There is little doubt that 2016 has been a banner year for WWE as they have attempted to usher in a “New Era” of sorts, by calling up more talent from NXT than ever before. Among them have been Finn Balor, Bayley, Baron Corbin and American Alpha, to name a few.
Since then these fresh faces have taken over the current landscape of WWE both on Raw and SmackDown Live alike. Kevin Owens and AJ Styles are leading the pack as world champions on their respective brands, and as a result, it truly does feel like a youth movement is in full effect in WWE right now.
Of course, you can't have a “New Era” without doing away with the old guard, and that has also happened this year. There are a handful of roster releases every year, but 2016 might have set the record for most in a calendar year.
In fact, the month of May saw well over a dozen people part ways with the company. Some weren't all that shocking, such as Cameron and Hornswoggle, who hadn't been spotted on WWE programming in ages.
However, there were departures of others that not only caught fans by surprise but were just downright disappointing because of what these five Superstars had yet to achieve in the organisation.
Believe it or not, Ryback had been a part of the WWE system since 2004. He had various stints on Tough Enough as well as on NXT (back when it was still an awful competition show), but he didn't start to hit his stride until 2012 when he re-debuted as Ryback.
The Big Guy's popularity peaked that fall when he headlined various pay-per-views for the WWE World Championship and couldn't capture the title. A lousy heel turn ruined his momentum, and although he later turned face again, it wasn't enough to salvage his damaged stock.
Following a decisive loss to Kalisto at May's Payback pay-per-view, Ryback decided to call it quits by walking out on WWE. He was officially released from his contract in early August, ending his WWE tenure with only one Intercontinental Championship reign to his credit.