Wrestlers can’t perform forever, and as much as we’d like to see our favorites keep on doing what they do best in the squared circle, some careers just have to end (some sooner the most). Some leave on their own terms, while others leave due to disputes or issues with their employer.
To be honest, we’d rather see our fan favorites get fired rather than see their careers cut short due to injury. It’s sad seeing someone’s career cut short due to management, but wrestling is a business first and a charity second. We really can’t blame the WWE for letting go numerous superstars each and every year.
WWE has a lot of reasons for letting an athlete go. The most common reason being the needed budget cuts that the company needs to do in order to catch up on their financial needs. Again, we must never forget that the WWE is a business.
What’s weird about the WWE though is that their layoffs are unpredictable. Sometimes, even big names are found on the chopping block. Their cuts result in fans being disappointed with the promotion, but the list below gives you a gist on why some of the recent layoffs happened.
Adam Rose and Ryback are rumored to be next on WWE’s hit list, but the latest layoff spree didn’t include these two superstars, so they’re safe – at least for now. Here are 10 superstars who have been shockingly released by WWE in recent years:
10. Ted DiBiase Jr.
The son of Hall of Famer, Ted DiBiase, who is also known as “The Million Dollar Man,” DiBiase Jr. became more prominent in the WWE alongside Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes as the group Legacy. He ended his wrestling career in 2013 due to personal reasons.
DiBiase Jr. uploaded a video on YouTube saying: “There was a time in my career that I forgot what got me there, and I lost sight of my priorities, and my priorities shifted. All of a sudden I couldn’t make enough money, I couldn’t become famous enough, and I wanted more. I woke up one day and I hated the person I saw, because I had this moment staring in the mirror where I hated that guy. The Lord led me to John 2:15 which says ‘Do not love the world or anything in the world for if you do, the love of the Father is not in you.'”
9. Evan Bourne
Back in 2014, WWE had to cut some wrestlers to make up for their loses and the high-flying Evan Bourne was one of those nine superstars. Fans loved Bourne for his aerial skills and his optimistic personality, and it was sad to see his WWE career cut short just when he was beginning to make waves.
In a Reddit AMA, Bourne revealed that the WWE fired him through a fax. That makes us even more sympathetic for Bourne.
8. Drew McIntyre
Regardless of how odd the stable was, 3MB was a very popular group with fans during the latter half of their tenure. The group consisted of Jinder Mahal, Heath Slater and Drew McIntyre. The WWE universe loved these goofballs so much that when McIntyre and Mahal were released in 2014, fans were absolutely shocked (including McIntyre).
McIntyre was a big prospect on his own, but his popularity truly rose in 3MB. It was unfortunate to see the group end so abruptly, but WWE had to cut expenses to make up for their loses. It would’ve been fun to see 3MB go toe-to-toe with New Day.
7. Billy Gunn
Billy Gunn hasn’t been wrestling for quite a while now, but that doesn’t mean he’s completely gone from the wrestling business. In fact, Gunn was training WWE’s upcoming superstars over at NXT until he was abruptly fired last year.
During a powerlifting competition, Gunn tested positive for his testosterone levels being too high. He was banned from competitions for four years. WWE had no idea that Gunn was competing at powerlifting, as well as the fact that he was banned from the sport. The moment WWE found out, his contract was terminated.
6. Damien Sandow
This past month saw the end for many WWE superstars and their careers under the promotion’s banner. One of those wrestlers was Damien Sandow, who was released alongside 10 other wrestlers. WWE didn’t disclose the reason why Sandow was released, but we’re guessing the company is making more room for upcoming superstars. Sadly, this meant rising superstars like Sandow would have to give way for WWE’s future.
5. Brad Maddox
Brad Maddox was taken off of the WWE roster back in 2015. He wasn’t cut because of financial issues, but rather for something he said to the crowd during a dark match. Vince McMahon, on the other hand, doesn’t like it when the WWE universe is spoken to in a demeaning manner.
In front of an Indianapolis crowd, Maddox may have been too caught up in the moment and called the crowd a bunch of “cocky pricks.” It wasn’t a very offensive term, but Vince didn’t like it one bit. He was fired almost immediately and according to Maddox, he wasn’t even given a chance to talk and explain himself to McMahon.
4. Wade Barrett
Now this is some bad news for fans of the former Nexus leader. Back in February, Wade Barrett issued a statement that he wasn’t re-signing with the WWE once his current contract was up. Barrett leaving WWE was already imminent, so it wasn’t a surprise to fans when Barrett was released earlier this month.
He wasn’t the only wrestler released by WWE on that fateful day, as he joined the long list of releases that included Sandow, Santino Marella, El Torito, Hornswoggle and several others.
3. Jim Ross
WWE personalities don’t always wrestle. Jim Ross is the undisputed voice of the WWE. He’s been commentating for decades and his voice has been heard by generations. It was a big shock for every wrestling aficionado when he decided to announce his retirement in 2013.
It was then revealed that Ross didn’t leave the WWE on his own terms. He was fired after being held accountable for not being able to control Ric Flair during a symposium in 2013. WWE made it look like Ross retired to save themselves from an imminent outburst by its fans. Ross currently serves as a broadcaster to New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS in the United States.
2. Rey Mysterio
Rey Mysterio was let go by WWE last year. Rumor has it that WWE and Mysterio had been on bad terms during the last few years of their relationship, mainly because the WWE kept extending Mysterio’s contract when he was constantly injured. Technically, Mysterio was not released by the WWE, but the company finally allowed his contract to expire.
Mysterio later revealed that he and the WWE were on good terms as of late, and that he was happy they let him do his own bidding. The wrestler hasn’t fully closed the doors on a WWE return, and if the opportunity presents itself, Mysterio will surely listen to the offer.
1. Hulk Hogan
There are a lot of wrestling icons that helped the WWE become what it is today. Perhaps none of them contributed as much to the business as Hulk Hogan. Back in the days of the WWF, Hulkamania was running wild, taking on greats such as Andre the Giant, the Ultimate Warrior and so many more. Sadly, Hogan’s Legends Contract was terminated due to his much publicized racial tirade.
Every trace of Hogan has been removed from the WWE website, including his merchandise, and saddest of all, his recognition as one of the Hall of Fame inductees. Hogan and the WWE are still not on good terms, but it’s worth noting that the superstar has already issued a number of apologies about his remarks.