With WWE on the verge of signing new developmental talent to coincide with the launch of its Performance Center in Winter Park, Florida, multiple talents situated in the developmental system were released today as we reported earlier.
It has been confirmed that Derrick Bateman, Briley Pierce, Sakamoto and Audrey Marie were among those let go by WWE on Friday.
Bateman announced on his Twitter account that he is now available for independent bookings and then adding, “Welp see ya later @wwe @WWEUniverse #itsfine.”
Pierce, who is the brother of WWE World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler, stated on his account, “I guarantee that was the funniest and most entertaining “You’re released” phone call in WWE history. Bye, everybody!”
Sakamoto thanked WWE on his account for doing business with him, writing, “#WWE #NXT my friend thank you for everything SAYONARA.”
Though Marie has yet to publicly address her standing with WWE, we have confirmed that she has been let go. She had been under contract to WWE since 2011 and was a fixture in the developmental system’s women’s division.
Bateman, who had been under contract to WWE since 2008, appeared on the final season of NXT before the program was transferred to Florida. He last appeared on WWE programming late last year, and had been making infrequent appearances for NXT.
Briley had been under a developmental contract to WWE since 2011, the highlight of which was a Florida Tag Team Championship reign with Brad Maddox. He was shifted to the role of backstage interviewer for NXT last June, though would still continue to compete. However, he lost the majority of his matches from that point on.
Sakamoto was paired with Tensai last year before being demoted to developmental in November. Having been trained by Taka Michinoku at his Kaientai Dojo wrestling school in Japan, he joined WWE’s developmental system in 2011.
According to sources, at least two additional names are expected to be revealed as being no longer under contract to WWE. Despite more releases being rumored, nothing is confirmed as of this writing. We’ll keep you posted when we hear more.
Here is a video of the four talents who were fired eating lunch together today: