For the better part of fourteen years, Heath Slater has been under contract with the WWE. It’s a run much akin to Zack Ryder’s and even JTG’s in that most people would be surprised that he was employed that long. That’s not a knock on Heath, it’s just that Vince McMahon clearly did not see too much in the perennial lower mid-carder.
His start came in 2006 when he was signed by the company to a developmental contract that saw him work under the FCW banner. In this smaller pond he thrived and won the promotion’s Tag Team, Southern Heavyweight, and Florida Heavyweight Championships. Whilst not the main focal point of programming for the most part, he was still given the opportunity to be a major player and hone his skills in the main event.
Four years later he joined several other rookies in the inaugural series of NXT back when it was just a poorly planned game show. Once more he achieved a greater level of success than anyone would have predicted as he became the first rookie to defeat an established star when he pinned Carlito. Just a few weeks later he also picked up a fluke victory over Chris Jericho before being eliminated from the competition.
His time away from the bright lights of the main stage would be short lived however as he joined forces with his fellow rookies and took Monday Night Raw by storm as a part of the Nexus. The renegade faction turned the company on its head as they laid waste to Cena, Punk, and anyone else they could get their hands on. It was as a member of this group that he first tasted gold, winning the Tag Titles alongside Justin Gabriel. They would reign a total of three times across both Nexus and The Corre.
After the factions had gone away, Slater continued to get regular TV time as he was squashed by a host of legends in the run up to Raw’s 1000th episode. He did manage to get a victory over Doink the Clown though, so it wasn’t all bad.
More factions would follow in the forms of 3MB, Slator-Gator, and The Social Outcasts. Whilst each had their charms, none of them enjoyed much in the way of success and they all quickly fell off the radar when management and creative grew bored of them.
It was only when placed in an odd couple pairing with Rhyno that Heath found his feet once more. Shortly after the new brand split, the pair won a tournament to become Smackdown’s first Tag Team Champions. This following a downtrodden Heath fighting simply to gain a contract just a few weeks earlier.
The good times wouldn’t last though and soon the belts were off their shoulders. They remained together until Baron Corbin forced them to fight with the loser being fired. Slater won but was made to work as a referee afterwards. This feud with Corbin did feature a pay off of sorts as he got to attack Corbin and hand Strowman a win over him.
Nothing of any real note took place after that, aside from a brief turn with the 24/7 Championship, and early this year he found himself out of a job. He did make one final appearance alongside Drew McIntyre recently, but that spelled the end for Heath and his many kids in Vince’s funhouse.
The joke following his release has been that, just like his fellow 3MB members, he will work the indies, get jacked, and return to win a world title. Realistically however that just isn’t probable as he is already thirty-six years of age and has never had much of a physique.
Instead it may be more fruitful to look at other decent sized companies who can use a man of his undeniable talents. The main one amongst them being Impact.
The teases have already been put out there by both Heath and Impact themselves. It would not be a surprise to see him show up at Slammiversary and make Impact his new home going forwards. There are some great matches to be had there between him and the likes of Eddie Edwards, Ace Austin, and others. He can help to bring the youngsters along in their development whilst also giving the brand a moderate boost in terms of star power. His ability to play it serious or comedic would be put to good use in the more effectively booked world of modern-day Impact.
There are other options open to wrestlers of some renown and Heath may want to look at those too. A big move could be for him to jump ship to MLW. The spiritual successor to ECW has never been shy of utilising more established talent when they believe there is a use for them. Heath could be given a new lease of life through working with Contra, Dynasty, and big Davey Boy Jr. It may not get the internet talking quite like an Impact debut would, but it may just lead to some better matches and a more enjoyable working environment for Heath.
Sadly, Japan is probably out of the question. Whilst its possible that Heath may be open to such a move, he doesn’t fit the bill for those far harder hitting companies. His style would be at odds with their core product and he would absolutely struggle to find traction as a result.
AEW have also made it clear that they won’t be taking him on either. Likely so as to distance themselves from the WWE lite image that some have of them.
That limits his choices drastically if he wishes to keep going in the ring. Even with a vibrant indie scene (when lockdown isn’t in place) it is hard to make the big bucks without one steady large employer. The smart money should be on Heath going to Impact for the foreseeable future. From there he can either establish a legacy with them or work his ass off to get the call back to WWE or over to AEW.
It is sad that his loyal service was rewarded in such a cold manner, but the future can be bright for Heath…