WWE has released a massive number of wrestlers since the start of 2021. While a few names popped up early in the year, the first big round of cuts arrived on April 15 (exactly one year after more than 30 wrestlers were let go in 2020, referred to by some as "Black Wednesday") followed by another batch of NXT stars and Performance Center trainees in May. Six more names were confirmed on June 2, this time highlighted by former Universal Champion Braun Strowman and former NXT Champion Aleister Black. You can see the complete list of every wrestler released below.
Which wrestler's release was the biggest shock to you? Who do you think has the brightest future outside of the company? And who do you think will eventually be back in WWE? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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Strowman's release was undoubtedly the biggest shock of the year. "The Monster Among Men" signed a multi-year contract with WWE in 2018, beat Goldberg for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania 36 and had been in a WWE Championship match on pay-per-view less than a month before he was let go.prevnext
Im gathering my thoughts as this was a complete left field for me as obviously we just started the dark father character but this was it, thank you so much WWE universe for allowing me to create and give you small bits of myself.— Devil's Blood (@WWEAleister) June 2, 2021
Weeks before his release, Black had returned to Friday Night SmackDown will a new heel persona and attacked Big E during an Intercontinental Championship match. He immediately took to Twitter to express his shock.prevnext
"The Ravishing Russian" had been with the WWE since 2013 and had even opted to stay after her husband Rusev was cut by the company in April 2020. She was in a tag team match alongside Naomi on Monday Night Raw just two days before getting cut.prevnext
Arriving in late 2016, Riott had a brief stint in NXT before jumping over to the main roster as a member of The Riott Squad. She had recently reformed the group as a tag team with Liv Morgan.prevnext
Though he had an incredibly busy 2020, Murphy was pulled from television late in the year after his storyline with Aalyah Mysterio was suddenly dropped. He popped back up on SmackDown in March in an attempt to reform an alliance with Seth Rollins but was quickly denied.prevnext
Thank you, @wwe 🙏❤️✨June 2, 2021
Garrett had been with WWE since 2013, first by working as an enhancement talent and eventually by signing a developmental contract in 2019. She had not appeared on WWE TV following the Women's Royal Rumble in January.prevnext
Joe was, by far and away, the biggest surprise of the April releases. While he had been out of action for nearly a year following a concussion suffered in early 2020, he had performed remarkably as a color commentator for Raw. His last appearance at the booth came at WrestleMania 37.prevnext
We’re live pals! @offherchops episode 2 is available on your podcast platforms & YouTube!
Did episode 2 hit your funny bones? Tell us about it ☺️❤️ pic.twitter.com/bnSaMX5E0p— Off Her Chops podcast (@offherchops) May 28, 2021
Both Peyton Royce & Billie Kay were cut on April 15. They've since adopted new wrestling names (Cassie Lee and Jessica McKay) and have launched their own podcast.prevnext
The six-time women's champion wound up in a bit of a controversy after her release. In what has since been called "Trash Bag Gate," James took to social media to alert everyone that WWE returned her belongings in a trash bag. Senior director of talent relations Mark Carrano was fired after WWE officials released an apology.prevnext
Green went into detail about her post-WWE plans in a recent interview with Booker T, saying, "I've had some time to think about this. At first, I was kind of like, 'What am I going to do? What's the right thing to do?', because there's no right thing and there are so many options right now. I really want to emulate the next six months after what Cody Rhodes did. I thought that was really great for his career. What he did and what I would like to do is be a free agent and try to be the hottest free agent I can be.
"Maybe I don't sign anywhere until 2022, and I spend the rest of 2021 checking off bucket list matches that I have, and try to go to the top companies. I definitely want to go and see everybody at Impact and go back there. I've never worked for Ring of Honor. I would love to go there. I've already made connections at AAA in Mexico, and Japan, and Stardom. Of course, AEW is huge, and I was on their first show, All In. I kind of want to hop around. I want to show my face everywhere and decide later on what the right move is, because right now, I'm just so focused on that I need to get back in the ring. I need to get my cardio up. I need to work with all new people and try new things and focus on my podcast. There's just so much to do, so, I don't know that I want to lock myself down."prevnext
Freedom baby!!— TUCKy (@tuckerwwe) April 15, 2021
One-half of Heavy Machinery infamously turned heel on Otis back at Hell in a Cell 2020, only to be pulled off television and virtually never seen again until his release.prevnext
One life..— Samuray Del Sol® “Manny $” (@gloat) May 28, 2021
Time is against us.. make it count🥊 pic.twitter.com/3TZlkUIqN5
The former NXT Tag Team, United States and Cruiserweight Champion has teased moving from pro wrestling over to the world of boxing in the months since being let go.prevnext
Wesley Blake & Steve Cutler
After Jaxson Ryker's controversial comments on social media got The Forgotten Sons taken off of television Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler would not appear on WWE programming again until they were hired as henchmen for King Corbin as The Knights of the Lone Wolf. Cutler was then cut on Feb. 4, and Blake was let go two months later. Ryker remains with the company, though he was recently turned on by tag partner Elias.prevnext
Though the former NXT Champion was spotted at WrestleMania 37, he had not wrestled a match since November 2019.prevnext
9 years of fun, passion, and pure HYPE!!!! Thank you all for getting, and Staying HYPED with me!! I love y’all this much!!!!
The next chapter officially begins May 31! pic.twitter.com/LJ3ip7aL4f— Dean Muhtadi (@MojoRawleyWWE) April 17, 2021
Rawley had been out of action since June 2020, with his previous run centering around holding the 24/7 Championship seven times.prev