- R-Truth's in-ring career is nearing its end, and he may retire from wrestling and transition to a backstage role in the WWE in five years' time.
- Baron Corbin's lack of momentum and constant character changes may lead him to NXT, where he'll likely enhance young talent instead of being a main roster superstar.
- Bobby Roode's age and lackluster run on the main roster suggest that he won't have a big future as a main event wrestler in the WWE and may instead continue his backstage role as a producer.
The ever-changing world of the WWE has achieved notoriety over the years for its often shocking and unexpected releases of talent, especially as the calendar resets for another year following the annual WrestleMania premium live event. Releases have proved to dramatically change the roster and shake up the product. Superstars that are actively competing today may not have creative plans lined up a year from now, let alone five, and there are always countless other factors to consider such as age, health, star power, and of course, the ever-controversial subject of backstage politics.
Taking a quick glance back to the 2018 WWE roster shows just how fast the company's stars can change in the blink of an eye with big names who were heavily featured across the roster such as Big Show, Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, Rusev, Adam Cole, The Hardy Boyz, Samoa Joe and seemingly countless others including legends like The Undertaker, no longer with the WWE today. With that in mind, let's speculate on current names who we believe may not be a part of the WWE roster in five years' time when 2028 rolls around and explore the potential reasons why.
R-Truth has had a brilliant career in pro wrestling. He was once one of the biggest heels in TNA and is known for being the first black NWA World Heavyweight Champion. Truth returned to WWE in 2008 and has been a part of the roster ever since in some capacity. These days, Truth mostly works as a comedy wrestler and always manages to pop the fans, and Brock Lesnar! He is well-liked by the WWE Universe and backstage, but Truth will be 56 years old in five years' time. The shelf life of his in-ring career is running out, despite still being in incredible shape. A safe bet would be that Truth will quietly retire from the ring and will be working in a backstage role five years from now, occasionally appearing for a nostalgia comedy segment.
14 Baron Corbin
While Baron Corbin has been a featured member of the WWE roster for over a decade, his many character shifts and changes in gimmick direction have never allowed him to gain any quality momentum and become regarded as a credible superstar by the WWE Universe. Presently, Corbin is expected to become a mainstay in the place of his WWE origins, NXT, as the company clearly has no plans for him on the main roster. Expect Corbin to be a featured superstar on the developmental brand for a while, revisiting his lone wolf gimmick, with the ultimate reason for him being there being to enhance the younger, up-and-coming talent.
13 Bobby Roode
Bobby Roode's future in the WWE is already in question due to a severe neck injury that required extensive surgery to fix. Roode was one of the biggest stars in TNA Wrestling for a long time and when he joined the WWE, he was quickly made into one of NXT's biggest stars. He was white-hot and had a lot of crowd support and the backing of Triple H who was running NXT at the time. The main reason that Roode's main roster run has been lackluster is because of his age. While Roode can still go with, and out-perform wrestlers younger in years with ease, "The It Factor Of Professional Wrestling" is currently 47 years old and will be in his 50s in five years' time. It seems like the ship has sailed on Roode having a big run as a main eventer in the WWE, and he is unlikely to still be in the company five years from now.
Presently, Roode works behind the scenes with WWE as a producer. But it's hard to say whether he'll have that same job five years from now.
12 Von Wagner
The 29-year-old Von Wagner has been with the WWE for almost five years and hasn't changed gears in the entirety of his tenure. While Wagner has the size and the superstar look, that is just about as far as his talent goes. His inability to connect with the WWE Universe at this stage of his run, let alone still being in development, doesn't bode well for his future in the company. WWE keeps giving Wagner chances to improve, and he is a frequently featured superstar on the gold brand, but thus far, nothing has come from this superstar who was once tipped as a future WrestleMania main eventer. Expect him long gone by 2028.
11 Chad Gable
Chad Gable is one of the most naturally gifted professional wrestlers that the WWE has on their roster right now. With an extensive background in amateur wrestling and being naturally gifted as a superstar, Gable was once tipped to be a major player in the WWE, but sadly, his pushes have seldom led to anything outside of comedy skits.
Currently, Gable is feuding with Gunther for the Intercontinental Championship. The feud looks like a promising opportunity for Chad to advance his career, but it's doubtful that he will dethrone The Ring General. Gable will be in his 40s in five years' time, and a fitting role for him by then would be a trainer over in NXT or the WWE Performance Center if he chooses to go down that route after his in-ring tenure with the WWE comes to an end.
10 Shayna Baszler
Shayna Baszler is in the middle of a tumultuous run in the WWE right now after the sudden pairing and quick dissolving of her partnership with Ronda Rousey. This is because an injury to Rousey and a "hard out" in her contract forced the company to quickly change plans and rush the ending to their storyline. Baszler is a legitimate superstar, but the current turmoil surrounding her career could be a deciding factor in her falling down the card and disappearing sooner rather than later. Age is another thing to factor in with Baszler who is currently 42 years old. And with NXT featuring so many younger, up-and-coming stars who can take her place on the roster, there's a good chance that Baszler won't be around in the company five years from now.
9 Apollo Crews
Apollo Crews was once one of the most sought-after free agents, and he was signed to a WWE contract in 2014 and began competing on the NXT brand. He was a popular part of the roster, but that success did not transition when he made the jump to the main roster in 2016, and he has been lost in the fold ever since, with questionable gimmick changes making his run even more confusing. Though to his credit, he did find some mid-card success, winning the Intercontinental Title and the United States Championship. The 36-year-old is rarely featured on TV these days, and it is clear that the company has no creative plans in place for him. Sadly, Crews is one we could see being released sooner rather than later.
The Drifter had a prominent role in the WWE's midcard when he arrived on the main roster in 2017 after a decent run in NXT. Elias managed to build up a very popular heel character and would frequently interfere in matches. He'd also routinely play songs about his opponents, the popular babyfaces on the roster, and generate heat from the audience. Elias is great in the ring, has a likable character, and looks like a superstar, so what went wrong? For whatever reason, WWE scrapped Elias' character and made him a comedy act with the 'Ezekiel' gimmick before inexplicably dropping that character and having him once again return as Elias, only to... You guessed it, disappear again. Expect Elias to have disappeared for even longer by the time 2028 comes around, as he will likely not be with the company in five years.
7 Cedric Alexander
Cedric Alexander is one of the last men standing in the WWE from the 205 Live days. Outside the Cruiserweight division, he was a part of the popular Hurt Business faction with MVP, Bobby Lashley, and Shelton Benjamin, but for reasons unknown, the faction was disbanded at the height of its popularity. While different iterations of the stable have existed since, they have never lasted long and Alexander has found himself unable to find a spot on the roster, often disappearing from TV as quickly as he returns. The sad reality is that five years from now, the talented young superstar will most likely not be in the company.
The massive Omos, to look at, has everything required to be a major player in the WWE, but that is where his talent ends. The 29-year-old goliath has failed to make waves in the WWE despite being the biggest member of the roster, standing at 7'3", and looking like a dominant force to be reckoned with. WWE has booked Omos against fellow monsters such as Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar, with Omos coming out on the losing end. It looks like the company has seemingly lost faith in his ability to captivate an audience outside his sheer size.
5 Braun Strowman
"The Monster Among Men" Braun Strowman was once poised to be one of the WWE's biggest main event caliber superstars, and he did have a decent run at the top of the card until his release from the company in 2021. He did make a return to the WWE in 2022 but has yet to return to the main event status he achieved in his glory days. He is currently out with an injury, but even while he was active, he was in a midcard tag team with Ricochet, which was far from a top position on the card. Strowman also has a reputation for not playing nice on social media. Be it a bad attitude, bad booking, or a combination of both in the political world of wrestling, it wouldn't come as a surprise to see big Braun in an upcoming list of released superstars sometime within the next 5 years.
Considering that Edge wrestled the last match of his WWE contract, it's safe to say that The Rated R Superstar will no longer be an active member of the roster in five years. Despite no longer being required to wrestle, Edge's contract still hasn't expired and negotiations are ongoing for a contract renewal.
Edge has been booked very strongly since his 2020 return to the ring, and he has given the WWE Universe some of his best career work of all time. This has been a storybook comeback, and it will be bittersweet to see it finally come to an end when the time comes, but what a legacy he will leave behind.
3 Rey Mysterio
Another WWE Hall of Famer on the list, Rey Mysterio is a pro wrestling lifer. He lives and breathes the sport and has literally been in the industry since he was a kid. He has done it all and has absolutely nothing left to prove, but his love for wrestling runs deep enough to keep him active despite a lengthy list of injuries and being 48 years old. Chances are, Rey is still a part of the WWE while the company builds up his son, Dominik Mysterio. Rey will likely be retired from active in-ring competition in five years' time, and that is absolutely fine, he deserves a rest for everything that he has given us since debuting in 1989 at only 14 years old.
Currently, Rey is in his third reign as United States Champion. Only time will tell how long Rey holds onto the gold and how long his career will last.
"The Celtic Warrior" Sheamus is in the middle of a career revitalization right now, so it may currently seem a bit farfetched that he may not be a part of the WWE roster in five years' time. Sheamus opened up in an interview in 2022 where he predicts he has at least eight years left in the ring before he retires. Five years from now, Sheamus will be 50 years old and his time as a featured roster member will likely be over by then. It would be easy to predict that Sheamus, who has been with the WWE for almost two decades, will quietly retire from the ring and assume a backstage role with the company.
1 Drew McIntyre
While Drew McIntyre recently returned to the WWE at the Money in the Bank premium live event and entered into an Intercontinental Championship program with Gunther, it is still heavily rumored that he has not renewed his WWE contract, which is due to expire in 2024. The Scottish Warrior previously wrestled for the WWE from 2007 to 2014 and seldom achieved any major success. McIntyre completely reinvented himself after leaving WWE and solidified his place as one of the biggest free agents in the world.
McIntyre carried WWE on his back during the COVID-19 pandemic, but his last run with the WWE Championship was ended after he successfully defended the belt at the 2021 Elimination Chamber pay-per-view only for The Miz to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase and pin him for the belt. If Drew doesn't sign a new WWE contract, expect him to become a big name in All Elite Wrestling.