I think WWE is going to be a “channel” in the new regime, so to speak. Their partnership with NBC goes back a long way and they’re on Peacock now as a test, in my mind. Maybe WWE Network even separates, so you’d have to spend $5 on Peacock for The Office and such, $5 for WWE, etc.
It wouldn’t shock me if all this is to maximize the pure numbers value of WWE for the people who aren’t going to look at the quality of the entertainment (aka, the other bean counters) and will just look at “the company assets” like the hours of content (which people are stockpiling as if it’s actual stock, which is insane in this market in its own right because everyone is just into investments they think will make them right post-pandemic). Then, Comcast will come along, offer to buy WWE and they’ll sell.
What About the Talent?
Let’s shift the focus on to the men and women who were released. As mentioned, it’s obviously awful and any decent person doesn’t wish this on anyone. You shouldn’t be happy to see someone lose their jobs. Granted, you might be happy they’re free to go elsewhere and explore their creativity, wrestle some other people and so on, but it’s one thing to be hopeful their talents won’t be wasted and another to be glad they got fired.
Santana Garrett – It’s baffling they supposedly had a bunch of ideas for her to come up to the main roster, barely used her in NXT, and then released her. You thought she was worth investing in and put that effort into the ideas, but you still let her go? Or did you not have much faith in her and those were last-ditch effort type of ideas?
I assume she goes to Impact Wrestling, works the indies, pops up on AEW Dark/Elevation, etc. Maybe she even goes to NWA. It’s a shame she never got a foothold in WWE.
Buddy Murphy – I’d anticipate Murphy requested his release, in so many words. He’d been floundering for a long time. Without Paul Heyman’s support, this past year has been rough. His partnership with Seth Rollins fizzled out. The storyline with Aalyah was terrible and dropped like a lead weight. Then, he just did nothing.
Murphy’s going to bounce back strong. I feel it. He’s a great worker who could go to New Japan, ROH, NWA, Impact, AEW or work the indies and hone his craft even more. I’m getting Juice Robinson vibes, basically, where he wasn’t a big deal in WWE, but he’s going to be a much bigger star elsewhere.
Lana – It was weird that Lana didn’t leave alongside Rusev. For a year or so, Miro was out of WWE and Lana stuck around, where she was one of the most featured women in the division.
Now, poof. Gone. I guess her contract was too high. Maybe there wasn’t much of a chance for her to grow.
Ultimately, I think this will be a good thing for her. She clearly has lots of interests and avenues she can go down. Acting, modeling, social media influencing and so many other things have been and will be on her checklist. CJ Perry will also bounce back well and may leave wrestling altogether and be even happier about it. Hell, she might want to start a family and can do it since she won’t be bumping in the ring.
I don’t think she joins the AEW women’s division. Actually, I don’t think she goes anywhere. I’d imagine her time wrestling is over and if she does show up, it might be as a supporting character in AEW just for the sake of it, but not as a true member of the roster. Think less Penelope Ford and more Eric Bischoff.
Ruby Riott – Heidi Lovelace needs to join the AEW roster. Absolutely. They need women with her level of experience, talent and name recognition.
It’s great to have young rookies you can train up, but as has shown, you can’t build a division around that. Tesha Price could be the best thing to happen to the division in years, but she’s not there yet to be that top woman right now.
The minute her contract is up, Riott should be snatched up and brought in as a challenger for Dr. Britt Baker. She’d be a believable contender and a great asset to the roster.
This will be good for her if that happens. Despite the downside of leaving her friends and the comfort of a cushier WWE gig, AEW could be a better platform for her talents.
Aleister Black – Likewise with Riott. Every bit of it. I fully expect Tommy End to pop up in AEW, possibly alongside Thea Trinidad (or they can both be signed and not partnered up on screen).
He’s too good to be ignored. Every promotion is going to want to get him. Out of all the options, AEW fits the bill the best, in my opinion. I can’t imagine he’s better suited for NWA, for example.
Tommy End will be a name the AEW audience will go nuts for and he’ll look like a “big get” without being worth a contract the size of a Hulk Hogan in 1993.
Braun Strowman – Supposedly, he had a $1 million contract that they were in negotiation about. My assessment may be way off, but I’m imagining a scenario where Vince McMahon likes him and this was a legitimate budget thing where they couldn’t come to terms. Strowman might want to do more bodybuilding, focus on his mental health (which he’s talked a lot about recently) and even get into something like acting, and would have stuck around if the price was right, but WWE could have been trying to low-ball him and they can’t see eye-to-eye, so they parted ways.
I’m also imagining a scenario where a year or two, maybe three, and Strowman’s returned to WWE. I actually don’t think he’s going to wrestle for anyone else in the meantime, either. This doesn’t strike me as a Drew McIntyre situation where he’s going to reconnect with his passion for wrestling, retool himself and come back stronger. Strowman isn’t someone who grew up idolizing the business in that same way, so he isn’t using that as his driving force.
Plus, he’s already accomplished practically everything. He’s a Triple Crown champion who won the Greatest Royal Rumble, Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, and Money in the Bank. Maybe he even feels fulfilled, at least for now.
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