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Major Cuts to WWE Roster yet Again—What this means for the Wrestling Industry and AEW

In the recent two years, WWE looks like it’s had its kidney tapped when it comes to their talent pool, every now and again releasing major members of their roster, along with their less-decorated athletes…these wrestlers flowing out of the company very much like an unneeded fluid.

Sorry to be so blunt, but it’s true. Recent releases over the last few months have shown Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman, Mercedes Martinez, Bronson Reed and so many others. Many of course left of their own volition, stars like Adam Cole and Bryan Danielson, but that wasn’t the end of it, it would seem.

In their most recent implosion, WWE has made their peace with the release of a massive amount of stars, according to a report at nypost.com, some with deep ties in the company. The message being sent to one and all: No one is safe.

WWE makes more massive cuts to roster

In a shocking turn of events, these wrestlers were all released in a recent announcement:

Nia Jax, Ember Moon, Franky Monet, Keith Lee, Karrion Kross, Gran Metalik, Lince Dorado, Mia Yim, Oney Lorcan, Scarlett Bordeaux, B-Fab of the Hit Row faction, Jessi Kamea, Zayda Ramier, Jeet Rama, Trey Baxter, Katrina Cortez, and unbelievably, Harry Smith (Davey Boy Smith Jr.), and even Eva Marie.

Two weren’t all that shocking to anyone paying attention: Karion Kross was buried by WWE creative, and he had a terrible time on the main roster, he having nothing to do with the horrible way he was being displayed. That was very clear…especially as properly he was showcased on NXT, where he had a little more say in the direction of his character apparently. He also had the bounty of knowledge that was the tandem of Triple H and Shawn Michaels to shoot ideas off of and learn from.

The other one that is not a shock at all, was Keith Lee, sadly. He already proved that he had a tough time with the schedule and he didn’t have the easiest time coming up either. While Dusty Rhodes was alive, Lee never made the cut, perhaps Dusty foreseeing that he would have had a tough time with the WWE schedule somehow; he seeing something that Triple H didn’t. He reportedly also had a problem with Lee’s microphone abilities. Lee spoke about this, as was reported at the time by sportskeeda.com:

“The aftermath was very much a ‘you’re not ready’, and Dusty letting me know quite frankly that I suck on the microphone. Sometimes opening my mouth and speaking is difficult for me. I just thought 2008 to be a good learning experience and something to grow from – and that’s exactly what it was.”

via Keith Lee

Lee was rejected multiple times by WWE, but finally did get the respect of Rhodes, he telling the young man: “Son, you’ve got a presence I can literally bask in.”

He was still rejected at that try-out, he signing with the company only in 2018, after Dusty passed in 2015; so Keith Lee was given a shot, and he did very well in NXT, but when it came to the main roster, he came up lagging, unfortunately. If Rhodes had anything to do with keeping Lee in the indies is still unclear, but if he did, perhaps he knew best in the end.

Ember Moon and Harry Smith

For me and others, the shocks are of course Ember Moon, who is a tremendous talent and the by-now legendary, as is Harry Smith, undoubtedly. He had a single dark match on SmackDown since being re-signed with the company after about a decade away. His career reads like that of an AJ Styles, and this is how he’s treated?! Not to mention he’s the son of the legendary British Bulldog!

via Defiant Wrestling /YouTube

This is just another example of how WWE creative doesn’t have a handle or workable knowledge of the stallions they have in their very own stable. To let these individuals go and keep some of the other roster members they have kept, makes no sense.

Vaccination issues?

Nia Jax has this stigma now attached to her about the vaccine (her unwilling to take it, apparently). The CFL, the NBA and so many other sports leagues went through this, and they handled it all without firing its athletes. There are other ways of dealing with a player or member of the roster that doesn’t want to get vaccinated…suspension without pay, etc. Firing should be the last option on the list, but it wasn’t for WWE if this is true to begin with, which leads many to believe that the anti-vaccine thing placed on Nia Jax quite suddenly, is just a way to excuse her release.

And she has a tremendous foothold in the company, she being part of the Anoa’i family…cousin to the Rock, the Usos, Tamina Snuka, and yes, even the head of the table himself, Roman Reigns. More proof that no one is safe.

The lot of wrestlers on this list of recent releases are talented individuals—some of them at the start of very promising careers and some smack dab at the center.

Karrion Kross—or Killer Kross, as he used to be known, had a great run at Impact and could return there. Ember Moon and Harry Smith are the golden nuggets in this crop of releases if you ask me, especially when looking at AEW. AEW is already super full and they can’t take everyone, but more on that in just s a second.

Ember Moon fits in very well with the women’s division in AEW and can do only wonders within their realm. One match I’d be super-interested in: Ember Moon vs. Jade Cargill and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

via Official Kicker /YouTube

Harry Smith belongs in AEW…Harry could possibly team up with Lance Archer once again; the two were a legendary tag team in NJPW and imagine what kind of hell the can unleash in AEW! I see many possibilities, as I’m sure you do too, dear readers.

Why the releases? Financial, if not because of vaccination issues?

It isn’t just so that they can pay Brock Lesnar, although that makes a pretty catchy headline, but that surely is not the case. And financial peril certainly cannot be stated as being the reason behind the cuts either—not anymore—as the company released its 3rd quarter earnings and they certainly went up:

“During the third quarter, we returned to live event touring with record average attendance, driving our better-than-expected performance,” said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman & CEO. “Even with only one large-scale international event due to COVID-19 related circumstances, we will exceed our previous financial guidance given the overall strength in each of our business lines. We think our performance highlights the strength of our brand globally and supports our belief that we are well-positioned to maximize the value of our content and drive long-term shareholder value.”

via WWE

According to a piece at pwtorch.com, in a digital sense, WWE did even better. Overall, they reported that they earned $255.8 million in the aforementioned 3rd quarter, which marks 15% better than last year’s 3rd quarter report earnings!

So if it isn’t the money and it isn’t the anti-vaccine issue, just what’s the problem? Is there more here than meets the eye?

AEW providing a new home for one and all?

As stated, AEW can’t take everyone, but there is a possibility that has been gaining steam in the old rumor mill recently.

Imagine the headline: AEW Purchases ROH!!

Now that would definitely be something special for the wrestling industry overall. ROH would still be around after nearly 20 years in the business, and AEW, in one fell swoop, would be able to have another brand in which to put wrestlers it would want to get ready for the main roster. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Oh yeah…NXT.

AEW would have its very own NXT that way, and a heck of a lot of talented individuals would have a place to wrestle. Now, we’re not talking about just another show, but a whole other brand, where the wrestlers segregated to that brand could wrestle exclusively for, very much like the aforementioned NXT.

Heck, they can even perhaps go head-to head with NXT and really give WWE something else to worry about. Maybe they have enough headaches for now, but it’s definitely a way to go.

via 411

ROH, or rather its parent company, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc., is currently millions in debt, and it looks like their planned return in April after releasing its very own entire roster of wrestlers, is getting further and further away and a whole lot less likely.

It’s always sad when these cuts happen; especially for those that immigrated to the US for the chance they got; what’s also sad is seeing legendary talents treated like puppets, their lives put on hold; their progress in the industry put on hold and they made a joke of, especially like that last gimmick of Karrion Kross’.

We hope to see them all again soon, wrestling the way they know how, and represented in the best possible light on a platform that treats them the way they deserve to be treated…all of them.

NEXT: Is Kyle O’Reilly AEW-Bound?—Moose on Impact’s Mount Rushmore

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