Assessing the Damage & Future of WWE’s Recently Released Superstars


April 15th strikes again. For the second year in a row, WWE released a number of employees on this particular day.

There is a lot to unpack here for a lot of different reasons, many of which we have no answers to and may never find out why.

Let’s break down each of the released stars and the overall idea, speculation on what led to this point and where they may end up going forward.

Why Release People?

We’re told this was a budget issue. Does anyone else find that strange, considering WWE’s continued record profits and massive Peacock deal?

After a while, doesn’t that stop being the go-to excuse and the real reason is revealed? Are we going to have to wait until a future episode of Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard to hear what really went on?

John Laurinaitis was just hired for a talent relations management role. Was he brought on with this upcoming “spring cleaning” in mind to be the bad guy who dropped the hammer? Is he not at all involved? Hell, for that matter, was this his idea in the first place?

With all this, we don’t know. But what we do know is that it’s awful to hear that the excuse people are losing their job is because “the company isn’t making enough money and we have to let you go to make up some of the costs” when each quarter, WWE says “look at all the extra money we made in comparison to the last time!”

What About Downsizing, Then?

Sometimes, people leave because “creative has nothing”—a statement I think is horrendous, as it’s your job as a writer to think of something, and given the amount of repetition going on in WWE these days, the very least you can do is go through the rolodex more often and revolve names around so it’s more refreshing and not just use the same names over and over. No excuse. Give me 20 minutes and I can probably think of a program for everyone in the company to work with, and I’m sure others can do the same.

But if we take WWE at its word that this is a cost-cutting thing, surely, wouldn’t it make more sense to cut costs in other ways?

For example, 205 Live does cost money to produce. It’s nowhere near as costly as Raw or SmackDown, but then again, it also doesn’t earn as much money in return. Wouldn’t it make more sense to cut that show that relatively few people watch?

WWE’s response would probably be some company-speak way to beat around the bush, but the ultimate reality would be “No. We are a content creation business at the moment and we prioritize quantity of programming hours, rather than quality of our entertainment product. A whole extra show for 30 minutes a week that is cheap to produce and yields little revenue, if any, or operates at a loss, is okay, because we’re pumping out those hours and all we have to do is get rid of someone’s contract like Samoa Joe and that’ll save us a chunk of change.”

I don’t think WWE needs 9-10 hours of programming a week on top of all the other stuff like YouTube, the WWE Network shows, etc. Do you?

Why April 15th?

I’m very, very curious about this now that it’s happened twice. April 15th must be a particular day revolving around taxes, quarterly income reports or contracts expiring.

For this to be April 15th in 2020 and 2021 means it isn’t the day of the week in terms of Wednesday/Thursday, but the day of the week for the middle of the month.

It’s right after WrestleMania, both times around. Maybe that’s just a coincidence and their plan is to always cut people post-Mania to “get through the busy season” and then say “thanks, see ya” to anyone who is expendable.

If we see April 15, 2022 go down as another day like this, it’ll be confirmation something is afoot with that particular day and it’s either the cut-off point where contracts roll over, there’s a stock exchange reason for it, it involves taxes or it’s something with reporting income for the next quarterly report.

The IIconics

Billie Kay’s release shocked me. I had Peyton Royce down on my watch list for someone who could leave soon, but Kay was someone I thought might stick around, even though there was a good chance she could leave with Royce. Announcing Kay first and waiting a while for Royce to be released was a weird time.

They’re a package deal. They don’t have to be, but they might as well stick together. After all, they’re a tag team, best friends, practically sisters. Why wouldn’t they want to, if they could?

WWE’s loss. Both had so much more to offer. Kay was just at WrestleMania, so you can’t even say she wasn’t being used at all, like Royce.

With Royce’s husband, Shawn Spears, being in AEW, I’d assume that’s a much easier road to navigate to go there, if Tony Khan and the powers that be are open for bringing them in. They should, too. AEW can’t hire everyone, but the women’s division could certainly use KC Cassidy and Jessie McKay or whatever names they’d want to go under.

You gotta be jokin’ me.

Bo Dallas

This felt like a long time coming. Bo Dallas hadn’t been seen in over a year and he’d been a jobber most of his career, anyway.

I made a pitch several times that I thought he could have been a fantastic addition to the Robert Stone Brand as a “big acquisition” since he’s a former NXT champion. There, he could have either played a continuation of his comedic character, or, he could have restored his credibility and been a bigger fish in a smaller pond.

Where does he go from here? Maybe nowhere. He could just be happy hanging out on the farm with Liv Morgan for all we know. Or, maybe he could have his pick of the feds. I could see him being freelance, bouncing around, doing some gigs for NWA, ROH, MLW and so on, more so than being AEW’s next big signing or hopping over to New Japan.

If he does land somewhere and sticks there, though, I’d say Impact Wrestling.

Chelsea Green

AEW or Impact. It’s got to be one of those two. Given Matt Cardona, Deonna Purrazzo and Brian Myers being more on the Impact side of things, I’d lean more in that direction.

Chelsea’s had a bad go. Every time WWE started to use her, she suffered an injury that set her back months. Give her a few weeks, or sometimes just one match, and poof, she’s gone again. Time and time again.

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