• June 20, 2021

Exclusive: WWE releases 2021: Braun Strowman, Andrade, Samoa Joe lead list of superstar cuts

 Exclusive: WWE releases 2021: Braun Strowman, Andrade, Samoa Joe lead list of superstar cuts



‘Tis the season of the future endeavor’d.

While WWE has a reputation for signing some of the world’s best wrestling talent, it has also gained notoriety for misusing and, eventually, releasing said talent. The coronavirus pandemic ballooned the company’s release list in 2020, but expect more of the same this year, as several big-name wrestlers have already been released from WWE contracts.

With WrestleMania 37 in the rear-view mirror, the company has entered its annual “spring cleaning” period, during which it releases stars en masse. A few releases have already been made so far in 2021, with a few surprising names topping the list.

MORE: Jon Moxley on what makes All Elite Wrestling so special

In June, more talent was surprisingly released, with six names in total hitting the unemployment line in a new wave of layoffs.

Sporting News will be tracking the latest reported releases throughout 2021 below.

WWE releases 2021

Braun Strowman

Release: June 2

The “Monster Among Men” was among the next wave of releases from WWE on June 2, a surprising headliner among the list. As a member of the Wyatt Family early on, Strowman developed into one of the top characters on “RAW” in recent years, eventually wallowing in obscurity before WWE surprisingly released him on June 2.

Aleister Black

Release: June 2

Black — once again going by his former name Tommy End following his release — was among the releases on June 2, losing his job in WWE as part of its cost-cutting measures.

Coming up after a successful stint in WWE’s NXT brand, Black never found solid footing on the company’s main brands, spending time away from the TV until recently. Black was expected to get a big push, but ended up being pushed to unemployment instead.

Buddy Murphy

Release: June 2

Murphy started his WWE career in the NXT sub-brand alongside Wesley Blake and Alexa Bliss, eventually spending time away before reemerging as the company’s “Best Kept Secret” on 205Live. After his call-up to the main roster, he lost his first name (as most do), going by just “Murphy” and acting alongside Seth Rollins in a villainous stable.

Lana

Release: June 2

Wife to AEW star Miro (then known as Rusev), Lana spent time in WWE as the “Ravishing Russian,” Rusev’s then valent before transitioning into an in-ring career. While Lana never reached her ceiling as a talent, she was beloved by fans. In 2020, Lana spent time getting put through table after table in an angle that was supposed to pay off in making her a mega-star, but she ended up mega-out of the company.

Ruby Riott

Release: June 2

Ruby Riott — originally Ruby Riot before the main-roster geniuses decided to add an T to her last name for some reason — was released as part of the company’s June 2 releases. 

Before a lengthy career as an indy star, Riott landed in NXT and quickly ascended despite not winning gold in the promotion. She made her WWE debut alongside fellow NXT wrestlers Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan as the Riott Squad in 2017. Logan would eventually be released from her deal, leaving Riott and Morgan behind, until Riott was released in June.

Santana Garrett

Release: June 2

Garrett was a longtime indy wrestler before ended up making appearances for WWE as an enhancement talent in 2013. Garrett primarily worked as an enhancement talent throughout her career in WWE. 

Andrade

Release: March 21

Andrade (formerly known as Andrade “Cien” Almas in WWE) reportedly requested his released in March, and was granted it on March 21. The luchador was a one-time NXT champion and found little success on the main roster, though, winning the United States championship once.

Known as “La Sombra” in NJPW and CMLL before his NXT arrival, Andrade will likely find success in another wrestling company, and soon.

Lars Sullivan

Reported release: February 2021

Sullivan was being booked as a potential all-world heel before an injury sidelined him in 2019, and several controversies followed: mysoginistic and racist comments from Sullivan on an internet forum surfaced, as well as his appearance in an adult film years before his wrestling career got underway.

Speaking with Fightful earlier in the year, Sullivan revealed that he battles anxiety issues, and the company handled his release with grace.

He was quietly released in February, not even getting the “Future Endeavor” treatment on WWE.com.

Steve Cutler

Released: Feb. 4

Cutler, a third of the Forgotten Sons, was released after the stable was disbanded in the wake of Jaxson Ryker’s controversial tweets surrounding former President Donald Trump and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Some reports indicate that Vince McMahon was “livid” with Cutler’s (real name Steve Maclin) appearance at a New Year’s Eve party, while the company continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

Samoa Joe

Released: April 15

Samoa Joe, a one-time NXT champion and all-around badass, was released on April 15 during the company’s annual mass releases. There’s some question to why Joe was released, because both as a wrestler and broadcaster he had plenty of value.

Peyton Royce

Released: April 15

Royce, half of WWE’s “Iiconics,” was let go on April 15. With Billie Kay, Royce’s career blossomed on NXT before getting the call up to the main roster. That proved fruitless, with the company electing to split up the duo later.

Billie Kay

Released: April 15

The Australian Kay, half of WWE’s “Iiconics,” was let go on April 15. Alongside Peyton Royce, Kay made her stamp in WWE’s NXT sub-brand before being called up to the main roster. The “Femme Fatale’s” luck ran short, with the company deciding to end the duo soon after the callup.

Mickie James

Released: April 15

James, a veteran of the women’s division, had an on-again-off-again relationship with the company for the past decade plus. She eventually returned to WWE in 2016, making sporadic appearances over the past year until her release.

Chelsea Green

Released: April 15

Green never made an appearance on the main roster, but was given a three-year contract extension with WWE in November 2020. Injuries kept her sidelined, eventually leading to her release.

She is married to former WWE star Matt Cardona (formerly known as Zack Ryder).

Tucker Knight

Released: April 15

Knight, formerly in a tag team alongside Otis Dozovic, was split from his partner soon after making his debut on the main roster. After the unfortunate disbanding of Heavy Machinery, Knight floundered in a singles role, eventually leading to his release.

Kalisto

Released: April 15

Kalisto, a third of the Lucha House Party, was separated from his stablemates in the 2020 WWE Draft. While he was a former United States and Cruiserweight Champion, Kalisto’s eight-year WWE career ended soon after WrestleMania 37.

Bo Dallas

Released: April 15

Dallas, brother of Bray Wyatt, never found footing in WWE, struggling to find a gimmick that worked for him on the main roster. While he worked with The Miz and Curtis Axel, Dallas had been absent from WWE TV for more than a year.

Unfortunately, Dallas was let go on April 15, 2021, ending a career that lasted more than a decade in WWE brands.

Wesley Blake

Released: April 15

Blake was part of the controversial Forgotten Sons stable that made its debut in NXT before moving to the main brand. His stablemate, Steve Cutler, had been released in February. Only Jaxon Ryker, who came under fire for controversial tweets, remains employed by the company.





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