It's April 15th, and once again for the WWE, that means it's time for 'Spring Cleaning' - their now annual post-WrestleMania releases....
Last year, some of the names dropped included Kurt Angle, Rusev, Zack Ryder, Curt Hawkins, and even referee Mike Chioda, who'd been with the company since 1989 - and there's a few surprises on the list this year as well....
Obviously, this blog always kinda sucks to write, because it's literally just highlighting some talented people losing their jobs, so I'll keep it brief, but say exactly what I said earlier on Twitter: I know AEW doesn't wanna just be the "former WWE people" company, but they sure as shit got handed a buncha amazing signings on a platter this afternoon.
That AEW women's division is currently getting tons of praise in regards to showing improvement (especially after Britt Baker vs Thunder Rosa) and if they need a couple names to help legitimize it - who better than Mickie James, Chelsea Green, and The IIconics?! Honestly, I'm pretty stunned they even let Peyton/Billie go at all, as they clearly need teams to fill out the women's tag division….
Kalisto was a guy who easily could've been a huge star in the company if pushed correctly, in my eyes, but that just never really happened, even after a couple star-making moments like this….
Maybe the "good lucha things" promo just made him damaged goods for life in Vince's eyes….
He's a guy I'd love to see in AEW mixing it up with the likes of Fenix/Penta/PAC/Jack Evans though. I think he could fill out their roster really well.
Oh, and obviously, if Samoa Joe can wrestle - he should be a PRIORITY signing for Tony Khan in AEW. I'm not sure where he's at injury-wise, as he hasn't been wrestling for a while, but there's just SO many fresh matchups for Joe in that company that I'd love to see take place.
Joe vs Mox, Joe vs Omega, Joe vs Darby, Joe vs Adam Page?! I mean - COME ON!
I also have faith in AEW utilizing Joe as the monster he is (which they were able to do in NXT, to be fair, just not on the main roster) if they wound up signing him. I know he's not the young buck he was when he wrestled Kobashi anymore….
(Seriously - MUST WATCH match for any wrestling fan)
….but a few years ago at Great Balls of Fire he put on a HELL of a hoss match with Brock where I swear he should've went over.
He seems to be taking this all pretty well, luckily….
Hopefully the others are looking at things with the same optimism/silver lining that he is, because there's a lot of untapped or wasted potential on that release list that now will have destiny in their own hands. Now wrestling is what they make of it - not where they're positioned on the card or how much they're used on television - and with all of the ways to make a living in the business in 2021, that's gotta feel pretty sweet, even if bittersweet today.
Easy for me to say, I know, but take it from Matt Cardona (FKA Zack Ryder), who was released a year ago today….
Best of luck to everybody who lost jobs today - hope you all land on your feet.
P.S. Did Nate remind somebody at WWE that Bo Dallas still worked there?!