Just days after reports surfaced that claimed WWE would no longer be cutting talent from their roster, instead they would simply let their contracts expire, ten "name" talents were given their walking papers.
In what is likely a response to WWE estimating nearly $50 million in losses for the 2014 calendar year due to upstart costs for the WWE Network, seven WWE Superstars, one WWE Diva, one non-wrestler performer and a referee were released from the company.
Let's take a look at who got axed today (June 12, 2014):
This was the most surprising of the bunch in my opinion. When McIntyre first came into the company, Vince McMahon was reportedly high on him. The company saw him as a future potential Superstar and pushed him as such early on. Lately, however, McIntyre has been used as a goof in a comedy faction known as 3MB, so it was only a matter of time before he was phased out or repackaged completely. Unfortunately for Drew, they went with the former.
Another member of 3MB, Jinder Mahal was axed today. This one wasn't as surprising as his "Three Man Band" running mate, as at no point did anyone in WWE really see dollar signs when looking at Mahal.
This was another surprising release. After being built up as a big monster-killer in vignettes before his debut, for whatever reason, WWE changed gears and decided to go the comedy route with this big fella as well. After having him go heel and turn on his Funkadactyl act, he mysteriously vanished and was rarely used again. He had the size and a unique look for a big guy, but apparently didn't have the "it factor" that WWE looks for in big guys.
This might be the most shocking of all the releases just for the fact that Bourne is considered one of the better workers in the company. Unfortunately for him, not everyone can be the next Rey Mysterio, as it seems that his size played against him in the long run. Regardless, TNA, ROH or the independent scene now has the ability to pick up a very talented performer.
This one wasn't surprising at all, other than the feeling that Tatsu was well-liked in developmental, where he was one of the key trainers. He was a Japanese star who took the chance on coming to WWE, which is always a risk for those guys, as they always run the risk of becoming "Funaki'd."
You have to feel for poor Aksana today. Just three days ago she was on RAW getting dirty popcorn smeared all over her face. Today, she gets her walking papers. Poor girl.
The Rest Of Them
The other names who were released today include Curt Hawkins, Theodore Long, Camacho and referee Marc Harris. The only real surprise here, I guess, would be Teddy Long, as he was at least a regular on television for the past several years. Now that "The Authority" is an active act on television, I guess there wasn't much use for a "General Manager" type performer.
P.S. -- JTG still has a job.
UPDATE: Ok, so JTG doesn't have a job after all -- WWE.com has added him to their list of Superstars that were released today.
What do you guys think of today's releases? Leave your feedback in the "Comments" section below. You can also hit me up on Facebook at Facebook.com/MattBooneWZR and/or follow me on Twitter @MBoone420.