WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE Employment Depth Chart

Vance ArcherHere was me last week when word broke of the recent WWE releases.

“La la la, let’s see….check some wrestling news while my turtle mocha cools down…..oooh, WWE releases, let’s see…..Jesse, no shock there, Jimmy Yang, ditto, Funaki, wow, long run ends, Katie Lea, thought she was a butterface….uh…wha…..WHAT? MICKIE JAMES? SHELTON BENJAMIN? WHAT IS THIS?!? WHY? WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD—oh wait, I ordered a CHILLED turtle mocha, so it’s ALREADY cold. Oh well. Still, this news SUCKS.”

Indeed, the news of the releases of Mickie James and Shelton Benjamin seem to have caught a lot of us unguarded. How can WWE release one of its most beloved females and one of its most credible and athletic males?

Well, the simple answer is: because they can. And they did.

I’m not sure why, exactly, we’re so perplexed when WWE releases a talent. We’ve seen Kurt Angle axed, Mick Foley take a walk, Booker T quit, Jeff Hardy exit, Trish Stratus retire, and Chris Benoit become a pariah on company time. You’d figure we’d be used to this by now.

Yet, should another batch of WWE releases come to pass, we’ll have one of the following reactions.

1) WWE didn’t use them right!

2) TNA will use em right

3) About time!

4) Who the Hell is Slam Master J?

Allow me to be of some service.

With 50 or so male employees on the roster (excluding the NXT talents), I’ve decided to rank the WWE superstars on likelihood of being canned by Vinnie Mac. Debate on this list is welcome, as I’m sure you’ll disagree with some of my placements. But the axiom I’ve used for this is simple:

What would VINCE do?

And away we go.

50, 49, 48, 47, and 46: Vance Archer, Tyler Reks, Caylen Croft, Trent Barreta, and Curt Hawkins.

Let’s face it: the only hope they have is that Vince opts to create a boy band gimmick. I mean, with stage names like those, can you take any of them seriously? None of them have had any traction (save for a forgotten Tag Title reign for Hawkins), and are all so far gone that even TNA and ROH may not even mess with them at this point. To put it another way, if you check into a hotel, and you want privacy, you can check in under the name “Tyler Reks” and nobody’d ever bother you.

45 and 44: Carlito and Primo

I’m sure that by now, even Vince is tired of finding ways to make the outspoken Carlito look moronic on TV, but he’s probably about one more round of devaluing from joining the breadline. As for Primo, well, if you had John and Jim Belushi on your TV show, and you fire John, is there a point to keeping Jim around?

43: Chavo Guerrero

Permanent laughingstock who’s pushing 40. Maybe he’ll retire and become a producer or something, but as far as in-ring goes, Hornswoggle was his Brynn Hartman.

42: Yoshi Tatsu

Is actually safer than you think, since WWE just fired its other two male Asian wrestlers this past week. If WWE ever brings in another Japanese wrestler, however, the countdown begins.

41: Evan Bourne

If WWE puts Evan Bourne under a mask and repackages him as “The Oriental Avenger”, then Yoshi’s dead meat. Evan stays safe as long as Vince doesn’t hire another indy spot monkey. If you see Jack Evans working dark matches, Mr. Sydal may want to update his resume.

40. Goldust

He’s been fired seventeen times, so what’s one more?

39. Finlay

Agent job is waiting for him, so he can cut the in-ring stuff out. But hey, now that Hornswoggle’s back on Smackdown, maybe we’ll see a father/son reuni—Finlay, why are you tendering your resignation?

38. Zack Ryder

When Ryder eventually gets fired, we’ll have the usual “OMG WHAT WAS WWE THINKING?!?” hen-pecking. Then he’ll go to TNA and wrestle as “Zeke Flyer” and the same people will say “OMG WHY IS TNA HIRING A WASHED UP LOSER?!?”. It’s a vicious circle.

37. Dolph Ziggler

Like Ryder, except if he goes to TNA, everyone will be excited and say “I can’t figure out why WWE would EVER fire him!”. Then he’ll wrestle one match without WWE’s style of character protection, and you’ll hear a collective “….oh”.

36. Luke Gallows

On the one hand, there’s enough 6’5, 270 pounders in FCW that can play CM Punk’s enforcer. On the other hand, we could be months away from the epic Beer Money/Jesse & Festus feud that I’ve been clamoring for since 2007.

35. MVP

Don’t be shocked; he put himself in deep doo-doo when he wised off to the drug tester in 2008. Besides, if one of Linda McMahon’s political enemies should bring up WWE hiring criminals, you may see MVP disappear quicker than Kate Moss in a wind tunnel.

34 and 33: The Hart Dynasty

Because Vince is vigilant and petty.

32: JTG

If he doesn’t change his gimmick sometime soon, he could find himself excised, since he’s too similar to R-Truth. With his recent hair change, he could become Prince. With a grill. That’s original, right?

31: Matt Hardy

Vinnie Mac may think twice about this one, since he would never want to see a Hardyz reunion in TNA, but Matt keeps on speaking his mind (read: acting like a six year old with a beer belly), Hardy’ll be back in North Carolina, holding Jeff’s hair while he pukes.

30. William Regal

While a loyal and respected employee, everyone seems to have a shelf life. Val Venis and Hardcore Holly found theirs, and lord knows Regal’s not immune. Notice I didn’t follow up with “to the effects of alcohol”. Because I have class sometimes.

29. Chris Masters

They rehired him, so it’s not like they’re going to fire him before he can realize his potential this time around, right? Wait, they fired Lance Cade before putting him back on TV? Umm, maybe I need to rethink this list….

28. The Great Khali

All he has to do is announce his intentions to make more movies and have a career outside of wrestling, and Mr. India will be “Maria’d”.

27. Cody Rhodes

Has been split from Ted Dibiase, and Dibiase’s getting the “I have my dad’s old belt push”, which is still a push. And since partners seldom get dual pushes, and Cody’s about 160 lbs with a lisp, time may be short.

26. John Morrison

Wow, I guess he WAS the “Marty Jannetty” of the Dirt Sheet Duo afterall. Especially when you insult John Cena on a chat site weeks before Wrestlemania. How long did his Mania match go again?

25. R-Truth

Think somebody’ll clue Vince in about Ron Killings’ 2002 CD where he disses Vince? Truther’s not making it into the top twenty since that opportunity looms.

24. Shad

He’s a hoss. That’s why he’s ranked higher than JTG.

23. Vladimir Kozlov

He’s a white hoss. That’s why Vince may rank him higher than Shad. Just saying.

22. Santino Marella

The act’s wearing thin, and Marella can’t make dirty puns anymore within his malapropos, so I look forward to seeing him in TNA become half as funny as he once was. Isn’t that always the way?

21. Christian

Oh, he won’t get fired. But, given Christian’s 2005 comments about Vince, you’re not going to see him go over anybody strong ever again. How bad must TNA have been in 2008 to think that crossing the burned out bridge again was a smart decision?

20. Ted Dibiase

Will likely keep his job if he sucks in his gut whenever Vince passes by. At this point, Vince is so senile, that he’ll probably think he’s Randy Orton. Also, Dibiase should smash furniture in Vince’s presence, just to drive the point home.

19. Kane

He’s seven feet tall and he’s still there. What else do I need to tell you?

18. Ezekiel Jackson

He could be a lousy wrestler with no personality and no technique, but would YOU fire him? He’s like Bad News Brown after being hit with a gamma ray, for chrissakes! Zeke’s got a job until he plays the lead role in the biopic of Suge Knight’s life.

17. CM Punk

Safer than he was in 2007, since he’s become more of a staple within the promotion, and works within the bounds of what an upper card heel should work. His outspokenness is his only weakness, however, but I think he’s safe for years to come.

16. Mark Henry

I seriously thought of putting him #1, really. How my cousin has made it this far is beyond me.

15. Batista

Future moot point in progress….

14. Rey Mysterio

In corporate thought process, he’s safe until they can find another latin star to assume his role as the demographic leader. That’s not racism, it’s fact. Rey didn’t get the God push until Eddie died, and that’s ONLY because Eddie died. If Rey died tomorrow, Chavo Guerrero would be on the win streak of a lifetime.

13. Jack Swagger

Possible lifer. Seems to be drug free, intelligent, hard working, and credible enough to be a main eventer for years. Of course, he could always go insane like Angle eventually did, but let’s remain optimistic anyway.

12. The Miz

It’ll be years before the modern day Rowdy Roddy Piper loses his way with WWE, and even then, it may be voluntary if other forms of entertainment call his name. He’s THAT good.

11. Big Show

One year self-exile aside, can you imagine Show going anywhere else? He’s ingrained as WWE’s modern Andre, and works a relatively full time schedule compared to other “big men”, so I think he’s there for the long haul.

10. Kofi Kingston

The poster boy for WWE’s “We’re not racist, we’re not racist, did we mention we’re not racist?” campaign to increase company viability. I like Kofi, and he deserves a long term career in WWE, but I sense his push is for the wrong reasons.

9. Hornswoggle

Because, as Slayer said, God hates us all.

8. Sheamus

Hunter’s boy, part one.

7. Drew McIntyre

Hunter’s boy, part two: Metrosexual Edition.

6. Chris Jericho

The only smark favorite on this list that would cause a riot if he were unceremoniously fired. If Punk was axed, there’d be the “Return to ROH” fervor to deal with from the smarks, but Jericho would either go to TNA or retire, and that’s anger inducing for some. Even then, he’s likeable enough that Vince would keep him around.

5. Randy Orton

Has been trying to get fired since 2005, apparently, but Vince just isn’t biting. I’d say his contract is iron clad, wouldn’t you?

4. Edge

The consummate WWE talent: lifelong fan, hard worker, enthusiastic, great worker, great look, and never boring. I don’t think we have to worry about Edge going to TNA and being renamed “Crease”.

3. The Undertaker

Twenty year main event push? Fire him? Yeah, how about no?

2. John Cena

See Miz. If he leaves, it’s going to be voluntary.

1. Triple H

Do you have time for me to laugh my head off, or do you need to be somewhere?

Justin Henry is a freelance writer who enjoys putting his thoughts and opinions into text. His love of professional wrestling, as well as enjoyment of writing, has led to the creation of the Cynical Examination, his personal writing haven. Justin can be found on Facebook, Twitter, his website portfolio, or he can be e-mailed at [email protected].

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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