WWE loves releasing people, especially at this time of year. Whether it’s long-time stars who’ve run their course or recent signings that didn’t work out, no one is safe from Vince McMahon’s annual “spring cleaning,” and you just have to ask men like Damien Sandow and Wade Barrett to know that’s the truth. For whatever reason, a WWE superstar can find themselves being released and looking for work; for some, this is a blessing in disguise, but, for others, it can mean the end of a lifelong dream and a downward spiral. On that cheery note, let’s take a look at 15 people who could get fired over the next few weeks, shall we? God, I’m cruel.
15 Gran Metalik
I looked up what “Gran Metalik” means in Spanish; it means nothing at all. Sorry to disappoint.
Gran Metalik, real name unknown, made his name in WWE by reaching the final of the very first Cruiserweight Classic back in the summer of 2016. On his way to the final, he put on some amazing matches with the likes of Zack Sabre Jr., Tajiri and Akira Tozawa and his battle with TJ Perkins (I refuse to call him TJP) was one of the tournament’s best.
However, since then, Metalik has done precisely nothing with his time on the main roster. He was in the very first cruiserweight match on Raw, losing a Fatal 4-Way number one contender’s match in September, and then wasn’t seen on TV until February 2017. You’re not Brock Lesnar, Metalik, that sort of thing won’t pass. With the Cruiserweight division just finding its feet on Raw, expect a few of the CWC competitors to get the chop over the coming weeks as WWE try and get back to basics with the division; including one half of the very first Cruiserweight Classic final. Ah well, at least if he is fired, he can just take the mask off and no one will be able to shame him.
14 Curt Hawkins
I’m pretty sure Curt Hawkins doesn’t work for the WWE anymore. He’s just some crazy man who keeps turning up and no one can make him leave.
Hawkins returned to the WWE in 2016 after a two-year absence and was hyped up pretty well for someone whose first run was average at best. He was promoted with a series of Chuck Norris-style facts that were half-amusing, half-cringe inducing and, when he did debut, he was given the gimmick of “I refuse to perform”, which is... great? He lost his first match back in about ten seconds and has proceeded to play super jobber ever since. Should have just stayed with Grimm’s Toy Show, Curt.
Hawkins is very expendable right now and the only thing saving him is the fact that he was only rehired about six months ago. Now on the Raw brand, Curt will most likely become even more lost in the shuffle than he was on the smaller SmackDown and, when the time comes to start saving money, expect the Hawkman to be one of the first to go. Now there’s a fact for you.
13 Aiden English
How can one human being be so pale? It’s scary.
Aiden English has come a long way since his time in NXT, but, unfortunately, that long way has been going down rather than up. English found success in developmental as one half of The Vaudevillains alongside Simon Gotch. It was here they won the NXT Tag Team Championships and earned somewhat of a cult following. Then they were called up to the main roster the night after WrestleMania... oh, wait, no, it was the SmackDown after WrestleMania 32. Back when SmackDown was a completely pointless show. Oh dear.
The Vaudevillains were rarely ever used on TV and, when they were, it was never in a good way. Things went from bad to unemployed for Gotch when he was released earlier this year, so expect the WWE to follow suit with his former partner. Rumours did circulate for a while of an English singles push on WWE TV, but, sadly, those rumours turned out to be false when one of English’s first solo appearances ended with him running out of the ring crying. Still, the man can hold a tune, so I suppose there’s always that to fall back on.
12 Bo Dallas
When every other former NXT Champion does well for themselves on the main roster, you do have to wonder where the fault lies.
As harsh as that opening statement was, I do have a weird soft spot for Bo Dallas. His goofy, annoying heel character did actually make me hate him, so, as a bad guy, he certainly achieved his objective. However, his other objective – of being a successful wrestler – has somewhat gone unachieved to this point. Since he arrived on the main roster in 2014, Bo has had one of the worst win-loss records of any WWE wrestler and has had no interesting storylines. Combined with his average look and ability and Dallas has firmly solidified his place as just another face in the background.
Dallas has a lot of connections with the WWE (his grandfather is Hall of Famer Blackjack Mulligan, his dad is Irwin R. Schyster and his brother is Bray Wyatt), so firing him might be a little difficult, but there is definitely no doubt that WWE wouldn’t suffer too greatly without him. He’s not been seen on TV for months now and, amongst the current crop of top tier superstars, Bo sadly just doesn’t cut it. And you can Bo-lieve that.
11 Curtis Axel
No! Not my precious Ax man!
I love Curtis Axel, okay, and I don’t care who knows it. The man is hilarious; his Axel-Mania gimmick in 2015 was beautiful and him ranting about not being eliminated from the Royal Rumble was pure genius. I even liked the Meta Powers – there, I said it. He’s also pretty talented too and was over with a certain percentage of the fans. That percentage all lived in Minnesota, but it’s still something.
Sadly for the former Intercontinental and Tag Team Champion (look it up), he too hasn’t been seen in a long while and hasn’t been used effectively since the aforementioned Axelmania. Axel to me seems like one of the very talented performers who, sadly, slipped through the cracks in WWE and it would not surprise me in the slightest if he was wished all the best in his future endeavours very soon. If he is, however, I will more than happily pay him to just follow me around all day – such is my love for Curtis.
10 Sin Cara
I would make a joke about botches, but I feel like that’s been done. A lot.
Sin Cara in his current incarnation has been with the WWE for about four years now. Since Jorge Arias, the former Hunico, took up the character of Sin Cara, he hasn’t really achieved all that much, save for a run with the NXT Tag Team Championships and an appearance in the Intercontinental Championship ladder match at WrestleMania 32. Other than that, it’s been squashes and botches, unfortunately. Dammit, I mentioned the botches! I’m so cliche.
Whilst Arias has worked for the WWE for a number of years now and it would cruel to let him go, his character isn’t really going anywhere. He could be repackaged, but he never really set the world on fire as Hunico, which would probably put WWE off this idea. A competent wrestler hampered with bad storylines and lack of direction, Jorge Arias sadly looks to be going the way of his predecessor. Expect “the faceless one” to become “the jobless one” fairly soon.
9 Darren Young
So much for making him great again.
Darren Young has had plenty of opportunities to make a name for himself. He debuted as a part of The Nexus in 2010, a white-hot stable that, sadly, fell victim to a terrible disease known as “John Cena.” He would later find success as one half of The Prime Time Players with Titus O’Neil and was even awarded a run with the WWE Tag Team Championships in 2015. Sadly, this was the only success Young would have on the main roster and his disastrous feuds with Titus and pairing with Bob “I Can’t Even Take Off My Own Shirt Without Looking Like a Total Moron” Backlund have been some of the worst TV WWE has produced in years. And that’s saying something.
The fact that Young has been given countless chances to succeed and failed will definitely work against him when management are considering who to fire. He’s already been off TV for a while due to injury, which is always a killer when it comes to this time of year, and there really isn’t a place for him on WWE TV anymore. Even Titus has moved on, although don’t tell Apollo Crews that, he might get jealous.
8 Mark Henry
I can explain this one.
Mark Henry has been a staple of WWE TV for the last 20 years. From his original run in the '90s as the happy-go-lucky babyface to his time in the Nation of Domination to his acclaimed “Hall of Pain” run in 2011, Henry has done a lot with the company. However, he always felt like he never really lived up to his potential. Yes, he is a former World Heavyweight Champion and yes, his “Sexual Chocolate” gimmick gave a lot of fans fond, if somewhat creepy, memories in the Attitude Era, but Henry has never really become the monster main eventer he could have been. As he turns 46 in June, Henry is well past his prime, so perhaps it’s time for him to move onto something else besides wrestling.
Similar to what happened with Christian last year, Henry will most likely be released as a performer, but kept on in a backstage or ambassadorial role. Christian’s contract means he presents a show on the WWE Network and there’s every chance we could see Henry do something like this, as he’s a pretty charismatic, recognisable guy. With no real reason to remain an active wrestler, Mark Henry might be getting released soon, but don’t worry, everyone’s favourite power-lifting, old-lady-seducing, hand-producing superstar will probably be around for years to come.
7 Big Show
WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL, this is basically the same as the Mark Henry entry. Spoilers.
Big Show’s last couple of months with the WWE have been pretty sad. He got into amazing shape, put on some pretty decent matches with Braun Strowman and earned back a lot of respect from the fans, all whilst believing he would be having a marquee match with Shaquille O’Neal at WrestleMania 33. Sadly, for one reason or another, this match never happened and Show had to be content with a spot in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal instead. And nobody deserves that. Not even Mojo Rawley.
Show’s been a WWE employee since 1999, so, if he is released, it will most likely be just as an active wrestler. Similar to Christian in 2016, Show could find a place elsewhere in the WWE machine; a coach at the Performance Centre, a producer, hell, I bet he’d make a great member of the ring crew. Can you imagine how much he’d be able to carry?
6 Percy Watson
Where did Percy Watson come from? I’m not angry, just confused.
The three-man commentary booth is a scourge on pro wrestling. There’s a reason WWE’s most famous commentators have usually come in pairs – Jesse Ventura and Gorilla Monsoon, Monsoon and Bobby Heenan, JR and King, Michael Cole and Tazz, etc. –, because the two man formula is a rock solid one. Introducing a third person crowds the booth and often leaves either too many voices at once, or one person being left out. Both Raw and SmackDown are afflicted by this curse, but, for a long time, NXT was a safe haven for the commentary duo. That was, until Percy Watson came along.
Watson joined the commentary team of Tom Phillips and Corey Graves in late-2016 and remains a voice on the yellow show alongside Phillips and Nigel McGuinness. Watson fills the role that Byron Saxton and David Otunga have on the main roster; very happy, very annoying uber-babyface commentator who adds nothing to the product and is often ridiculed. I think we can all agree this is not something we need and the team of Phillips and McGuinness would do a perfectly good job by themselves. I’d apologise to Percy but, to be honest, I don’t watch NXT enough anymore to have formed an emotional attachment to him. Oh well.
5 Eva Marie
To be honest, I’m amazed this hasn’t happened already.
It’s typical that, after years of being the worst thing to hit wrestling since the steroids scandal, Eva Marie only started getting good right before she disappeared off the face of the Earth. After a gimmick that saw her fake ridiculous situations to get out of wrestling started to pick up some serious heat, Marie was suspended for violating the Wellness Policy in August 2016 and has not been seen since. This is due to her filming the movie, Inconceivable, and signing onto a number of other film projects too, all whilst under WWE contact. Don’t expect Eva to win “Employee of the Month” any time soon.
Firing Eva Marie makes perfect sense; she’s technically on WWE’s payroll whilst also picking up cheques for her film work, so she must be proving a total logistical nightmare for WWE right now. It would be sad to see Eva go, however; you can’t say she wasn’t memorable and she had one of the most clearly defined characters on WWE TV, even if that character was just “boo magnet.” The current women’s division in WWE could have been a very different place if Eva had been around to be used, but I guess we’ll never know how “All Red Everything” would have panned out.
4 Summer Rae
Quite ironic in a way; I think the last time we saw this performer was actually last Summer.
Summer Rae made her WWE debut in 2013 as the valet and dance partner of Fandango, you know, back when he was an actual dancer and not... actually, I have no idea what he is now. Never mind. She soon became her own act, feuding with the likes of Paige, AJ Lee and Bayley (in NXT). She was taken out of action some time last year (I’m not 100% sure on the details) and hasn’t been seen since. She has, however, made some comments about the company on social media, which is always a good way to get back on TV. Always.
Summer Rae is by no means a bad performer, but she doesn’t exactly fit the mould WWE are trying to establish for their female superstars. She’s very much a “Diva” and they have no real place anymore, so Summer would be an easy way to save the company some money during the Spring Clean. Summer definitely has potential, but, sadly, I don’t think the company sees her this way. The time has probably come for Summer to take her final dance, and that is a crying shame.
3 Buddy Murphy
Hands up who forgot this guy was ever successful.
Buddy Murphy actually holds a place in WWE history. When he and his tag team partner, Wesley Blake, defeated The Lucha Dragons in January 2015 to become NXT Tag Team Champions (again, hands up), Murphy became the first Australian to ever hold a title with the WWE. Not too bad, eh, mate?
Sadly, this was to be the first and only success Murphy would have in NXT. Blake and Murphy lost the titles to The Vaudevillains at TakeOver: Brooklyn and, in a very rare move, remained on NXT, rather than getting called up to the main roster. Nearly two years on and both men are still in developmental and neither are doing very well. Which brings me nicely onto...
2 Wesley Blake
At least they’ll go out together, I suppose.
Yes, the other half of Blake and Murphy (more specifically, the “Blake” half) has also been fairly unsuccessful since his team lost the NXT Tag titles in 2015. In fact, he was off TV for a number of months, only recently reappearing to confront Drew McIntyre backstage. Whether this leads to a feud or not is still unclear, but I think it’s safe to say this is the last thing WWE fans want to see. Just put 3MB back together and be done with it, ok.
Blake and Murphy are the only former NXT Tag Team Champions to have not been called up to the main roster (except Gargano and Ciampa, but they literally only just lost the belts) and this is extremely worrying. The fact that the company who decided to make them champions have no faith in their abilities on the main roster, or indeed in bigger feuds in NXT, shows that WWE just do not know what to do with these two, so expect them to be sent packing very quickly. At least Buddy Murphy has Alexa Bliss to go home to. Seriously, how did this happen? And why couldn’t it happen to me?
Paige is an extremely talented, extremely unique character in the world of pro wrestling. She broke the mould for the typical female competitor in WWE when she arrived on the main roster in 2014, quickly capturing the Divas Championship in her very first match. She could even be seen as a precursor to the “Divas Revolution,” putting on amazing matches in NXT with the likes of Emma, Summer Rae and Sasha Banks. At such a young age, Paige had already captured the attention of the wrestling world and looked set to make a name for herself. Sadly, she accomplished this, but through very different means.
Whether it was her string of injuries, leaked sex tapes, outbursts on social media or relationship with Alberto Del Rio, Paige got a lot of negative attention from a variety of sources and was not afraid to express her opinions on WWE. The situation with Paige is very complicated; she’s currently injured and it’s considered bad practice to fire someone whilst they are hurt and WWE Studios just entered a partnership with The Rock to make a movie about Paige’s life, so it would be foolish for them to fire her just as this film was being made. However, if she keeps turning up at Impact tapings and letting her boyfriend badmouth the company, then WWE may not be Paige’s house for very long. And that is very, very sad.
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