As you and the rest of the world know by now, WWE has released several Superstars from their roster due to the global pandemic that is COVID-19. Vinny Mac and company also handed pink slips to more than a few producers, performance center trainers, and other WWE officials, but for this specific report we will focus on the job.. err.. gladiators of the squared circle, all the placed the Ringside Apostles believe these superstars will head following their release from the ‘E.
Had to start this list off strong. Kurt came back to the WWE 3-years ago under assumption he was retiring to join the WWE Hall of Fame. To everyone’s surprise he was handed a performer contract, and made his final appearance at WrestleMania 35 against Baron Corbin in a match that was truly underwhelming.
Kurt has done it all in wrestling, having traveled around the world, winning every major title possible. The Olympic gold medalist is likely to take a full year off before returning to the world of professional wrestling, regardless if it’s a backstage job with another major company or as an on TV Persona manager.
Yes, I am fully aware they were let go before the COVID-19 releases. The Revival had a pretty impressive run over at NXT, capturing the NXT Tag Team titles twice before being moved to the main roster to where they also captured Tag Team gold.. before fizzling out like every other major tag team coming from NXT *cough*cough* The Ascension *Cough*.
Over the years the team has been a target of Twitter memes made popular by Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks. With that, I think it’s very safe to say we’ll be seeing these guys join their internet buddies on Wednesday nights. On AEW Dynamite, The Revival finally have the chance to give marks the dream matches we’ve all wanted these past few years. #FTR
MIKE & MARIA KANELLIS
The wrestling couple signed in 2017 after a stint in Impact Wrestling, with Maria making a return after leaving the WWE in 2010. Immediately both were added to the main roster on SmackDown Live before eventually being put on the ill-fated 205 Live. Both had been trying to get out of their contracts for a while.
When AEW was signing talent left and right, WWE made an offer they couldn’t refuse to keep them. Maria will likely become a full-time mom for the remainder of the year, with the recent birth of their second child. As for Mike Bennett, he should make a return to ROH, where he and Matt Taven were dominating the tag team division as The Kingdom!
NO WAY JOSE
Signed to WWE in 2015 and put in a series of squash matches immediately after, things have not been good for NWJ. With the rise of independent wrestling, companies always seem to hire ex-WWE talent. That said, I can see him fitting right in with Impact or MLW.
After the Wyatt family disbanded and The Bludgeon Brothers went bust, everything went downhill for the red-bearded giant. Seeing how he has a past with the hard-hitting company Pro Wrestling NOAH, and how NOAH is currently rebuilding with new management, I can see him packing his bags and making a return to the Land of the Rising Sun. His stature will do him great in a company known for its strong style competitors.
EPICO AND PRIMO
These Colons have been there since 2011, since the FCW days, and going gimmick to gimmick (gawd, how I hated Los Matadores!). Their release couldn’t come any sooner. Seeing how they are both part of the Puerto Rican Colón Dynasty, I can easily see both staying in Puerto Rico where their family runs the World Wrestling Council (WWC). It would do them good to have some full time participation.
Also, seeing how WWC has a close relationship with Mexico’s Lucha Libre AAA promotion — and AAA being the WWE rescue home for Latin ex-WWE talent — I wouldn’t be surprised to see them there.
Having signed a developmental contract in 2018, and rarely had any participation on NXT, Jaksic should flirt with the independent circuit for a while. His wrestling style, however, is something I can see being used in the undercard over at MLW.
This one is a bit of a surprise as, even in NXT, they didn’t do much with her. Deonna has a good look and possesses a very technical style, not seen with many women in wrestling today. Having already toured Japan with Stardom, being named 2017’s Woman of Honor by ROH, and having previously worked at Impact, I see her having no problem finding work post-WWE.
Having been in the WWE system since 2006 — and never really making a big impact — I’m surprised Heath wasn’t released years ago. Other than a shot at smaller indies (which is more suitable for wrestlers far beyond his enior), he’ll likely look for work outside of wrestling— maybe acting or podcasting. Heath’s got kids, after all.
Ethan Carter III is no stranger to the WWE cut-list, having been previously released in 2013. At age 37, he still has plenty of time to become a huge star. With his best years being in Impact and having won the World title there, you’d think the multi-talented wrestler would want to work somewhere he would make an instant impact.
But I think he’ll try and do the indy route and get as much international experience as possible before signing a contract with another company like AEW–especially after this promo…
ec3 character synopsis
Created by a perfect storm of frustration, angst, restraint, solitude and the sense of losing everything, the character of ec3 forced himself to consider the inconceivable.
That he was defeated. pic.twitter.com/63vA5avDgg
— essential character III (@therealec3) April 15, 2020
Sarah had a pretty good run during her time with the Riott Squad. She was the best in-ring talent of the 3. Unfortunately, she was never the same coming back from injury. Granted, it didn’t warrant for the WWE letting her go. A little more development may have gone a long way. But, at least now with the Major leagues on Logan’s resume, she should have no problem fitting in any other promotion and is likely to hit the indy rounds before settling for a company.
The former NXT Tag Team Champion (alongside Simon Gotch) had some pretty memorable matches at NXT, my favorite being against Enzo Amore and Cassidy. Once Gotch left, and the Vaudevilliains were disbanded, Aiden quickly became stale. He excelled briefly as a part of a tag team with Rusev, but yet despite his immense vocal talents, Aiden’s gimmick grew stale very quickly.
Fast forward to 2019 with the departure of Percy Watson, English was called up to do commentary for the now defunct 205 Live. In the end, English could use the WWE name on his resume to tour the independent circuit for a while, or.. get a job as a lounge singer.
A wrestler I’ve followed for over 15-years from his time in TNA (now Impact). There Eric was a wrestler of many traits, skilled in both athletics and on the mic. It’s no wonder he captured the WWE’s attention to sign him to NXT.
During his time in NXT, Eric became leader of the heel stable SAniTY where he had a good run for a few months before becoming injured, joining the main roster and being let go. At this age in his career, “Young” would probably want to have something stable and go back to something he’s familiar with. I see him signing with Impact Wrestling.
“The Thousand Dollar Broski” Aka “The Michael Jordan of Figure Collecting” has been with the WWE since 2004. It came as a surprise to many that WWE released him. His charisma and in-ring promos always stood out to me. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to stop WWE from cutting him.
While there are many wrestlers here that have uncertain futures, Ryder isn’t one of them. His show, the Major Wrestling Figure Podcast, attracts thousands of listeners weekly. With that and a successful online presence, you can rest assured he has lots to keep himself busy. Not to mention his fiancee, Chelsea Green, can probably get him a contract over at Impact.
I can’t talk about the “Thousand Dollar Broski” without talking about his tag team partner and fellow podcast co-host. Last time I saw Curt Hawkins live he was getting Styles Clashed at BOLA 2014. Being originally released in 2014 from the WWE only to return two years later, Curt also finds himself in an interesting position.
Just like Ryder, I think he will focus on his own wrestling school and podcast for the rest of the year. If he does come back to wrestling. Good chance he’s gonna follow his bro. Woo woo woo!
KARL ANDERSON & LUKE GALLOWS
The Club are the hottest free agents currently in wrestling. Rumors circulated a year or two ago that they were looking for their release and were denied. Now that they are free to go wherever they like, I see the former Bullet Club OG’s working out a deal like Jon Moxley has where they’re able to work with AEW and New Japan Pro Wrestling (as teased by Anderson’s latest tweet). So look out Tokyo, because the “Machine Gunn” and Doc Gallows are, once again, too sweeeeeeeet!
“Drake Maverick” was originally brought in to become a top star in the cruiserweight division. Unfortunately the former Rockstar Spud, unlike most, didn’t expect 205 Live to go defunct. Following that stint as GM on a pro wrestling show with nearly zero viewers, Mav transferred to the main roster only to wind up a brief manager of the ill-used Authors of Pain and win the 24/7 title a few times, before ultimately being let go.
Spud will more than likely be touring the indies as a free agent before settling in a promotion like ROH. Although, personally, I’d like to see him in AAA since their current roster would compliment his style.
Where do I even begin with this one… Lio Rush is a good wrestler, very athletic with a good moveset to go along with it. But after burning bridges with Ring of Honor due to not selling an opponent’s move (Rush was powerbombed from the top of a ladder to a table), I have doubts he will be going back there anytime soon. Also known for his childish behavior backstage I doubt anyone will pull strings for him.
One thing people on social media immediately brought up upon his release: a few years ago Lio poked fun of wrestler Emma for getting the pink slip from her NXT contract. My guess? Because Rush has the WWE name on his resume he’ll likely end up at Impact Wrestling. “This is what happens when you’re not ready for Asu… WWE”.
And thus we finish with the Bulgarian big guy. This one was definitely a shocker for me and, perhaps, for everyone else. After years of getting shunned by creative, the last few months have been good to Rusev story-wise — even the Lana/Lashley angle many had despised. I found it to be brilliant. It brought out a side of Rusev I really enjoyed watching on TV. So when media outlets began to report his release I had to look into it. Even seeing his departure confirmed from the official WWE website.. I couldn’t believe it.
With all that said, Rusev has shown that he has what it takes to take his career to new heights. With a man of his size, mic skill — and growth as a performer — he should have no problem getting into any US based promotion. If I were him I’d look into going to Japan to pick up a new style, and finding a place there to reinvent his character. Call me crazy, but after a year of doing the indies he might just wind up in NJPW.