The thinning of the WWE roster continues as the company released 8 wrestlers last night after releasing 18 wrestlers two weeks ago. The newest group of releases are all from the main roster. Some of the talents haven’t been used in any meaningful capacity for months, while others were called up to the main roster last month.
The complete list includes John Morrison, Top Dolla, Ashante “Thee” Adonis, Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, Tegan Nox, Drake Maverick, Shane Thorne, and Jaxson Ryker.
Let’s break it all down.
John Morrison: Morrison resigned with WWE in 2019 and was booked in the same spot he occupied 8 years earlier as The Miz’s second banana. His wife, Franky Monet was released in the last round of cuts reportedly due to her age, 38 years old. Morrison, at 42 years old, doesn’t fit in WWE’s new youth movement.
Hit Row Top Dolla, Ashante “Thee” Adonis, Isaiah “Swerve” Scott: To say the release of Hit Row is perplexing would be an understatement. B-Fab was released two weeks ago, and now the rest of the group is gone. Something doesn’t add up here. They’re all 31 years old, and after B-Fab was released, Hit Row appeared to be built around Top Dolla.
“Swerve” Scott won’t have too much difficulty finding work on the independent scene. Ashante Adonis is not much of a name in terms of star power. He’ll find work, but he may have to start from the bottom to acquire a full-time gig.
Top Dolla seemed destined for success based on how WWE was setting him up to be the star of Hit Row and selecting him to host their WWE Treasures show on A&E. Rumors are running wild that Top Dolla “rubbed a ton of people the wrong way” backstage. Dolla responded to the reports stating.
“Here’s what rubs people the wrong way. -Standing up for your own. When Bri (B-Fab) was released, and I called the office myself to tell them they made a mistake. -Standing up for yourself. Ppl in the PC told me “Hit Row” wouldn’t work for a year and a half & I never took their advice.”
Dolla followed up his comments on Twitter “TRUST ME I got plenty stories I can tell about how I was disrespected but just took it on the chin like a professional. Even with the video I released today it was all professionalism. But I’m NOT gonna let these BS “reports” ruin my reputation. I got tea I can spill too.”
I’m all for standing up for yourself; however, the reality is Vince McMahon, now more than ever, wants things done his way. If you ask too many questions, scoff at advice from veterans, or everything ends up being a debate, your tenure at WWE will be short-lived.
Especially when you’ve been in the business for a cup of coffee.
Drake Maverick: Originally released last year but shortly resigned under the NXT banner after his performance in the Cruiserweight Title Tournament produced a groundswell online support for what appeared to be his final matches. Maverick was recently promoted to the main roster, again, won the 24/7 on 11/8 before dropping it immediately.
Drake Maverick is the little engine that could. He finds a way despite not being at the top name. Still, he’s a tremendous performer and will serve well any promotion he works with going forward. Personally, I thought he’d be this generation’s Bobby Heenan in terms of the caliber of his work.
Jaxson Ryker: Ryker was a pariah in WWE after he made some controversial political tweets. Putting the tweets aside, he’s 39 years old, a charisma vacuum, and never got over in any promotion.
Shane Thorne: The Aussie’s WWE career was doomed from the moment he became the hockey mask-wearing member of Retribution named Slapjack. Thorne is 36 years old but not the smallest guy in the room at 6 ft 2 in and 220 pounds. He even seamlessly went along with WWE’s more recent character-based mandate and adopted a crocodile hunter gimmick. The character debuted in dark matches but never made television. A return to the Japanese scene is Thorne’s most likely destination.
Tegan Nox: It must stink to work for a company that wishes you a Happy Birthday and fires you six hours later. Three ACL tears in under four years and before the age of 27 is the story of Tegan Nox. Not the injuries alone, but her ability to come back each time and still make it to the main roster.
Called up to the main roster in April, had a series of tag matches with Shotizi where they defeated the tag team champions, never got a title shot, drafted to Raw last month, and now she’s gone. Nox’s release is also a head-scratcher because she’s a good worker, easy on the eyes, young, and a versatile performer.
Nox checks all the boxes; however, WWE might see her as damaged goods with bad knee. While Nox would add to the quality of AEW’s women’s division, she’s not a name that will draw in fans outside of the promotion’s diehard audience that already knows her. There’s got to be something more to these releases…
Final Thoughts: I’m spitballing here, but all of the cuts WWE has made in 2021 say two things.
One: Vince McMahon is looking to sell the company and wants to get as much money off the books before luring in potential buyers. Plus, the company is not even announcing the releases anymore. At 76 years old, he probably wants to retire on a large sum of cash and spend the rest of his days enjoying life after working hard to create an empire.
Two: These releases are the ultimate vote of no confidence in Triple H. Between most of the released being Triple H signees and the relaunch of NXT, Paul Levesque’s imprint is being erased. At this rate, there will be nothing left of anything resembling the black and gold brand he cultivated. No matter the reason for such mass releases, it’s clear that Vince McMahon felt Triple H’s approach to things was too pro wrestling and not enough sports entertainment.