6 WWE Superstars whose contracts reportedly expire in 2021

Daniel Bryan no longer wants to compete full-time in WWE
Daniel Bryan no longer wants to compete full-time in WWE

WWE released over 20 Superstars in April 2020 as a cost-cutting measure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but what does the future hold for the men and women who remain contracted to the company?

In 2019, several Superstars received long-term deals to keep them in WWE for the next few years, including the likes of Randy Orton and Roman Reigns.

Now, with so much uncertainty surrounding Superstars’ futures, it remains unclear what will happen to members of the roster who are out of contract within the next year.

In this article, let’s count down six of the highest-profile names whose deals reportedly expire in 2021 (H/T to Fightful).


#6 Sami Zayn (WWE SmackDown)

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Sami Zayn confirmed in an April 2019 interview with TVA Sports that he agreed a new three-year contract with WWE before undergoing double shoulder surgery in the summer of 2018.

The former Intercontinental Champion signed with WWE in January 2013 and established himself as one of the most popular Superstars in the history of the NXT brand, with the highlight of his NXT career coming in December 2014 when he won the NXT Championship from Neville at TakeOver: R Evolution.

In October 2017, he turned heel for the first time in WWE after aligning with Kevin Owens to help his former best friend defeat Shane McMahon at Hell in a Cell.

Zayn has continued his villainous antics over the last two-and-a-half years, most notably at Elimination Chamber 2020 when he used Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura to help him win the Intercontinental Championship from Braun Strowman.

With one year reportedly left on his contract, it is unknown whether Zayn intends to re-sign with WWE.


#5 Jerry Lawler (WWE RAW)

It should come as no real surprise that Jerry Lawler’s WWE contract is due to expire in 2021.

After all, the man himself said last year that his deal always comes to an end on January 10, and WWE did not renew the contract until the day before it was set to expire in 2019.

Lawler explained on his podcast that he contacted WWE Executive Vice President Kevin Dunn, who immediately arranged for him to have a new two-year deal.

Samoa Joe recently replaced Lawler on RAW commentary and it is unclear when, if at all, the Hall of Famer will return to the announce desk.

#4 Jeff Hardy (WWE SmackDown)

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Jeff Hardy’s WWE contract was originally set to expire at the same time as his brother, Matt Hardy, earlier in 2020.

However, while Matt was able to let his contract end and join AEW in March, WWE exercised its right to extend Jeff’s deal by a further year due to the time he has spent out of action with injuries over the last three years.

Fortunately for Jeff, he has been used regularly on WWE programming since his deal was extended, and he is currently involved in a heated rivalry with Sheamus which has blurred the lines between fiction and reality.

The three-time WWE World Champion has mentioned in various media interviews since his March 2020 return that he views this period of his career as his “last WWE run”.

It is unknown whether that means he expects to leave WWE when his contract is up in 2021, or whether he is simply hoping to make the most of what could turn out to be his final year with the company.

#3 Ronda Rousey (WWE free agent)

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In January 2019, large sections of the WWE Universe had decided to turn against Ronda Rousey by booing her babyface character whenever she appeared on RAW.

To make matters worse, it was reported by the Wrestling Observer's Dave Meltzer that the UFC Hall of Famer would “finish up” with WWE after WrestleMania 35, bringing an end to her sports-entertainment career after just one year.

This led to a lot of criticism on social media of Rousey, who had previously stated that she wanted to work a full-time schedule in WWE and prove herself as a worthy RAW Women’s Champion.

The online speculation about Rousey’s future prompted WWE to clarify that her contract is set to expire on April 10, 2021, two weeks after WrestleMania 37 is due to be held in her home state of California.

As it turned out, Rousey did end up taking a break from WWE after competing in the main event of WrestleMania 35 against Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair, and she confirmed in April 2020 that she will never return to a full-time role in the company.

#2 The Big Show (WWE RAW)

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The Big Show’s WWE future looked uncertain in 2018 due to a hip injury that had been troubling him for several months. The veteran required two more surgeries in December 2018 and February 2019, including a hip replacement, before being cleared to return.

Speaking on Steve Austin's podcast in 2018, the 7-footer revealed that Vince McMahon and Triple H were concerned about his hip problems, but they still wanted to extend his contract by another three years.

"I spent some time with the big man [Vince McMahon] himself. We talked. Hunter [Triple H] and I talked because we were concerned about my hip. We were concerned about a lot of things. And they put together a nice three-year deal for me, so I'm there another three years." [H/T Wrestling Inc.]

The Big Show has competed in three matches in 2020, with his most recent in-ring encounter against Drew McIntyre airing on the post-WrestleMania 36 episode of RAW.

Outside of WWE, the seven-time World Champion has starred in his own television series – “The Big Show Show” – on Netflix this year.

#1 Daniel Bryan (WWE SmackDown)

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Daniel Bryan mentioned on a 2019 episode of Total Bellas, which was filmed in September/October 2018, that he has a contract with WWE for the next three years.

The WrestleMania 30 main-eventer has featured regularly on WWE programming ever since he was cleared to return to in-ring action in March 2018, but he recently revealed on The Bellas’ podcast that he wants to work a limited schedule when his current deal with WWE expires.

“To me, in my mind, it's almost like, I think I'm done being a full-time wrestler. I love being dad. I will always love wrestling and I will always want to do wrestling. But when I say 'always want to do wrestling', that means maybe once a month or once every couple of months.” [H/T Fightful]

If Bryan gets his wish, it will be interesting to see if he is allowed to work fewer dates on a new WWE deal or whether the company would be prepared to let his contract come to an end in 2021.

One of Samoa Joe's colleagues had harsh words for him HERE