WWE Releases Popular Superstars, From Samoa Joe to Billie Kay, Days After ‘WrestleMania’
Days after WrestleMania, WWE has let go of a number of popular superstars from its roster, with budget cuts reportedly the reason for the ousters. The April 15 releases also come a year to the day after the company laid off wrestlers due to the pandemic.
News broke on WWE’s social media and website as the names trickled into timelines. Samoa Joe, Billie Kay, Mickie James, Chelsea Green, Tucker, Kalisto, Wesley Blake, Peyton Royce, Kalisto, Mojo Rawley, and Bo Dallas were among those given the unfortunate news.
Perhaps the most shocking was Samoa Joe, who while recovering from injuries received rave reviews as a broadcaster Monday nights on Raw and pay-per-view. Another surprise was Kay of SmackDown, who had just teamed with Carmella over the weekend in the women’s tag team turmoil match at WrestleMania, WWE’s biggest show of the year.
James, a veteran who was in the middle of her second stint with the company, had helped behind the scenes and was part of broadcasts including the NXT TakeOver kickoff shows.
One of the victims of 2020’s WWE roster cleaning, Matt Cardona [Zack Ryder], tweeted words of encouragement for his fiancee Green, who was injured on her first night on SmackDown a few months ago and was gearing up for a return to the ring. Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful tweeted that he was told that John Laurinaitis in talent relations was calling the wrestlers, citing budget cuts as the reason for the release.
Below, just a sampling of the reaction to the news on Twitter.
I'm told John Laurinaitis has been making the calls to talent and citing budget cuts as the reason for the WWE releases
— Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com (@SeanRossSapp) April 15, 2021
Support has been pouring onto social media for those now on the market, pending if they have a 90-day no-compete clause or not in their contracts. With Impact Wrestling, All Elite Wrestling, Major League Wrestling, National Wrestling Alliance, and Ring of Honor producing shows in the States, there could be a bidding war when it comes to a number of the names available.
How do you drop the ball on SAMOA JOE?!?!? How?! Injuries aside, what a mistake.
— Renee Paquette (@ReneePaquette) April 15, 2021
— TUCKy (@tuckerwwe) April 15, 2021
Be well. pic.twitter.com/AvRsVYYmup
— Samoa Joe (@SamoaJoe) April 15, 2021
WWE has come to terms on the release of Peyton Royce.
— WWE (@WWE) April 15, 2021
History has shown, of course, that this is far from the end of the road for some of these famous faces. Those on the chopping block in 2020, including Impact women’s champ Deonna Purrazzo, have been thriving elsewhere. And look at Drew McIntyre, who was let go in 2014 only to return for a second run where he is now WWE champion — proof there can be a light at the end of the tunnel.
Whose release was most shocking to you? Let us know in the comments below.