WWE announced back on April 15, 2020 that, as part of cost-cutting measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 20 active wrestlers would be released by the company while numerous backstage producers, announcers, referees, on-air personalities, writers and office employees would either be fired or furloughed. One year has passed, and many of those wrestlers have now found new homes and new opportunities outside of the WWE. Below is a list of every wrestler who was cut on that date (and the days that followed) and an update on what they've been up to since then.
For the firs time in 13 months, WWE was able to host a major event with live fans in attendance this past weekend with the two-night WrestleMania 37 event. As of now, the company is still operating inside of the WWE ThunderDome for the foreseeable future.
Rusev / Miro
After launching his own Twitch channel, "The Bulgarian Brute" made his surprise arrival in All Elite Wrestling on the Sept. 9 episode of AEW Dynamite. Now going by Miro, the former US Champion has yet to be pinned in an AEW ring though he did recently lose the Arcade Anarchy tag match against Orange Cassidy and Chuck Taylor.
In a promo on this week's Dynamite he made it pretty clear that his alliance with Kip Sabian is over and that he's going to start focussing on winning championships.prevnext
Maverick was announced for the Interim Cruiserweight Championship Tournament days before his release was announced. The British star took to Twitter shortly after the news broke and, with tears in his eyes, he announced that he would still be competing despite not having a contract. He immediately became the fan-favorite of the tournament, making it to the finals before losing to El Hijo del Fantasma (Santos Escobar) on the June 3 episode. However, it was announced after the match that he was still be rewarded with a new contract.
Maverick now finds himself in a tag team with Killian Dain. The pair won a No. 1 contender's match back at NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver last week, but lost to MSK in an NXT Tag Team Championship match on Tuesday's episode.prevnext
Within hours of his release, Ethan Carter III debuted a new persona centering around the idea of #ControlYourNarrative. He made his return to Impact Wrestling at the Slammiversary pay-per-view in July. He quickly entered a feud with Moose that lasted up until the Bound for Glory pay-per-view in October, then promptly departed. He arrived in Ring of Honor that same month and officially signed a contract with the company in February.
If you have come this far, you must be willing to go all the way.— ec3 (@therealec3) April 14, 2021
WWW FREE THE NARRATIVE DOT COM
Inspiration is infectious.
Inspiration requires commitment.
Inspiration will drive you to madness?
What inspires you?#ControlYourNarrative#FreeEC3 #ec3 pic.twitter.com/Ys5BmiwX0A
Zack Ryder / Matt Cardona
Ryder, now going by his real name Matt Cardona, made his arrival in AEW in late July. But it was later revealed that his deal with the promotion was only short-term, resulting in a tag team match with Cody Rhodes against The Dark Order and an eight-man tag match at the All Out pay-per-view.
He then jumped to Impact Wrestling, briefly feuding with Ace Austin before turning his attention to Brian Myers. The two currently have a match booked for the April 25 Rebellion pay-per-view.prevnext
Curt Hawkins / Brian Myers
While Cardona had a brief stop in AEW before joining his best friend in Impact, Brian Myers went directly back to Impact and returned on the July 21 episode. He's spent most of his second stint with the company as a heel with the nickname "The Most Professional Wrestler."
Outside of wrestling, Cardona and Myers launched the Major Pod Network back in February.prevnext
Rush initially teased retiring from the pro wrestling business a month after his release, but the 26-year-old made his surprise return at Game Changer Wrestling's GCW Homecoming event on July 25. He has since wrestled 22 matches, ranging from GCW events to UWN Primetime Live to Lucha Libre AAA's Triplemania XXVIII to MLW to NJPW Strong.
He currently holds the MLW World Middleweight Championship and has a semifinals match in the New Japan Cup USA tournament with Brody King on this Friday's episode of Strong.
Brody King and Lio Rush face off for a chance to advance to the finals!
This matchup is the epitome of an openweight contest.April 13, 2021
Will size or speed win out?
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
Gallows & Anderson have easily been two of the busiest wrestlers since their WWE deprature. They revived the Talk N' Shop podcast, signed two-year contract with Impact Wrestling, won and then lost the Impact World Tag Team Championships, invaded AEW Dynamite in January and have been working on both shows ever since to tie into Kenny Omega's storyline with both companies. They've also teased returning to New Japan Pro-Wrestling, booked two Talk N' Shop A Mania pay-per-views. Gallows also runs his own promotion in Lariato Pro Wrestling.prevnext
"The Virtuosa" returned to Impact Wrestling back in May 2020 and now finds herself atop the Knockouts Division as the reigning Impact Knockouts Champion. She has held the title for a combined 250+ days across two reigns and took home the Impact Year End Awards for Wrestler of the Year and Knockout of the Year for 2020.prevnext
Heath Slater / Heath
Slater, now simply going by Heath, arrived in Impact Wrestling and Slammiversary but announced that he was still technically a free agent. He finally got his contract with the company by winning a "Call Your Shot" Gauntlet match at Bound for Glory, but suffered multiple injuries in the match that wound up requiring surgery. He originally believed he would be returning to the ring in January but hasn't wrestled since.
"I just had surgery March 1," Heath said while on The Angle Podcast this week (h/t Fightful). "It was way more than what we were expecting. I guess that's what happens when you go 15 years of wrestling and pushing through everything. At first, everyone thought it was just a hernia. Next thing you know, with all these MRIs I got done, I had a sports hernia on the left side of my pubic bone, an alteration hernia on the right side, I ripped my abductor muscle off the bone, my abdomen wall was completely ripped to where they had to mesh all of that back. There was another muscle, I can't even pronounce the name of it, that they had to suture back.
Heath also made a one-of return to WWE last summer during a storyline between Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler. He confirmed in that same interview that WWE offered him half of what he was previously making to re-sign and promptly turned them down.
My exclusive with @HEATHXXII is available everywhere now!April 13, 2021
Young was another wrestler who arrived at Impact at Slammiversary, immediately turning heel during the main-event five-way match for the Impact World Championship. He quickly established himself as one of the company's top heels by beating Eddie Edwards for the world title on Sept. 1, then dropped it to Rich Swann at Bound for Glory.
Young now runs his own stable consisting of Joe Doering, Deaner and Rhino, Violent By Design. Last month he suffered a torn ACL and is set to be out of action for up to nine months.prevnext
Conti first competed in AEW as Anna Jay's tag team partner in the AEW Women's Tag Team Cup Tournament. She has since risen up to the No. 1 contender's spot in the Women's Division and will challenge Hikaru Shida for the AEW Women's World Championship next Wednesday.
So much respect for Shida but when the bell rings you will face the most dangerous Tay Conti you ever watched. 18 years of my life dedicated to martial arts, all of this for THIS MOMENT!!! There’s no giving up, no failure, I have no option but succeed. https://t.co/jzAbZvDNQI— TAYNARA MELO (@TayConti_) April 15, 2021
Rowan / Erick Redbeard
Now wrestling as Erick Redbeard, Rowan has only wrestled three times since his release. He did however make an emotional cameo appearance on the Brodie Lee tribute episode of AEW Dynamite in December.prevnext
Sarah Logan / Sarah Rowe
Logan announced last June that she would be stepping away from wrestling "for the foreseeable future." A month later she announced that she and Raymond Rowe (Erik in WWE) were expecting their first child. They welcomed their son Raymond in February.
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No Way Jose / Levy Valenz
Levis Valenzuela Jr. has only wrestled once in the past year according to Cagematch, but he did drop some big new last month in confirming that he is going to be a father soon.
Best news ever! Beyond excited! I’m gonna be a dad! ❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/UThhSvdpRI— Levis ⁷ (@LevyValenz) March 5, 2021
Mike Kanellis / Mike Bennett & Maria Kanellis
Kanellis and Bennett both returned to Ring of Honor in late 2020. Bennett has since reformed his tag team with Matt Taven (now the OGK) and has popped up in promotions like Warrior Wrestling, UWN Primetime (where he challenged Nick Aldis for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship) and GCW.
There will be ups. There will be downs. The trick is not putting too much stock in either of them.— Mike Bennett (@RealMikeBennett) April 15, 2021
Mark. https://t.co/Si9mQ4o8t5— MariaKanellisBennett (@MariaLKanellis) April 11, 2021
In an interview with PWInsider this week, the pair confirmed that they have signed new contracts with the promotion and will be working with them full-time going forward.prevnext
Aiden English / Matt Rehwoldt
Going by his real name of Matt Rehwoldt, the former Rusev Day member made his return to the ring for Zelo Pro Wrestling last September.
He also runs the YouTube channel Wrestling With Whiskey.
3 blind samples, 2 wrestlers, 1 great chat...it's STRAIGHT SHOOTING!
Check it out on YouTube and all your favorite podcast platforms!
Spotify: https://t.co/DMxVzsZgXcApril 2, 2021
Primo & Epico / Eddie & Orlando Colon
The Colons had already been back in Puerto Rico working for the World Wrestling Council for months prior to their WWE releases. The pair's last recorded tag team match took place at a Coastal Championship Wrestling event in Florida in January, though they are promoting future matches on social media.
Huntington Park ,Cali 💪🏽💪🏽 pic.twitter.com/bqqcklGU3m— Primo (@WWE_Primo) February 10, 2021
Kassius Ohno / Chris Hero
Ohno quickly reverted back into being Chris Hero and now hosts the Can Chris Hero Save Wrestling? podcast on AdFreeShows.com.prevnext
The former UFC Heavyweight Champion only had two matches during his brief WWE stint — a two-minute loss to Brock Lesnar in Saudi Arabia and a tag match at a live event in Mexico City in November 2019.prevnext
Curtis Axel / Joe Hennig
Axel (real name Joe Hennig) was at the tail end of the wave of releases, ending his 13-year run with the company. He has not wrestled since his departure.prevnext
More Performance Center Wrestlers
- MJ Jenkins — wrestled once on AEW Dynamite in July 2020
- Cezar Bononi — a regular on AEW, in a group with Ryan Nemeth and JD Drake
- Nick Ogarelli — going by his real name Nick Comoroto in AEW, previously in the Nightmare Family, now in The Factory faction With QT Marshall, Aaron Solow and Anthony Ogogo
- Tino Sabbatelli — wrestled once on AEW Dark in July 2020
- Aleksandar Jaksic — now wrestling as Zora Vesta
- Dan Matha
- Faisal Kurdi
- Hussain Aldagal
- Mohamed Fahim
- Marcos Gomes
- Edgar Lopez
- Yifeng (Rocky)
- Mars Wang