Nearly two months after releasing nine superstars, WWE announced a surprising new wave of releases that include some of the company's top names.
The six performers released were Braun Strowman, Aleister Black, Lana, Ruby Riott, Murphy and Santana Garrett. Most of the talent released comes as a shock since most of them were just competing for titles or making their way back to the main roster.
Strowman had just competed for the Universal Championship at Wrestlemania Backlash on May 16. He was the Universal Champion in 2020, won numerous other titles and his "monster among men," moniker made him one of the biggest stars in his eight years with the company.
Black was set up to return to SmackDown after months away from TV. He appeared to begin a feud with Big E on May 21 and the former NXT Champion's departure left fans confused as to what happened.
Braun Strowman was just in a WWE Championship match having wrestled Shane McMahon at WrestleMania.
Aleister Black just returned with some of the most well-produced vignettes we’ve seen in recent years.
A lot of money been put into both men. Insane to see them released!
Braun Strowman beat Goldberg at last year’s WrestleMania to become Universal Champion. He fought and beat Shane McMahon in a steel cage match at this year’s Mania and was in a WWE Title match on PPV last month. WHAT HAPPENED!?
Only WWE could put all that effort into heavily produced return promo segments for Aleister Black as well as have him begin a feud with Big E, only to then release him days later.
Vince dropped the ball with him big time. #WWEReleases 🤔🤦🏻♂️ pic.twitter.com/XDuIFQej29
Lana had formed a tag-team alongside Naomi in recent months and the duo even competed two days ago on Raw. She never won any titles during her time with the company, but Naomi had spoke highly of her training in a recent interview, saying, "there is no one in our division who works and is more driven than her." Her husband, Miro, is currently a performer for All Elite Wrestling.
The release of Riott comes less than one week after she competed alongside her tag-partner Liv Morgan for the Women’s Tag Team Championship. Riott and Morgan have been one of the most popular women tag teams as the Riott Squad since their reunion last August.
I can’t believe how much WWE slept on Ruby Riott.
It always felt like she had the potential to break into the main event. WWE never gave her that chance. pic.twitter.com/7qlPScYvcu
Murphy had seen his TV diminish after his storyline with Seth Rollins and Rey Mysterio fizzled out, last being seen on the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal before Wrestlemania 37. Garrett had signed a contract in 2019 and last appeared in the Women’s Royal Rumble Match in January.
WWE has made cuts all across the company since Wrestlemania 37, citing budget constraints in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jord_mendoza.
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