Two years in a row…
On April 15th of 2020, WWE released a good number of their contracted wrestlers. This mass cutting included Rusev (Now Miro), Kurt Angle, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, EC3, Zach Ryder (Mike Cardona), Heath Slater (Heath), and Lio Rush along with many others. The wrestling world was gutted to see so many stars have their dreams cut short. They also furloughed a ton of agents and backstage workers, leaving many people without a job during a global pandemic.
At the time of these releases, WWE claimed that these cuts were being made as a form of “budget cuts”. It made sense, right? Covid-19 was starting to take hold of the nation. Live shows are canceled. Live crowds are gone. Wrestlemania has to be rescheduled for an empty arena. Vince Mcmahon lost a ton of money when the XFL folded. It made sense at the time.
This time, it makes no sense.
WWE is in the midst of some of its best TV ratings in recent history. They just signed a massive deal with Peacock TV for streaming rights of the WWE Network. Wrestlemania saw the return of live fans. The WWE has the money to keep their contracted talent on the payroll, making these cuts frustrating.
Then the names make it even more frustrating. Chelsea Green, Peyton Royce, Billie Kay, Mickie James, Kalisto, Wesley Blake, Bo Dallas, Mojo Rawley, Tucker, and Samoa Joe. A collection of extremely talented wrestlers who deserved much better than a dodgy phone call from John Laurinaitis informing them of their release. These are names that are going to star outside of “The Fed” much like those that were in last year’s mass release are now.
There are several different promotions that each of these stars can land with several different reasons for each. So we are examining each wrestler’s history and style and figure out which promotion is the best fit.
These athletes, of course, have a 90-day non-compete clause in their contracts, which means that we can not see any of them on our screens until July 14th… Which happens to be a Wednesday…
Chelsea Green – All Elite Wrestling
This one is fairly obvious.
Chelsea Green was part of the unofficial first AEW event with “ALL IN” alongside her real-life best friend Britt Baker, Madison Rayne, and Tessa Blanchard. She has a great business (and personal, her fiance is Rhodes’ close friend Matt Cardona) relationship with Cody Rhodes. Green is a fantastic wrestler with great charisma and a unique character for AEW’s women’s division to continue to build on.
She could come back with her “Hot Mess” gimmick, or debut a whole new character and would fit right in on AEW. There is a small chance that she makes her way back to Impact Wrestling to spend more time with her fiance, but she was part of the Impact roster that got screwed by bad business, so I am willing to bet there are some hard feelings.
Peyton Royce and Billie Kay – Impact Wrestling
Where one of these two goes, the other has to go as well. The “IIconics” was the best thing the WWE’s women division had for about a year, and every promotion would be lucky to have them on the roster.
Impact Wrestling has a women’s tag team title and a great roster of different character wrestlers. Deonna Purrazzo is a wonderful knockout champion who can cut some great promos, which would some great opportunities to wow a new audience. These two are going to dominate the indie scene for a few years, and I fully expect WWE to be kicking themselves.
Mickie James – National Wrestling Alliance
Also fairly obvious.
Mickie James is married to Nick Aldis, NWA’s golden boy and forever champion. Essentially, what Aldis wants in the company, Aldis gets. If Mickie James wrestles again, it will definitely be for NWA. She could have a decent match or two against wrestlers like Thunder Rosa or Serena Deeb.
Although I do fully expect her to retire and focus on her music or family. She has been wrestling a very long time and deserves a happy retirement.
Kalisto – Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide
He could just as easily head over to CMLL, but I think AAA has the brighter future and the most connections for Kalisto.
Kalisto is actually fairly decent in the ring, despite WWE trying to make you forget that. He can hang with the best of them and deserves a chance to prove that. AAA has some great wrestlers on their roster: Lio Rush, Kenny Omega, Blue Demon Jr., Drago, Rey Fenix, Penta El Zero Muertes, and Laredo Kid. He could really shock the world with some of those wrestlers.
Mojo Rawley – WWE Performance Center
I am not going to waste either of our’s time. Rawley delivered Gronk to the WWE, and if you think Mcmahon is going to throw away connections like that, you are about as misguided as he is. Keep him on the payroll as a trainer of executive, use his connections.
Samoa Joe – All Elite Wrestling
A note here, I do not think that Samoa Joe is going to sign any long-term deal. I would be surprised if he sticks around in any promotion for more than a dream match or two. He is probably in the twilight years of his career, thanks in no small part to the multiple concussions that have kept him out of the ring for the last few months in “The Fed.” For that reason, I fully expect Joe to be looking more so for dream matches and opponents, than looking for a favorable way to end his career in Impact or Ring of Honor.
However, if Joe signs a long-term deal, and is as jaded as his recent Twitter activity would imply, then he is definitely going to Jacksonville.
Samoa Joe is going to want to prove to the world that WWE screwed up. What better way to do that than to head to their biggest and most successful champion? You also get some great dream matches with Kenny Omega, Cody Rhodes, Darby Allin, Lance Archer, Ethan Page, and Jon Moxley (he has wrestled Dean Ambrose before, but Jon Moxley is a completely different creature) out of the way early.
I actually believe AEW should go hard after signing him, and because of his popularity through TNA, Impact, ROH, NJPW, and WWE, immediately push him to the top of the roster.