WWE is a business, at its very core. It has to ensure that it is always running at a profit, which means that sometimes the company is forced to release a number of superstars that they don’t need anymore. On top of annual releases, there have also been many superstars over the past few years who have been fired by the company seemingly out of nowhere. WWE always finds a way to come out on top. As the saying in wrestling goes, “Everyone is replaceable,” from the face of the company to the people who set up the ring on a daily basis.
It seems that no one’s job in WWE will ever be considered safe, which is why many of the superstars that WWE fired over the past few decades came as huge shocks to their loyal fanbase, who had no idea something like this was about to happen because they were seemingly in a good place on the card. There are also a number of male and female superstars who are part of the company right now who are also in danger of being the next people pushed out of the door.
WWE doesn’t seem as though it is a nice place to work when it comes down to the backstage politics. The following list looks at 15 WWE superstars whose departures seemingly came out of nowhere and five who could be about to follow them back through that curtain.
15. Fired: Umaga
As a member of the famous Anoa’i family, Umaga was expected to go on to become a star in WWE, and in his early years with the company, he definitely managed to make an impact. Umaga was known as “The Samoan Bulldozer” and after being part of the Battle of The Billionaires match at WrestleMania 23, he seemed as though he was destined for great things.
Back in June of 2009, Umaga had just finished up a feud with CM Punk and even though Umaga was on the losing end, he came off looking quite strong throughout. This is why it came as a huge shock when it was announced that he had been fired from the company. It seems that Umaga had failed WWE Wellness Policy test and when the Samoan star refused to go to rehab or to seek help, WWE was forced to release him from his contract.
14. Fired: Jim Ross
If being the most well-liked WWE legend in the history of the company doesn’t mean that your job is safe, then no one in WWE is actually safe. Jim Ross will always be considered the voice of WWE and there is a reason why many superstars ask for him to come back and call their matches on a regular basis.
It seems that Vince McMahon has not always been the biggest fan of the Texas native and back in 2013 he had the perfect reason to get rid of him. Ric Flair‘s son Reid had recently passed away and the company had invited the 16-time Champion to be part of a panel that was promoting WWE 2K14. Flair was obviously still quite emotional and ruined the whole show when he made a lot of drunken remarks. Ross was hosting the panel and because he didn’t do anything to stop Flair, he was fired by the WWE Chairman, much to the dismay of the WWE Universe.
13. Next: Dana Brooke
When Emma and Summer Rae were released from WWE last month, the WWE Universe didn’t understand how Dana Brooke had managed to keep her job. Much like Emma, Dana came through NXT and was promoted to the main roster much too soon. Dana has since shown her inexperience in matches on Monday Night Raw, which has led a number of fans to take to social media to tell her that she doesn’t belong.
Many fans have called for WWE to send her back down to NXT since she has completely missed out on a place in the Raw Survivor Series Women’s Team because Bayley took the last spot in their triple threat match last week. The former NXT star is seemingly moving into a feud with Asuka following the event, so much like Emma, Dana’s last feud could be against The Empress of Tomorrow, before WWE decides that she is surplus to requirements as well.
12. Fired: Finlay
Finlay is one of WWE’s biggest legends. Coming from Ireland, he had always remained true to his roots throughout his career. When his in-ring career came to an end back in 2011, WWE offered Finlay a job as a road agent, which meant that he was still able to remain in the wrestling business.
It was while he was working his new job back in March 2011 that he was fired by WWE after he made a huge mistake. The Irish star thought that The Miz would be able to gain a lot of heat from the WWE Universe if he interrupted the National Anthem at a house show. Sadly, this wasn’t the case. Many of the National Guard representatives who were at ringside were offended by this and WWE received a number of complaints, which led to them having to fire Finlay for his actions. Miz was just weeks away from a huge WrestleMania match with John Cena, so Finlay was forced to take the hit, but WWE has since brought him back to the role and he seems to have learned his lesson this time.
11. Fired: Mr Kennedy
Mr Kennedy’s firing seemed to come out of nowhere because it was out of nowhere. The man with the microphone made one of the biggest mistakes of his career when he worked a match with Randy Orton and The Viper took a bad bump from one of his moves.
Orton, being the snake that he was at this time, headed backstage and demanded that Kennedy pay the highest possible penalty for almost causing Orton a severe injury. Of course, the back bump that Orton took was a standard one and Kennedy didn’t actually do anything wrong, but it seems that when Orton gave WWE the ultimatum they realized that they still needed the third generation superstar and so they had to do what he wanted to keep him happy. Kennedy went on to have a mildly successful career in TNA, but he seemingly still holds a grudge against the former World Champion.
10. Next: Goldust
Goldust is a WWE legend, but sadly, it seems that WWE has run out of things to do with him. The worst thing the company ever did was allow Bray Wyatt to wipe off his face paint on national TV, especially since his feud with Finn Balor was never finished because Bray was forced out of action due to an illness.
Goldust is the final member of the Rhodes family who is employed by WWE and he is a superstar who has been part of the WWE roster for almost three decades. WWE may decide to release him from in-ring competition and instead allow him to move to a job backstage, which is usually the way they treat all of their legends. Goldust has no feud or storyline to move into on WWE TV right now, so it makes sense for WWE to want to allow him to move on rather than waiting around and expecting another storyline on the Raw brand.
9. Fired: Muhammad Hassan
Muhammad Hassan was always supposed to be a hated WWE star and his terrorist gimmick was getting him the heat he required, but after a real-life terrorist attack in London meant that he could no longer appear as the same character on WWE TV, WWE decided to cut their losses and fire him from the company.
It wasn’t Hassan’s fault that his gimmick could no longer be used, or that WWE gave him that kind of character to begin with. At worst, WWE should have kept him off TV and repackaged him as someone else. He had proved over the course of his career that he was able to adapt to any kind of character which should have prompted WWE to come up with a plan B. Hassan will now always be remembered for this terrorist gimmick, which is slightly unfair since he was quite a talented wrestler before WWE gave him such a hated character.
8. Fired: Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan is currently the General Manager of SmackDown Live, a position that the former World Champion obviously only landed because the WWE Universe was always behind him and WWE felt partially responsible for the injuries that forced him to retire.
Bryan wasn’t always the superstar who main evented WrestleMania back in 2014. He actually came through the NXT set up like a number of WWE stars back in 2010 and was an original part of The Nexus, who invaded Raw and attacked John Cena to kick-start a new breed invasion on the main roster. Sadly for Bryan, he went too far as part of the invasion and was seen at ringside choking Justin Roberts with his own tie, something that WWE deemed unacceptable on a PG show, so they fired him. Bryan was brought back at SummerSlam later in the year, and the rest, as they say, is history.
7. Next: Lio Rush
Lio Rush has only recently joined the NXT roster and he made the stupid mistake of trying to make a joke out of the fact that Emma was released from the company last month. Lio didn’t realise that Emma had a lot of friends in the WWE and NXT locker rooms and that one comment has probably now forced him to dress outside the WWE locker room for the past few weeks.
There have been a number of NXT stars who have decided to make comments of this nature on social media and they were greeted with the same response by WWE legends and employees. Tough Enough winner Josh Bredl mocked The Social Outcasts on Twitter back in 2016 and he was recently released by WWE after gaining a lot of backstage heat for his comments. Lio is only young and is considered a newcomer in WWE’s Performance Centre, so this was the worst possible start for him in WWE.
6. Fired: Chyna
Chyna was “the ninth wonder of the world” and the only woman to ever hold the Intercontinental Championship. She was a force to be reckoned with, but it seems that her personal life will always be the thing that now defines her short stint in WWE.
The story has become quite well-known over the past few years. Chyna was once in a relationship with Triple H before he was a WWE COO. When The Game was then put into a storyline with Stephanie McMahon, it seems that the duo started an affair behind Chyna’s back. When Chyna found out, she was less than impressed and Stephanie used all of the power that she had in WWE at the time to ensure that Chyna wasn’t able to return. Poor Chyna lost her boyfriend and her job on the same day. No wonder it was so hard for her to get past this and move on with her life afterwards.
5. Fired: Matt Hardy
Matt Hardy is one of the most popular WWE superstars of all time. Along with his brother Jeff he is considered to be a tag team legend, but it seems that none of this matters when WWE has already decided your fate.
Back in 2005, Hardy was definitely considered to be the victim in the whole Edge/Lita love triangle, but when Hardy attempted to extract revenge on Edge for cheating with his girlfriend, he was fired from the company. The WWE Universe would not allow such a thing to stick, so they were forced to rehire him a few months later when the company decided that the real-life tension between the trio could actually make great television. They were right, of course, since that feud has become one of the most memorable of the past decade. It is hard to say if there was an actual winner in the end though.
4. Next: Rusev
Rusev was once an undefeated force on WWE’s main roster. With his wife Lana at his side, Rusev was able to become United States Champion and one of the best heels in the company, but it seems that those days are well and truly over.
Lana has left Rusev so that she can manage Tamina Snuka in SmackDown’s Women’s Division and Rusev looks as though he has been put into a tag team with Aiden English. The best thing about Rusev right now is his updates on Twitter, which could be the reason why he could get fired from the company in the coming months. Rusev has made a lot of comments online about the company, including the recent one where they chose John Cena in the Survivor Series match over him. These comments could come back to haunt him if WWE no longer sees him as a money spinner on the SmackDown brand.
3. Fired: Alberto Del Rio
Alberto Del Rio has had two stints in WWE over the past few years and in that time he has become both a World Heavyweight Champion and the United States Champion. Del Rio shocked the world when he returned to WWE back in October 2015, since he was fired from the company under shocking circumstances just a year before.
Del Rio was seen as a popular star in the company throughout his stay, but the news was released back in 2014 that he had been fired by WWE for assaulting a member of the backstage staff who made a racist joke. It is unknown if the employee was given the same punishment for his part in the altercation, but his release was met with anger by many members of the WWE Universe who couldn’t understand why WWE would fire him for something so small. Luckily, it seems Del Rio was able to forgive and forget, even though he was released from WWE once again last year, but this time it was a mutual agreement.
2. Fired: Emma
Emma was once one part of a group of women in NXT who seemed as though they were going to change the way the WWE Universe perceived the women’s division, and while many of these women went on to do this, Emma was never given the opportunity.
Emma was released from WWE last month in what was one of the biggest shock releases of the past few years. It seemed as though Emma was receiving a push in the Raw Women’s Division and had recently been part of some standout matches against former NXT Women’s Champion Asuka, which included her first ever singles pay-per-view match. Emma’s failed Emmalina gimmick from a few years ago was said to have been the main reason why she had so much heat backstage and it finally reached the point where WWE decided that they no longer needed the Australian Superstar on their payroll.
1. Next: Paige
Paige has done too many things in the past year to even begin to list, but it seems that WWE have stood by her over the past 15 months because they know that there is a new film being made about her and they don’t want her to be at Impact Wrestling when the film is released, so that their rivals get all of the media coverage.
Paige is thought to be returning to WWE TV imminently, but with her WWE contract set to run out in 2019, it doesn’t seem as though she will be staying that long. It’s hard to see where Paige would fit into the Women’s Division at this point and she clearly has a lot of heat backstage, most notably with Charlotte. It will be interesting to see how long she lasts when she returns to WWE before the company decides that enough is enough.
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