Top 8 Most Shocking WWE Releases Of The Past Decade (And 7 Who Are Next)

There have been more than a few puzzling WWE releases over the years.

WWE recently released three Superstars; Darren Young, Summer Rae, and Emma. Normally the company likes to make roster cuts after WrestleMania but in 2017, the company opted to make some fall cleaning type moves on October 29th.

For the most part, WWE is signing more talent than they are releasing right now but that doesn't mean they don't need to cut Superstars to make room on the main roster for fresh faces. It does seem odd that WWE would choose to fire two main roster women, as the company is attempting to build their Women's Divisions to the point that they rival the men. To do that, they're going to need a deeper roster and one has to think Emma, and maybe Summer Rae as well, could have had more to contribute to the ongoing women's evolution/revolution.

This isn't to say that any of the recently released Superstars might not end up back in WWE. Both the NXT and WWE Champion at the moment were both released and re-hired in just the last few years. There have been more than a few puzzling WWE releases over the years and this article takes a look at eight of them. We'll also take a look at which seven in which Superstars are probably next on WWE's chopping block.

15 Shocking Release: Shelton Benjamin


Despite being widely regarded as the best natural athlete on the roster, Shelton Benjamin was released from his WWE contract on April 22nd, 2010.

Benjamin was 35 years-old at the time of his release. Wrestlers in their mid-30s are largely considered to be in their prime nowadays, yet still, WWE decided it was time for Benjamin to go. This was a part of the company's post-WrestleMania talent cuts and Benjamin was one of six that were released on this day. Another notable release that occurred on the same day was that of Mickie James. Oddly enough, now in 2017 both Mickie James and Shelton Benjamin are back on the WWE main roster

14 Next To Be Released: R-Truth


As soon as somebody tells Vince McMahon that R-Truth will turn 46-year-old in a few months, you can probably expect him to be released. Real name Ron Killings, his pro wrestling career is now 20 years deep. He started on the independent scene from 1997 to 2000 before being picked up by WWE. Killings would be released in 2002, however,  after failing to pick up much television time during the early 2000s. 

13 Shocking Release: Drew McIntyre


32-year-old Drew McIntyre was once pegged as a future World Champion by Vince McMahon himself. While his future seemed bright, he would be released from his WWE contract on June 12, 2014, despite still only being in his 20s at the time.

McIntyre's release puzzled quite a few people, as he had been a top prospect in the company. He was thrown into the 3MB group, which also featured Jinder Mahal who was later released and rehired as well. Unlike Mahal, however, McIntyre had shown signs during his WWE run that he could be more than a prelim guy.

12 Next To Be Released: Dana Brooke


28-year-old Dana Brooke might very well be next on WWE's chopping block. The native of Orlando Florida was a top prospect coming into WWE after making a name for herself on the professional bodybuilding circuit. Vince McMahon loves bodybuilders and someone who looks like Dana Brooke would seemingly always have a bright future in WWE, but that appears to no longer be the case. 

11 Shocking Release: MVP


Hassan Hamin Assad is better-known to wrestling fans as Montel Vontavious Porter a.k.a. MVP. After toiling on the independent scene from 2002 to 2005, he signed a WWE contract and reported to the main roster in 2006. He was labeled as a can't miss prospect both in storyline and behind the scenes but surprisingly would be released just four years later.

10 Next To Be Released: Mike & Maria Kanellis


Mike and Maria Kanellis are smart enough to know the gimmick they were given to work with wasn't going to get over. They debuted at the Money in the Bank PPV this year but have become after-thoughts since. It wouldn't be a shocker for them to be released, though some time will need to pass before that can happen. 

Maria is now off television and pregnant. She announced on September 25th that she was 13 weeks pregnant. Based on the timing of her announcement, Mike and Maria would have had to conceived their child just one week after their Money in the Bank debut.

9 Shocking Release: Emma


Emma's release wasn't out of the blue, as there may have been some heat on her for promoting the #GiveEmmaAChance hashtag. She's also had chronic shoulder injuries throughout her career, which was probably her undoing with the company.

What makes Emma's release surprising despite her injury problems is her large social media following. Emma hustles on Instagram and Twitter, often posting photos of herself in bikinis or various other skimpy outfits. Considering WWE's love affair with social media these last few years, the idea of them releasing someone as popular online as Emma seems absurd.

8 Next To Be Released: Baron Corbin


Earlier this year, Baron Corbin's future looked bright. In fact, even just a few months ago he looked as though he was on his way to becoming a main event performer for the company. 

Not long ago, however, rumors of him hijacking a backstage meeting involving WWE doctors talking about the risks of concussions began to surface. He is also believed to have casually mentioned that he is part of an NFL players lawsuit against the league for hiding information in regards to the long-term impacts of concussions during that meeting as well.

7 Shocking Release: Mr. Kennedy


Nowadays, Ken Anderson, aka Mr. Kennedy, runs a wrestling school with fellow former WWE wrestler, Shawn Daivari. At one time, Kennedy looked to be a future World Champion in WWE, but it wasn't to be.

6 Next To Be Released: The Ascension


Former NXT Tag Team Champions, The Ascension, could be next on WWE's chopping block. While the team was popular in NXT, their main roster tenure has been less than impressive. While originally the company hoped they would be a new incarnation of a Road Warriors style tag team, fans never really viewed them in that light. 

5 Shocking Release: Jim Ross


Jim Ross announced his retirement from WWE in 2013, though it is widely believed he was released from his contract with the company after a rather interesting promotional event for the WWE 2K'14 video game. While he has said that he was not intoxicated during the event, some have said that he appeared to be so. Ric Flair was also at the event and was, in fact, quite drunk.

After his "retirement", Ross picked up various different commentary gigs including calling boxing for Golden Boy Promotions, the Battlegrounds MMA one-night tournament and he also provided commentary for New Japan Pro Wrestling.

4 Next To Be Released: Tamina


39-year-old Tamina Snuka has to be on her way out of the company sooner rather than later. At this point, she is just too old to be considered someone who might be a valuable part of the Women's Division in the future. Tamina has always been a background character since debuting on the main roster seven years ago. She served as AJ Lee's bodyguard and as a rather forgotten member of Team BAD. Despite being in the company for seven years, she's never won a championship and, in fact, has never really been in the running to do so.

3 Shocking Release: Daniel Bryan


WWE released Daniel Bryan from his contract four days after airing a controversial angle where members of the Nexus took over Raw and destroyed the set. During the angle, Bryan choked ring announcer, Justin Roberts, with his own tie. Evidently, the choking of a person with their own tie crosses a line for several of WWE's sponsors and the company announced they had fired Bryan on June 11th, 2010.

Bryan would later say the company apologized to him when they let him go, stating that had it not been for their sponsors, things would have been different. He would spend that summer wrestling for smaller promotions, such as Chikara and Evolve.

2 Next To Be Released: Rhyno


At 42 years of age, Rhyno's athletic window is closing. At the moment, his tag team with Heath Slater isn't exactly lighting the world on fire either, though the pair were the inaugural Smackdown Tag Team Champions.

Rhyno's original run with the company didn't last very long. He debuted with WWE in 2001 and was released by 2005. He ended up having a long run in TNA Wrestling as well and a couple of years in the Ring of Honor.

1 Shocking Release: CM Punk


Granted, when news finally broke that WWE had released CM Punk, the writing had been on the wall for some time. Punk hadn't been on television for some time and it was widely believed he was done with the company.

Punk didn't appear on the Monday Night Raw following the 2014 Royal Rumble and word started to leak that he and the company were seriously at odds with one another. We'd find out from Punk later that he received his termination papers the same day he married his current wife, AJ Brooks. The bad blood has continued since the shocking departure, and chances of a return seem unlikely. Punk has since stated he is burnt out from the wrestling business and is now focusing on his MMA career.

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Top 8 Most Shocking WWE Releases Of The Past Decade (And 7 Who Are Next)