Last week, WWE released a handful of talent – one year to the day of doing the exact same thing. Mind you, this is in the middle of a pandemic…but during a time period where the company is announcing record breaking profits. Quite the news story there. In 2020, with all due respect, the guys and gals let go are kinda still finding their way post-WWE. Some have made a couple of waves, but many are still swimming upstream. This time around, I think the wrestlers let go are IMMENSELY more talented. Let’s take a look…
Samoa Joe – Let’s start right at the top of the list. If you ask me, this was the big shock. However, hindsight tells us it may have been coming for awhile now. First off, he has been injured quite a bit during his WWE run. Secondly, concussion issues continue to be brought up whenever somebody mentions him returning to the ring…whenever that may be. Thirdly, let’s not forget the Wellness suspension. Fourthly, he has been doing a GREAT job on commentary, yet WWE was bringing in a new announcing crew. We knew they were debuting after WrestleMania 37 and guess what? When new guys/gals come in, that means guys/gals are let go. While the company press release noted Joe was being removed from the commentary table, it did list him as still being on the talent roster. Well, so much for that!!! My only assumption is that he wanted to come back to the squared circle and either WWE couldn’t or wouldn’t clear him. I have no idea, but even at age 42 and definitely not at his peak anymore, Joe has a ton of value. Any company that signs him next will be better off for it. One day the WWE Hall of Fame will be his home. His run in NXT and main roster WWE is deserving.
Billie Kay – While a lot of folks will immediately pair her up with Peyton Royce (IIconics tag team partner), she recently showed her own personality. Billie Kay JUST had a role at WrestleMania 37 earlier this month! While her in-ring ability was never her strong suit, the entire ‘resume’ gimmick she was doing was good stuff. At the same time, new talent from NXT are coming up. It is always a revolving door. If you have been stagnant or not improving, well…
Peyton Royce – Ditto for her fellow IIconics tag team partner. Peyton had a memorable promo a few weeks back about getting an “opportunity” and blah, blah, blah. In other words, it was her last grasp to get the attention of WWE officials. My guess is that it didn’t work as she was let go. Her man (Shawn Spears) is in All Elite Wrestling, so that feels like the natural fit, even though tons of wrestling couple compete in different promotions. We will see. A part of me wants to see the IIconics reunited; another part of me knows it will just be a second rate ripoff. Tough call.
Bo Dallas – He is reportedly with Liv Morgan and doing amazing outside of the ring. I’d say Bo should follow that. Without sounding like a jerk, I never understood the appeal of Bo Dallas OR Curtis Axel. As the B-Team or on their own, they were the definition of MEH. Dude is living good with Liv; he will be fine.
Chelsea Green – This one is a bummer, as she has all the potential in the world. Sucks to say…but she kept getting injured! I know she is offended by the ‘injury prone’ label and fights against that notion, but just look at her history. The best run for Chelsea Green was in Impact Wresting WHILE NOT WRESTLING!!! She will be okay. Her charisma is there.
Mickie James – This one is similar to Samoa Joe. If WWE was done with her inside the ring, then you have to find a new role for her. She had done commentary in the past and was on the NXT Kickoff Show panel. Kinda sucks but don’t lose sleep over this. She will continue wrestling and do great. I am a big fan and in a few years, the WWE Hall of Fame will come calling. This one, along with Joe, was surprising. That is life in wrestling though. Injured, up there in age, and the company not having a clue what to do with you is not a good combination when a new regime wants to make changes.
Tucker – Yeah, what can I say without sounding rude? Otis was the star of Heavy Machinery; we all knew that.
Mojo Rawley – Without Gronk coming back to WWE, there was no more use for Mojo. They tried with him many times…to no results. He had been under contract for about 56 years and never did anything major. I was there in Orlando for his big WrestleMania 33 Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal victory. Fun moment but was never capitalized. I will say his promos ripping on Zack Ryder for going to Disney instead of the Performance Center in late 2017 were excellent.
Wesley Blake – Eh, another guy on the roster that bounced around the mid-card (tag team) without a whole ton of results. As noted with Mojo, you can only hang around for so long doing nothing. Maybe he wanted out? I don’t know.
Kalisto – This one kinda sucks. He is VERY good and apparently wanted more of a solo spotlight. After voicing his displeasures in being a part of the Lucha House Party, WWE simply broke them up and sat him down in catering until being fired. Lesson learned I suppose?
All in all, there were certainly some justifiable releases (even with WWE doing big business in 2021). You can’t keep everybody, especially when NXT call-ups and other signings are constantly right around the corner. At the same time, Mickie James is a future WWE Hall of Famer, Samoa Joe has impressed inside and out of the ring, and there are some other talents let go that have all the potential in the world. I suspect some will be back. After WrestleMania every year starts a “new year” for WWE, so we’ll see if the annual shakeup is over or not.
BY JUSTIN WATRY (Twitter: @JustinWatry)