Hello and welcome to the WrestleTalk Super News – I’m Oli Davis.
As usual, please press the thumbs up button, give us a subscribe, go buy some of our delicious merch – but most importantly, WWE please don’t release any more wrestlers before this video goes live.
Two years ago, Future Endeavours Friday used to be an almost biannual occurrence, with WWE suddenly announcing a bunch of talent releases on their website from outta nowhere with the copy and paste statement: “WWE wishes them well in all their future endeavors.”
Often taking place in a bit of post-WrestleMania Spring cleaning, WWE would casually put out an article on their website announcing 5% of the undercard were no longer with the company. The last mass release came in 2015, though, with eight wrestlers including relatively big names such as Damien Sandow, Wade Barrett, Zeb Colter and Alex Riley. The last multiple release of note came at the end of October 2017, when Emma, Summer Rae and Darren Young were all let go on the same day.
But that was a simpler time, where WWE had no genuine competitors. The worst that could happen would be Damien Sandow turning up in the IMPACT Zone as Samien Dandow. Yes I do know he eventually did as Aron Rex. Over the last year, though, All Elite Wrestling has changed the business, where WWE releasing a talent could mean they go straight to their Wednesday night competitor.
As a result, WWE have gone into contract lockdown, not granting any releases since February this year (unless you’re Jordan Myles) no matter how publicly you request it and they’ve reportedly even been offering undercard acts huge deals to stay with the company. But for some, it’s not all about the money. Unless you’re Randy Orton. In which case, yeah, that was totally about the money.
Yesterday – a Sunday, an old PR trick to hopefully bury bad news when most people are enjoying time off – WWE revealed they’ve released four talents: Sin Cara, Luke Harper and Konnor and Viktor of The Ascension.
Sin Cara had publicly requested his release on Twitter last month, while Harper first asked for his all the way back in April. The Ascension, meanwhile, hadn’t reportedly or publicly asked to leave the company – but Viktor did seem pretty happy when the news was announced, tweeting a gif of Mel Gibson from Braveheart screaming “FREEEDOM!!!”
So why have WWE finally started releasing talent after all these months?
The Wrestling Observer noted several weeks back that some in management pushed for unhappy wrestlers to be let go by WWE, as them publicly asking for their releases on Twitter and then seemingly being held hostage isn’t just a bad look from the outside, it also affects locker room morale. Apparently the force preventing wrestlers from leaving is, as usual with things in WWE, Vince McMahon, as he didn’t want them to jump to the competition in AEW. The last wrestlers WWE let go were and Goldust in February this year, with Triple H apparently convincing Vince – that’s hard to say – to do that – and Tye Dillinger, who have both become upper mid-card acts in All Elite Wrestling since.
In recent weeks, however, the Wrestling Observer reported that WWE are considering releasing talent if they don’t think it’ll make a difference to AEW – which is one of the reasons they granted Jordan Myles’, as his behaviour made him a very divisive figure, and he actually quit wrestling altogether over the weekend. But not seeing talent going to AEW as that much of a threat isn’t the only reason…
Apparently even with all that Fox and Saudi Arabia money, WWE are always looking for a way to cut costs, and having a load of people on your payroll despite not doing anything with them can add up, as WrestlingNews.co writes:
“A WWE source told me that another reason why the company is more open to releasing some wrestlers is that it helps them cut down on salaries while freeing up more money to offer deals to mid and upper card wrestlers who they don’t want to leave the company.”
And according to PWInsider, WWE might be freeing up some more money imminently, but hopefully not before this video goes live.
While Harper, Sin Cara and the Ascension have been let go, there are many more WWE wrestlers who have either publicly, reportedly or teased wanting to leave this year. Mike Kanellis publicly tweeted about wanting to leave just four months after re-signing with the company back in June. Oney Lorcan tweeted the same, but has actually just come to terms on a new deal with WWE. Both The Revival and Matt Hardy are supposedly looking to leave when their contracts expire early next year, and question marks remain over whether Rusev will re-sign, even though his real-life, but no longer kayfabe wife Lana already has.
So on top of the four releases from Sunday, PWInsider add “There are rumblings of additional releases coming today, so we’ll see what shakes out as the day progresses.”
Who do you think will be the next wrestlers WWE release? Let me know in the comments because I’ll be replying FROM OUTTA NOWHERE for the first 30 minutes after this video goes live.
But in the meantime, what will happen to Harper, Sin Cara and The Ascension?
After being with WWE for a decade, Sin Cara confirmed news of his release on Twitter:
“As of today I have been granted my release from WWE. Thank you WWE Universe it has been an amazing adventure. ”
Interestingly, Sin Cara has since made his pinned post on Twitter a picture of him with former WWE star Alberto Del Rio before his MMA comeback fight over the weekend, which Alberto lost against Tito Ortiz, who came out to Hulk Hogan’s Real American theme, in a fight over Alberto’s personal WWE spinner championship belt in defeat. That’s actually a thing that happened. Because Mexico doesn’t care about copyright law.
As a legit tough guy, who is rumoured to have won real backstage fights against Sheamus and Simon Gotch in WWE, potentially Sin Cara is looking at transitioning into MMA himself.
After tweeting the day of the week with the caption ‘you know what that means’ every day for several years, Luke Harper celebrated finally being granted his WWE release… with the exact same thing, posting: “It’s Sunday. You know what that means.”
Harper first requested his release following WrestleMania, thanking WWE for six amazing years, but explaining that he wants to grow as a performer and a person, so he wants to leave.
The reported reason behind Harper realising that can’t happen while working for WWE is for a classically specific Vince McMahon annoyance. According to the Wrestling Observer, Vince doesn’t “get him” and has complained about how Harper – from New York – doesn’t have a southern accent. Apparently Vince wanted him to do a southern accent gimmick four years ago, but Luke couldn’t do one. Harper was scheduled to have a feud with Sami Zayn following his Giant The Memorial Andre Royal Battle return, but Vince scrapped the storyline because of how he looked in his comeback – despite genuinely saving Mustafa Ali from serious injury during that match, which Ali himself has tweeted about following the news of Harper’s release.
“Best wishes to @LukeHarperWWE . Saved me from a broken neck.”
Harper appeared to be very well-liked backstage, with Jericho once posting a Luke Harper fan club image last year with the Colons, Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns, Sheamus and Cesaro all wearing custom-made Harper t-shirts, as WWE weren’t making him any merchandise for him at the time. Obligatory buy WrestleTalk merch at WrestleTalkMerch.com now plug. And Rusev has also tweeted about Harper being released:
“Salute to one of the Best @LukeHarperWWE”
And when asked why Rusev doesn’t oin him, as the Bulgarian Brute has talked about his creative frustrations with WWE this year, Rusev replied: “Because that’s not how you spell WHY” – as the fan spelled ‘Why’ as just ‘Wy’. GRAMMER SLAM!
But WWE stars weren’t the only ones wishing Harper well.
Harper actually trademarked his former independent wrestling name Brodie Lee just two weeks ago, implying he fully intends on continuing his wrestling career outside WWE. And now a post from another one of the biggest free agents in wrestling, Marty Scurll, has teased they could do it together – with The Villain posting a picture of the two with the caption “Villain Enterprises?! #villain UMBRELLA EMOJI!”
And if that isn’t enough to get your fantasy booking brains spinning, Scurll posted the same “Villain Enterprises?!” caption with a picture of him alongside Brody King, New Japan star ELP, and AEW’s Darby Allin!
Scurll’s Ring of Honor contract has reportedly already expired, although he will be working their Final Battle pay-per-view this Saturday and the following night’s tapings. After that, it’s expected he’ll join his Being the Elite buddies in AEW, especially with his name being dropped on Dynamite a few times in recent weeks.
Unfortunately Harper will have to wait a while to do the same, as F4WOnline have confirmed that all four men released yesterday have the standard 90 day non-compete clause, meaning they can’t show up for any other US wrestling promotions on TV. Those non-competes will expire on the 8th March next year.
As for the Ascension, their releases were announced just an hour after Harper and Sin Cara’s.
-Their last match was on a WWE Main Event taping on April 8th this year!
-Their last win came on a Main Event taping last July, 1 year and 5 months ago!
-Their last non-pre show pay-view match was a loss to Breezango 2 years a 7 months ago.
-And they weren’t even selected in October’s WWE Draft.
So it’s not really surprising they were let go.
Konnor and Viktor were one of NXT’s top tag teams in 2013 and 14, winning the Tag Team Championships, but like so many, their developmental success didn’t translate to the main roster. Zack Ryder tweeted about all those released: “Gonna miss these brothers” with pictures of him with each.
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