As we’ve noted, WWE made budget cuts on Thursday and released 10 wrestlers – Samoa Joe, Mickie James, Mojo Rawley, Chelsea Green, Tucker, Wesley Blake, Billie Kay, Peyton Royce, Kalisto and Bo Dallas.
Regarding the releases of Mickie and Joe, Fightful Select reports that Mickie had been vocal backstage about her desire to continue wrestling. Word also emerged this week that Joe had expressed his desire to wrestle as of late, but was not cleared by WWE.
It was also noted that word of the WWE cuts actually made its way around a few months ago, but multiple people among the releases had inquired about whether or not they were on the chopping block, and were told that they weren’t going to be among the departures, only to be cut later. It is possible that the cuts had not been decided at that point. One wrestler reportedly said, “It’s just an annual reminder that this is a company, not a family.”
Joe last wrestled in February 2020 but had been doing RAW commentary while recovering from injuries. He was removed from the RAW team this past Monday when Corey Graves and newcomer Adnan Virk were brought on. He had been with WWE since May 2015. James last wrestled for WWE in the Women’s Royal Rumble Match this past January, but she worked the Kickoff pre-show panel for Night One and Night Two of the WWE NXT “Takeover: Stand and Deliver” event last week. James returned to WWE back in December 2016 after signing a multi-year contract.
All wrestlers released on Thursday are under a standard 90-day non-compete clause with WWE and are not free to sign with other promotions until Wednesday, July 14.
Stay tuned for more.