It’s a roster culling the likes which we’ve not seen in a few years, with WWE announcing they have come to terms with the releases of Wade Barrett, Damien Sandow, Santino Marella, Hornswoggle, Cameron, El Torito, Alex Riley and Zeb Colter.
Barrett was a release we’d known for some time, as it was rumoured to have been sorted out as far back as WrestleMania. Barrett was kicked out of The League of Nations a few weeks ago and he hasn’t been seen since. He debuted in WWE as part of the very first season of NXT which he won, and he and his fellow NXT alumni- including Darren Young, Skip Sheffield (Ryback), Heath Slater and Daniel Bryan – formed a group called Nexus who were involved in a now legendary angle on Raw where they tore the set apart and destroyed John Cena and CM Punk. Barrett won several titles during his nine years in WWE and was even crowned King of the Ring last year. “After almost 9 years, today was my final day with WWE,” he wrote in a series of tweets. “I made a decision back in August last year not to re-sign once my current contract expired in June 2016, and I’ve now reached an agreement with management to dissolve the contract a few weeks early. Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the years, especially the guys I’ve shared a ring & locker room with. I will miss them tremendously.”
Also released was Damien Sandow, who hasn’t been used since his feud with The Miz culminated at last year’s WrestleMania. Although he hasn’t been used reguarly on shows, Sandow always drew a big reaction from the crowd.
Marella and Hornswoggle haven’t been on TV for a few years now and El Torito hasn’t been around since he broke away from Los Matadores in September last year. Cameron and Alex Riley have both been in NXT, with the latter working as an announcer who returned to the ring for a very short-lived feud with Kevin Owens. He was injured shortly after and returned to very little fanfare late last year. Cameron featured in the 2011 series of Tough Enough and became infamous by showing her little knowledge of wrestling history. She formed a tag team with Naomi as The Funkadactyls with Brodus Clay and Tensai, and furthered her infamy by trying to pin someone in a match when they were laying on their front. Likewise Zeb Colter hasn’t really been around since his act with Alberto Del Rio broke off shortly after his re-debut.
More names could be announced soon, as Ryback left TV this week following contract disputes. And with an influx of new stars on the main roster – including Sami Zayn, Baron Corbin, Apollo Crews, Enzo & Cass and The Vaudevillains – and new NXT wrestlers such as Shinsuke Nakamura, Eric Young, Austin Aeries and Bobby Roode, it seems WWE might be getting rid of some of the ‘old guard’ to make room.
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