James Ellsworth has been released from the WWE, according to the company’s website.
"WWE wishes Ellsworth the best in all of his future endeavors," the company posted on Wednesday to WWE.com. The official WWE Twitter account also confirmed Ellsworth’s departure from the wrestling promotion.
BREAKING NEWS: WWE has come to terms on the release of WWE Superstar James Ellsworth. https://t.co/10BKMUMBs1— WWE (@WWE) November 15, 2017
Ellsworth had something of a cult following with certain WWE fans who fell in love with his David vs. Goliath performance in his WWE debut against Braun Strowman. Despite being mere “enhancement talent” for the July 25, 2016, episode of Raw, Ellsworth put on a credible performance and even hyped himself pre-match. “Any man with two hands has a fighting chance,” he announced pre-match.
Shortly after his inspiring promo, he learned it takes more than just two hands to beat the likes of Braun Strowman.
But as it turns out, he wasn’t just a one-time joke opponent. Throughout the end of 2016, Ellsworth would continually insert himself in a feud between AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose. On the Sept. 13, 2016, episode of SmackDown Live it briefly appeared as though Ellsworth would be AJ Styles’ teammate in a tag team match against Ambrose and John Cena, but was attacked by The Miz who then took his place. Ellsworth returned on the Oct. 11, 2016 episode of SmackDown when Styles picked Ellsworth as his opponent for a non-title match - a match he’d win due to Ambrose being the special guest referee.
That would be the first of several wins against AJ Styles that started to inflate the meek and mild-mannered wrestler’s ego. He beat Styles again (with help from Ambrose) in a ladder match for a WWE contract on the Nov. 22, 2016 episode of SmackDown, which also gave him the right to challenge Styles for the WWE World Championship belt.
On the Dec. 20, 2017, episode of SmackDown, Styles defended his title in a match that lasted less than a minute.
After that, Ellsworth’s climb to the top seemed to stall. He reappeared in 2017 with Carmella and helped her win a bunch of matches by distracting her opponents. She’d eventually help Carmella become the first woman ever to win a Money in the Bank ladder match on June 18, 2017, by pushing Becky Lynch. That move actually got him fined $10,000 and suspended for 30 days in kayfabe.
He returned in August where he almost accidentally cashed in the briefcase of money behind Carmella’s back, making her and Ellsworth’s an abusive relationship. She’d force Ellsworth to wear a leash in the ring and made him sleep in a literal doghouse. But it looks like the bit got old, and WWE couldn’t find another reason for Ellsworth to stick around.