Tossing Salt Presents:
WWE Mass Firings: What’s Next
Part 1 of 2
April 16, 2020
This is Part 1 of 2 parts. I was going to do it in one sitting, but the list of names continues to grow and I don’t want this to be too long. So read this now and look for the next part coming tonight or in the morning. Thank you…
Yesterday was a very sad day for the WWE, many WWE talents, and wrestling in general. Due to major budget cuts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and not being able to run live shows, tour, etc, the WWE decided to clean house and release over thirty talents from their contracts. Some of these names, those who worked as “Producers” and “Agents” are not technically fired, but instead under furlough so when the business picks back up, they have jobs again, but for the stars of RAW, Smackdown, and NXT, it’s most likely the end of the line for this chapter of their lives and the time as a WWE Superstar has ended. They still have a ninety-day no-compete clause to finish out so the money is still coming in for at least the next three months, but after that, who knows what’s next?
And that is what I’m going to address now. I’m not worried about the agents or the trainers from the Performance Center because once the smoke clears and things get back to what passes as normal, they will probably be back at work under the WWE banner or else teaching and training future talents elsewhere. Also, there are so many of them that when added to the list of in-ring talents, it would make this piece way too long. NXT talents, I’m not going to touch either since, no offense to them, no one even knows who they are yet including myself and what’s the point. People in developmental come and go all the time and it’s rarely newsworthy.
But the main roster names and talents, those are the people who we, the fans, have invested our time into and enjoy seeing and watching perform their art each week. I want to look at each and discuss what the future may or may not hold for each talent, where they may show up next and what I would like to see them do. So are you ready? Let’s do this…
A WWE Hall of Famer who has retired from the ring, but has been working the past year or so backstage as a Producer, this one is shocking, but also kind of makes sense. Kurt is probably one of the higher-paid talents and while I’m confident that he brings a lot to the table, I don’t see him as essential to the WWE package. For Angle, I’m guessing a legends deal and a future of autograph signings and appearances. I hope that he doesn’t decide to try and wrestle again and I’m not sure, given the quality of his last few matches as an active performer, that anyone would be interested in him as an in-ring talent. As a personality and on-air talent, that’s another story though. He’s still Kurt Angle. Does anyone know if Impact Wrestling needs a Commissioner?
This one, along with Zack Ryder, surprised me. Heath has been with WWE for almost fifteen years and was the last remaining in-ring performer leftover from The Nexus that was still under a WWE contract. Well, they still have David Otunga, but he’s thankfully a bad announcer rather than still trying to wrestle. Heath was vastly underused by WWE and was capable of so much more than he was allowed to show. Still a very young man, I don’t think that Slater will be out of work for long. Slater as part of the “Best Friends” in AEW? It could happen, but I doubt it. I expect that we’ll see Heath work the Indy circuit for a while, maybe even MLW or ROH, show the world what he’s capable of and then, a couple of years from now, be back in WWE. Isn’t that what both of his 3MB partners did? Leave, learn, come back, and become WWE Champion? Slater will rebound quickly and keep working. For a man like this, the future is limitless and this release may end up being a blessing in disguise. But he’ll do fine and keep wrestling. He has no choice. He has kids after all.
Eric has been wasted since Day 1 of signing with WWE. How can a talent that made such an impact in TNA/Impact Wrestling be so ignored and misused by WWE? They just never got him or his character. Maybe a return to Impact Wrestling is what he needs? Young is a star but just hasn’t had the chance to show it recently. People have forgotten just how good he truly can be. I think a lot of people will be getting reminders very soon.
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
These two men were ready to leave a year ago and asked for their releases, but WWE didn’t want to do that and offered them the world and some big-dollar contracts to stick around and stay with WWE. And now, this? If you look up “what the hell?” in the dictionary, there may be a picture of these two men there. I can’t imagine that AJ Styles is too happy about this either. But I’m sure that Gallows & Anderson will be okay. They were trying to leave at one point so I’m sure that future bookings had already been talked about and they had a plan for what was next to come. Be it Japan or AEW, the future is likely very bright for these two men.
Curt had a good run this time around and I’m sure no regrets, but I’m pretty sure that he’s not surprised at getting cut by WWE. Hawkins will be okay though. He runs a very successful school called the “Create A Pro Wrestler Academy” along with newly released WWE Producer Pat Buck and was a regular throughout the North-Eastern Indy wrestling scene before coming back to WWE. Also, one of his best friends in real life is AEW wrestler Trent Baretta, aka Trent of the “Best Friends” so that may open a few doors for him as well.
Another very talented performer who has been sitting at home for far too long and has been asking for his release. It’s kind of strange that his lovely wife Lana is still under contract, but with her current story-line with Lashley needing to be wrapped up first, I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. Rusev, when allowed to be himself, was getting over with the fans big time. His “Rusev Day” schtick was on fire and WWE didn’t like it and he ended up being ignored and buried as a result. As soon as the non-compete is over, I think that we’ll most likely be seeing him on Wednesday nights on TNT. Maybe he’ll choose Impact or even ROH, but regardless, Rusev won’t be staying on the unemployment line for long. He’s going to go somewhere, make a huge impact and dare I say it, Rusev Crush! ‘Nuff said!
And talk about shockers. I always figured that Zack Ryder was one of those guys who would have a job for life at WWE. He’s been there nearly sixteen years if you can believe that and even though he’s never been a “top guy”, he’s always been a strong mid-card performer with a very strong and loyal fan base. He’s over like Grover and that’s a fact. Ryder is the man everyone likes and wants to see do well. And be it WWE or elsewhere, I’m sure that he will continue to do so. I didn’t realize how young Zack is, only thirty-four years old and he hasn’t even reached the prime of his career. So what’s next for Zack? His personality is his strongest point and I could see Ryder doing TV spots, appearances, and even television and comedy. A Matt Cardona stand-up show, telling stories about toys, action figures, and his life in the WWE? I’d like to see it. A book maybe? That could be cool too for the former Edge-head. And as for wrestling, if the tweet by Cody Rhodes about his friend Zack is any indication, I don’t think that he’ll be out of work or off television for too long. WWE had a gem that they refused to let shine. I doubt that others will make the same mistake. Woo woo woo – you know it.
And that concludes Part 1. For the rest of the main roster releases, keep your eyes open and I’ll be back later today or in the morning to discuss the former WWE talents and what the future may or may not hold for them. Look for it.
And with that, I’m out of here for now. Thank you for reading. Any thoughts, comments or questions, please feel free and drop me a line. I can be reached here at the site in the comment section, at my e-mail address of Doug28352@yahoo.com or on Twitter at @Doug28352. Follow me. I follow back. Until the next time, take care of yourself and stay safe. Have a great week and I’ll see you on the flip side.
[…] This is Part 2 of 2 parts. I was going to do it in one sitting, but the list of names continues to grow and I don’t want this to be too long. If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, you can do it here. https://dougmaynard.com/2020/04/16/wwe-mass-firings-whats-next-part-1-of-2/ […]