WWE is a funny old place sometimes. Despite the many hours of scheduled programming per week, there always seems to be someone who isn’t being regularly used on TV. Or they are, but it’s sporadic and/or for comedic purposes. Granted, COVID-19 has made it difficult to allow everyone to be there, but it’s well known that before the pandemic, many superstars were showing up just to sit around in catering.
And there are others who are paid to sit at home for no good reason. It’s a shame, because the wrestling world could book these talented workers in a much better way. Here are 20 current WWE superstars across the Raw, SmackDown and NXT brands who are struggling to make it out of catering; or are simply taking time off for personal reasons.
Akira Tozawa – While he is seen quite regularly chasing after R-Truth and the 24/7 Championship, his last match on Raw was back in November. Like so many others, this former Cruiserweight Champion is relegated to the dreaded and aptly named “Main Event” show.
Dabba-Kato – Showed so much promise in Raw Underground, but a fight with Braun Strowman turned in to his undoing. Shane McMahon did a great job of building up this guy, but WWE squashed their work like a bug. Hasn’t been seen since September. Usually he’d work WWE live events, but there aren’t any, and there’s a big chance WWE will cut back on these after the pandemic.
Drew Gulak – Joins Tozawa on the list of 24/7 Championship guys. Before this, he was partnered with Daniel Bryan on SmackDown. Has not worked a match on Raw since January. Main Event is his new home.
Erik – The tag team partner of Ivar (still injured) of The Viking Raiders, is another who excelled on Raw Underground. He even had a short run as the 24/7 Champion. Unseen since November after losing the 24/7 title; not even on Main Event. He likely requested time off to be with his wife Sarah Logan, as they welcomed their first child in to the world in February this year. So technically no… he’s not in catering, but I included him in case anyone thought he was.
Humberto Carrillo – Despite a promising run during the earlier months of the pandemic while Paul Heyman was in charge of Raw, he has been relegated to Main Event. His last Raw was back in October, and has not been on a PPV since Survivor Series in November 2020.
Jinder Mahal – He has struggled with injuries the past few years but returned at the Indian PPV “Superstar Spectacle” to take on Drew McIntyre & Indus Sher with The Singh Brothers. Disappeared straight after though. There’s no news of any injury, so WWE has nothing for him at the moment.
Riddick Moss – Since losing the 24/7 title to R-Truth and appearing on Raw Underground, Moss has not been seen. Last worked on Raw & Main Event back in September. He was wrestling with a torn ACL, so there is a chance he is trying to recover from an injury.
Tucker – Similar to Erik, he lost the 24/7 title to Gran Metalik in November. Has suffered considerably since his tag team with Otis was broken up. Tucker has been spotted chasing after 24/7 Champions, but has not been used on Main Event or other shows since losing the title.
Mickie James – Not seen since the Royal Rumble. Before that, her last match was against Zelina Vega in September on Raw. Something strange happened during a match with Asuka which was never fully explained. The ending to their title match was controversial, and all we’ve heard from James lately is her saying she doesn’t think women’s wrestlers should retire by the time they are 40. This tells me that WWE is going through with her what they were doing to the Big Show.
Nikki Cross – Not used since losing to Alexa Bliss in February. The former tag team champions seemed like a good fit, but since WWE split them up, Nikki Cross has been nowhere. Cross has shared her frustration on social media.
Aleister Black – Not seen since Kevin Owens beat him three times in September-October. Of course, many speculate the reason behind his inactivity is related to the release of his ‘contract breaching’ wife Zelina Vega. It was recently reported that he had been working with several minor injuries and had been called to train at the Performance Center. There has been so many reports surrounding the mystery of Aleister Black’s status, many of which are conflicting.
Angel Garza – Since Zelina Vega was fired and Andrade suffered months of inactivity, Garza was repackaged as a romantic sleaze ball. But despite this new gimmick, he disappeared over a month ago and can only be seen on Main Event.
Bo Dallas – MIA since October 2019. How Dallas still has a job is one of WWE’s biggest mysteries. You could say it’s because his brother Bray Wyatt is around? But there are other 2nd/3rd Generation wrestlers who didn’t survive the April 2020 pandemic cuts. Even his father, formerly known as IRS, didn’t keep his job. It reminds me of when JTG went several years being paid to do absolutely nothing.
Kalisto – Not used in a match since Survivor Series. He was probably the leader of Lucha House Party to begin with (although it was never confirmed, it was implied because he had the most experience), but has been absent for months while Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik have worked matches. He recovered from an injury and returned for a short time, but was quickly removed from TV. Kalisto has tried to make some kind of angle where he challenges his Lucha House Party buddies, but nothing has come from it yet:
“Premier show. The land of opportunity. Smackdown. Thank you. Gracias. Thank you for allowing me to sit at your table. I am beyond grateful. But unfortunately, there’s only room for one at that table. I’m sorry, guys. Lucha House Party. I mean don’t get me wrong. Lince Dorado, he is the king of Lucha extreme. Gran Metalik? Well respected in Mexico and the king of the ropes. But you guys lack…you lack patience, you guys need to learn still. Need to survive just like I did. You need to swim with the sharks just like I did, you need to learn.
Do you guys believe that it has been 161 days? 161 days since I’ve been drafted to Smackdown. I know what you guys are thinking. You think that’s a disrespect to me? That’s a demotion to me? You think I went home and cried because I’m not booked? No. Every single day, every hour, minute, second…I used that as fuel for my fire. And that fire is building up and it keeps building and it keeps burning for that one match and that one motivation that kept haunting me and it keeps haunting me forever. You guys know what I’m talking about. I mean, we all want the same thing. So you are going to have to just…wait.”
Mojo Rawley – Not had a match since June. It’s like WWE used Mojo’s Rob Gronkowski connection for last year’s WrestleMania, then forgot all about him.
The Riott Squad, Ruby Riott & Liv Morgan – Rarely used since January, although they are the most used talents on this list. Last year, I watched the ’24’ documentary that WWE made for Liv Morgan. What’s most surprising about it, is how Liv & WWE tried to spin a positive out of her sitting around backstage to see if she’ll be used.
In one instance, Liv turns up knowing she has a match scheduled ahead of time, but it’s changed literally just before they are about to go out there. She’s understandably upset. Liv spends months waiting around in a desperate state. She has the passion and simply wants to prove she has what it takes. But the way WWE books wrestlers down the card has been like this for years, because they sign way more than they actually need. Ruby Riott is one of the best ‘wrestlers’ in any of WWE’s women’s divisions, but has never been allowed to show this on the main roster.
Wesley Blake – No matches since May 2020. After his leader Jaxson Ryker got heat, he was eventually repackaged with his partner Steve Cutler to be minions of King Corbin. But then, Cutler was fired for being careless during the pandemic and left Blake in limbo. It’s not the first time Wesley has suffered with great bouts of inactivity though, as the same thing happened to him in NXT after his championship winning tag team with Buddy Murphy (w/ Alexa Bliss as their manager) split up.
Brendan Vink – Has not been seen since his matches on Raw in the early pandemic months. You might remember him as the big partner of Shane Thorne (he later became SLAPJACK of Retribution). Before his run on Raw, he had only worked NXT live events. Despite stating that Vink is back in NXT, he has not been used on TV.
Vanessa Borne – Back in 2019, she appeared on NXT as Aliyah’s tag team partner. But by January 2020, her bookings completely dried up. It was reported that she moved up to the main roster and would be part of the Retribution stable, but it never materialized. It was later reported she had been moved back to NXT. Her WWE status remains as mysterious as Bo Dallas.
Do you feel like I missed anyone? Please let me know in the comments below. Thank you for reading!