Last week, there were eleven talents released from the WWE and I wasn’t going to discuss them, simply because it’s a lot to cover within one column, but to make it possible, I’m going to group a few of the talents in each paragraph. First, it should be noted that this round of releases seems to be a direct result of the WWE stock price dropping and the company losing an estimated $350 million last month. The WWE is a publicly traded company and the releases are as much of a PR move as it’s a budget cut, as it shows the stock holders that the WWE is saving money after the stock dropped. Although, you have to wonder would cutting lesser featured talent that probably have a lower downside guarantee really make a dent in the $350 million lost in the stock?
Perhaps the most surprising release and the one with the most potential was Drew McIntyre, who Vince McMahon endorsed as a future champion, but he didn’t get further up than the mid card. That being said, I think the WWE missed the boat with McIntyre and he had the potential to become a main event talent, if he was given the chance. He has the skills, mic work, and he has improved in the ring in recent years as well. As much as some people frowned upon his role in 3MB, it actually gave him the opportunity to show he’s a versatile performer and it was an entertaining stable the members made work, despite some of the goofy booking. The release could actually be an opportunity for McIntyre to reinvent himself somewhat as he could wrestle on the independent scene and then eventually return to the WWE with a fresh start and get the push he probably should of had a few years ago.
Aksana, Camacho, and Jinder Mahal are somewhat in the same category, as they weren’t really doing too much and there are other performers that have similar roles in the company. Aksana was one of the rather nameless Divas, who could be interchangeable with some of the other divas on the roster so there wasn’t really anything storyline wise for her. It could have more to do with the booking, but Aksana really didn’t do anything to establish herself so it’s not really a major release. However, it should be mentioned that Alica Fox has done well with the unstable type gimmick in recent weeks and seems to maximize her time on camera, which helps to get talent over, similar to what AJ Lee did during her initial push. Camacho was decent in the ring, but with several Hispanic stars on the roster, he didn’t really bring anything different to the table so again, it’s not really a major release. Jinder was entertaining in his role of 3MB, but was the lesser of the three members and after his initial over used gimmick flopped, a comedy role was probably as far up the card that he was going to go. He was average at best in the ring, but as mentioned earlier, the release could give him an opportunity to show different skills.
Curt Hawkins was always solid in the ring and seemed to be a good “utility” worker so to speak, as he seemed to adapt to the role he asked to do at any particular time. Hawkins, who was originally trained in the New York area, recently opened a wrestling school there and he’s already booked to appear on the independent scene. He will use his real name, Brian Meyers for his upcoming appearances and his return to the independent circuit seems similar to another NY talent, Trent Baretta, who since his release has been impressive at a variety of shows and in Japan. I think Meyers will have a similar opportunity to reintroduce himself to the wrestling world and show fans what he can do that he didn’t get the chance to showcase in the WWE.
Teddy Long was a somewhat surprising release, considering how many years he worked for the company, be he hadn’t done too much recently and those type of contracts tend to be included when there are major cuts for the company.
Evan Boure, who wrestled for years for Ring of Honor as Matt Sydal was on the sidelines for two years before being cleared to wrestle, but didn’t return to the main roster before his release. It was somewhat surprising when Sydal was signed to the company almost 6 years ago because of his style, but he did well during his initial run for the company. However, he had a few wellness policy violations and he can blame himself for his mistakes. Sydal is already booked for Pro Wrestling Guerrilla in a few months and it will be interesting to see if he can still go in the ring because he had some major injuries during his WWE run. Hopefully, Sydal can return at 100% because before some of his own mistakes and various injuries, he was one of the best aerial wrestlers on the roster. In some ways, Sydal might have been the next competitor to get the “Mysterio spot” so to speak, but he obviously didn’t reach that level. Don’t get me wrong, there will only be one Rey Mysterio, but if there’s anyone that could work well in the spot, I think it would be Kalisto, who is wrestling for NXT. Kalisto is a tremendous aerial wrestler and was initially trained in the United States before wrestling in Mexico so he can adapt the lucha style to the WWE product easier than the original Sin Cara, who didn’t really make the transition.
Brodus Clay being released wasn’t too surprising, as the dancing gimmick was stale and despite his size, he didn’t really improve in the ring during his WWE career. Some have said that Brodus has main event potential as a heel, but I doubt it. He was rather limited and his in ring work was sloppy so he probably wouldn’t have been a legitimate main event heel. Brodus is an example of a one dimensional gimmick that was stale and then there’s not too many options for a competitor storyline wise, which could be a similar path for Adam Rose if the WWE doesn’t add to his character.
Yoshi Tatsu was originally a New Japan competitor and despite being under contract for six years, he wasn’t really given a push during his WWE career. If nothing else, he probably made decent money while under WWE contract and the WWE exposure will allow him to make good money in Japan if he continues to wrestle there. JTG can also be included in the same category because while he was entertaining during a tag team run, but rarely made an appearance after that so most people were probably surprised he was still under WWE contract.
What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.
Until next week
That’s My Story and I’m Sticking To It
E mail firstname.lastname@example.org | You can follow me on Twitter @jimlamotta