Let’s start with the developing story that broke after RAW: WWE Superstar Ryback was pulled from all on-screen appearances due to his contract dispute with WWE. The move was likely done in response to Ryback referencing contract negotiations during the a live show in Dubai the week before Payback.
Ryback last appeared at Payback where he lost to Kalisto in a match the for US. Title. He was scheduled to participate in the battle royale to determine the new #1 Contender for the US Title but was noticably absent. Ryback was reportedly sent home upon arriving for RAW.
Given the number of releases announced this morning–more on this in a bit–it looks like Ryback will be released as well: Reportedly, there has been alot of struggle with marketing his character in the last few years. He has the versatility needed to perform in the ring but his character isn’t as accomplished as Wade Barrett or D-Bry, both of whom could be counted on to help build younger talent or a storyline.
Enzo Amore was released from the hospital sometime Monday, apparently during RAW. He will be out of action and has been removed from all appearances until May 20–just in time for Extreme Rules, actually.
Enzo suffered a mild concussion and was knocked unconscious during the tag team match involving the Vanvillains at Payback. His tag team partner Big Cass joined The New Day in an 8-man tag team match against The Vanvillains and The Dudley Boyz on RAW. I would not be surprised if the tag team match is changed into a fatal four-way match for the tag team titles.
Now let’s get to the major news that came out this morning. The following superstars were released by WWE:
- El Torito
- Alexy Riley
- Zeb Colter
- Santino Marella
- Damien Sandow
- Wade Barrett
The one release that truly surprises me is Damien Sandow, who seemed to be making a comeback in recent weeks. I think WWE will resign him if they aren’t moving to do so already–After all, the Dudley Boyz were released but later returned after their run on TNA.
We all knew Wade Barrett (real name Stu Bennet) would be leaving soon. I think he’s done wrestling period. He had a pretty good run as a heel with the company. I had a feeling he’d be released earlier than expected after he was kicked out of the League of Nations a few weeks back.
Zeb getting cut makes sense since he hasn’t been seen since he and Alberto Del Rio parted ways a few months ago. Coulter, who is more known for his run as Jack Swagger’s manager missed over a year due to surgery when he suddenly returned last year with Del Rio. I’m sure WWE tried to repurpose him but couldn’t figure out a way to make his character work with any of the current talent.
Santino hasn’t competed in years. He actually runs a wrestling academy in Europe for another promotion. He was likely cut so he could focus on that. Aley Riley hasn’t been relevant due to injury for years now so…yeah. Hornswoggle had quite the run and will be missed. El Torito not as much.
Cameron getting cut is a bit of a surprise given the Bella Twins are likely gone for good. I think she might try to negotiate a new contract. If that doesn’t work, she’ll work for another promotion and come back in a few years. Cameron made her debut alongside Naomi as the Funkadactyls with Brodus Clay a few years back.
Now let’s get on to Character Resets. Darren Young announced on Smackdown this week he is launching a solo career with Hall of Famer Bob Backlund in his corner. Up until now he was one half of The Primetime Players alongside Titus O’Neil, who himself has enjoyed some success as a solo competator. I think what’ll happen is Darren will eventually become part of a stable of superstars.
Darren was notabily pulled from active competition to join the PR Team after he came out as the first openly gay WWE Superstar in 2013. He returned to in-ring action in late 2014 when the Primetime Players reformed. They came pretty close to winning the tag team championship a few times as well.
Zack Ryder’s career got rezzed when he won the IC Title at Wrestlemania 32. We saw agressive side to him on Smackdown this week in his second rematch for the IC title after losing it to The Miz the RAW after Wrestlemania. It’s like I said before. After years of being fed to other superstars, Long Island Ice Tea is finally getting his due.
Ah, Golden Truth. The ongoing promo involving two of the…most interesting superstars in WWE has been doing a good job of indirectly helping Tyler Breeze and Fandango with their characters’ development. Golden Truth are vets and clearly don’t mind helping newer talent develop.
We know Cena is returning at the end of the month but there are reports Seth Rollins might return a few weeks sooner than expected. That’s what The Bleacher Report is reporting anyways, Rollins has been out of action after suffering a knee injury at a house show last fall, forcing him to relinquish the WWE Championship.
No question Rollins will be immediately placed in the title hunt upon his return. Given Randy Orton is supposed to return in a few weeks himself, things are about to get real interesting.