In this segment, we discuss some of the people that we think will unfortunately not be on the roster come 2017 for one reason or another. Perhaps they will retire or be forced to take a leave of absence due to injuries. Maybe they will quit because of some kind of a dispute. Then again, most of them will probably just be flat out fired. Whatever the case may be, let's look at some potential options that will be wished the best of luck in their future endeavors this year.
Stay tuned to the list of releases from 2017 to see how the predictions turn out!
* NOTE: This isn't to say that we're necessarily wishing these releases upon the men and women that we mention. That might be the case for some, but generally speaking, this is about predicting what WWE will do more so than picking and choosing what we would like to see happen. This list represents the few that I feel the most confident will be gone, not who I would want to be leaving. *
10. Bob Backlund / Chris Jericho
Depending on how you count this as a "release", I expect both Bob Backlund and Chris Jericho to leave the company in some fashion this year. Jericho will undoubtedly take his exit after WrestleMania in order to focus on Fozzy, but does it really count if he's likely to also return again at some point? Likewise, how do you gauge something like Backlund, who will probably not make appearances with Darren Young after they scrap that gimmick, but will remain on retainer as an ambassador with a legends contract?
9. Hideo Itami
I'm not super confident about this, but it wouldn't shock me. Hideo Itami has basically been a bust since signing with the company. The majority of his time on the roster has consisted of him on the injured list, so WWE might want to just cut their losses and save on the money they're paying him.
While both members of The Ascension could very well be on the chopping block due to how poorly they've been booked since their switch to the main roster, I'd be much more concerned about my career if I were Konnor than if I were Viktor. Konnor's had more chances and he's also had more failures, including two Wellness Policy violations, meaning one more suspension and he's gone.
7. Bo Dallas
A while back, people spoke of Bo Dallas as having a bright future with the company. Where did that go? Down into the abyss, apparently, as he came onto the main roster as a comedic jobber and has never bounced back. At his peak, he was a prominently featured loser, but more often than not, he's such a low priority that he isn't even being booked to lose because he's not making an appearance at all. Since getting arrested, his stock must have dropped even more, and if WWE reaches a point where they need to cut some costs, he's going to be easier to release than someone who has caused less problems and has proven themselves a more valuable asset.
6. Summer Rae
For months, Summer Rae has been out with injuries, but you probably forgot she was even on the roster, didn't you? She had a good thing going in NXT and was even carving a niche for herself as Fandango's dance partner a few years ago, but when she branched off into singles competition in the women's division on the main roster, she was left in the dust. Not once has she ever been booked as a legitimate contender to the title and with the brand split and the Women's Revolution putting even more pressure on the female competitors to up their game, Summer Rae could easily find herself outmatched. If that happens and they don't find a different role for her as a manager or something, she may reach a point where she moves on to a different career choice of sorts, putting WWE in her past as a section of her resume. Why continue to beat yourself up if the company in so many words tells you there's not much of a future for you?
5. Sin Cara
Fighting with people is never going to help your standing on the company, particularly if there are repeated offenses. Although it's not fair, it also hurts him that the other Sin Cara before him had many problems, tainting him by association of the gimmick. Sooner or later, a straw will break the camel's back. With Kalisto, Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik, there's enough masks in WWE to justify 86-ing Sin Cara without feeling like there's a gap in the roster.
4. Sawyer Fulton
Every time Sawyer Fulton takes a step forward, he takes two steps back. Finally, it seemed like he could get another chance to reshape his career with SAnitY, but shortly after this redebut, he was injured. Like Cal Bishop before him, I can see WWE being fed up with the lack of progress and wishing to let him go with a pat on the back for trying and all the best wishes, but never really looking to re-sign him again.
3. Angelo Dawkins
In comparison to Angelo Dawkins, WWE has nixed many NXT wrestlers who competed on a more regular basis and were much more advanced, more popular, and more useful to the show in the past, so why wouldn't he be sticking around? It seems like the majority of his tenure has been spent working live events and popping up as a jobber only a handful of times per year. Nothing short of a miracle rebranding and repackaging as well as an upgrade in skills would convince me that Dawkins will be in WWE in 2018, and I'm not just trying to stirring things up.
2. Tyson Kidd
Sadly, I've lost all hope that Tyson Kidd will ever return to in-ring action. Simply put, I think this is a situation where everybody knows he's done and no official announcement has been made because he's still locked into his contract. Once that expires (which I'm assuming will be this year at some point), a quiet release will happen. Essentially, he won't be "fired" as much as his contract will cease and not be renewed as he can no longer perform.
NOTE: Listen to the podcast below for our thoughts on Paige, who I retroactively need to insert into the mix as my new #2 above even Tyson Kidd.
1. Rosa Mendes
I was wrong about this last year, but give me a break, she HAS to be released this year, right?! I don't have anything personally against her and I'd hope she would be very successful in whatever other job she has, but I can't fathom why WWE would ever want to keep her around when she's received paychecks for doing absolutely nothing for the entirety of 2016 and was in the company that many years without ever improving. When is enough enough? Unless somehow, some way, she's trained to become a better wrestler and will be stepping back into the ring on the main roster, I can't see how she doesn't leave WWE this year, as she wasn't even utilized on Total Divas or doing any other kind of role in the company like a backstage interviewer, valet, etc. Similar to Summer Rae, she can move on to doing modeling and other things and will probably be much better off, with the added bonus of being able to spend more time raising her family.
Check out our discussion on this topic on the latest episode of the Smack Talk podcast below!