Understanding the Recent WWE Releases - Triple Threat POV | Smark Out Moment

Understanding the Recent WWE Releases - Triple Threat POV

Posted by Dallas Allsopp Thursday, April 23, 2020
Welcome to another edition of Triple Threat from Smark Out Moment, where three of us get together to discuss three questions based on one big topic going down in the week of professional wrestling.

This week, Dallas Allsopp, Bodeen Green and Ethan Neufeld will be discussing last week's WWE releases.

Last week was dark period in the recent history of WWE, as numerous wrestlers and producers were either released or furloughed due to the pressures of COVID-19. But how understandable were the releases? Who will WWE regret releasing? And will there be further cuts?

Question 1: Which release do you feel will hurt WWE the most in the long run? Who will have the best post WWE career?

ALLSOPP: To me, getting rid of Rusev will come to haunt WWE. He is clearly a talented performer, and WWE only have themselves to blame for failing to capitalise on the glorious tradition of Rusev Day. I hope Rusev moves to New Japan Pro Wrestling, as he could easily be the strongest gaijin in Japan since Stan Hansen. AEW is an option, but NJPW would suit the Bulgarian Brute more.

GREEN: In terms of in ring action, the most regrettable release would easily be Rusev. He was an amazing in ring performer, and despite terrible booking, he still managed to get over with fans due to his matches, as well as his natural charisma. With Rusev now released from WWE, I can easily see him going to AEW, with the only question being if Lana will join him. Another in ring talent release I can see WWE regretting is EC3. Whilst the way WWE booked him was terrible, EC3 is a guy who bleeds charisma, and he easily deserved better in WWE. EC3 could have easily been a charismatic mouthpiece for someone like Bobby Lashley.

NEUFELD: This is an interesting question, because one’s answer depends on whether you think WWE would have actually utilized said person well. A performer can be incredibly talented, but if WWE were never going to use them in the first place, then releasing them doesn’t make a lick of difference. If we’re talking about if WWE was to have kept them and used them well, I’d actually say Drake Maverick. This guy oozes charisma, and was a very positive force backstage. He could have been used in a wrestling capacity as an underdog babyface, or could have been used as a manager / spokesperson / commissioner role. If we’re talking about the real world though, I actually think the release of Lance Storm is going to haunt them, but in a more backstage, wrestling business credibility way. Storm is incredibly respected as a technician, trainer, and mind in wrestling. He sold his wrestling school and uprooted his life to work for the WWE again, only to be furloughed or fired. That is a really bad look for WWE, and may really hinder them from hiring people like Storm again in the future.

Question 2: What was your reaction to Drake Maverick’s response to being released?

GREEN: Yes, you can argue about what Drake Maverick contributed to the product all you want, and you can easily argue over what he achieved, but it isn't always about these things. A hard part of these releases is the released talent won't be able to travel with co-workers and other wrestlers again. The fact that these people have formed bonds from travelling together for so long is amazing, but to have it ripped out is truly sad. Maverick's video is truly sad, especially with him talking about the bonds he formed with other people on the road. At least there is a small silver lining with his release as he knows when he is going to wrestle his final match in WWE.

NEUFELD: I tried to look over every released talent’s responses, videos or otherwise. Drake Maverick’s response has been getting the most attention, and for good reason. He’s a regular guy who was trying to live his dream. He had gotten his foot in the door, but wasn’t utilized as much as he could have been. And just when he gets an opportunity to really show his chops in the ring, to show what he has worked so hard to do, he gets it taken away. I think we empathize with his story because it rings true for so many of us, especially in the current landscape when lives are being uprooted left and right. So to watch it, it was gut wrenching. It’s painful to see a guy, who clearly loves what he does, bare his heart because he's lost it. It’s really hard not to have some spite for WWE when you see such a personal and emotional response.

ALLSOPP: I genuinely cried, especially as Drake Maverick has been vocal about how much he loved working in WWE. It was a dream come true for him to be a WWE superstar, and in all fairness, he has gotten over more than anyone could have ever imagined. He was so passionate and emotional that I choked up, and I genuinely wish him the very best.

Question 3: Do you agree with WWE’s decision to release and furlough this cohort of wrestlers and backstage workers? Will we see another set of releases within the next few months?

NEUFELD: There are so many elements to this, and a lot of them revolve around business practices and potential political motivations. There are also certainly some reasons for this decision that are only known behind the closed doors of WWE, as a lot of big business decisions are. For that reason, as fans of the product, we just aren’t privy to all the information. But we can take the information we do know and at least have an opinion, because I feel it’s WWE’s responsibility in this situation to explain their rationale for such a negative move. Based on what they’ve done, what we know, and what information WWE has provided, this was a dick move. If this was just a list of wrestlers who we knew were already unhappy or on the way out in the near future, then this could have almost been seen as a positive thing. But the releases included a lot of people who actually want to be there, and have been loyal to WWE despite crap treatment for years *cough Zack Ryder cough cough*. And WWE had frankly stated recently how much reserve money they have. When they’re releasing people in a world where there’s nowhere else for them to go presently, whilst having the money to support them, that really makes WWE look like a heartless void of a corporation. Will there be more? Hard to say. I’m certain they have been planning more, but maybe the backlash against them over this first round will stem the tide.

ALLSOPP: I understand why they had to make these cuts, and to an extent I agree with them. The WWE roster has been bloated for many years, therefore a huge cull was imminent. But during such uncertain times, it is hard to support WWE’s decision to heap extra uncertainty on many wrestlers, producers, agents and writers that have been loyal to the company for years. I truly hope the furloughed staff are re-hired once COVID-19 has been fully addressed, but I also hope the released wrestlers are able to thrive on the independent scene. As long as WWE doesn’t insult it’s fanbase by paying millions for Brock Lesnar and Goldberg, there should be no need for further cuts, or at least no need for as many cuts as we have just experienced.

GREEN: Whilst it is hard to agree with the mass releases WWE have done, there are so many things that are said and done behind the scenes that we will never know about, especially in this uncertain time. I honestly hope that after the COVID-19 situation is over and WWE feels financially confident again, WWE will re-hire a bunch of their released names, including most of their producers. I also hope that the talent who are not brought back thrive outside of WWE, be it in AEW or on the independent scene. As for if we will see more talent being released, there is definitely a large possibility, as there is a lot of NXT and NXT UK names that WWE could consider no longer profitable.

Those are our thoughts on the issue, but where do you stand?
Let us know your answers to these questions in the comments below!

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Dallas Allsopp is a writer with two main interests, Pokemon and wrestling. He has been writing for a few years for his own personal blogs and is now taking his passion for wrestling and putting it into his writing. You can follow him on Facebook.


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