The Draft is over. Now, Free Agency is on!
Before I continue, here’s a list of superstars who I know are out with an injury:
- Ember Moon
- Ruby Riott
- Nia Jax
- Lars Sullivan
- Samoa Joe
- Jeff Hardy
- Jason Jordan (still under contract with WWE)
Drew McIntyre, who appeared on The Bump this week was out with an injury. Samoa Joe, who has a broken thumb appeared on both draft nights. Both men were drafted to RAW as well on that note. I’m pretty sure there are others who are legit out with an injury I don’t know about but these are the ones I know about.
Matt Hardy actually isn’t out with an injury but his brother Jeff is. WWE doesn’t seem to have plans for Matt as a singles competator so now he and his wife Reba are expecting their third son. She jokingly said via Twitter when she announced the pregnancy “See @WWE what happens when Matt is allowd to stay home for too long!”I do think not using Matt separately is a missed opportunity but given his age and how banged up he’s been over the last 25 years, WWE is probably just playing it safe with him.
The Jason Jordan situation…nothing new as far as I know. WWE will not clear him though reportedly the original plan was for Angle to face Jordan at Wrestlemania but it ended up not happening. It’s probably more than fair to say his wrestling career is over at this point.
Here are some Superstars from the Women’s Division who have yet to be drafted or signed to RAW or Smackdown:
- Maria Kannelis (Pregnant)
- Lana (Presumably going to RAW)
- Ronda Rousey (Leave on Absence)
- Mickie James
- Alicia Fox
- Maryse (Semi-retired)
Maria Kannelis, who is currently pregnnt (I believe she’s 5 months pregnant now, can’t remember offhand) has been making a number of appearances with her husband for an on-screen storyline. It’s a clever way to use her even though she obviously can’t compete right now. Her husband’s Free Agent status could be an interesting storyline angle if done right as well.
Maryse Mizanin, who recently gave birth to her second daughter is a full-time mom. She came back for a storyline involving Daniel Bryan, her husband an Brie Bella last year and still keeps in shape. It’s probably safe to say she’s done as an in-ring performer full time but we could see her make appearances every now and then. More so with the reality TV Show about their family.
Ronda Rousey stated in the months leading up to Wrestlemania 35 she planned to work on getting pregnant with her first child after Wrestlemania. It’s now been 6 months since her last on-screen appearance which was Wrestlemania 35. If she is currently pregnant, she’s keeping it is a closely guarded secret for now. She pushed back hard against reports WWE had plans for her regarding Summer Slam stating she will return on her terms.
Naomi is married to Jimmy Uso so wherever one goes, both go. It’s that simple. Alicia Fox is still an active member of the roster despite not being seen for a while. I heard Mickie James is recording a new album (she records country music) and that might be why she hasn’t been seen in quite a while either.
Here are some Tag Teams that have yet to be drafted or signed to RAW or Smackdown:
- AOP (Akam and Rezar)
- The Usos (Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso)
- The Ascension (Viktor and Konnor)
AOP has been doing some pre-recorded promos in recent months. They were both out with injuries for much of the year as well. They’ll likely make their in-ring returns sooner than later from how it sounds. The Ascension just haven’t been able to build any momentum since coming from NXT. I do think they’ll be shown the door personally.
James “Jimmy Uso” Fatu was arrested in July and presumably Naomi’s absence is related to that. As of this week it was announced there is no timelime or creative plans for Naomi or the Usos. Presumably, WWE is waiting for Jimmy Uso’s legal problems to be resolved and they’re likely monitoring that closely.
The tag team division is pretty deep right now but it needs the Usos back to help bring some stability. It was only last year that The Usos and The New Day dominated the division, ending with a thrilling tag team Hell in a Cell match. All we can do is wait and see for now.
Here are some Part-Time Superstars, Legends and Hall of Famers who will all likely remain Free Agents moving forward:
- Finn Balor (Recently returned to NXT)
- Cain Velasquez (signed a longterm contract with WWE last week)
- Tyson Fury (longterm contract presumably in progress)
- John Cena
- The Rock
- The Undertaker
- Shawn Michaels
- Triple H
- Stephanie McMahon
- Shane McMahon
- Mark Henry
- Trish Status
- Beth Phoenix (NXT Commentator)
- Sting (If cleared by WWE)
- Stone Cold Steve Austin (If Vince allows him to compete)
- CM Punk (assuming he signs a contract with WWE)
CM Punk potentially re-signing with WWE would kill AEW’s momentum to now and that is no exaggeration. Are you kidding me? CM Punk returning to a WWE ring even for ONE match would be a HUGE draw. Most people don’t even KNOW CM Punk is trying to negotiate his return as a commentator or analyst. WWE obviously wants him back in the ring so I do think we will see a deal done so both sides get what they want.
Finn Balor recently returned to NXT but WWE hasn’t completely ruled out his making appearances on the main roster from time to time. Balor back on NXT is huge for the Black and Gold but he could cross-promote if he continues to appear on RAW or Smackdown at the same time. His inability to sustain momentum plus creative fumbles got in the way of the clearly Main Event level superstar on the main roster. He will bring a lot of experience with him back to NXT and make it an even better show.
Beth Phoenix–wife of WWE Hall of Famer Adam “Edge” Copeland–reunited with her former tag team partner Natalya earlier this year for a feud with Nia Jaxx and Tamina that ended at Wrestlemania 35. She clearly keeps in shape and hasn’t ruled out returning to the ring from time to time when it makes sense. She currently works as a commentator but then again so does Aiden English (with 205 Live). She could make a return to supplement a storyline or help put someone over like she did alongside Natalya earlier this year.
Most of the others are either part-timers in general (Triple H, The Undertaker and to a lesser extent Goldberg and John Cena) or come back every now and then for a match or appearance (Lita, Shawn Michaels, Trish Stratus, etc.). I think it would be more than fair to just presume they will have Free Agent status moving forward.
I mentioned this before but Stone Cold Steve Austin revealed in a recent interview he’s been keeping in shape over the years and feels he could do one more match. It’s just a question of weather or not Vince McMahon will let him do it from how it sounds. The Rattlesnake hosted Becky Lynch on his talk show Straight Up Steve Austin a few months back, likely due to the comparisons people kept making last year.
As for Sting, he is reportedly working on getting cleared by WWE in time for Wrestlemania 36. If it does happen, his opponent will presumably be The Undertaker. Sting suffered a career-ending shoulder injury during his Wrestlemania 31 match with Triple H–his only Wrestlemania match in his career–and announced his retirement during his Hall of Fame induction speech the following year.
Presumably, Tyson Fury and Cain Velasquez will both sign with Smackdown to help carry the Blue Brand on FOX. Rey Mysterio was moved to RAW so unless Velasquez is booked to lose to Brock Lesnar at Crown Jewel–I doubt WWE would do that to him personally–they will be split up. Fury could remain on Smackdown if he loses to Braun Strowman at Crown Jewel to continue the feud. Otherwise, he’ll sign with RAW. I think Smackdown would be a better fit for him personally though.
…Ok that covers most of those not yet signed. It looks like where everyone goes will be an ongoing side story. I doubt we’ll see anything like we saw with Health Slater after the 2016 draft but we’ll see. I do think the Superstar Shake Up or rather a version of it will remain in place for Superstars to move between brands once or twice a year.
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