WWE Spring cleaning has returned, and has seen nearly a dozen talents released from the company. Some surprising, some not so surprising.
Let’s take a look at some of the releases, and what their future may hold.
Drew McIntyre- Probably the shocker of the bunch, McIntyre was once pegged as Vince McMahon’s “chosen one.” After a public spat with his wife (TNA’s Taryn Terrell), McIntyre’s push was completely abandoned, instead being relegated to comedy status with 3MB. McIntyre still showed flashes of brilliance, notably on the last couple of pay-per-view pre-shows. I see the 29-year old McIntyre excelling somewhere, likely Global Force Wrestling.
Referee Marc Harris- I really hate to kick a man when he’s down, but Marc Harris was a bad referee. He interfered with camera angles, missed spots, botched counts, a whole lot of stuff. If he’s hired by anyone on a national level before significantly improving, I’d be surprised. In my opinion, he was the worst WWE referee since Nick Patrick.
Aksana- Man, this girl went out having dirty popcorn from the ring canvas shoved down her throat by Alicia Fox. Aksana wasn’t good in the ring, didn’t have much presence, and couldn’t cut a promo. I can’t imagine she’ll continue wrestling.
Curt Hawkins- Well, he hasn’t been used on TV outside of NXT in ages. The writing was on the wall here for a long time, but Hawkins is just 29, and should do well on the independent circuit. He’s the type of guy who could get picked up by another promotion, repackaged, and get some new life. He also has a wrestling school, which I’m sure with his ability, will churn out some good talent.
Brodus Clay- Wow, what could have been. Prior to his dead end Funkasaurus gimmick—which overstayed its welcome by all two years—Clay was pegged to be the next Mark Henry, Big Van Vader, or something of the like. Nobody can truly know if that would have worked out, but at 6’7, 375, he had a few things on his side. He’s 34 years old, but bigger wrestlers have an extended shelf life. He could certainly rekindle his monster gimmick somewhere else, or make a living dancing as a funk-tastic dinosaur on indy spots.
Evan Bourne- This one has been a long time coming. Following two consecutive suspensions and a broken ankle, Bourne was off of WWE TV for two and a half years before receiving his release. I’m unsure of his health at this point, but I’d imagine Bourne is living fairly comfortably after 28 months of not taking bumps and still receiving a check. Given that he’s still healthy and able to compete, Bourne will most certainly end up in TNA, GFW or another prominent promotion, or return to the indies, which would welcome him.
Camacho- Some guys have it, others don’t. The son of Meng/Haku had kind of wasted away after his deal with Hunico just didn’t work out. Eventually, he was brought in to NXT in order to work with other wrestlers, but didn’t seem poised as a breakout star or anything like that. Don’t look for him to be a major name elsewhere, possibly getting out of wrestling altogether.
Yoshi Tatsu- Another unsurprising release. Yoshi Tatsu is a wonderful wrestler, but he doesn’t speak good English and never seemed to connect with fans. Much like Camacho, Tatsu was relegated to Superstars, and later NXT as an enhancement talent, before his release. With the WWE reportedly having KENTA come into the company, Yoshi Tatsu is better served returning to Japan, where I’m sure he’ll do great.
Teddy Long- It’s sad to see Teddy Long go. After being involved in WCW/WWE for 25 years, it appears Long’s major wrestling days are over. However, don’t feel too bad for Long, as I see him as a guy the WWE will take care of in the future. Also, the running “Teddy Long makes a tag team match” gag will serve him well, as indy shows will pay him to simply show up and say “This is now a taaaag teaaaam match, playa!” I could also see him returning to do that for the WWE in one-off deals, just to provide comedic relief.
Jinder Mahal- Mahal just didn’t work out. The WWE desperately wanted a middle eastern star, and Mahal wasn’t it. The Sultan didn’t work, Great Khali didn’t work, Tiger Ali Singh didn’t work, and neither did Mahal. Maybe that had to do with most of them being Canadian or Samoan, but that gimmick is played out, and the WWE missed the boat capitalizing on Muhammad Hussan and Daviari. All of America doesn’t get behind of a wrestler being a despicable heel simply because they’re foreign. Mahal spent the last couple of years in a comedy act with 3MB, but it was his time to go. He’ll be 28 this year and has a lot of experience, but needs to do something to stand out.
Surely, some of these will be off, some will be right on the money. But the independent wrestling pool got a lot deeper this week.