Are you starting to lose count of how many releases WWE has had since 2020? I am too (I think it’s at eight for roster cuts). On Thursday, they released another round of talent. This comes on the heels of the company releasing staff members the day before.
This round of cuts had some surprising names, including Keith Lee, Ember Moon, and Nia Jax. As of this writing, eighteen total Superstars were released. The others are:
WWE’s tired excuse for releases
Earlier on Thursday, WWE announced that their third-quarter revenues were $256 million dollars. However in an email to talent, “budget cuts” was the official reason given for releases. That has been the reason every single time and everyone knows that isn’t true.
Later on Thursday night, reports started coming out that at least five Superstars were released because they were “openly unvaccinated”. Fightful Select reports that it was stressed to them that it wasn’t the main reason and wasn’t the reason for everyone who was released. “Releasing talent for not being vaccinated is completely legal, and would have restricted many of the venues that performers could compete in and travel availabilities.”
The report goes on to say that there have been rumors for weeks within the industry that cuts were coming last Friday. The aforementioned staff cuts “were said to be completely unrelated to vaccination status, but there had been wresters in other companies that heard rumblings that vaccination-related talent cuts are on the way in WWE.”
In Gran Metallik’s case, he says he was granted his release.
How the releases impact WWE’s women’s divisions
Franky Monet, the former Taya Valkerie, was released after just six matches. After the last round of releases, it was reported that WWE had new requirements for new signees. One of those was Superstars must be under 30. Just a few weeks later, Monet lost her first match (after weeks of protecting her character) to 22-year-old Cora Jade. She never wrestled again after that. It seems like WWE is phasing out older wrestlers.
Monet’s age was the topic of discussion as a troll said not to hire older wrestlers. This led to “La Wera Loca” to respond that she isn’t old. She went on to say that she has been ashamed to say how old she was and pointed out that it isn’t the same for men.
WWE is reinforcing the idea about older talent shouldn’t be valued. This is especially true for women. It’s stereotypical and problematic. In the days since Monet’s release, there has been a report that new women signed to WWE must be under 25.
Not only that, the company continues to devalue its women Superstars. Most women have very short match times, which forces them to rush in-ring storytelling. They repeatedly use the same women over and over. This means that women can’t reach the popularity of the pillars of the women’s division: the Four Horsewomen.
Cutting 10 women makes the women’s divisions on both the main rosters and NXT even weaker. B-Fab was just called up to SmackDown a week earlier. Nia Jax is a former multi-time tag team champion and former Raw Women’s Champion.
Ember Moon is a former NXT Women’s Champion and NXT Women’s Tag Team Champion. Jessi Kamea, Katrina Cortez, Zayda Ramier were just getting started on NXT and 205 Live. It’s unfortunate just how little the women are thought of as it is and now there are even fewer women to bulk up the divisions.
WWE and mental health
Amid all of the latest rounds of releases, former WWE Superstar, Lio Rush, tweeted about how “unhealthy” and “toxic” these releases are. His last two sentences stood out when I first read it: “It’s contributing to mental health struggles. We’re living in a world full of facades, but the damages are real.”
On Friday, those two sentences became even more real when Nia Jax made a statement about her release. According to the former champion, she has been taking time away to deal with her mental health “with the full support of the company.”
She goes on to say that when she received her schedule saying that she’d need to return to work on Nov. 15, she “asked for an extension to my mental health break, feeling that I needed more time.” Instead, her request was ignored and then she learned of her release on Thursday. She also clarifies that her vaccination status was never mentioned.
To fire someone during a time when they are dealing with mental health issues is cruel, heartless, and a new low for WWE. It is also potentially very dangerous. A person experiencing a rough time with their mental health could be pushed into or further into a very dark place. These actions could potentially have life-altering consequences.
Going back to Rush’s tweet, WWE seems very toxic to its employees. To them, it is just business. It seems like they do not value their employees as people whatsoever. They are a greedy, evil corporation and have proved it time and time again. Superstars in particular are just cogs in the machine and are expendable, even at their worst moments.
Just eight days prior to the WWE releases, Ring of Honor announced that Final Battle would be their last show, but they have plans to return in April. However, many wrestlers will be out of work. There are now eighteen more wrestlers looking for work with one less place to go. While wrestling is thriving on the independent scene, there are fewer opportunities on television.
As always, please support talent if you can. Buy merchandise and Cameos, subscribe to Pateron and OnlyFans, subscribe to their YouTube and Twitch channels. If they’re wrestling on shows that stream on YouTube or on another free platform, watch it. Spread the word.
If you can’t support them financially, spreading the word about them on social media helps. Post their match links, retweet gifs and clips, tag them in your favorite indie promotions (although not when they have just lost their jobs. Have some tact and wait a few days or when they post that they’re taking bookings).