The WWE is known for releasing its talent on a regular basis, while other talents are known to just up and leave. In 2010, there were no fewer than 50 superstars released, or who departed, from the show. Whether it was developmental talent or from the main roster, some of them ended a storyline and then left while others disappeared from the sport without a trace. Since all of us have gotten a pink slip at some point in our lives, it comes as no surprise to fans that the WWE has handed out a few of their own over the years. Some of the talent that was let go has since returned, some will, of course, return in the future and some will never be heard from again.
Talent has been let go for a variety of reasons over the years from violating the company’s wellness policy to behavior problems and from cut backs in the company to the creative team just having nothing for them to do. 2010 seemed to be a year full of releases and departures, with 35 talents from the main roster and 19 developmental talents leaving. A whopping 14 Divas left, with 10 of them being from the main roster as well. Below you will find 15 of the WWE wrestlers that left in 2010, including a glimpse into where they are now.
Carlos Edwin Colon Jr, aka Carlito, wrestled for the WWE in the 2000s and had a promising but truly short career. Said to be a lot like the late and legendary Rowdy Roddy Piper, Carlito cut great promos and had a heel storyline that kept the fans incredibly entertained for quite a while. He had a strong family background in wrestling and was often compared to The Rock for that very reason. It’s still not completely clear what it was that derailed the promising Carlito’s career, but he did ask to be released from the company in 2007. He was talked into staying, but was then released on May 21st, 2010 when he refused to enter a rehab facility following some wellness violations. Carlito was last said to be wrestling in the WWC and won the WWC Universal Championship in September of 2016.
Alvin Burke Jr., better known as Montel Vontavious Porter in WWE, was released from the WWE on December 2nd, 2010. While MVP had a ton of talent, he just never could seem to break through the glass ceiling in the WWE to truly reach the top of his game. He was a long running United States Champion but never quite had what it took to make it to the top, though he did have the chance at a couple of title shots and a few Money in the Bank appearances as well. After a losing streak that lasted half a year, which further damaged his career, MVP did very little before being released from the company, though neither MVP or the company would admit to being unhappy. MVP headed over to New Japan Pro Wrestling and then ended up in TNA as a title contender. In March 2016, the wrestler announced that he was heading to Lucha Underground However, shortly after he announced that he had already been released from the company for violating the terms of his contract by interviewing some of their wrestlers on his podcast.
11 Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan, the leader of the extremely popular YES! movement, almost didn’t make it to the spot he finds himself in now. The day when he would main event WrestleMania or ever come close to winning a world title was nothing but a dream back in 2010 and almost stayed that way when the popular superstar was released on June 11th, 2010 for a whole lot of violence in the workplace. The then-NXT rookie made the mistake of choking Justin Roberts with a tie on national TV when The Nexus invaded Raw. This much violence was a little too much for the WWE Universe and WWE had to let him go after being pressured by their sponsors. Evidently the release didn’t stick, as the much loved superstar returned to become a mega star and is now married to the ever popular Brie Bella, while also serving as the general manager of SmackDown Live as well. Dare we say, “YES! YES! YES!”
10 Shelton Benjamin
Shelton James Benjamin was a force to be reckoned with in the WWE during his time there, along with his partner Charlie Haas. Together they set the ring on fire night after night and the fans loved them. Even after he went solo, Shelton Benjamin managed to thrill the fans at Money in the Bank and Royal Rumble matches alike. No one understood why he couldn’t make it in the WWE, though a momma’s boy storyline in 2006 got a lot of the blame. Even after being moved to ECW and being resold as The Gold Standard, Shelton just no longer had what it took and was released on April 22nd, 2010. He would then go wrestle in numerous promotions like New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring of Honor. The Gold Standard wasn’t done with the WWE however and was resigned in 2016. However, he is out with an injury at the moment, leading to him being released again, though he said he will return to Smackdown Live as soon as he is cleared.
9 Mike Knox
Michael Hettinga, better known as Mike Knox, was a great rising talent when he joined the WWE as a young, big man. He had an ongoing and interesting feud with CM Punk in ECW, then was moved up to the roster on RAW and SmackDown. His shining moment seemed to be in a match at No Way Out in 2009, where he competed in an Elimination Chamber match for the World Heavyweight Championship. After that, the writers couldn't find anything to do with him, but put him in battle royals, not truly showcasing his talents at all. In the end, Knox was released from the company on April 22nd, 2010. He quickly headed over to TNA, where he wrestled under the name Knux, though he didn't acheive much more than he did in WWE . He recently signed with the Inoki Genome Federation.
10. Luke Gallows
Andrew “Drew” Hankinson, AKA Luke Gallows, AKA Festus, was released from the WWE on November 19th, 2010. He was one of a few superstars that was released on that day, though there was no particular reason given, though it seems as though they just had nothing to do with him. He went on to appear on many wrestling circuits, including being a part of the Bullet Club with A.J. Styles. It wasn’t until 2016 that Gallows made a reappearance in the WWE as Luke Gallows, along with his tag team partner Karl Anderson. Today, he is making his presence known in the WWE by teaming with Anderson to try and take out the long-time tag team champions, New Day. He also teamed with Anderson to help A.J. Styles defeat John Cena.
8 Charlie Haas
Charlie Haas became a hit in WWE in the early 2000s while tagging with partner Shelton Benjamin as a part of Team Angle. The two came onto the scene on Smackdown in 2002 and took the WWE Universe by storm for a good while. It is rumored that Haas was released by WWE on February 28th, 2010 because he refused to wrestle with an injury when the doctors cleared him for action. It is also rumored that neither Haas or the company were happy with their working relationship. In March of 2013, Charlie Haas announced his retirement from wrestling completely after wrestling on the independent circuit for a few years. However, he still does work for promotions in his home state. Haas also opened a business called Custom Muscle in Frisco, Texas, but it's since closed.
7 Chris Jericho
Christopher Keith Irvine, better known by his ring name Chris Jericho, has been a staple of the WWE since the late 1990s. He has been in and out of the WWE all of those years with his first departure coming in the early 2000s. Jericho has a lot of irons in the fire so to speak, from his wrestling career to podcasting to touring with his band Fozzy. He left the WWE for the second time on September 20th, 2010 to work on different pursuits. His band Fozzy released an album earlier that year entitled Chasing the Grail and they were going to tour it.
Today, Jericho is back in full force and pushing talent in the WWE as Kevin Owens' best friend on Raw.
6 Gregory Helms
Gregory Shane Helms, aka The Hurricane, began his wrestling career at the tender age of 16. Helms finally made his way to WWE in the early 2000s, experiencing his greatest success as The Hurricane and engaging in entertaining backstage segments with The Rock.
The WWE always knew that Helms had a reputation as a partier, but didn’t worry too much about it, until he was seen on Twitter bragging about a party at his house with a TNA wrestler, Christopher Daniels. Daniels' was then caught driving under the influence close to Helms' house. This finally resulted in Helms being let go from the WWE.
Today, Helms is part of Impact Wrestling where he managed The Helms Dynasty, which consists of him, Andrew Everett, Marshe Rockett and Trevor Lee.
Maria Louise Bennett (Kanellis), started her WWE career as a backstage interviewer and quickly became one of the loved Divas of the era. Her being let go from the WWE on February 26th, 2010 was quite a shock to the WWE Universe, since she had just been voted Diva of the Year in 2009. She told friends and family that she was blindsided and totally shocked by the news of her release. It is said that the release was due to an interview where that said she wasn’t sure how long she would stay with the WWE, because one day she wanted to pursue outside interests and eventually have kids.
After being released, she completely reinvented herself by accompanying her boyfriend, Mike Bennett, to the ring, making him one of the biggest acts in Ring of Honor. Today, Maria she's on Impact Wrestling with her (now) husband, Mike Bennett, though she recently announced she's going to be leaving wrestling soon. We wish her well!
4 Matt Hardy
Matt Hardy entered wrestling with his little brother Jeff 1994, but they only started to win the hearts of fans everywhere in the late 90s, with their risky move-set and lovable personas. Over the years, the Hardy brothers have come and gone in the WWE, but the fans have always loved them. In 2010, during a match, the often overlooked older brother turned on Jeff, starting a storyline where the two were pitted against one another. Later in 2010, it seemed that Matt was dissatisfied with his role on the WWE and started posting messages on Twitter and some stuff on You Tube saying that he wanted out of the WWE. The superstar got his wish on October 15th, 2010, when the company let him go.
Today, Matt is going strong in TNA, with his "Broken" Matt gimmick being the hottest thing in wrestling at the moment. There aren't a lot of positives in TNA at the moment, but Matt's one of them.
3 Mickie James
Mickie Laree James was a big part of the Divas division in the WWE froom 2005 until she left the company in 2010. Her biggest battle took place against the members of Laycool, where they started teasing James about being fat and porky. Naturally, the storyline wasn’t received well and was seen to be tasteless by many fans and some people in the locker room as well. Despite that terrible story, James had a storied WWE career, winning the WWE Women's Championship five times and the WWE Divas Championship once. She was released by the WWE in 2010 as they said they were looking for the Divas division to go a different route. She said she was heartbroken by the release, but quickly found work in AAA in Mexico and with TNA.
Today, Mickie James is pursuing her music career and is actually making a return to the WWE in November, as she'll be facing Asuka at NXT TakeOver: Toronto for the NXT Women's Championship.
3. Jillian Hall
Jillian Hall was a part of the WWE from 2005 to 2010. She was released on November 19th, 2010 along with Luke Gallows, and a few other WWE wrestlers. Jillian Hall was never really taken seriously on the main roster, as she began her WWE run as someone known for having a growth on their face. From there, she joined JBL as his image consultant before having a terrible feud with Ashley Massaro. We need to give credit to Hall, as she kept trying despite terrible gimmicks, like the one where she was a bad singer, and actually won the Divas Championship, though she quickly lost it.
She was released from the WWE because her contract had expired and WWE announced they would not be renewing it at that time. Jillian appeared on the Independent circuit from 2011 to 2014, before she announced her retirement on January 21, 2014.
She's extremely active on social media, but hasn't really given an indication as to what she's up to now.
2 Tommy Dreamer
Tommy Dreamer was a staple in the ECW for many, many years becoming an absolute legend there. When they were bought by WWE, he came over and still found ways to connect with the audience. In late 2009, on WWE's version of ECW, Dreamer fought in a match, which was all part of a storyline, where if he didn’t win against Zack Ryder, he would retire from the WWE for good. After he lost the match, he gave a farewell speech and told the fans he was retiring. He was officially let go from WWE on January 4th, 2010.
Naturally, he wasn't actually going to retire and went to TNA in June of 2010. Since then, he's made a variety of appearances in a bunch of different promotions. Today, Dreamer has his own promotion, House of Hardcore, where he continues to perform. Dreamer has also made a variety of appearances for WWE, showing that they still have a good working relationship.
1 Scott Armstrong
While certainly not a wrestler, Scott Armstrong was a huge part of the WWE for many years. Scott was a referee for WWE from 2006 to 2010 after spending nearly a decade referring for WCW. The son of the legendary Bullet Bob Armstrong was informed by phone that his services were no longer needed in the WWE on February 26th, 2010. There were four different people dropped at that time and in the locker room everyone was surprised that Scott was one of them. Armstrong was also a close friend of Chris Benoit and one of the two people to get texts from him before he killed his family and himself.
However, he'd still appear at times for WWE and has refereed a variety of matches for the company since 2011 and is now a producer for the WWE. His last appearance on TV came earlier this year, where he tried to help Sheamus beat Roman Reigns on Raw.