While there's no better time to be a wrestling fan, it also seems like there's no better time to be a wrestler - given the opportunities at hand. Not since the late 1990s, where WCW and ECW were other options for WWE-bound wrestlers has the field gotten so big. Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks have made All Elite Wrestling the premiere destination for past and future legends, a place where Chris Jericho, Jon Moxley, Kenny Omega and the Lucha Brothers are currently in the headlines for all the right reasons.
AEW may be far from the success WWE owns over the wrestling market, but they do have a television show and a growing audience that tunes into the pay-per-views more often than not. That being said, there seems to be disinterest growing for a number of WWE superstars, and given the company's controversial stop in Saudi Arabia a few weeks ago, some wrestlers may be looking for a new workplace.
Surely there are contracts that need to be honored, but when that is all said and done, you might find a few of these wrestlers below jumping ship sooner rather than later.
20 Chad Gable
Gable is a great hand, and a rising star in the wrestling industry, so why would WWE release him? He was on a roll with American Alpha and his time on 205 Live was exciting while short-lived. Gable has now been stuck with the gimmick of Shorty G, a parody based on his height. The problem is he's so much better than just a comedy gimmick, and he's capable of having a great match with some of the top wrestlers in the world. He deserves a tad better than this.
19 Akira Tozawa
The former Dragon Gate star is a great wrestler who hasn't spent all that much time in WWE, yet the more dedicated fans know what he's all about. Tozawa has history with Omega and the Bucks, as he made visits to California's PWG and faced some of the best in the world there. He isn't doing much in WWE, and given his skills, he would flourish in AEW.
18 Apollo Crews
A former associate of Tozawa's in the enigmatic Apollo Crews who looked to breakout in WWE around 2016. His physique is mega impressive, and he is able to work as a high flyer even though he looks like a heavyweight. But Crews has served more of an enhancement talent role in WWE, and his matches last mere minutes when he's on the A-shows like Raw and SmackDown. If he can get away from WWE any time soon, it would be a huge upgrade since he'll have a better role on TNT.
17 Buddy Murphy
Primed for a prominent spot earlier this year, Murphy was more or less invisible when he got called up to the main roster from 205 Live, where he had a great feud against Ali and even became a Cruiserweight champion. After matches against the likes of Roman Reigns wowed the fans, Murphy is back to being just another guy on television, beating Cedric Alexander in about five minutes just weeks ago. Not only can he be a big star, but he should also be someone who shines in the upper mid-card role.
16 Curtis Axel
WWE wants to keep its second and third-generation stars around, and it's not hard to see why since someone like Mr. Perfect was legendary in his heyday. Axel hasn't had the same success as his father when it comes to longevity, but he isn't far from done, either. AEW knows how to repackage and rebrand stars, mostly because they give their wrestlers freedom over their characters. If someone like Jake Hager can become a machine, you can bet that Axel could use his size and reinvent himself under Cody as well.
15 Kevin Owens
One of WWE's most beloved stars seems to be spinning his wheels with no real direction from creative. After a pointless feud against Shane McMahon, Owens finds himself in whatever scenario seems suited for him, and it's unlikely he'll be in the main event picture again. He was a huge star in PWG alongside the Young Bucks, and while he seems content in WWE, the chance to pair up with the Bucks again could be something he'd like to do before his career is over.
Victim of a really bad storyline involving his real-life wife Lana, you'd think Rusev would want m0re from WWE in terms of where his career is going. He's faced the likes of John Cena, Roman Reigns and the Undertaker to name a few, and even though he is someone the fans will easily get behind, his rivalry with Bobby Lashley would make anyone want to jump ship to the competition. Rusev seems content with making money with WWE, but he would benefit from a change.
13 Luke Harper
The former Wyatt Family member may be the most underutilized wrestler on the entire roster, and it seems he wants to go, too. Harper recently asked for his release from WWE, and the company will not grant it. He made an appearance at the Survivor Series alongside Rowan, and hasn't been used since. WWE knows someone like Harper would be scooped up from AEW, and until then, it looks as if Harper will be staying on the sidelines.
12 Tony Nese
The former Cruiserweight champion had a fine WrestleMania moment earlier this year, and it seemed like his stock was on the rise. Since then, Nese has lost the title, made a few appearances on 205 Live and NXT, and isn't doing much else. While he may not be a main event talent just yet, he's someone that can hold a promotion's secondary title without a problem. AEW would be a good spot for Nese to act as one of the company's most charismatic heels - based on his good looks alone.
11 Mike Kanellis
Another wrestler who asked for his release is former ROH and NJPW star Mike Kanellis, and it doesn't seem like the Canadian will be granted one, either. While his wife Maria is being kept by the company, Mike hasn't been treated like a proper talent on the main roster, losing quickly to a dozen of stars on the regular. It's a shame that he made such a promising debut in 2016, and that has all gone to waste now.
10 Eric Young
Unless you're an avid B- and C-show viewer, or you follow house show results and try to find grainy YouTube videos of the matches, you'd forget Young was on the roster. WWE doesn't use him very much, and he's definitely worthy of some sort of spot. He was a star in TNA, someone who climbed from the bottom, and in NXT, he truly made Sanity a vicious stable to watch. AEW could benefit from an experienced wrestler such as Young.
Say what you will about Lucha House Party, they do have some good workers in that group. The standout could be Kalisto, a veteran of the independent scene who signed for WWE years ago. While they've more or less made Kalisto a popular name among fans, he could really thrive in AEW, as their crash and burn-style matches would really be a good fit for him. Imagine him alongside the Lucha Brothers in six-man tag action?
8 Sin Cara
He has been on TV lately feuding against Andrade, but it seems the WWE talent is fed up with the promotion. Sin Cara asked for his release earlier this week, and apparently he won't be granted one. This proves WWE does not want its competitors to benefit from the free agency, because Cara would be a good fit for AEW. He wouldn't be someone who would dominate week in and week out, but a good match for anyone willing to step inside the ring with him.
7 The Revival
These old school workers are champing at the bit to face the Young Bucks, as both teams have traded insults and even compliments over the years on social media. The Revival seems to be the best throwback team to Southern wrestling in years, and they would be better working for AEW than WWE, whose style is heavily focused on entertainment rather than wrestling. It could very well happen when their contracts are up.
Here's someone who was let go from WWE, got himself over as a huge star in TNA, signed for NXT, and then has been dealt an unfortunate hand on the main roster. EC3 isn't being used much by WWE, and you can truly see it in his performance. He looks to be done with trying to prove something based on his entrances alone, and when the time is up, it's unlikely he will re-sign for his current company.
5 Gallows & Anderson
Gallows and Anderson came very close to leaving WWE a few months ago, and it looked as if they were on their way down South. McMahon re-signed them to huge contracts, and since then, they've had short stints in main events and as champions. These former Bullet Club members should want to rejoin the likes of Omega, the Bucks and Cody down the line, but it may not happen if they're locked up for a long time.
4 Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe is one of the best talkers and workers in WWE. He was one of the faces in TNA and ROH that was synonymous with both companies. In WWE, he's been in some major feuds, but WWE never really goes with him and takes a chance to have him as a world champion. In AEW, Joe would be booked similarly to Jericho, only more dominant. He's a brute force, and while he is aging, he can still be one of the top draws in lesser promotions.
A lot of fans feel as if Cesaro is the best superstar in WWE. It seems crazy to think, but based on wrestling skills alone, Cesaro is at the top of the food chain. He needs something big fast, or else Cesaro will forever be the same character he always was. Fans have dreamed of him leaving for NJPW or even a return to ROH, yet with AEW now on the table, he would instantly be a massive star should he want to go there.
2 Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn should consider leaving when his time is up, because quite frankly, WWE seems to have nothing for him. He's now managing Shinsuke Nakamura, and he isn't even in a big wrestling role. He is someone who also has a history with the Bucks as El Generico in PWG and ROH. Once Zayn has the chance to leave, he probably will, because not only is he not being used as a wrestler, he has opposing beliefs politically to the majority of WWE's head honchos.
1 Jordan Myles/ACH
One star that is destined to leave is Jordan Myles, the NXT superstar formerly known as ACH. Earlier in the month, Myles called out WWE for making a t-shirt of him based on what he feels was an unfortunate stereotype of African-Americans. He then went on a Twitter tirade, taking shots at the brass and forcing a change. It looks like WWE will do anything to prevent their stars from going to AEW, yet it seems as if Myles is either pushing for a release or a mutual departure. He is almost guaranteed to never wrestle for WWE again.