As diehard fans of the product, when we think of WWE employees, we typically think of the talent we see in the ring. Though, there’s much more to the product than that. From referees, producers, creative writers, backstage personnel and brand ambassadors, the company is stacked from top to bottom when it comes to positions away from the camera.
In this article, we highlight some of the lesser known positions and shed a light on familiar faces working those jobs off camera. We’ll also take a look at some Superstars on the roster you likely completely forgot about or, never heard of to begin with. In addition, we’ll also take a bonus look at five talents that quietly left the company. Some had short stints, which made it hard for most to even remember they were a part of the company at one point. These five are all recent releases that you might have missed out on.
Like always, be sure to pass the article to a friend and let us know your thoughts via Facebook. From Howard Finkel to Eva Marie, we’ve got a wide range of WWE employees on this list. Without further ado, here are ten WWE employees you wouldn’t believe are with the company and five that left quietly. Let’s begin!
15. Under Contract: Howard Finkel (Chief Statistician)
Arguably one of the greatest WWE ring announcers of all-time, Howard Finkel stepped off his throne a couple of years ago as the WWE switched Howard out of his role looking to get a younger face in his place. Well, a couple of months back via Twitter, Finkel tweeted his joy about being a member of the WWE family for nearly 40 years as he celebrated his 37th anniversary with the company, making him one of the longest serving employees in the entire WWE.
Most would have assumed he left, but no, Finkel is still backstage during shows nowadays, serving his new role as the Chief Statistician. Along with his new duties, Finkel also fills in as ring announcer every now and then along with working as an occasional interviewer for WWE.com. Much respect to the 67 year old who’s still with the company today.
14. Under Contract: GQ Money (Promo Trainer)
We know what you’re thinking, a guy by the name of GQ Money seems like a name you would have heard of in the past. However, since he signed with the WWE a couple of years back he’s been going by his real name, Ryan Katz.
Katz was a long-time wrestler starting his career back in 1999. He took his talents to the independents throughout his career along with a brief pit-stop in TNA because like, who didn’t work for TNA? With a name like GQ Money, he likely fit right in… Nowadays, he’s spending his time as a coach down at the Performance Center teaching the trainees the art of a solid promo. Along with Katz, the late Dusty Rhodes was also very hands-on with this training aspect. Aside from his work as a promo trainer, Ryan is also an Associate Producer for the developmental brand.
13. Left Quietly: Ho Ho Lun (Personal Reasons)
The Cruiserweight Classic was a brilliant tournament and what made it that much better was the fact that the talents in the tournament came from all around the world, including a rare Superstar hailing from Hong Kong, a rarity for the WWE. The person we’re talking about is Ho Ho Lun.
The WWE really believed in the talent and a big part of that was his appeal was to the Chinese market, an area that’s untapped. Lun picked up a victory in his opening bout, but was defeated by Noam Dar in round two. Ho Ho’s contract was picked up by the WWE, though we never got to see him and he quietly departed. The reason for Lun quitting the company was due to a personal family matter as his mother was ill back in his homeland of Hong Kong. For that reason, he quietly left the company.
12. Under Contract: Alundra Blayze (Mae Young Classic Interviewer)
Just imagine telling a pro wrestling fan two decades ago that not only would Alundra Blayze be inducted into the WWE’s Hall of Fame, but she would also work for the company more than two decades after she threw the belt in the trash… Seriously speaking, there is no world like sports entertainment!
After WCW went under, Madusa wisely chose to leave the wrestling business as the chances of returning to the WWE were rather slim, especially with the wound being relatively fresh back then. Though, in 2015, she was welcomed back and inducted in the HOF. To her credit, she delivered one heck of a speech stealing the show on the night. She was recently contacted by the WWE once again as she’s now working alongside Lita and Jim Ross during the prestigious WWE Network’s Mae Young Classic.
11. Under Contract: TM61 (NXT Roster)
The team originally known as “The Mighty Don’t Kneel”, TM61 made quite the impact down in development with NXT. However, they were quietly taken off the show and many wouldn’t even believe that the duo are actually still a part of the company. Unlike the main roster, news and injuries down in NXT are a little more low key, and that was the case for the team in this situation.
Shane Haste (aka Shane Thorne) was the member to sustain a terrible injury. After putting on a terrific display against The Authors of Pain in the Dusty Rhodes Classic Tournament Finals in Toronto, the team quietly drifted away. It was later revealed that Shane Thorne required knee surgery for an injury. The worst news followed as he was scheduled to miss up to nine months following the surgery. Yikes.
10. Left Quietly: Tajiri (Injury Precaution)
Some of you out there probably forgot Tajiri returned at one point, however, it was short-lived as he quietly departed heading back home to Japan. Like Lun earlier, Tajiri returned for the CWC tournament and it was evident he still had that “it” factor despite being in his mid-40s. The WWE opted to keep the veteran and he would even make his debut on 205 Live, however, he departed soon after.
Due to a knee injury, the WWE did not want to put Tajiri in the ring, something we’ve seen the company do a lot in the recent years as a performer’s health is now the biggest priority. Tajiri made the claim that he was cleared to return but the WWE didn’t share the same view leading to his departure. Rocking the blue streaks and a blonde head of hair, Tajiri is currently working his craft over in Japan taking on the likes of Ultimo Dragon.
9. Under Contract: Gunner (NXT Roster)
Chad Lail (aka Gunner) is another prominent name from the indie scene you likely weren’t aware that is currently working under a WWE contract. The former TNA wrestler signed with the WWE a couple of months ago in late May, and he’s only worked the live event loop thus far serving as more of an enhancement type of worker, losing to No Way Jose in late June during a non-televised matchup.
Inexperience or ring rust shouldn’t be a problem with the 35 year old veteran who’s been wrestling on the indie circuit since 2001. His most prominent run took place with TNA from 2010-2015. During that stint, he managed to win the company’s Tag Team Championships alongside another NXT alum, James Storm. We expect Gunner to debut in the very near future.
8. Under Contract: Dewey Foley (Creative Assistant)
Yes, there is in fact another Foley under a WWE contract and surprisingly, it’s not the beautiful Noelle, but it’s Dewey Foley. Dewey landed his dream job in the WWE head offices during the reality WWE Network series, Holy Foley. Dewey is now working as a Creative Assistant, with the goal of one day becoming a Head Creative Writer for the company. Isn’t that a dream most wrestling fans have?
Dewey getting a job with the company really isn’t all that shocking, especially when you assess the harm his dad inflicted to his body for the same company. In all seriousness, that’s the least the WWE could have done for Mick, given his reckless past putting on the most death defying stunts in company history. With that in mind, we hope to see Noelle signed by the WWE as well in the future. Do it, Vince!
7. Left Quietly: Mada Abdelhamid (Family Reasons)
It looks like the WWE finally learned that the Tough Enough competition just doesn’t create real long-term stars. Yes, The Miz and as of now, the Velveteen Dream are exceptions, but most of the time, the show and talents are just a waste of everyone’s time.
On the last season back in 2015, you might remember a huge dude by the name of Mada; the Egyptian was actually signed to a deal following the show. His involvement with NXT was few and far between only working a couple of matches. He decided to part ways with the company recently indicating that his family was a big reason as to why he opted to leave the company. It’ll be interesting to see if the big fellow works the indie scene, or reverts back to his days as a personal trainer for high profile celebrities.
6. Under Contract: Funaki (Japanese Color Commentator)
Can you believe Funaki is set to turn 50 next year? Man, are we getting old?! The veteran made his debut in 1990 and officially parted ways as an in-ring talent with the WWE in 2010. He worked the indies for a little while but later, would serve in a new role as head trainer in his own Dojo.
Nowadays, many likely don’t know, but Funaki is still with the company serving as the Color Commentator for the Japanese WWE telecast for PPV shows. Along with that, Funaki is also the host of This Week in WWE, the Japanese version. Oh, and he’s also putting his acting chops to work appearing on the Edge and Christian Show sporadically on the WWE Network. Not too shabby for a dude most thought was long gone somewhere in Japan. Another surprising fact, he resides in San Antonio, Texas nowadays.
5. Under Contract: D-Von Dudley (Producer)
While his partner Bubba Ray continues the dream of working as an in-ring talent outside of the WWE, D-Von instead elected to retire trading in his wrestling tights for a suit and a spot at the Gorilla Position alongside another familiar face from the past, Billy Kidman. Nowadays, D-Von is using a table for a different purpose serving as a Producer for the WWE.
At the age of 45 and with so much wear and tear on his body, the decision to accept such a job was a bit of a no brainer, especially when we assess the fact that he also has four children to feed back home in Viera, Florida. The job makes complete sense for D-Von, and he’s one of the many familiar faces you can find backstage during Raw every Monday night.
4. Left Quietly: Andrea D’Marco (Released By The Company)
This was a release most wrestling fans didn’t hear of and in truth, no disrespect to Andrea, but a huge chunk of fans likely don’t remember the interviewer at all. She began in NXT and later, was used sporadically on all brands, including serving as a backstage interviewer for WWE.com during PPV events.
The reason for her recent departure remains unclear, but with a slew of new personalities working in the company, the release might have been due to the competitive nature of the position within the company. When asked about her release, D’Marco aka Ocampo (yes, the WWE even changes the names of their interviewers), was nothing but grateful about her time spent with the company. Following the release, she was immediately accepting appearances. You can track her everyday-life via social media if you’d life.
3. Under Contract: Tyson Kidd (Producer)
The story of Tyson Kidd might be one of the most heartbreaking tales pertaining to a WWE talent in the recent years. With such a bright future, Kidd’s career was ended in a freak accident during a dark match against Samoa Joe. The injury was said to be so severe, that Tyson made the claim that only 5% of people survive that type of injury. Yikes. What’s even more shocking is the fact that Kidd didn’t end up in a quadriplegic state similar to Droz back in the day.
Since the injury, both sides have had some ill will towards each other. Many were infuriated that the WWE hadn’t offered Kidd any type of role in the company following the injury. Finally, only recently during the end of June, Kidd returned to the company working under his new job as a full-time Producer.
2. Under Contract: Kevin Nash (WWE Legends Contract)
What can we say? “Big Sexy” just attracts money. Even to this day, despite being retired, Nash is still profiting from the company serving the role of a Brand Ambassador and being given the illustrious “Legends Contract”. Inching towards his 60s at 58, Kevin remains under the WWE’s payroll.
Nash is a polarizing figure to say the least when it comes to his legacy in the pro wrestling business. What turned many fans off was his love for the dollar bills and less interest in his actual field of work. Say what you must but the truth is, Kevin was a huge draw in the 90s and to his credit, he was quite the businessman. Who can forget the insane amount of cash he was given for being a booker during his time in WCW? Props to him for getting that extra pay, and props to him for still being under payment with the WWE nowadays.
1. Left Quietly: Eva Marie (Contract Expired)
Today is a bittersweet day, as @WWE and I have agreed to part ways. It has been an incredible 4 years, and I am truly grateful to Vince, Paul, Stephanie and the entire WWE team. I would not be where I am today without their continued support. – There are such priceless moments from the past few years…everything from visiting our troops in Afghanistan to working alongside the Special Olympics. I couldn't even begin to share them all here, but there's no doubt – I will carry them with me into this exciting journey ahead. – Last but not least, thank YOU, my fans, for allowing me to live out a dream that I could have never imagined for myself. You are the reason I love to go to work, and that's not changing anytime soon! – And finally…the hustle won't stop! After shooting back to back films, more are coming and I can’t wait to share with you soon. #Love #AllRedEverythingForever
On August 4th, the inevitable was announced as Eva Marie and the WWE finally mutually parted ways as her contract was not to be extended. It seems like both sides finally wanted out, with Eva excited to explore other avenues in the bright lights of Hollywood, while the WWE was finally ready to move on.
Seeing as though she was not active as an in-ring performer since last summer, her departure was much more under the radar, and in fact, a lot of fans didn’t even hear about it. Things went downhill for Marie after she failed the Wellness Exam. At that point, it appeared as though the WWE moved on with Lana, basically taking her exact gimmick. The writing was on the wall for her release at that point. A return seems highly unlikely but again, when it comes to the WWE, anything is possible.
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