years and has no notable accomplishments to her name.
She was featured on their reality TV show Total Divas for a short time period and many fans feel that is part of the reason they kept her around. Though she is stunningly beautiful, her ring abilities just never had what it took to keep up with the rest of the roster.
9 Alberto Del Rio
Former WWE Champion Alberto Del Rio comes from a professional wrestling family and is a Mexican wrestling legend. He started officially wrestling in 2000 but did not sign with WWE until 2008. During his time with the company, he had six championship reigns, won the 2010 Royal Rumble, and was a Money in the Bank contract winner.
Though he was quite accomplished in WWE, he was disliked by many of the fans and other WWE stars. WWE decided to bring him back after he was released a year prior but thankfully that return did not last long. He has worked for many other promotions since then but has run into an array of legal troubles that will likely cause him to never be allowed back on the WWE roster.
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8 Jack Swagger
“The All-American American” Jack Swagger is a former World Heavyweight Champion and a Money in the Bank contract winner. Given his size and his athletic abilities, there were high hopes for him to have a bright future with the company. He signed in 2006 to a developmental deal and by 2008 he was already in a major championship storyline.
The problem is that he peaked in WWE after his first few years then sat on the middle to lower card for most of his 11-year WWE career. He just did not have the promo skills to become a top star with stars like John Cena and CM Punk on the active roster. Now he wrestles under his real name, Jake Hager, on AEW and also competes in MMA bouts as a side gig.
Before her career in professional wrestling, “The Ravishing Russian” Lana was an actress and was part of an all-girl music group signed by performer Ne-Yo. She signed with WWE in 2013 and was instantly put in the managerial role for her now-husband, Rusev. She was not liked for most of the time she was on camera and a majority of her career revolved around her husband.
Once Rusev was released from the company, WWE decided to keep Lana signed on for a while. Even though she was featured in their reality show Total Divas, she was never given a championship push. She has no major accomplishments to her name but was quite entertaining to watch. Either way, with her character being tied so heavily to Rusev’s, she needed to leave at the same time. While Rusev left WWE in April 2020, Lana would leave the company in June 2021.
Much like his wife, “The Bulgarian Brute”Rusev is another star that WWE kept on their roster for way too long. He had all the potential to be one of the biggest stars for the company but they made him a forever mid-carder. He was in some of the most memorable storylines in recent years, but they never felt it was enough to put the top championship on him.
WWE never allowed him to be himself and therefore Rusev also felt like the company was holding him back. Since his release, he has been able to thrive on the AEW roster under his real name Miro. While there, he had an impressive reign with the TNT Championship.
5 Lars Sullivan
As one of the biggest flops in the modern era of WWE, Lars Sullivan was supposed to be the next big monster heel for the company. After having his first televised match in 2017, he was fast-tracked through the NXT program due to his size and abilities. What most fans do not know is that he actually signed with the company in 2013.
He was signed with them for eight years, but once he made it to the made roster, he never accounted for anything. He had a severe leg injury that took him out of action for a while, but once he returned, he disappeared again. Though it was for medical reasons, the ship had sailed and the damage was done. He’d be released by WWE in January 2021.
The apple spitting, cool Caribbean, Carlito made his WWE developmental debut in 2003, with his main roster debut coming in 2004. He was instantly put into a major storyline with then United States Champion John Cena. Since he was given a huge push right away, his career just started to go down from there.
He competed in some top-tier matches but was destined to be nothing more than a mid-card and tag team competitor. He was well-liked by the fans which might be why WWE kept him around as long as they did but his gimmick quickly got old. Since they were never willing to add a fresh twist to him, they kept him for way too long. He was finally released in May 2010, but he’s made a few WWE appearances since then.
3 Eva Marie
As one of the original stars of WWE’s Total Divas, Eva Marie shocked fans with her vibrant red hair and her amazing figure. She premiered on that show before she ever appeared on RAW or SmackDown. It became obvious that, though she had the look of a WWE Superstar, she did not have what it took to compete as one. They sent her back to the developmental program to hopefully get a bit better, but once they brought her back to the main roster, she flopped again.
They kept her around for a full year after that return, but once she left Total Divas, WWE thought it was also finally time to release her. They brought her back recently, but thankfully they learned from their first mistake and released her once again. She now has more time to focus on her acting career and building her brand as a businesswoman.
2 Nia Jax
Former WWE Raw Women’s Champion and Tag Team Champion Nia Jax is a member of the famous Anoa’i wrestling family. There were high hopes for her because of her size and her relationship with stars like Roman Reigns and The Rock. Despite her strength in the ring, she lacked a lot of other characteristics that make a good WWE Superstar.
Jax was not strong with her promo work and would often mess up her lines. She was also famously hard to work within the ring. Multiple stars received injuries and were sidelined due to her lack of in-ring abilities. Overall, they kept her for far too long in hopes she might get better, but that time never came.
In one of the most surprising releases in recent years, “The Swiss Cyborg” Cesaro had everything it took to become one of the best stars in professional wrestling history. His athletic ability mixed together with an interesting character should have transported him to the top.
WWE did not see top star potential in him however and constantly held him back despite fans calling for his stardom. They kept him for too long which held him back from a potential run somewhere else where he could have made a bigger name for himself. Either way, with his release, fans should be thankful that they finally let him go so he can shine on another roster.
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About The Author
(35 Articles Published)
Located in Phoenix, Arizona; I have been writing for many years. My love for wrestling started at a very young age and I have been hooked on it every since. My goal is to share my love of the sport with as many fans as I can.
From Peter Migdol