WWE has developed an unofficial policy that avoids releasing talents due to the emergence of All Elite Wrestling. Talents like Sasha Banks and Luke Harper were reportedly denied when trying to get out of their contracts and made a return to the company. AEW landing a television contract with TNT made them a huge player right away. Even promotions like New Japan, Impact Wrestling, and Ring of Honor are aggressively trying to add talent.
There have been some releases in recent years that WWE have come to regret with the way things played out. Others have led to zero second thoughts as WWE doesn’t care about what they’ve done since the release. We will look at both sides to figure out just what WWE feels about the talents featured here. Find out just what management thinks as we look at five wrestlers WWE regrets releasing along with five they are not worried about.
10 Regret: Jack Swagger
The use of Jack Swagger in WWE never led to success due to a lack of charisma and promo ability. AEW bringing him as the silent enforcer of Chris Jericho’s new Inner Circle faction is already finding more success. Swagger won the World Championship in WWE and still couldn’t find relevance.
WWE likely regrets releasing Swagger solely due to him joining AEW. The emergence of AEW is the first viable threat as a top promotion in the industry since WCW went out of business. WWE currently wants to keep talents like Swagger under big contracts even if they don’t value them strongly.
9 Not worried: Enzo Amore
Triple H recently shut down all rumors of Enzo Amore potentially coming back to WWE for the NXT brand. The comments of Triple H implied that Enzo was making up the rumors himself to get attention on the free agent market.
Enzo had a horrible run in WWE failing to live up to his potential. The backstage issues would see Enzo kicked out of the locker room due to backstage heat. WWE eventually released him as more issues continued piling up. No other promotions have interest in Enzo and WWE has no regrets about releasing him.
8 Regret: Tenille Dashwood
The brand split becoming official again and the growth of NXT getting a USA deal with a second hour has WWE needing more talented women than ever before. Three shows need unique women’s division with the tag division also existing within all shows.
Tenille Dashwood has been a talented addition to Ring of Honor and Impact Wrestling since getting released from WWE. Very few ladies in the industry have the in-ring skills of Dashwood along with her great look. WWE should be trying to bring back Emma before she signs long-term with another promotion.
7 Not worried: Simon Gotch
The tag team of the Vaudevillains never found success on the main roster after a strong run in NXT. WWE fired Simon Gotch while keeping Aiden English under contract for other opportunities. Gotch reportedly had backstage heat and the company didn’t see much potential from him.
The run of Gotch on the independent circuit has seen him fail to get much momentum building. Gotch is struggling to land a deal with one of the relevant companies. MLW and some dark ROH matches have been his biggest opportunities. Don’t expect WWE to bring him back any time soon.
6 Regret: PAC
WWE tried using Neville on the main roster after an incredible run in NXT as the NXT Champion, but it never worked out. Neville was an afterthought on the main roster and was moved to 205 Live. Despite thriving in the cruiserweight division, there was no room to grow there.
Neville requested his release and was granted it after many months of waiting. AEW signing him under his new name of PAC likely makes WWE upset they didn’t keep him under contract longer. PAC is currently now one of the main eventers for AEW in the early stages.
5 Not worried: Rich Swann
Allegations of domestic abuse led to Rich Swann getting pulled from WWE television when he was a member of the cruiserweight division and NXT. Swann was eventually cleared, but WWE was still unsure about how to handle the situation.
A mutual decision was made for Swann to get released once it was clear WWE was not going to bring him back any time soon. Swann has become a consistent part of the Impact Wrestling roster. Despite having good matches, Swann is not making enough of an impact for WWE to think twice about him.
4 Regret: Juice Robinson
The NXT run of CJ Parker was a disappointment since he primarily appeared as an enhancement talent. Parker’s best moment was likely getting to take the loss for Kevin Owens in his first match. The request for a release was granted with Parker going to New Japan.
Juice Robinson is the name he adopted to restart his career. The success of Robinson has seen him become one of the better all-around American talents in NJPW. Robinson is a rising star and is currently involved in a feud with Jon Moxley. WWE could use a talent of his caliber in NXT after dropping the ball with him.
3 Not worried: James Ellsworth
James Ellsworth found success on the WWE main roster as a comedic character. The silly nature of Ellsworth would see him provide humor in stories involving AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, and Carmella. WWE would release him twice after realizing there was not much that could be done with him.
The career of Ellsworth has not gone that far since the WWE release. Aside from a one-time appearance in Impact Wrestling, Ellsworth has no attention from the mainstream promotions. WWE has no regrets for releasing Ellsworth given the lack of success elsewhere.
2 Regret: Cody Rhodes
One of the biggest regrets in WWE history was granting Cody Rhodes his release from the company when he requested it. Rhodes was unhappy with his creative as Stardust and badly wanted a fair chance to break out on his own. WWE did not want to make the change and it led to his release.
No one could have predicted Cody would change the wrestling industry when leaving WWE. Success in New Japan and Ring of Honor made his name bigger than ever. The popularity of Cody and the rest of The Elite led to the creation of AEW which WWE badly wishes they could have prevented.
1 Not worried: Big Cass
The story of Big Cass has become a tragic tale as WWE is happy that he’s no longer on the roster. Cass was getting backstage heat for a few poor decisions during his push in WWE. The huge plans ended with one of the more surprising releases in recent memory.
Cass has struggled with personal demons that recently featured him threatening to murder Joey Janela at an independent show. The hope is that Cass will turn his life around. WWE is likely just happy they don’t have to worry about any potential dangers in their locker room with him.