“WWE would like to wish you the best in your future endeavors.”
Wrestling fans have become accustomed to seeing that phrase attached to the firing of a WWE Superstar. Every year, a bunch of unexpected and expected names end up on the most dreaded list of all – WWE’s releases. Not only do main roster members get their walking papers from the biggest wrestling company in the world, several on-air commentators and NXT talent meet their end as well. For 2017, we’ve kept our eyes peeled for any news of a known/unknown WWE Superstars exit from the company. Like past years, we’re going to offer our thoughts on the careers of each released individual.
Here’s a complete list of everyone who’s no longer with the WWE as of 2017.
Rosa Mendes (Retired)
Rosa Mendes decided it was time for her to move on from the WWE for a very respectable reason. During the 1st birthday of her daughter Jordan, she announced her retirement and showed a ton of love to the individuals who helped her along the way during her career. While that was a nice gesture, let’s keep it all the way real here – Rosa Mendes did nothing of importance during her entire stint with the company. She played the part of a valet at times and participated in a few bouts here and there, but she didn’t do anything to really entertain and stand out amongst the female roster. We’re happy she’s living happily with her child in tow, but she won’t be missed.
Jack Swagger (Granted Release After Requesting It)
Last year, Jack Swagger randomly got sent to SD Live from Raw and got into a feud with Baron Corbin. This move was simply set up as a way to give Corbin an experienced opponent who could help get him over. Ever since that rivalry fizzled out, Swagger was relegated to house show appearances. So we can totally understand why he asked to be let go from his contract. Swagger lost a lot of steam after his WrestleMania 29 beef with Alberto Del Rio came to a close. Swagger’s taking his chances on the independent wrestling circuit, but we have a feeling he’ll end up with his old friend Zeb Colter (Dutch Mantel) in Impact Wrestling sometime soon.
The backstage stories about Simon Gotch made the guy sound like an insufferable douche. This release doesn’t come as a surprise whatsoever because of that reason alone. We loved him and Aiden English as The Vaudevillains during this stint in NXT and on SD Live. But Gotch’s behind the curtain antics and attitude seemingly stopped him and his teammate from getting any further in the tag team ranks. We’re sad to see him go because he was actually pretty entertaining. Let’s just hope Aiden English gets over as a solo performer now that he’s returned to his singing gimmick.
Remember that 205 Live beef that was in the works between Tajiri and Brian Kendrick? Well, it got cut short and revamped with Akira Tozawa taking Tajiri’s place. It turns out Tajiri sustained an injury and just ended up taking an extended break while he recovered. But what sucks the most is the fact that he’s not coming back. Tajiri’s no longer an active member of the WWE and that’s pretty disappointing. We always enjoyed the Green Mist spitting guy and he reminded us of his in-ring greatness during his Cruiserweight Classic/NXT run. WE’LL MISS YA, TAJIRI!
UPDATE: Mauro Ranallo was released at one point, but then got re-hired as a play-by-play commentator for the NXT brand.
For years, there’s been a a lot of word circulating about John “Bradshaw” Layfield’s rumored bullying. Rumor is JBL has done a lot of questionable and mean spirited things in the backstage area and on the road. This behavior seemingly caused SD Live to lose one of the best announcers it had in recent memory – boxing/MMA sportscaster Mauro Ranallo. Mauro went on a hiatus for a while and everyone attributed it to his mental issues. Then word got out that JBL’s constant ribbing of the guy caused Mauro to mutually split with the WWE. Bullying sucks, plan and simple. If if truly did lead to Mauro’s exit from the SD Live announce table, then we have even more disdain for JBL now.
Austin Aries (Granted Release After Requesting It)
WOW! This one’s a complete shocker. Aries’ feud with Neville, his strong mic skills and penchant for putting on great matches endeared him to fans who knew little about him before he came to the WWE. After he lost his last Cruiserweight Championship title match, rumors circulated about Aries requesting a break. He got granted just that…then he got a bigger break then expected. This truly sucks, but at least it’s known that he’s the one who was asked to be let go. Aries had a lot of life left in him on the main roster, so it would’ve been insane to hear that WWE chose to let him go. Nevertheless, Aries will be just fine. A spot for him back with Global Force Wrestling or Ring or Honor or even a nice run with New Japan Pro wrestling are all smart moves for “Double A.”
HoHo Lun (Requested Release Due to Family Issues)
HoHo was fun to watch while he was competing during the Cruiserweight Classic. He wasn’t quite amazing as the rest of the tournament’s entrants, but he still provided a good moment or two in the ring. This isn’t one of WWE/NXT’s bigger losses, anyways. But still, salute to him for deciding to focus on what’s more important. You can read his official statement on the matter in the excerpt below:
I went to Hong Kong for vacation about three weeks ago and that’s when I realized that my mother is sick. That’s why I decided to tell Matt Bloom, the head coach of the PC, that I wanted to request my release. One of my top goals was to perform in front of WWE Live fans in China. It was a really tough decision because I wanted to perform in my home.
Worthless. Devoid of any talent between the ropes. And woefully unprepared even though she got a prime time spot on the main roster after her failed NXT run. It was clear that Eva Marie was a member of the WWE just so she could use Vinny Mac’s company as a bullet point on her resume for Hollywood. Her matches evoked the stench of garbage truck juice and I’m happy as hell to see her go. Seeing as how terrible she was on the mic, I don’t think there’s much of a future for her as an onscreen personality. If “The” Brian Kendrick can’t whip you up into proper in-ring shape, you’re just a lost cause. Good. Riddance.
This firing is definitely one of the stranger decisions made by WWE’s bigwigs. They gave her a mini push, threw her into a program with Asuka and made her look somewhat competitive in the process. And now…she’s gone. Huh? I always felt that Emma was one of the more unsung women wrestlers competing on the Raw roster. She knows how to play the bubbly and beloved babyface, plus she was pretty entertaining when she eventually moved over to the dark side. Sure, the “Emmalina” gimmick was a bust. But she still had some life left in her WWE career. I truly do hope Emma thrives in whatever she decides to do next.
So the prevailing consensus about why WWE kept Darren Young around so long is because of the goodwill he brought to the company. Once he announced he was a proud homosexual, WWE jumped on the Darren Young bandwagon and made sure to prop him up for the media to see. But let’s keep it all the way real – Darren Young’s a pretty generic, uneventful wrestler. Crazy as cat-ish Bob Backlund got aligned with him and THAT didn’t even help him get over! This release doesn’t come as a shock, honestly…
Ummmmmmmm…yeah, I got nothing. Summer Rae was definitely a waste of roster space. No tears will be spilled over this release.
I feel bad for this dude. He’s one of the founding members of the SAnitY stable down in NXT and was a decent hand on the developmental roster. Once he got injured, his replacement came in the form of Killian Dain. Once he got healthy, I figured he’d get thrown back into the swing of things and make Eric Young’s stable more of a force to be reckoned with. But sadly, he’s now gone. Just know you had a fan in me, Mr. Fulton…
And now the journey of “No Chin Music” has come to an end. I never liked the guy, but he served his purpose and delivered on all fronts when he was onscreen. Dude went from Jobber #468 to plucky babyface who ran around with Dean Ambrose to turncoat to Carmella’s bit…female dog. After watching him get beat into nothingness by the entirety of the SmackDown Women’s division, I figured his usefulness was fully used. It was nice knowin’ ya, James! Please don’t make him the newest Bullet Club member…
The musical maestro behind so many classic wrestling themes has been let go. Mr. Johnston, who’s responsible for producing iconic themes for Steve Austin, The Undertaker and The Rock has been around since 1985. His resume also includes putting together tunes for WWE Studios’ films and a wealth of other WWE related projects. This is one of the more unexpected WWE firings of the year. Jim is pretty much a lock-in for a Hall of Fame induction even though he’s no longer crafting WWE theme songs. Nonetheless, his presence will forever be felt throughout the very fabric of Vince McMahon’s money printing machine.