2021 has been the year of many things for WWE. It's been the year of the ThunderDome, the rise of 'The Head of the Table' Roman Reigns and also, it seems, the year of releases.
We're only at the end of June, but already WWE has made four separate rounds of releases in as many months, meaning that several WWE Superstars have been let go from the company.
The first round of releases came shortly after WrestleMania on April 15th, 2021, and ten WWE Superstars were released at that time. In May, several NXT stars were released on the 19th. June saw two lots of releases, with six Superstars released on the 2nd and thirteen more on June 25th.
That's a lot of wrestlers who have lost their WWE jobs this year. So let's take a look at every, now, former WWE Superstar that was released in 2021.
#5. Every WWE Superstar released on April 15th, 2021
The WWE releases that came on April 15th, 2021 were probably the most expected as WWE usually trims its roster a little bit in the weeks after WrestleMania as an annual ritual.
With that being said, there were still a few names that got released during this time that many people would have considered a shock.
Perhaps the biggest name among those people thought shocking was the release of Samoa Joe, who did a stellar job on Monday Night RAW as part of the commentary team. However, Joe is now back with WWE working as William Regal's Special Enforcer on NXT.
Billie Kay, Peyton Royce and Mickie James were some other releases at the time that people perhaps didn't expect. Kay and Royce are now going by their real names, Cassie Lee and Jessica McKay, and have started a podcast together, whilst Mickie James is now involved with wrestling promotion, NWA.
Other names released at the time were Chelsea Green, who never really got going in WWE, former Heavy Machinery tag team member Tucker, former Cruiserweight Champion Kalisto, former NXT Champion Bo Dallas, Mojo Rawley and one half of Blake and Murphy, Wesley Blake.
The full list can be seen below.
- Samoa Joe
- Chelsea Green
- Peyton Royce
- Billie Kaye
- Mickie James
- Wesley Blake
- Bo Dallas
- Mojo Rawley
Joe is the only superstar off this list to have found a home with a new wrestling promotion, although he was signed back to WWE. The others on the list still have a little while left on their non-compete contracts, but expect to see many of them elsewhere.
#4. Every WWE Superstar released on May 19th, 2021
The April releases were for RAW and SmackDown talent only. The black and gold brand was hit with a number of WWE releases on May 19th, 2021, with several prominent NXT names being let go.
Drake Wuertz and Velveteen Dream were both released which seemed like a long time coming given that the NXT referee and former NXT North American Champion had both been the subject of ongoing controversies.
Former SAnitY and Imperium stable member Alexander Wolfe was probably another high-profile name in this set of releases. WWE even filmed an angle of him getting kicked out of Imperium the day before his release.
Rounding out the list was a large list of names that were a combination of established NXT stars who hadn't amounted to much and fresh NXT stars who wouldn't be given a chance to show what they can do.
The names include referee Jake Clemons, Brandy Lauren/Skyler Story, Ezra Judge, Kavita Devi, Jessamyn Duke and Vanessa Borne.
The full list can be seen below
- Velveteen Dream
- Drake Wuertz
- Jake Clemons
- Brandy Lauren
- Ezra Judge
- Alexander Wolfe
- Kavita Devi
- Jessamyn Duke
- Vanessa Borne
#3. Every WWE Superstar released on June 2nd, 2021
With RAW, SmackDown and NXT getting releases everyone thought that was it, but WWE didn't stop there as they truly shocked the WWE Universe by releasing a number of big names on June 2nd, 2021.
Perhaps the biggest name of all in this set of releases was Braun Strowman, a former WWE World Champion, but people were also aghast at the release of Buddy Murphy and Aleister Black. The latter had only just returned to WWE television with a new gimmick.
In the women's division WWE decided to let Lana, Ruby Riott and Satana Garrett go, with Ruby Riott being the name that most people didn't necessarily understand as she and Liv Morgan seemed to be gaining steam as The Riott Squad.
The full list can be seen below.
- Braun Strowman
- Ruby Riott
- Santana Garrett
- Aleister Black
- Buddy Murphy
Since their release, Braun Strowman has opened up bookings, Aleister Black seems set for AEW and Ruby Riott has changed her name to Ruby Soho.
#2. Every WWE Superstar released on June 25th, 2021
June 25th became the fourth day that WWE would release a list of Superstars. By the time the dust had settled, it would also be their largest release to date in 2021, adding fourteen names to the list of released stars.
The biggest names were probably Tyler Breeze and Fandango who had enjoyed a great run in WWE as a tag team together as both The Fashion Police and Breezango. The pair had recently spent their time competing in NXT before their release.
The other names released were also from NXT, or 205 Live and they were as follows - Tony Nese, Ariya Daivari, Killian Dain, Marina Shafir, The Bollywood Boyz, Ever-Rise, Curt Stallion, August Grey, Tino Sabbatelli and Arturo Ruas.
The full list can be seen below,
- Tyler Breeze
- Ariya Daivari
- Killian Dain
- Marina Shafir
- The Bollywood Boyz
- Curt Stallion
- August Grey
- Arturo Ruas
- Tony Nese
- Tino Sabbatelli
#1. Other WWE Superstar releases in 2021
You may think that all of those releases are the full extent of people being let go from WWE in 2021 but you'd be wrong as several other former WWE Superstars were individually released this year.
Three of which we've now seen turn up at AEW, with WWE Hall of Famers Mark Henry and The Big Show as well as former NXT Champion Andrade making the jump from WWE to AEW.
Lars Sullivan, who had intermittent struggles with anxiety, and Steve Cutler, who reportedly angered Vince McMahon by attending a New Year's Eve party during the lockdown, were both released separately in February.
The full list is below.
- Mark Henry
- Big Show
- Lars Sullivan
- Steve Cutler
This brings the grand total of WWE Superstars that have been released by WWE in 2021 to 44, which is a massive number in comparison to previous years and a lot of free agents to pump out into the independent scene.
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