WWE seems to be taking a page out of WCW’s old playbook as of late. Brock is once again Universal Champion – WWE continues to put their eggs in the basket of the older guard – Lesnar is 42 at the moment. Over on SmackDown Live, new champion Kofi is no spring chicken himself, set to turn 38 in mid-August.
In this article, we’ll take a look at other surprising ages WWE wants to keep on the DL on both the RAW and SmackDown brands. We’ll also take a look at developmental talents under Triple H’s watch – some might feel new but the reality, they’re a lot older than we think.
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18 Finn Balor – 38
He joined the WWE and was instantly labeled as a massive prospect back in 2014. However, Balor was far from a prospect in the grand scheme of things at that point, he already had 14 years of experience wrestling overseas and predominantly in Japan.
Fans are growing impatient with McMahon and his booking of the WWE star. Factor in that he’s set to turn 38 and that anger only intensifies.
17 Shayna Baszler – 38
Carrying the women’s division down in developmental, most fans would assume that the titleholder is under 30. That assumption would be completely inaccurate and in fact, Baszler made her debut in the industry at the age of 35.
Age is just a number for Baszler, though it is alarming that she’s set to turn 39 in August and has yet to join the main roster. Here’s to hoping she makes the jump before she enters her 40s.
16 Bobby Lashley – 43
Largely because of his exceptional conditioning and physique, most of us still assume Lashley’s in his 30s. The truth is, the veteran has been around the block and back again, he just turned 43 a couple of days ago.
Nonetheless, WWE continues to book Lashley strongly – he isn’t putting over young talents just yet, aside from maybe Braun Strowman, who’s no spring chicken himself at 35.
15 Tom Phillips – 30
He was in his early 20s when he was first signed by WWE in 2012. That’s a big rarity for the company – at the commentary booth, McMahon usually looks for experience as the biggest focal point.
Credit Phillips, who adapted perfectly despite his “greenness.” He’s only 30 and the current voice of SmackDown Live and potentially RAW one day.
14 Shane McMahon – 49
There’s a reason fans are growing frustrated with Shane’s current position on the roster. Instead of pushing younger names, WWE remains insistent on pushing those that are over the hill – Shane is an example, he’s set to turn 50 at the beginning of 2020.
CM Punk recently made a joke via Twitter asking how a fan got in the ring – he was referencing Shane...
13 Velveteen Dream – 23
On the total opposite end of the spectrum, we have the Velveteen Dream, arguably WWE’s greatest prospect.
Fans want to see the Dream on the main roster, however his age tells us otherwise. Bringing someone up that early can do more harm than good, the likes of Randy Orton is an example of that – Randy was far too young to carry the title back in the day. WWE needs to take their time with this talent, even if it frustrates the fans.
12 R-Truth – 47
It is absolutely bizarre to think Truth got his start back in 1997! He’s 47, yet has looked the same for the last decade-plus.
On top of that, he continues to be booked by McMahon regularly, especially since the unveiling of the 24/7 Championship. At this rate, he’ll wrestle well into his 50s and nobody’s complaining!
11 Nakamura – 39
Shinsuke falls under the same umbrella as Finn Balor earlier. He joined WWE in 2016 but got his start in the industry back in 2002 with New Japan, known as the Super Rookie.
His main roster run has been an exhausting one to watch filled with some ups but lots of downs. Surely, Vince wants us to forget that he’s a year away from 40 given all the time wasted with the talent in the recent months.
10 Karl Anderson – 39
WWE might want to keep this contract extension on the DL considering they gave a hefty raise to a talent that wasn’t doing much; not to mention that he’s turning 40 in a couple of months in 2020.
Given all the moving around Anderson did during the bulk of his career, we understand why he took this extension – let’s not forget he’s also a father of four.
9 Lacey Evans – 29
So let’s try to understand, the developmental titleholder is nearing her 40s while the most pushed female on the main roster isn’t even in her 30s... that sounds like logic WWE wants to keep on the DL.
Let’s also factor in that Evans joined WWE in 2016 with only two years of experience on her resume at that point.
8 Cesaro – 38
Will Cesaro ever win the big one? At this point, we’re inclined to say no. The Swiss Superman turns 39 at the end of the year and he has been in the business since 2000.
Despite fans wanting the push, McMahon keeps consistent with his booking of Cesaro, making him a talent that puts over big time potential stars, like most recently, Aleister Black.
7 EC3 – 36
Carter joining WWE was met with lots of excitement. His NXT run didn’t last too long but hey, given his age and experience it all made sense.
Carter’s look and gimmick seemed to be a perfect match for the main roster. A failed storyline with Dean Ambrose derailed all his momentum. His age makes this a lot harder to digest given that he’s closer to 40 than to 30.
6 Bobby Roode – 42
Given his tremendous shape, few fans noticed that Roode is one of the oldest roster members at the age of 42.
McMahon might’ve caught on given Roode’s awful booking since joining either RAW or SmackDown. He really doesn’t have too much time to turn things around – that’s what makes this situation so much more infuriating.
5 Nia Jax – 35
Currently on the sidelines with an injury, Nia is a talent who’s a lot older than most would think. A former prospect with NXT, she joined the company with no prior experience in 2014.
Given that information, she should still be in NXT, however WWE rushed her onto the main roster, perhaps because of her older age.
4 Keith Lee – 34
Keith Lee is such a magnificent mystery. He got his start in the business super late and he would make a huge name for himself in 2017 with Evolve.
Given his short stint in the business, most fans would assume he’s in his 20s. However, WWE wants us to forget that he’s set to turn 35 in the fall. He’ll be main roster ready sooner than expected in all likelihood.
3 Samoa Joe – 40
We’re still trying to figure out how Samoa Joe hasn’t won the WWE Championship yet. He’s been in the business since 2000 and as if those credentials weren’t enough, his aging like a fine wine, at least in terms of his in-ring ability and magnificent promo skills.
Let’s hope he gets a title run before he turns 45!
2 AJ Styles – 42
AJ made it clear, his last contract and run in the wrestling industry will be with WWE. He’s still the most talented part of the roster, however a factor WWE wants to keep on the DL is his age of 42.
It is all about building new stars and unfortunately, AJ really isn’t. Nonetheless, his talent speaks for itself – at his age, he’s still just as good as anyone else.
1 Brock Lesnar – 42
Eyes rolled after Brock Lesnar once again claimed hold of the Universal Championship. For some, this was like a step backward awarding a 42-year-old with the championship.
In Brock’s defense, he’s a once-in-a-lifetime type athlete – yes, he’s in his 40s but the Beast isn’t slowing down, at least in the ring. Then again, that schedule definitely helps his freshness!