NAGAOKA,JAPAN - MARCH 24: Colt Cabana enters the ring during the New Japan Cup of NJPW at Aore Nagaoka on March 24, 2019 in Nagaoka, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
10 Indie Stars Who Underperformed In WWE
Keith Lee broke into the scene in 2015, and by 2017, he was in the upper echelon of indie wrestlers. When he signed with WWE in 2020, his call-up to the main roster was less than remarkable, and after a new gimmick flopped, he was released in 2021; however, he was soon snapped up by AEW and has been a draw there ever since.
Keith Lee
Colt Cabana’s indie career began in 2002, becoming most famous for being name-dropped in the “Pipebomb” promo and his ties to CM Punk. He signed with WWE in 2007, but his shot at superstardom flopped. After being released in 2009, he returned to win titles in indie, created an excellent podcast, and was in AEW’s The Dark Order in 2020.
Colt Cabana
As a professional wrestler since the age of 13, Toni Storm is excellent at her craft, and her finisher, Storm Zero, is one of the scariest-looking moves in wrestling today. She entered WWE in 2017, but despite her success, she left in 2021 after being pitched a romantic angle with Rick Boogs — instead, she moved on to win titles in AEW.
Toni Storm
Matt Sydal’s time in WWE is full of stops and starts — injuries, wellness policy violations, and bad bookings are all to blame — and he was released in June of 2014. Since then, he has won titles and had bangers everywhere he has gone, including in ROH, New Japan, EVOLVE, PWG, Impact, and currently in AEW.
Matt Sydal
Sami Callihan is a pizza cutter-using, glass pane-shattering indie madman and a very skilled wrestler. He signed with WWE in 2013, but after a flaky rebrand as Solomon Crowe and a chipped tibia, he eventually asked for a release in 2015 — he has since found success wrestling with PWG, New Japan, MLW, Lucha Underground, and Impact.
Sami Callihan