No matter what field you work in, a release from a certain company has a major impact on your life, and that’s especially true for a WWE Superstar. Working for the biggest company in sports and entertainment, getting your release papers can’t be the easiest - no matter what you do in the business, it just won’t compare to the WWE. For that reason, we see a lot of wrestlers leave the business for good. Though, we also see some who keep going on the indie circuit with the hopes of returning one day. In this article, we’ll get a glimpse of both sides.
We’ll feature the likes of James Ellsworth and Simon Gotch still going strong in the business. We’ll also give you an update on those that completely left the business and what they’re working on today. Those former WWE stars include the lovely Eva Marie, Cameron, Summer Rae and a couple of others.
Enjoy the article folks and like always, be sure to pass it along to a friend. Without further ado, here’s an update on the lives of 15 recently released WWE stars. We begin with All Red Everything (even though she's brunette now)!
15 Eva Marie – Bikini Body Ebook/Acting Class
It’s almost been a year since the departure of Eva Marie from the WWE Universe. Following a failed Wellness Exam, she was never utilized again on WWE television. Ultimately, it was a decision that was best for both sides as the WWE continues to push new talented females, while Eva explores other avenues away from pro wrestling.
She’s keeping busy nowadays with a couple of things.
For one, she recently released a new Ebook, giving out some fitness tips pertaining to people attempting to develop a bikini body in time for the summer. Along with the Ebook, Eva recently revealed on Instagram that she’s currently taking acting classes. She posted a photo of herself at a cafe memorizing lines that she was going to use for a particular acting class. We wish her all the best in her post-WWE life.
14 Austin Aries – “The Belt Collector”/Author
The departure of Austin Aries was one of the more surprising releases to come out of 2017. The veteran was serving a purpose with 205 Live as a popular Superstar that brought it both in the ring and at the commentary booth. Rumors swirled that Aries demanded a release due to his poor booking, however the former 205 Live Superstar admitted this wasn’t the case and he was simply released by the company due to them having nothing for him creatively. Speculation indicates that writers didn’t have the easiest time in dealing with the wrestler.
He’s thriving on the independents. Aries also has a contract with Impact Wrestling.
He’s now known as the “Belt Collector”, capturing championships from a number of different organizations. He’s also a proud author releasing his new Vegan based book, Food Fight.
13 Emma – ROH/Independent Wrestler
Emma wasn’t the same for quite some time with the WWE. She picked up some steam down in NXT alongside Dana Brooke, though her main roster run was once again relegated to lower tier work. She failed miserably with a new Emmalina gimmick and never bounced back. Still, given her talent level, her recent release was quite surprising and one that upset lots of fans. Life after the WWE varies for female talents, some opt to leave the business, though we sometimes see a talent continue on, and that’s exactly what Emma’s doing.
She’s working lots of dates independently along with joining ROH’s Women Of Honor division.
It won’t shock us one bit if she returns to the WWE at some point down the road. Along with the indie gigs, she’s also working as a sponsor for lower tier companies.
12 Abbey Laith - Independent Wrestler
It’s becoming the new norm in recruiting female talent, as opposed to the old mindset of signing women with limited experience in the ring, the company is now looking at indie talent with years under their belt. Going by the name of Kimber Lee, the talent was signed to a WWE deal in 2016 and she already had years of experience. Renamed Abbey Laith, she just couldn’t find consistent television time with NXT. Only a couple of days ago, she was released by the WWE.
Laith hasn’t wasted any time; she’s back to using her old name of Kimber Lee, and has an impressive amount of dates already booked on the indie circuit. She noted via Twitter that she was bummed out about being released, though grateful for everything she learned with the company.
11 Darren Young – Independent Wrestler/"Mr. No Days Off"
Young’s WWE release came as a shock to both the WWE Universe and Young himself. Granted, he wasn’t on television as much due to injury but he was still serving a purpose as an ambassador for the company. In fact, he was working an NBA game as a WWE ambassador for WWE just a night before his departure. Just a day later, he was released by the company, a decision Young himself was shocked by.
He’s currently wrestling on the indie scene, among one of the promotions is the wacky Chikara organization.
He’s now known around the indie circles by his real name, Fred Rosser. The former WWE star also goes by the name of “Mr. No Days Off”, serving as a type of motivator for fans via his social media accounts.
10 Simon Gotch – Independent Wrestler
Gotch was another cruel example proving that NXT success guarantees absolutely nothing. He was a former NXT Tag Team Champion alongside Aiden English. Once they made the main roster, that allure was completely gone, the team struggled and never got a single push together. English is now thriving in a role alongside Rusev while Gotch was shown the door. His status with the boys behind the scenes didn’t help things either, as according to rumors, he wasn’t the most popular backstage.
Using the name Simon Grimm, the 35 year old veteran seems to be getting booked on the regular with lots of dates.
Granted he works with lower tier promotions, though to his credit, he’s getting booked an awful lot. Among those he got in the ring with include some WWE talents: Pete Dunne, Trent Seven and Tyler Bate.
9 Cameron – Acting Gig In Film Underdog
Entering the WWE system through the Tough Enough pipeline, Cameron was signed to a deal despite being very green to the business. This was the same person who told Steve Austin that her favorite match of all time was Alicia Fox versus Melina. Though to her credit, she got some redemption on the Stone Cold Podcast claiming her new favorite bout is Macho Man versus Steamboat from WrestleMania III, a wise choice for a favorite match. She was released by the company for agreeing with Ryback on a statement pertaining to equal pay. We can all agree that it was best for both sides.
Her post-WWE life has seen a lot of hustle from Cameron who’s now going by her real-name, Ariane Andrew.
She took part in a couple of hosting gigs and she’s now working on her first feature film, Underdog.
8 Summer Rae – Public Figure/Wrestling Conventions
Like Darren Young (featured earlier in the article), Summer was barely utilized during her final year with the WWE. At least for Young, he was serving a purpose as an ambassador for the company while Summer, was just an afterthought. Taking a look at her Instagram page at that point, it seemed obvious that both sides had moved on, in fact, Summer’s page looked more like one of a model than a WWE Superstar. She was quietly released at the expiration of her contract.
Summer’s still kind of in the business; she isn’t taking bumps or anything but instead, taking part at various conventions.
She’s booked for lots of them heading into WrestleMania week, without a doubt, she’ll get lots of interest. Along with the appearances, she’s also a smoking model with various steamy photos posted to her Instagram account on the regular.
7 Sara Lee – Recently Married
No disrespect to Sara Lee but she had no business winning the Tough Enough contract during the latest season of the show. It seemed like more of a running gag by the WWE Universe to keep on voting for the talent. She got herself a contract, though not too shocking, she was released a little later on. Runner-up Mandy Rose was kept on board, though she was a little luckier receiving a five year deal and oh, she’s already on the main roster...
Don’t feel too sorry for Sara, things are going quite well for her since parting ways with the company. She’s the proud mother of a new child and just days ago, she and NXT star Wesley Blake got married. It was a special moment for the two and they’re now enjoying a well deserved honeymoon.
6 Sawyer Fulton - Independent Wrestler
Here’s another NXT name you might remember. Fulton endured a brief run with Sanity that came to an end due to an untimely pectoral injury. He was kicked out of the group because of it and replaced by Killian Dain, a performer who’s thriving with the developmental brand. He never returned to TV but remained optimistic since parting ways. He fully intends on earning his stripes with aspirations of working in Mexico and Japan.
He’s currently working with ASWA Pro Wrestling, recently capturing a championship with the promotion.
He also dropped an interesting story. According to the former NXT star, the idea for a Sanity type group was actually initially set to feature himself Solomon Crowe and Marcus Louie, though the plans were eventually nixed.
5 Rosa Mendes – Totally Fit Mama Program/Wrestling Conventions
Entering through the Diva Search, Rosa had quite the run with the WWE lasting over a decade, despite the fact that she was rarely utilized during her final days (becoming more known for her role on Total Divas). Starting a family away from the ring, Mendes announced her retirement in early 2017. Although her WWE run ended after a long run, she’s kept busy in her post-WWE life.
Among one of her biggest projects is a new fitness program entitled Totally Fit Mama. The program is designed for busy mothers and features easy diet tips along with quick workouts.
Rosa’s certainly an excellent ambassador and her results are a clear indication of that; she already looks ring-ready judging by her physique these days. Along with the program, she’s also making appearances at wrestling conventions.
4 Jack Swagger – MMA Training/Independent Wrestler
Swagger’s WWE release was for the best; he went from being a WWE Champion to competing on such shows like the Main Event. It was time for Swagger to move on and to his credit, he asked for a release. He’s managed to make the headlines since parting ways – something that isn’t easy to do after your WWE fame is up. Of course, we’re talking about his deal with Bellator. Swagger’s now training for his first fight, of course, he’s got an amateur wrestling background so he’s not completely new to the field.
He’s also still wrestling independently; he showed up at a Lucha Underground taping in late February sparking a rumor which indicated that he might have joined the company.
Good on Swagger for keeping busy during his post-WWE life.
3 Ryback – Podcast Host/Supplement Company
Ryback grew frustrated with his role in the company. Not only was he displeased with his booking but he also grew frustrated with the amount he was getting paid. Ryback argued that the pays should all be the same and eventually, he was released by the company for feeling that way.
The Big Guy promised big things following his release and if by big things he meant his own supplement company, we’re very disappointed.
In terms of in-ring work, Ryback hasn’t done anything impactful aside from working for lower tier indie promotions. He’s generally known for his podcasts (which fans view as rants more than insightful information). Nonetheless, Ryback’s keeping busy with the podcast and starting his very own supplement line. Here’s to wishing the Big Guy all the best.
2 James Ellsworth - Independent Wrestler
We knew the James Ellsworth experiment wouldn’t last forever, though it was still a little harsh to see him go so early. James was still serving a purpose as the manager of Carmella; you want wrestlers to get a reaction and Ellsworth was certainly getting one, which is why his release puzzled a lot of people. He was saddened by the decision, though
on the Chris Jericho Podcast, Ellsworth admitted he was nothing but grateful for the opportunity and blames complacency for his demise with the company.
To his credit, Ellsworth keeps getting booked regularly on the indie circuit with various gigs. He’s also a popular figure at wrestling conventions. Who knows, maybe we’ll see the 33 year old back with the WWE someday. For now, he keeps doing what he loves on the independent circuit as a sought-after figure.
1 Enzo Amore – Court Battles
Enzo wasn’t the best Superstar with the WWE in terms of in-ring ability, however he became a popular figure due to his gift for gab. To his credit, he made 205 Live an entertaining program during his run with the Cruiserweight Title. While still holding the strap, he was released by the company in a shocking departure that came out of nowhere.
Disturbing details emerged that Enzo was involved in an assault related incident with a female by the name of Philomena Sheahan. The reaction to the accusations were extremely mixed with many feeling that the victim was fabricating what exactly went down due to her past (and being someone that was known to embellish the truth). It also didn’t help that her story kept changing. For now, Enzo keeps laying low in the New Jersey area. He sent out a document written by his lawyer that he won’t be making any public comments till the allegations are settled.