Black Thursday Releases Discussion - Triple Threat POV | Smark Out Moment

Black Thursday Releases Discussion - Triple Threat POV

Posted by Dallas Allsopp Thursday, April 22, 2021

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, Robert DeFelice and Greg Coleman discuss last week's Black Thursday releases within WWE.

Once again, WWE has resorted to issuing a large number of releases on April 15. Does this batch of releases hit just as hard this time round? Who will be the standout star in pastures new? And just how regular will this date of releases be?

Question 1: Which release is the most shocking to you? Conversely, which release is not surprising at all?

ALLSOPP: For me, I feel the Samoa Joe release is the most shocking, especially as his work on commentary has been excellent. Granted, it is not a long term role that he would have wanted to remain in, but there was a good chance he could have one last run in the company to show how talented he is.

Unfortunately, the release of Bo Dallas is not a surprise at all. How he managed to avoid the previous cull is beyond me, but it appears he has been preparing for life after wrestling. Dallas could easily have been used within a Bray Wyatt related storyline, but the sheer reluctance of WWE to even job him out means this release is no shock at all.

DeFELICE: So I feel like the number one answer for who is the most shocking should be Samoa Joe, but for me, it is Billie Kay and Peyton Royce. The former was just featured in a championship storyline at WrestleMania, whilst the latter is one of the best women they had on the roster.

You can hear my genuine reaction on the most recent mailbag podcast on Smark Out Moment. When finding out that Kay was released, I was choking up simply because she had just been featured on the biggest show of the year. The same can be said for Joe, who stood outside in a thunderstorm for them and was released 96 hours later.

As for who is the least surprising, it's never nice to say anything about this kind of a situation, but my money would be on Bo Dallas. His last prominent role saw Dallas paired up with Curtis Axel. Axel was released exactly 365 days before, and most expected Dallas to be released with his former tag team partner. That being said, Dallas deserved a lot more than he was given in WWE, and I think it's a damn shame that certain talent just goes unutilized.

COLEMAN: Samoa Joe definitely. Joe has shown from his time on commentary that he is one of the best all around talents in the wrestling business. I know he’s had some injuries, but over time, injuries will heal. Even in a situation where the talent may lose a step because of their injuries, great talents like Joe can adapt and still be relevant. The term hottest free agent is thrown around a lot, but in the case of Joe, it’s appropriate.

Question 2: Which released star will go on to have the best 2021?

DeFELICE: Should he choose to, I think the answer is undoubtedly Samoa Joe. Joe has roots in both Ring of Honor and IMPACT Wrestling, and both are companies that are starving for mega stars at the moment. Outside of those two entities, there is an entire independent wrestling scene that is thirsting to work with somebody like Joe. There are Bloodsport cards that would benefit from his appearance, with stars in GCW that would love to work with him. There is a match with Calvin Tankman that is money for whatever promotion decides to book it, matches against people like Davey Boy Smith Jr if he stays on the freelance circuit, and that's all without even mentioning AEW.

Tony Khan would be foolish not to sign this man immediately. I know that that company is getting a bad rap for signing too many former WWE stars, but Joe is bigger than WWE. Joe is a staple of the counterculture, and was one of the only names thriving when WWE was a true monopoly. I hope to see him end up there and have some great world title runs.

COLEMAN: If he is able to compete at all, it will be Samoa Joe. No question. He will make an immediate impact in whatever company he chooses to sign with, and every promotion from AEW to NJPW should be interested. However, if Joe is still not able to compete in 2021, I believe Kalisto could have a big year. He could come right in and be a fresh face in the X Division in IMPACT Wrestling, compete in the BOSJ in NJPW, and could team with Rey Fenix, Penta, and PAC as they continue to battle The Elite.

ALLSOPP: The obvious answer here is Samoa Joe, as he will be a real asset to Ring of Honor, IMPACT Wrestling, and yes, AEW. There are so many feuds and dream matches available to him, which means fans will undoubtedly be treated to some absolute bangers. I do suspect, however, that Peyton Royce can experience a career revival similar to Tay Conti following her own WWE release last year. There is some real potential for Royce to succeed, and I suspect IMPACT Wrestling’s Knockout’s division would suit her.

Question 3: In issuing yet another set of releases on April 15, have WWE set a dangerous precedent? Will this now be an annual threat that hangs over WWE’s lesser used stars?

COLEMAN: I believe we are seeing a pattern form which actually makes sense. Even though WWE doesn’t have an off-season, WrestleMania is their Super Bowl, and usually in the NFL that’s when rosters start to change through free agency and the draft. I don’t believe it’s a dangerous precedent. It’s just the downside of business.

I don’t think the April 15 purge should be a source of fear for the younger, underutilized talent. Instead, it should be an opportunity to negotiate and prepare for the worst case scenario months in advance. I would imagine WWE leadership already had a list of talent due to be released before April 15, and some other names were probably added closer to the date. If I’m currently not being utilized, I’m going to them and asking if you’re considering releasing me due to me not being on TV in X months. If the answer is yes, ask for the release now so that you are free and clear to work for any promotion who wants you for WrestleMania weekend and beyond.

ALLSOPP: It is upsetting that WWE decided to release stars on the same date this year, as it was a total sign of disrespect to all involved. Yes, releases are not exactly uncommon around this time of year, but the last two years have felt particularly egregious, especially whilst we are subject to the COVID impacted wrestling landscape. Whilst AEW and other companies are happy to take on former WWE stars, the threat of release shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

DeFELICE: I'm beginning to think so. Traditionally, post-WrestleMania cuts were a staple about a decade ago. However, after the advent of the WWE Network and WWE being the only game in town, these kinds of cuts slowly stopped happening and were no longer an issue before the pandemic. It's always heart-wrenching to lose a job, especially with a promotion like WWE, where it is likely the dream job of most who end up working there.

It's going to become part of an annual tradition now, as people used to always speculate who would be let go as part of "spring cleaning." For the talent themselves, this can be seen as an exciting time to prove people wrong in the same vein of names such as Drew McIntyre and others who have found success after previously being released.

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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