WWE: The 10 Best Developmental Wrestlers Who Were Never Called Up
Professional wrestling is one of the hardest businesses there is.
For every wrestler who achieves his dream and makes it to the promotion of his choice (whether that be ROH, TNA, WWE, etc.), there are hundreds more who never do.
Perhaps an even worse scenario is when a wrestler signs a developmental contract with WWE, thinks he is one step away from making it to the big-time and then gets released before he can get to the main roster.
Though the reasons usually vary, it happens all the time.
Wrestlers come and go from the WWE's developmental territory quite frequently, and most of them are blessed with plenty of talent.
Here are the 10 best developmental workers who were never called up.
10. Sicodelico Jr.
Sicodelico Jr. (known in Florida Championship Wrestling as "Espiral") has wrestling in his blood.
His father is Sicodelico, and he is the nephew of legendary luchadores Mil Mascaras and Dos Caras. And, oh yeah, he is the cousin of former WWE Champion Alberto Del Rio.
Obviously, Sicodelico Jr. has the right genes for this business, and he spent time working in AAA and CMLL to perfect his craft before signing with the WWE in April 2009.
Sicodelico, who PWI ranked the No. 308 wrestler in the world in 2007, was released only five months after signing with the WWE, never really getting a chance to show why the company brought him in in the first place.
He is a high-flyer who would have fit in well with the WWE's current luchador movement, but he will never actually get a chance.
9. Germán Figueroa
German Figueroa has wrestled all over the world, competing for the International Wrestling Association, the World Wrestling Council and TNA, where he was "Apolo."
Figueroa worked for TNA sparingly from 2002-2006, winning the NWA World Tag Team Championship in April 2004 alongside D'Lo Brown and crossing paths with the likes of Jeff Jarrett and Konnan before being released by the company in February 2006 after no-showing a pay-per-view.
The 6'4", 265-pound Apolo would sign with the WWE in December 2007, and his immense size and stature seemed to be a perfect fit for the company.
For some reason or another, though, Figueroa didn't last long in the WWE. He was released just three months after signing with the company, and if I remember correctly, he never actually competed in FCW.
That's a surprise. Just looking at Figueroa, I can imagine Vince McMahon pushing him to the moon.
8. Derick Neikirk
A former minor league baseball player, Derick Neikirk has spent most of his career with former WWE star Mike Knox by his side.
The two worked on the indy scene together before being signed by the WWE as a duo in 2005 and heading to the then-WWE developmental territory, Deep South Wrestling.
It was in DSW that Neikirk defeated The Miz to become the promotion's Heavyweight Champion, and he he held that title for six months before dropping it to current FCW star Conor O'Brian.
Neikirk would team with and feud with Knox in DSW and after relocating to FCW, and it looked like the WWE had big plans for Neikirk, possibly as a monster tag team with Knox.
Unfortunately for Neikerk, he failed a Wellness test in January 2008 and was released shortly thereafter.
Given Neikirk's initial success in WWE developmental, I'm surprised he was stuck down there that long.
7. Joe Doering
Joe Doering has had a whirlwind of a wrestling career.
He started training back in 2004 and almost immediately found himself on TV when he debuted for TNA in 2005, wrestling only a handful of matches there before parting ways with the company.
Doering then made his way to All Japan Pro Wrestling in 2007, improving his skills there for three years and eventually signing a developmental deal with the WWE in January 2010.
In 2009, Doering was No. 133 on the PWI 500, and the WWE had seemingly found themselves a future star in the making in the 6'6", 276-pound Doering.
Unfortunately, Doering (known as "Drake Brewer" in FCW) didn't get much of a chance to shine in the WWE. He only had a couple of matches with Johnny Prime (a.k.a. Lucky Cannon) before getting released in September 2010.
6. Chet the Jet
"Chet The Jet" (real name: Neil Bzibziak) made his pro wrestling debut in 2000 and competed primarily in the Heartland Wrestling Association until 2003.
It was there that Bzibziak competed against Derick Neikirk and former ROH/TNA star Nigel McGuinness before moving on to the International Wrestling Association and wrestling guys like Ricky Banderas and former WWE star Kasey James.
In 2005, Bzibziak signed a developmental deal with the WWE and started working under the name "Chet the Jet" in Ohio Valley Wrestling, where he won the territory's Heavyweight and Tag Team Championship.
Bzibziak would undergo a number of gimmick changes, but he was probably most successful when teaming with Steve Lewington (a.k.a. DJ Gabriel) as "Terminal Velocity."
That would be as far as Bzibziak would get, however, as the gimmick changes really did nothing for him, and he was released in March 2008.
Given all the experience Bzibziak had working with top names (especially in WWE developmental), it's surprising that he never at least got called up to the main roster.
5. Tommy Taylor
Tommy Taylor was one of those guys who was given up on before he ever really had a chance.
The British grappler started training in 2002 at just 16 years old, and in April 2007, he was signed by the WWE at the ripe age of 21.
He was sent to FCW and competed against a number of stars you currently see on TV, such as Kofi Kingston, Jack Swagger, Johnny Curtis and Brodus Clay. But, seemingly out of nowhere, Taylor was released by the WWE in April 2008, almost one year to the date after signing with the company.
Since that time, Taylor has developed a reputation as one of the best wrestlers on the independent scene.
He's competed for Full Impact Pro and even Ring of Honor, having notable matches with The Dark City Fight Club and Sinn Bohdi (former WWE star Kizarny).
At only 25 years old, Taylor still has a bright future ahead of him, and (who knows?) a WWE return may happen down the road.
4. Cassidy Riley
Cassidy Riley has gone under a boatload of different ring names throughout his career, but chances are that you recognize him from his time in TNA.
He debuted with the company way back in 2002 alongside Chase Stevens as "The Hotshots" and had a notable feud with America's Most Wanted before leaving the company and returning in 2004 as "Cassidy Riley."
Riley worked with TNA until 2007 before signing a developmental deal with the WWE. He was sent to OVW and repackaged as "Kassidy James," the storyline younger brother of fellow OVW worker K.C. James.
The two would form a tag team, winning the OVW tag team titles on four separate occasions and seemingly on the verge of being called up to the main roster to join the WWE's dying tag team division.
However, Riley was released in March 2008, and he hasn't had much of a wrestling career since then.
Not sure what prompted Riley's release, but given that he managed to stay in TNA for so long, it seems like he must have been a decent enough worker to get a consistent spot on TV.
3. Mike Kruel
Mike Kruel looked poised to make his mark in the WWE.
Before even signing with the company, he worked TV matches against Tyson Tomko, Kevin Thorn, JBL, Hardcore Holly and Charlie Haas. He also competed against CM Punk for Ring of Honor.
Kruel's success there led to him signing a WWE developmental deal and debuting in OVW in 2006, where he would perform against the likes of Punk, Cody Rhodes, Elijah Burke, Santino Marella and Evan Bourne.
While in OVW, Kruel won the Television Championship twice and Heavyweight Championship once, but once he relocated to FCW, he seemingly fell off the map.
A year later in January 2009, Kruel was released from his WWE contract in a surprising move. This guy had become a huge part of OVW, but it appears as if the relocation to Florida played a big role in his push dying down and his WWE career ending.
2. Claudio Castagnoli
Claudio Castagnoli is currently signed to a WWE developmental deal and is working down in FCW as "Antonio Cesaro."
But let's hope his second go-round in the WWE is better than the first one.
Back in November 2006, Castagnoli signed a WWE developmental deal after working as an extra for the company and impressing during a tryout in Deep South Wrestling. But, almost immediately after signing with WWE, Castagnoli was released from his contract.
One theory is that Castagnoli was released because of "visa issues," but he denies that. So, I'm honestly not sure why he was let go so quickly.
But the bottom line is that we all know that Castagnoli is one of the best wrestlers around, and we're just hoping that the WWE doesn't drop the ball with him for a second time.
1. Teddy Hart
Teddy Hart is a prime example of attitude getting in the way of talent.
In 1998, Hart made history by becoming the youngest wrestler ever signed to a WWE developmental deal, but he was released by the company in 2002 because of behavioral issues.
He would go on to work for ROH, TNA and Wrestling Society X before re-signing with the WWE in 2006 and once again being let go from his developmental contract.
Hart (the oldest grandchild of WWE Hall of Famer Stu Hart) has developed a reputation as one of the most talented wrestlers in the country, but one with a terrible attitude.
The only thing holding Teddy Hart back is Teddy Hart, and had he not let his ego get in his way, there's no telling how much success he could have had in the WWE.