Hey everybody, it’s Sam with One Stop Wrestling. I guess we can assume that the owner and lead writer of this company likes my point of view in the first article on Ace Austin? We decided that my next story would be about former superstars who haven’t signed yet – and new, upcoming indie stars.
When I was researching for this article, I saw Matt Cardona’s tweet talking about yesterday, April 15. One year ago he was released from WWE on what is now called Black Wednesday. Some of those superstars, we saw bloom in summer 2020 to now. So let’s just talk about them for a minute. We need to see what they have done.
The 2020 Black Wednesday Superstars
The one person that has surprised me by growing so much in one year is Tay Conti. I had never heard of her and don’t believe I ever saw her on NXT. Now, look at what she has accomplished in AEW! She started on AEW Dark then was partnered with Anna Jay and is now the number one contender for the AEW Women’s Championship. I know many of you will say ‘well she couldn’t make it in the WWE’. I don’t believe it. They didn’t give her the chance. She has worked extremely hard for her achievements.
WWE on Black Wednesday also let go of Lio Rush. We all know now him as an unbelievably talented 26 year old young man, and have witnessed him mature. Watching him in MLW and New Japan Strong has been fun, especially seeing him win both the AAA Cruiserweight Championship and the MLW Middleweight Championship. Rush has competed on numerous indie shows and has just flat out shown his talent on the mic and in the ring.
The one that shocked me probably the most of all the people that they let go was Deonna Purrazzo. I had seen her before in Ring of Honor and I couldn’t believe WWE felt like they could not use her in NXT. Now she is the two-time Impact Wrestling Knockouts Champion. Her matches with Jordynne Grace and legend/future Hall of Famer Jazz have been very good.
Rusev was released after getting himself over as the Bulgarian Brute with the winning streak, then again with Aiden English and ‘Rusev Day’. How can you do that? He moved on to become Miro in AEW but hasn’t quite hit the mark yet. He is definitely not Kip Sabian’s sidekick. Miro dumping him hopefully will catapult him up a level.
Kurt Angle was released. You know – the Hall of Famer and Olympian? Couldn’t he have been kept around as a teacher and coach backstage? So many of you on Reddit, forums, and Twitter talk about 2-to-3 move wrestlers. Well, guess what? Angle knows moves on top of moves. Not to mention the counter moves that most on the roster don’t have a clue about. Kurt Angle could have helped them, but instead they let them go.
Matt Cardona has a short term contract with Impact Wrestling now. He isn’t sure that he wants to get into a long term deal because he did that in WWE as Zack Ryder. They barely used him at all or listen to his ideas. Cardona is in the prime of his career and wants to be used again and grow as a wrestler.
Brian Myers, who was Curt Hawkins in WWE wants to be used and heard. Myers is also currently working in Impact Wrestling, wanting to show everybody what he has and can do when given time. He has become the ‘Most Professional Wrestler’ as his heel gimmick.
The Good Brothers
Of course, The Good Brothers, Karl “Machine Gun” Anderson and Luke “Doc” Gallows were excited to be let go. They have both said they probably never should have signed with WWE. They went to Impact Wrestling in 2020 and immediately won the Tag Team Titles. They then started (along with Kenny Omega) the partnership between AEW and Impact Wrestling.
Mike and Maria Kanellis
Both Maria and Mike went back to Ring of Honor after being released from WWE. Mike Bennett had previously asked for his release because he wasn’t being used, but when he was used his story-lines were awful. So, I think we’re going to see a lot of different things from them both in Ring of Honor. He looked great in his first two matches with his friend, Matt Taven. Mike looks so much more comfortable now. I think the rest of his 2021 is going to be looking up.
Eric Young is back at home at Impact Wrestling. He has brought a new flair to being psychotic by creating Violent By Design and trying to break Rich Swann in half. Young has been so interesting telling this story with Rhyno, Joe Dieting, and Deaner. In WWE, it just seemed he could never get his footing.
I can’t believe WWE let EC3 go. This was a total head-scratcher to me! It felt like they had no clue what to do with him. His character was completely different in TNA/Impact Wrestling, so NXT and WWE did not want him to be that character. Of course, that was fine with him, but it seems they couldn’t come up with anything else! If you’ve watched any of his videos on https://www.freeec3.com, any of the work he did in 2020 at Impact Wrestling with Moose, or his work in Ring of Honor then you would know it was crazy to let him go. The Control Your Narrative has been an awesome inventive new character development. I loved his Is ‘There Any Honor In Wrestling?’ promo. It’s fascinating because you don’t see anything else like it in wrestling at the moment.
The last one to mention is Heath Slater. I can’t feel any more sorry for him. He showed up at Impact Wrestling as soon as his compete clause was up to join his old tag team partner, Rhyno. It looked like they were ready to receive a gigantic push when he became injured. He had three different injuries. All were in the abdominal area, so he looked around trying to find a doctor that would do all three surgeries at the same time and wanted to rehab them all together, so it would be a shorter rehab. Heath had his surgery on March 1 and hopefully he will be back at the late summer. I wish him all the best for just what he has gone through!
Does April 15, 2021 Offer the Same Greener Pastures?
Does this now turn into Black Thursday? Twelve wrestlers were let go on Thursday 15th April. Not all of them were let go by WWE, but most were.
Ivelisse was let go from AEW. She has her side of the problems and AEW has their side. Both commonly have said it deals with the treatment of her and two AEW coaches. The issue appears to be concerning Thunder Rosa. I don’t know all the issues everywhere, but Ivelisse appears to have issues in whatever promotion she is in. Not sure where she will end up.
Nevaeh on Thursday announced on Twitter after her match on Impact Wrestling’s pre-show BTI that she and the company have parted ways. She hasn’t been in contract since debuting last April. However, Nevaeh has made it seem like it may not have been her decision. Her real name is Beth Crist and her husband is Jake Crist. Maybe they will be able to work together at a promotion this time?
Of course, WWE got into the mix on April 15 releasing ten wrestlers on the same day as they did last year. Each wrestler released was shocking in their own way, and four of them were a total shock to me. I never dreamed they would do it. All have 90 day non-compete clauses which means they cannot sign elsewhere until July 14.
Can anyone tell me why you would have Samoa Joe be your commentator at the biggest event of the year? He was a commentator at WrestleMania 37 on April 10-11 then they released him on April 15. I know Samoa Joe was trying to get released from concussion protocol. Maybe WWE didn’t want to pay him wrestling money to continue to commentate. He got a concussion while filming a commercial by going through a table last year. Since then he has been trying to get back in the ring. However, he does own the name Samoa Joe and will be able to take it with him.
Mickie James was in a similar situation as Samoa Joe. She was one of the NXT TakeOver: Stand and Deliver kickoff show hosts and did an absolutely fabulous job. Why would WWE let someone with that kind of knowledge, talent and skill go? Why would you not have her doing matches with some of the more inexperienced talent on the main roster to help them learn? It is unbelievable that they would release a future Hall of Famer. All James wanted was to help others and get one final push. WWE owned the Mickie James name until 2010 when they allowed it to expire, but re-filed for the name in 2017. WWE currently owns it.
Vince McMahon Summer of 2020 Conference Call
Vince McMahon held a conference call with his leadership team and earnings call. During this, he mentioned three women who he saw as huge stars and they needed to concentrate on. Number one was Bianca Belair – we’ve seen what has just happened with her. However, will it continue? Number two was Bayley, who at the time of the call held the Women’s Smackdown Championship and the Women’s Tag Team Championships with Sasha Banks. Within 4-6 weeks she lost both championships and her TV time started disappearing after October’s Hell in a Cell. She hasn’t wrestled since the third week of February. This is absolutely ridiculous.
The number three woman mentioned was Peyton Royce. Shortly thereafter, WWE split up The IIconics. Both members had been catching on and were hilarious. They both work extremely hard and are passionate and fans had taken to them until the breakup. Did they need to win the tag team championships? Probably not. They should have stayed with Bayley/Sasha that first time longer. Royce was then sent to Raw and given no storylines. Peyton finally had to go on Raw Talk to get a match with Asuka. She looked great in a losing effort. Peyton Royce doesn’t own her name, so it will not be going with her.
So what happened to Vince McMahon saying these three women should be huge stars? One hasn’t wrestled on TV since February and didn’t have a match at WrestleMania. Another got released on April 15. Bianca, this is your warning. Do your best! Good luck.
The other half of the IIconics was never really given much of a story-line after she was sent to Smackdown. She ran around for 2-3 minutes each show giving her resume to wrestlers. Billie Kay became almost a cult classic with fans, wondering where she would end up. Fans would comment if she wasn’t on the show. She wrestled on April 10 at WrestleMania 37 as Carmella’s tag team partner, and then was released on April 15. Billie Kay doesn’t own her name, so it will not be going with her. Where will Billie Kay and Peyton Royce end up? Possibly with Tenille Dashwood in Impact Wrestling or with Shawn Spears in AEW?
Bo Dallas hasn’t been used by WWE in over a year. He shows up every week on time ready to work, but WWE Creative couldn’t come up with anything for him. So they decided to release him with everyone else. WWE did file paperwork on Dallas’ name, but never got him to sign the trademark paperwork. Their application will expire in June 2021.
What bad luck Chelsea Green has had! WWE brought her up to the main roster and she had an unfortunate fluke injury during her debut match. She has been rehabbing like crazy to come back, but they decided to let her go instead. Like Bo Dallas’ situation, WWE applied for her name, but she didn’t sign the paperwork. Their application expires in August 2021.
Kalisto came back from an injury thenwent into a program with the Lucha House Party. Afterwards, he wasn’t seen again. I’m not sure if we have seen him this year on TV? WWE owns his name currently. Look for this talented guy to show up somewhere and show out as soon as his non-compete clause is over.
Tucker formerly of Heavy Machinery (with Otis) was also released. They haven’t used him in anything but the chase of the 24/7 championship. WWE owns his name and he looks to be using Levi Cooper now. He will probably need to build himself back up in a smaller promotion.
Wesley Blake was released and it started many fans to immediately yell for him to go wherever Steve Cutler goes, so they can be a tag team. I don’t know whether that will happen or not.
The Hype Bro himself, Mojo Rawley was the last wrestler announced sadly to be released. He has always been unbelievable to the fans, especially kids. He is known to make videos for teachers to talk to the students about a topic then hype them up. Mojo Rawley had the biggest heart for kids on the roster. I can’t wait for him to catch on with some other promotion because I truly want to see what he does next. WWE’s application for his name runs out this month, so he could take his name with him.
What do you think about the 2020 Black Wednesday group? Have they made WWE regret ever letting them go? Or are they where they finally belong?
What do you think the 2021 Black Thursday group will do, or where they will go? Will they be as successful at their new wrestling homes? Tell me why! You can talk to me by commenting here or write to me at ProWrestlingOT@gmail.com. Don’t forget to listen to my podcast “Pro Wrestling Overtime” on all major platforms. Hit me up on Twitter @ProOvertime. I’ll talk to you soon and see you down the road.
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