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Top 5 wrestlers who turned down a contract with WWE

The Hottest Free Agent in sports entertainment finally gets his contract
Suyash Maheshwari

For decades, WWE has been the paramount show in the wrestling industry. Vince McMahon’s genius changed the dimensions of the wrestling scene, ever since he bought his father’s promotion. He quickly overtook other rival promotions and created a monopoly of his own.

The final nail in the coffin for any competition the WWE had, was when WWE bought WCW Nitro, their arch rivals in 2001. Since then WWE went from strength to strength, with their biggest success story coming a few years back when the company entered the global market, by launching the WWE Network.

WWE’s sheer dominance has made it the most desirable destination for every wrestler. While some legendary wrestlers never made it to WWE, there are a few blessed souls who have not only had the contract waiting for them but were also in a position to deny it.

While the Mecca of wrestling has had a lot of unwanted guests, let us take a look at the wrestlers who turned down a contract with them:


#5 Gail Kim

The Keanu Reeves of female wrestling

After a series of Matrix-inspired vignettes, Gail Kim was finally introduced to the WWE Universe on 30th June 2003. On the occasion of her debut, Gail Kim emerged victoriously and captured the Women’s Championship in a dominant fashion, establishing herself as a fan favourite.

Even though she embarked her career with a dream debut, the 39-year-old, was quick to fade into obscurity. Kim was released from her WWE contract after two years of irrelevance, with WWE citing cost cutting as the reason for her being let go.

Gail Kim returned to the indie scene and built a tenacious reputation for herself with TNA. She re-signed with WWE in 2009 and was viewed as the next potential alpha female for the company.

Despite her meticulous resume, Kim once again was lost in the shuffle. After abiding in limbo for three arbitrary years, Kim’s annoyance with WWE peaked on the 1st August episode of RAW, where she eliminated herself from the ongoing Battle Royal match.

Following her altercation with WWE, Kim vowed not to re-sign with the company and stated that the promotion’s under utilisation of the female roster, was the perennial cause of her departure.

#4 Ted DiBiase

DiBiase rejuvenating the million dollar gimmick

The young prodigy entered WWE with profound skills, backed by the DiBiase nametag.

As a part of a faction, consisting of multi-generation superstars, The Legacy; DiBiase enjoyed two strong years. The villainous stable had its own (not so little) showdown at Wrestlemania XXVI, where the three members of the faction battled it out, with Orton coming out on top.

Following Wrestlemania XXVI, DiBiase embarked his singles career and rejuvenated his father’s gimmick by becoming the Million Dollar Champion. He was also featured in a Marine chronology movie called Marine 2, as the lead. The film was produced by the WWE.

Even though, he had all the attributes to become the 'next big thing' in WWE. Ted DiBiase chose to hang his boots in 2013, citing family reasons as the cause. Around this time DiBiase became a father and refused to renew his contract, as he wanted to spend time with his newly extended family.

While speculation of Jr. DiBiase’s return has surfaced on different occasions, Ted has been adamant about not returning to in-ring action.

#3 Rob Van Dam

Van Dam brings ECW to its feet

Despite his current stance on a return to the company, ECW Legend RVD, infamously refused a WWE contract in 2015. WWE has always been high on the frog-splashing Van Dam. The original plan was to have the epitome of ariel-bound wrestling join, fellow ECW OG’s Tommy Dreamer and The Dudley Boyz in their effort to unroot the Wyatt Family.

Instead, RVD chose to distance himself from the idea, citing contractual disagreement with the epicentre of pro-wrestling as the reason for it. Rhyno was thrown into the shuffle when RVD declined the offer.

RVD is a legend in the wrestling scene, his association with ECW had put him on the map. While WWE helped him foster the brand that he has become, Van Dam’s refusal to sign with the promotion does not come off as a surprise, as the copious workload might not exactly be something that the legend is looking for right now.

#2 CM Punk

The preacher of straight edge life

While CM Punk was awful in his UFC debut, his abilities in the kayfabe world cannot be undermined. He is the guy that defined the PG Era, with accolades, like the longest reigning WWE Champion of modern times in his arsenal; no one could take on this whiney little guy.

The aura that Phil Brooks carried mesmerised fans across the entire WWE Universe. Chants of his names could be heard even after he was long gone. Despite all his efforts to sell the product, The Proponent of 'Straight edge principles’, Punk, was never truly appreciated by the WWE.

Punk, being a victim of backstage politics, was denied a much deserved Wrestlemania main event spot, year after year, even after being the top dog of WWE

After all those years of underappreciation, Punk still stuck around, with his complaints and disagreement falling on deaf ears.

The stage was set for him to quit, and with WWE still ignoring his constant pleas. Phil Brooks finally decided to hang his boots. He did not appear on the 27th June 2014, episode of RAW and made it clear that he wanted to retire and denied the new contract WWE offered him.

While WWE wrote gradually wrote Punk out of their storylines, they continued to reap benefits from his merchandise sale.

#1 Batista

The most dominant Heavyweight Champion in WWE’s history

After being introduced as the enforcer for Evolution, Batista quickly rose through the ranks in the locker room, partly due to his chiselled frame and mostly due to McMahon’s fetish for big guys. While he was a stiff competitor, WWE was high on powerhouses those days. Therefore the push for Batista was inevitable.

Batista was booked brilliantly by WWE, and also became their longest reigning WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Even after WWE handed the beast a variety of squash matches, he decided to go on sabbatical in 2010 to take up MMA.

He returned to the wrestling scene in 2013. His run since then was forgettable and offered no value to the viewers. Batista finally decided to pull the plug after Triple H denied him a title shot. Even though he was offered a substantial role in WrestleMania 32, Dave turned it down and stated he would return only for something more ‘meaningful’.


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Edited by Staff Editor

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