Who has been released from the WWE and what happens to them now? That is the question on everybody’s lips. As you all know by now, once a year Big Vinnie Mac and the boys take a set of cutters and prune away what they consider to be the dead branches of their multi-million dollar tree. Or, as they’ve done a couple of times over the past two years, used a ton of TNT and blown that mother sky high. This year wasn’t as bad as previous ones, but there have still been enough big names that have been ‘future endeavored’ for it to raise a lot of eyebrows across the wrestling fandom. What I’m now going to do is look at each one individually, and give you my opinion on their departure from the company and where I think they will end up next.
First up, Samoa Joe. How the HELL the WWE managed to screw up Samoa Joe’s run with the company is one of the biggest wrestling mysteries of all time, right next to how does Hulk Hogan keep getting rehired? When Joe first debuted on NXT, he was pushed as a monster who pretty much murdered everyone he stepped in the ring with, and then, when he was called up to the main roster to be Triple H’s enforcer, he carried on murdering and killing everyone he crossed paths with. This was supposed to be the next AJ Styles moment. Joe should’ve been in and around the title picture for a fair few years, but it seems that after the botch that almost killed Tyson Kidd, he suddenly found himself with the blunt end of the stick.
Now, I’d like to state for the record that I don’t believe for one second that Kidd holds any ill will towards Joe and, in fact, he’s said so himself, but we know what happens when this kind of thing goes down and that’s that those in charge start looking at a wrestler differently than they did the night before. But it shouldn’t have mattered. Accidents happen in wrestling, and that’s what this was, an accident, and instead of punishing Joe for actions beyond his control, they should’ve kept pushing him to the moon. During the time that Brock Lesnar had the title held hostage, Joe should’ve been the one chasing him down. Instead of forcing Roman Reigns down our throats the company should’ve listened to the fans and gone with someone they actually wanted to see in the title picture.
But instead, after a short flirtation with greatness, he was demoted to playing catch up and then, after a series of injuries, found himself strapped firmly to the announce table. It blows my mind to think of how the WWE had one of the greatest talents of his generation on their books and messed it up so badly that they just thought “Screw it” and let him go.
So this raises the question: after his non-compete clause runs out, where does Samoa Joe go? The only logical place, as far as I’m concerned, is AEW. Now, I know that a lot of people will point to his time in Impact, but considering that they now have a working relationship with AEW, then why would you let a star fade away in the second division when you could have him playing in the Premier League and taking on the likes of Kenny Omega, Hangman Page, Sting, et all? AEW would strap a rocket to Joe and show the WWE just what you can do with someone as gifted as ‘The Samoan Submission Machine’.
Billie Kay & Peyton Royce
Next up, we have two for the price of one as both Billie Kay AND Peyton Royce have been let go. I’ll be honest here, I was never a big fan of The IIconics. I always thought they were an average tag team, even on their best day, and that when the WWE put the tag team belts on them, it was more of a punishment for Bayley and Sasha Banks than it was a reflection of Billie Kay and Peyton Royce’s in-ring ability.
But, having said all that, this has come as somewhat of a surprise. It was only last year that people were reporting that the reason that the two had been separated was that Vince McMahon was very, very high on a Peyton Royce singles push, and yet, for whatever reason, that just never materialized. We all know how Vince can be; one minute you’re the flavour of the month, the next, you’re a 6-week old takeout stuffed in the back of his fridge, but the fact that this mythical run never happened for Royce strikes me as strange. Normally the WWE seems to work on the old “Give Them Enough Rope…” school of thinking and you either kick out the jams or hang yourself for the world to see, but Royce didn’t even get a shoelace’s worth of wrestling fabric with which to show what she could or couldn’t do.
As for Kay, this one’s even weirder. The whole ‘pushing her CV onto anyone who she could’ was starting to gain some decent traction and when they teamed her up with Carmella, it looked like we might get to see what she could do, being out on her own. In fact, I was looking forward to it as she’d won me over by portraying this character who tried her damndest to do the right thing, but always ballsed it up somewhere down the line. But Vinnie is gonna Vinne and they’re both going to be heading to pastures new. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them reform as a tag-team on Impact. It’d be a good fit for all those involved and I could see them in and around the title picture for at least a year or so.
Mickie James next and I was more surprised when she re-signed with the WWE than I am by the fact that she’s left the company again. Anyone who knows anything about her time with the company knows what an utter pile of dog c**p they treated her as during that god-awful feud with Laycool. Not to mention there’s the rumour that she was booted altogether due to an affair with John Cena. You have to ask yourself, why would anyone go back? It’s like dating someone who cheats on you all the time and then blows their top when a member of the opposite sex looks at you. Get out and stay out, that’s my motto.
But Mickie didn’t seem to learn her lesson and returned to the company for a completely dull and uninspired five-year stint. Admittedly, some of the work she did with Alexa Bliss was decent enough, but overall, it just proved that the WWE had no idea what to do with her once they’d got her back. There’s a chance that Mickie might just be done with wrestling now and will focus on her music career again, but if she is to return to the squared circle, then I’d expect her to show up in NWA, due to her connection with Nick Aldis.
Poor Tucker has gone as well. I hated the storyline between Heavy Machinery and Mandy Rose, but I always thought they were a damn fine tag-team, so when they had Tucker turn on Otis, inexplicably breaking them up, I thought that at least Tucker would get some kind of singles push. Proves what I know, eh? They couldn’t have buried him any quicker if they’d used a bulldozer. And, to be fair, he’s probably one of the few who’s happy to get a fresh start.
But where will he go? I don’t think he’s a big enough name to go to AEW and he’s unproven as a singles competitor, so I think Impact is out for now, at least, unless he turns up as somebody’s lackey, so I can see him heading over to NWA as well. He’s still relatively young in wrestling terms and maybe a two-year stint, honing his skills in one-on-one action could just be the thing he needs to get him looked at elsewhere.
I am not at all surprised that they released Chelsea Green and this is in no way a reflection on her and her abilities. They botched her character from day one, running all these vignettes about how she was going to be the face of the Robert Stone Brand and then having her lose her debut match? That was one of the dumbest decisions that the WWE ever made. And considering that they have quite the history in that department, that’s really saying something. She never really recovered from that so, hopefully, she’ll see this as an opportunity instead of a curse. Is she a big enough name for AEW? I don’t think so, but she’s a decent enough in-ring worker so I can see her joining the ranks of Impact Wrestling as soon as she can.
Kallisto never really did it for me, so I don’t think his moving on is a big loss or a shock. There was just something about his character that didn’t play well in the company, mainly down to the fact that they have zero idea on how to promote Luchadores, but it will go down a storm back in Triple-A, which is where I fully expect him to resurface.
Wesley Blake’s release is just symptomatic of a deeper problem within WWE. Both Blake and Cutler were taken off TV after the leader of their faction, The Forgotten Sons, was found out to be a horrible right-wing b*****d, but instead of the company punishing Jaxson Ryker for being said horrible right-wing b*****d, they’ve since gotten rid of Blake and Cutler and have pushed Ryker into a duo with fucking Elias. The moral of this story seems to be that it doesn’t matter if you’re a asshole as long as there are enough assholes behind the curtain to back you up. Suffice to say I see Impact Wrestling in Blake’s future.
Bo Dallas being released did come as a surprise as I’d forgotten he actually still worked for the WWE. Did you know he was still there? Exactly. I don’t really know what I expect Bo to do but you better bo-lieve, (sorry, couldn’t resist) that wherever he does show up, it better be with one hell of a gimmick change or he’ll always be saddled as the guy who ran around the ring, waving placards and trying to be Mr. Positive.
And the last of the releases, at least at the time of my writing this, is Mojo Rawley. Good! I couldn’t STAND that character. The whole bro thing is a rubbish trope that is now being used by Riddle, who I also hate, and I guess they decided that they didn’t have room for two bros on one show. Let’s face it, it was only a matter of time before Mojo got canned. He was terrible in the ring, had all the personality of a wet fart in a bathtub, and only survived as long as he did because Big Vinnie Mac has a hard-on for Pro Footballers and wanted to get Gronk to sign. The moment he went back to Chuck Ball, then Rawley’s cards were marked, and I reckon the only reason it happened now and not earlier is that the company didn’t want it to seem as that was the reason they were firing him. I couldn’t give a shit where he ends up, he’s b******s. So I’m hoping he retires.