April 15th, everyone was on edge about WWE releases. The previous two years went by with massive so-called “budget cuts” and a lot of people gone from the company. Some folks like myself felt we weren’t out of the woods quite yet and that there would still be at least one, if not two rounds of releases prior to the upcoming investment call.
Lo and behold, that was right.
Today, WWE announced—no, scratch that, as WWE never announces these anymore, for whatever reason (likely trying to avoid bad publicity and taking the blame)—the releases of several Superstars from the NXT system.
As always with these, we don’t know for sure why everyone was let go. Some supposedly requested it. Others may have been blindsided and outright fired. There could have been behavioral issues or they could have been angels backstage. More than a few probably were seen as not progressing quickly enough to be worth the investment. At least one talent was likely let go for being “too old” for the youth movement. It’s all speculation until we find out anything for sure, which rarely ever happens.
However, what we can do is speculate on why these people are gone, where they might land next and just vent about our frustrations that WWE cast them aside.
So for the umpteenth edition, let’s do another round of breaking down the latest releases, hopefully for the last time.
Supposedly, Bivens was the one saying for a while that he didn’t want to stay in WWE. That would make him probably the only person on this list that chose to leave, instead of being fired, though that’s up in the air. Any number of other talent could have done the same.
The writing was on the wall. He was a manager, not a wrestler. WWE just does not appreciate that type of talent. They like it better when a wrestler plays double duty. That’s why you see MVP as a manager, LA Knight starting that role, Robert Stone is now Mr. Stone and hasn’t wrestled more than a handful of times, etc. They just view manager solo-acts as superfluous drains on the budget unless you’re someone like Paul Heyman who also helps on the creative side and has built up enough tenure to justify your existence.
This sucks for Diamond Mine. That faction has been cursed from the start. Out of all the original members that were supposed to make up the team, the only one remaining is Roderick Strong, who has seemingly had one foot out the door for months and should likely leave and go to AEW at the first chance possible. But now that Diamond Mine has lost their mouthpiece, and all remaining members are not great talkers, they need someone new to fill that void or each other member is going to be in danger. It’s probably best to just split everyone, let Ivy Nile be a separate act, wait for Strong’s impending departure and put The Creed Brothers with Mr. Stone, I guess.
At least Bivens himself will be fine. Stokely Hathaway will pop up in AEW, for sure. He’s far too over with this type of audience not to get snatched up and paired with someone on that roster that needs a manager. I know a lot of people want him to replace Mark Sterling and be with Jade Cargill, but I think Sterling does his part just fine. I’d like Hathaway to be with someone like Dante Martin or the group of extras who have no personality like Shawn Dean and Lee Johnson.
Talk about snoozing on someone who should have done much more for the company a long time ago. How did she not win the NXT Women’s Championship? Why is she not on the main roster? What the hell?
I can’t imagine she was released because they thought she was too old at 33, or that she wasn’t good enough. They’ve seen her wrestle. Maybe Vince McMahon just thought she didn’t have an interesting enough character or didn’t visually stand out enough to pique his curiosity. Then again, maybe she requested her release, knowing WWE wasn’t going to make her as big of a star as she could be elsewhere and didn’t want to waste her best years.
Dakota Kai is the biggest loss here in terms of overall talent, in my mind. She could have been on the Raw or SmackDown roster a long while back and had fit in immediately, heel or babyface.
She’s another person AEW needs to get immediately. The women’s division in All Elite Wrestling is still trying to find its groove and could use a lot more talented veterans like Kai to fill out the ranks. Whether she goes by Evie or something else, I’d love to see her team back up with Nixon Newell for Team Kick. If not AEW, that’s a team Impact Wrestling should make a major play for, particularly to replace the loss of The IInspiration.
Harland and Draco Anthony
Fuck Joe Gacy’s storylines, am I right? Yeesh. The guy had his big man bodyguard in Harland as the main person he had converted to his cult-like philosophy. Then, Draco Anthony was being groomed to be the next follower. Xyon Quinn told him he doesn’t have to listen to Gacy, and…poof. Both disappeared.
I had thought that was just to give Gacy more freedom for the Bron Breakker feud and they would pick up the Anthony and Harland stuff after Spring Breakin’. Instead, some random ass druids popped up to support Gacy and these guys are gone.
Why are there druids? Gacy’s gimmick is not that type of cult leader. He’s talking about having a safe space and embracing people’s trigger warnings and so on, not dragging their souls to Hell like The Undertaker.
Parker Boudreaux (Harland) looked like he could have been Brock Lesnar’s son. That pigeonholed him in some ways, but they shaved his head and changed his look to avoid that comparison. He only wrestled a few times, so I had no indication of whether he was halfway decent or not, but I guess they decided he wasn’t worth the time in training.
Anthony was a guy that looked like a million bucks, but didn’t wow me outside of his appearance. His promos were bland, but so many other people’s are, too, so I’m curious why they opted to axe him and some others stick around.
As far as where these two go, I would assume neither made a big enough impression to get a ton of attention elsewhere. It’s not like 30 days from now, Tony Khan is going to tease a major signing and Boudreaux will pop up on Dynamite as a huge deal.