With bigger promotions expanding their rosters in recent years, along with a healthier professional wrestling scene, there aren’t as many significant free agents floating around. Nevertheless, I’ve compiled a list of wrestlers who have caught my attention, and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.
I originally had Kylie Rae in this list, but she is inactive after announcing her pregnancy in April. When she returns to professional wrestling, my hope (she’s a favorite of mine) is that she wants to, and is picked up by a major promotion.
10. Trish Adora
Trish Adora has spent the past six years making a name for herself on the independent scene, having worked for WWE (NXT), AEW, ROH, NJPW, MLW, CZW, PROGRESS, Shine, and many more. Touted as one of the best women’s wrestlers on the independent circuit, it’s only a matter of time until a major promotion offers her a lucrative contract. Although I haven’t seen her wrestle extensively, I’m sure someone can enlighten us on her abilities in the comments.
9. CJ Perry (Lana)
CJ Perry, formerly known as Lana, made an impact during Rusev’s rise in NXT and WWE’s main roster. Surprisingly, AEW hasn’t made the move to sign her yet. Her presence could elevate Miro’s character and add depth to his persona. If given the right execution, she has the talent to shine in any promotion.
8. Tama Tonga
Tama Tonga, a founding member of the Bullet Club alongside Finn Balor and Karl Anderson, has achieved success primarily in New Japan Pro Wrestling. While not well-known outside of NJPW, his experience and skill make him an asset to any company. However, at 40-years-old, his window of opportunity may be closing soon.
7. James Storm
I included James Storm on last year’s list in a much higher spot. Since then, he re-emerged in Impact Wrestling for a short stint before disappearing again. He has since joined OVW and is a double champion there, but I’m not 100% certain that he is exclusive to them.
Storm still has a few years left in the tank, and I don’t believe he has lost any of his talent, but there’s something about him that promotions don’t like. I can’t tell you what that is, but it seems that ever since his last full-time stint in Impact, he has been bouncing from promotion to promotion. He isn’t finding anywhere to call home on a major TV show, and that’s a real shame. James Storm, to me, is one of the best wrestlers to never get a full-time deal in WWE or AEW.
6. Nick Aldis
I’m a British fan, but I find it difficult to root for this guy. It’s mostly because I don’t like his promos, but besides that, Aldis has shown that he is an asset to any wrestling company. Would he be main event material in WWE or AEW? Doubtful. But he could be relied on to do programs to elevate upcoming stars.
Aldis served as one of the longest-ever reigning NWA World Heavyweight Champions. He has worked with so many of the top names in the industry today. Following his short stint with Impact Wrestling, he has become a free agent again, and there has apparently been some interest from the bigger promotions. Whether this leads to him getting a contract remains to be seen. If he does, it would be time for him to show the world what he can do.
5. Jordynne Grace
I followed Jordynne Grace’s entire Impact Wrestling career, and I have to say… she has improved so much. Along with being a powerhouse, she worked hard on her ring craft and promos, and I now believe she is ready to join WWE or AEW. Both companies are struggling with their women’s divisions, and Grace would undoubtedly bolster them.
I’d prefer she joined NXT because she could find another level to her game. The Performance Center would be the perfect place for her to learn from the likes of Shawn Michaels and others. I feel that if she joined AEW, she wouldn’t get the airtime to get over. Still, if neither WWE nor AEW show interest, Impact Wrestling would welcome her back with open arms because she has done so much for them in the past few years.
4. Mandy Rose
Wait, she’s not #1? We’re talking about the “hottest” free agents, am I right? Sure, make her your #1 if that’s what you need. Being serious though, WWE letting Mandy Rose go was a massive blunder. They worked so hard to get her over as a credible wrestler and champion in NXT that it feels like they wasted their time.
I’m not saying Mandy Rose is the greatest wrestler of all time, but she had improved enough to rejoin WWE’s main roster as a commodity. She should have been mixing it up with Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Bianca Belair, Asuka, Io Shirai, Bayley, and more… but instead, she’s making a killing posing mostly naked for thirsty OnlyFans followers.
It feels like women’s wrestling lost out, because Mandy Rose isn’t the only one doing this. Brandi Lauren is an independent wrestler who figured out that starting an OnlyFans was way more lucrative than physically putting her body in harm’s way every week. They clearly aren’t being paid enough.
An outdated reference, but it feels like Game Of Thrones. They keep talking about the dragons, but they never show up. Season after season, we wait for the dragons, but they won’t show up until the end. The same could be said about Carlito. How many times does WWE have to tease Carlito’s return? He clearly has the support of the WWE Universe.
According to reports on the internet, Carlito is penciled in to return at any moment, but I don’t believe any of them. I’ll only believe it with my own eyes when I see Carlito showing up every week, and that would be cool. He doesn’t need to be main event material. Just give him an opportunity to show what he can do for a year or two.
2. Matt Cardona
I never cared for Zack Ryder. And when he showed up in AEW and Impact Wrestling, again, he proved nothing to me. Yet, somehow, when he’s left to his own devices, he can deliver these wacky gimmicks to generate major heat. He doesn’t do well when he’s under the thumb of creative. If either WWE or AEW brought him back and allowed him some creative freedom, he would do just fine.
Not only that, but he was a social media wizard before anyone else thought of doing it. He & Chelsea Green know what they are doing, so even if he’s not regularly on the programming, they can deliver other content. It’s crazy how well Matt Cardona is doing on the indies without anything holding him back. Even without caring for his past work, what he’s doing now is what makes him a top free agent in my eyes.
I know what you’re thinking. You hate me already. Forgive me for this, but Goldberg is the top free agent in the world right now. We all know he has been dangerous throughout his career. We’re well aware that Bret Hart hates his guts. But however we feel about Bill Goldberg, there is no denying that the man has star power. Stick his name in the main event of a show, and it will sell tickets.
He left WWE because he wanted a retirement match, and they wouldn’t give it to him. Could he negotiate with AEW to get booked for a few matches and end his career on a high note? It is dependent on several factors, with the top two being a) money, and b) timing. Goldberg needs the right opponents at the right venue, and he won’t do it on the cheap. He has to be well-compensated for it because the man knows his worth. WWE probably feels he isn’t worth the money anymore. They each got everything possible out of his WWE run.
There were talks of Goldberg funding his own retirement tour, but it wouldn’t be easy. He’d need a lot of help and promotion to set that up. To me, it feels like that would be a last resort. Goldberg wants to go out with a bang, but how that happens is up in the air. Would you like to see it happen? Let us know in the comments.
As stated above, this has been a subjective list, and I’d love to know who you feel are the hottest free agents in the industry today. Even more so if they are independent stars who I may not have heard of. With that said, I thank you very much for reading!