While it is the biggest wrestling, well, sports entertainment organisation in the world, there are still occasions when talent turn down joining the WWE. In today’s piece we look at performers who have said no to Vince McMahon.
There is no denying that World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is the largest wrestling company in the entire world. Millions of fans tune in weekly to their programming and pay per views and more have subscribed to the WWE network. With all that said, you would think that Vince McMahon could have his pick of any wrestler anywhere around the world. For the most part that is true, but there are a select few who have actually turned down the Sports Entertainment juggernaut.
For years, it was always Sting that shied away from the WWE’s bright lights, instead choosing to remain loyal to other places like WCW and TNA. Through the years, with Sting’s every no, it appeared less likely that the icon would ever appear in a WWE ring. As we know, that all changed and Sting eventually caved in and joined the “enemy.”
With the Stinger now off the list, believe it or not, there have been others who have turned down offers to become “Superstars” in the WWE’s universe. Some you may know, while others perhaps not. They all have had their reasons for turning down a potential huge payday with the global brand. Who are they and why did they not jump ship? Let’s take a look…
There has been a long standing rumor that the then WWF offered Nikita a contract to become Hulk Hogan’s main event opponent for Wrestlemania 2. That rumor turned out to be false as Nikita himself shot that down. He did admit, however, that he was offered an opportunity with the company when his friend Barry Darsow joined the company.
According to Nikita, Darsow was told to try and convince Nikita to come up north with him and potentially form a tag team with Darsow, possibly as Demolition. Nikita turned down the offer and big payday to remain with Jim Crockett Promotions out of loyalty to Crockett and the people who helped his career early on. Nikita Koloff was never offered another shot after that.
South African wrestler Adam Bridle aka Angelico revealed in a podcast interview that the WWE attended one of his shows in Los Angeles for Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) After the show, he and veteran Jack Evans were offered contracts to join the WWE and both turned down the offer.
The reasoning by Angelico was his contractual commitments to both AAA Mexico and his work in Lucha Underground. Angelico was making a good living with both promotions and felt he didn’t need to make the jump.
‘Gorgeous’ Jimmy Garvin revealed in several interviews hat he was offered a deal with the WWF/E while with the NWA. He admits he seriously considered the offer, but ultimately declined it for a couple of reasons.
The first was because Garvin saw the treatment that several other former NWA stars were treated after defected to the WWF. He was worried the same fate awaited him if he signed. The second was that Garvin said he simply did not like Vince McMahon. There was just something about McMahon that rubbed Jimmy Garvin the wrong way and decided to pass on the opportunity, instead he jumped to the AWA.
Abyss admitted that the WWE was heavily interested in him and wanted to sign him. They even laid out a plan to introduce his character and potentially be an opponent for the Undertaker down the line. Abyss tuned down the WWE because he felt that he was with TNA wrestling since almost the beginning and wanted to be a part of something “big.”
Abyss not only felt a sense of loyalty towards TNA, but also wanted to see the company grow and be a part of come a legitimate contender to the WWE’s throne. While TNA never got to actually successfully compete with the WWE, he says he has zero regrets about telling the WWE: “no.”
‘The Cleaner’ Kenny Omega is a fast rising star for New Japan Pro Wrestling. In 2015, he turned down the WWE’s offer not once, not twice, but three different times. His reasoning was simple, not interested.
Omega wants to accomplish things that have never been accomplished in New Japan yet. He has already done that with being the first Gaijin (Foreigner) to win the G1-Climax tournament in 2016.
Will Ospreay is a British born pro wrestler who opened up several people’s eyes in 2016 with his incredible match with Ricochet. Triple H is one who has taken notice of Ospreay and reportedly offered him a deal with the company.
A deal in which Ospreay has turned down, at least for now. Ospreay admits that growing up, he was a huge WWE fan and cites it would be a dream to work for them, but feels the timing is just not right.
While Mike Goldberg is not, nor has ever been involved in pro wrestling, he is currently the voice of MMA’s UFC. Goldberg was offered a six figure deal to become the new voice of WWE programming replacing Hall of Famer Jim Ross in 2005. Goldberg was reportedly also offered incentives to no show a UFC event but in the end turned down the offer and signed a new deal with UFC.
Current TNA personality Reby Sky aka Mrs. Matt Hardy was offered a WWE contract back in 2010. Reby says she turned down the offer because of her contractual commitments to another promotion at the time. She recently said she has no interest in ever setting foot in a WWE ring stating that she is too old and her mouth would most likely get her in trouble fast.
This one is a bit different because Ibushi did actually compete in a WWE ring. He wrestled a few NXT matches and made it to the semi finals of the Cruiserweight Classic. Despite all that work, Ibushi never signed an exclusive deal with the WWE.
In fact, much like Kenny Omega as mentioned earlier, Ibushi turned down three separate deals with the WWE. Ibushi cites his love of home in Japan and wanting to become the biggest star in New Japan history as reasons for his turning down the WWE.
Bad Luck Fale
Here’s another New Japan talent that was offered a WWE deal but decided to reject it in favor of re-upping with NJPW. His reasons were that New Japan believed in him from the very beginning and felt that meant more to him than just making a big paycheck with the WWE.
As you can see, not every wrestler in the world strives to become a WWE superstar. For some, loyalty, opportunity and comfort are much more important than the glitz and glamor of super stardom. Some may eventually end up in the WWE like Sting did, but as of right now, they remain the few who have rejected the global company.