WWE employs so many people in the company from top to bottom that it's difficult to keep up with. We focus on the actual wrestlers on the screen but there are familiar names in various fields behind the scenes. The backstage aspect of the business sees road agents, writers, producers, trainers and other roles filled with the hiring of credible options. WWE tends to keep the news of the names coming in and out of the company quiet. Unlike the majority of on-screen firings, there’s usually not an announcement on the site making it hard to realize someone has been released for the average fan.
There are even a few instances of on-air talent getting fired under the radar and it not resulting in any news. We'll look at the ups and downs of life in WWE with both stories in the article. The names that quietly do their work without most fans realizing are in the company in a specific role and often unsung contributors. Sadly, those released without any fanfare will see a lack of discussion regarding their names in the wrestling world. These are the stories of eight people most of you didn’t realize were employed with WWE and seven you didn’t realize were fired.
15 Employed By WWE: Road Dogg
Attitude Era star Road Dogg was one of the best promo workers of his time. The talented talker helped make The New Age Outlaws one of the most successful tag teams of the era. Road Dogg spent some time away from WWE before making peace to find a job that changed his life. WWE allowed Road Dogg to become a producer backstage and now he’s one of the most influential people in the company.
Road Dogg is the lead producer of SmackDown Live and often runs the show if Vince McMahon and Triple H are not in attendance. The SmackDown stories go through him. Most fans prefer the SmackDown brand over Raw and Road Dogg is one of the reasons why. You won’t see him on screen unless there’s a backstage segment, but Road Dogg is very important to WWE.
14 Not With WWE: Billy Gunn
The other half of The New Age Outlaws also received an opportunity to return to WWE after an ugly departure. WWE hired Billy Gunn to be one of the lead trainers at the Performance Center down in NXT. Gunn helped train the aspiring wrestlers and young prospects employed by the company. Tyler Breeze is one of the more noteworthy names that has credited Gunn’s presence in helping him progress.
Gunn still competed in powerlifting competitions on the side and that spelled his doom. More specifically, Billy violated the WWE Wellness Policy after testing positive for a banned substance. Gunn was using it for his powerlifting hobby and WWE clearly didn’t like that. It was a horrible look for one of their coaches to fail a drug test. Gunn was fired as a result and is back wrestling on the indies.
13 Employed By WWE: Sara Del Rey
Former Ring of Honor women’s wrestling star Sara Del Rey was one of the best female wrestlers in the world for many years. Del Rey was often in a league of her own on the independent circuit. WWE approached her a few years ago for a new role outside of the spotlight and she took it. Del Rey originally joined the company as a trainer for the Performance Center.
Sasha Banks, Charlotte Flair, Alexa Bliss and numerous other female stars for WWE credit Del Rey for her role in helping everyone improve to lead up to the women’s revolution. The overwhelming success of Sara saw WWE promote her into a producer role on both NXT and the main roster. Del Rey is often backstage at shows helping the overall product in numerous ways.
12 Not With WWE: Cameron
Cameron was on the sidelines for so long that many fans are still unaware she was released in mid-2016. The reason for Cameron’s firing is quite interesting as she endorsed controversial comments made by fellow WWE star Ryback. Towards the end of his contract, Ryback grew frustrated and wrote a lengthy blog blasting WWE for not paying talent fairly.
A social media post from Cameron saw her co-sign his contract, but she wasn’t planning to leave the company like Ryback. WWE responded by firing Cameron a short while after during the annual talent cuts. Cameron was one of the worst women’s wrestlers on the roster and decided to leave the sport after her WWE time ended. The once valued WWE prospect has returned back to her roots in modeling.
11 Employed By WWE: Ho Ho Lun
Ho Ho Lun is a very rare case of a wrestler from Hong Kong. Despite not being known as a wrestling hot spot, Lun tried to start a wrestling promotion in his home country after wrestling in other locations throughout his career. WWE took note of his talent and passion during the scouting process for the Cruiserweight Classic. Triple H wanted names from all over the world and took a chance on Ho Ho.
Following a couple of impressive matches, WWE agreed to sign him for the upcoming Cruiserweight division. Lun is currently contracted by WWE but has yet to make his debut in the division on Raw or on 205 Live. Fans have no idea he's scheduled to be a part of the Cruiserweights, but it's coming sooner or later.
10 Not With WWE: Mark Yeaton
WWE will release anyone at any time if they feel it's “best for business.” Mark Yeaton learned this the hard way when he was unceremoniously fired after over two decades as the time keeper. Many know him as the guy that would throw beers to Steve Austin for the fun, celebrating beer-bath in the middle of the ring.
Yeaton was a loyal employee that you assumed would remain there until he decided to retire. WWE chose to cut ties last year by firing him out of the blue. Yeaton didn’t see it coming and we can assume it had to do with his age. WWE appears to be attempting to get younger in many roles as they progress and Yeaton is one of the older employees that were expendable.
9 Employed by WWE: Steve Corino
Steve Corino never wrestled for WWE in anything more than rare enhancement matches doing the job as a local talent at the beginning of his career. However, Corino made a name for himself as one of the final stars made in the last couple of years in ECW. A long career in Ring of Honor, various Japan promotions and other independent companies saw Corino do very well outside of WWE.
Corino found his way on WWE’s radar towards the end of 2016. Many of the stars in WWE worked with him on the independent circuit and learned from his knowledge. WWE hired him to start 2017 as a new trainer at the Performance Center. The new young wrestlers learning the craft in WWE will have Corino there to add insight onto their future careers.
8 Not With WWE: Rich Brennan
The underrated commentary work of Rich Brennan made him relatively unknown despite being the lead NXT commentator for quite some time. Many credit Brennan for being the best play-by-play commentator with Corey Graves and Byron Saxton at his side during the days of NXT’s rise. Brennan was quite standard as a personality, but did his job tremendously calling the matches and telling the stories.
WWE fired him with no real reasoning aside from a plethora of announcers being on the payroll. Brennan’s wife actually tweeted that Tom Phillips playing politics to get ahead played a role in Rich being released to open up the spot for him. Regardless, Brennan was quietly let go and has started to transition out of wrestling by commentating in other sports.
7 Employed by WWE: Ranjin Singh
Remember The Great Khali’s manager, Ranjin Singh? Well, he is currently one of the head writers for WWE. Singh initially left his on-screen role to join the writing staff back in 2011. The forgettable talent wasn’t someone the fans paid attention to, so WWE was able to quietly transition him into the new role. Singh has done an impressive enough job to remain on the staff over the past six years.
WWE still has Singh serve as one of the lead writers for both Raw and SmackDown Live. Stephanie McMahon reportedly was his backer as she enjoyed his style of writing. Considering the power she has and will have for a long time, Singh may be on the staff for as long as he wants to be there. Not bad for someone that had to translate for Khali.
6 Not With WWE: Sara Lee
WWE signed the majority of names from the most recent Tough Enough competition back in 2015. The winner of the female side of the contest was fan favorite Sara Lee. Anyone could tell she wasn’t as talented as the other athletes on the women’s side, but she did manage to win the fan vote. WWE tried to train her at the Performance Center, but Lee struggled to show improvement as her former peers moved up in the rankings.
The decision to let Sara go came when it was revealed that she was pregnant and unable to continue her training. Lee is dating fellow NXT prospect Wesley Blake and the two are expecting their first child. Both WWE and Lee realized it wasn’t the right fit. Sara was quietly let go as she moves on to the next chapter of her life.
5 Employed by WWE: Scotty 2 Hotty
Every 90s kid that watched wrestling enjoyed the antics of Scotty 2 Hotty. As a member of Too Cool, Scotty always brought the fun as one of the more entertaining acts. Scotty, Grandmaster Sexay and Rikishi all did their humorous dance number after matches, but Scotty was the standout when it came to the dance moves. The worm became his dance of choice and fans erupted any time he did it during a match.
Scotty left the industry for many years and focused on a new career path of becoming a firefighter. WWE was able to convince him to return to the wrestling world in the role of a trainer. Scotty is currently one of the trainers at the Performance Center, teaching a daily class to younger talents hoping to make it to NXT and the main roster.
4 Not With WWE: Hugo Knox
The original intent of the Performance Center was to hire athletes from other sports with potential and teach them how to become a WWE Superstar. Baron Corbin is the prime example of this as he’s evolved into a top heel on SmackDown Live. One of the prospects hired by WWE with similar hopes was former English soccer goalie Hugo Knox.
Sadly, his progress didn’t come fast enough to make an impact. Knox struggled to get on the NXT television show and was an afterthought in the Performance Center, falling behind his peers and new trainees. WWE agreed to let him go towards the end of 2016 and Knox is trying to return to his roots back in soccer. Wrestling isn’t for everyone with Knox’s quiet release proving that.
3 Employed by WWE: Jimmy Jacobs
Any Ring of Honor fan knows just how talented Jimmy Jacobs is. Jacobs often had the creative spark that delivered some of the best stories in ROH history. WWE never showed interest in Jacobs considering he was one of the smaller guys in the industry. However, Jacobs finally landed a job with his dream company in a role that's surprising to realize.
Jacobs' job in WWE is as one of the writers for Raw. Chris Jericho has revealed in podcasts that Jacobs is his favorite writer in at least a decade since Brian Gerwitz was in the company. Jacobs is responsible for the “List of Jericho” and various other ideas we see every Monday night. His experience as a creatively genius wrestler has helped him find a career in writing for the biggest wrestling company.
2 Not With WWE: Brooklyn Brawler
The Brooklyn Brawler was one of the longest tenured employees in WWE, working in various positions. Everyone remembers him as an entertaining enhancement talent that would lose to the new stars coming into the company with a big push. WWE respected his loyalty enough to move him into the role of a road agent for a few years before he found a new job backstage.
Brawler would film the promos of young stars looking to get experience and provide feedback. Many of the online shows also went through his film room. WWE fired him in 2016 with no explanation. It blindsided Brawler and forced him to return to wrestling on the independent scene. Brawler did appear on The Taz Show without company approval and that may have led to his release.
1 Employed by WWE: Dean Malenko
One name that doesn’t get nearly enough love for his role in WWE is Dean Malenko. The former WCW Cruiserweight legend influenced many of the top stars currently in WWE. Malenko’s intense style was always believable and intrigued a new generation of fans. Unlike other WCW stars to make the jump to WWE after being under-utilized, Malenko didn’t do well and actually saw his career take a hit.
It did end up working out for the best as Malenko formed connections and relationships that eventually landed him a job as a road agent and producer. Malenko is one of the veterans that currently helps the active stars put together the matches we see on television and at live events. The highly respected worker is still with WWE in a very relevant role that impacts the product today.