The Silver Lining in WWE’s “Black Thursday” Wrestler Releases
It’s me, it’s me, it’s JDB…
“How do you drop the ball on SAMOA JOE?!?!? How?! Injuries aside, what a mistake.” – Renee Paquette
Post-Wrestlemania releases are nothing new in the wrestling world, but this latest set of cuts shocked some people. Samoa Joe is a bonified main event level talent, Chelsea Green has loads of yet to be untapped potential, and Billie Kay and Peyton Royce are pure gold together.
While many talents will land well on their feet, getting fired from a job is never fun. However, there’s a silver lining…
WWE is no-longer the “be-all end-all” of wrestling
I’ve said this before, and it still rings true. With NXT moving to Tuesday nights, AEW Dynamite drew over 1.2 million viewers on Wednesday night. After 20 years of a McMahon monopoly, this is incredible. Whether you like AEW or not, this is good for everyone in the business. It should be celebrated, not diminished by wrestling trolls.
It’s also worth mentioning that Impact Wrestling is (somehow) still afloat, and that New Japan is as big as ever. If that isn’t one’s cup of tea, Ring of Honor, NWA, and even Stardom are viable options now for legitimate wrestling talent.
People are so caught up in the idea that the WWE Universe is the “place to be” that they view any other alternative as lesser. Let’s not forget that a promotion like AEW is building their own main event stars from outside the WWE universe as is. MJF, Darby Allin, Jade Cargill, Britt Baker, Jurassic Express and Adam Page immediately come to mind here.
And perhaps you weren’t even used to your full potential in WWE…
Misused ≠ Untalented
Let’s take Tay Conti. A talent that was sparsely used on NXT and was let go a year ago. Since then, she has blossomed into one of AEW’s top women’s talents, and has improved in-ring in a very short amount of time.
Time and time again we have seen misused talents excel outside WWE. Lio Rush is not only holding his own in MLW, but has found success in New Japan. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson not only have become Impact Tag Team Champions, but are in the midst of a cross-promotional feud between Kenny Omega and Impact.
Deonna Purazzo has become one of the most established women’s champions in the industry with a lengthy title run as Impact Knockouts Champion. While Miro hasn’t seen instant success in his role in AEW, you can tell the man is happier and healthier. It also seems like he’s about to break away from Kip Sabian and go on a tear from his promo on Wednesday night. Even Heath Slater turned down a WWE contract to pursue more creatively greener pastures, much like the late great Brodie Lee did (R.I.P.)
While there are definitely talents that couldn’t find success elsewhere, this isn’t the end, and honestly, could be for the best for a lot of these recent releases.
The Silver Lining
We live in an age where you don’t have to succeed in WWE to be a successful wrestler. That’s it. That’s the silver lining.
Chelsea Green and Britt Baker are real life best friends. Something tells me we’ll see “Hot Mess” Chelsea Green in AEW after the 90-day no-compete clause expires. The Iconics are magic as a tag team, and with Shawn Spears as the fiancé of Peyton Royce, there’s an immediate “in” with AEW. It’s hard for me to believe they won’t end up in Jacksonville, and if so, they will likely improve in all facets.
I can’t predict where Samoa Joe, Tucker, Mojo Rawley, or others will land. But I can promise that there is a place somewhere for them in this industry. Hell, it could bring them more success and fulfillment than WWE could ever provide them.
This is a reminder that the business doesn’t exist in one universe, but multiple universes. These talents will now have the opportunity to explore many options, and to forge their own creative paths, free of WWE creative. They will no longer have to rely on a corporate machine for their future success, as they can now just rely on themselves.
Shortly after his release Tucker tweeted “Freedom, Baby!”. And that’s exactly what this is — creative freedom. Personally, I can’t wait to see what the future brings these talents as they carve their own spot in the industry.