The WWE has released talent from both inside and outside of the wrestling ring for months, but the latest batch of releases without a doubt includes some of the most surprising of the year. It's been confirmed that WWE has parted ways with some of its biggest superstars, with Braun Strowman being metaphorically and literally one of the largest releases. He's not the only one though, as Aleister Black and many other notable ends saw their time with the wrestling organization come to an abrupt end.
News about the releases initially leaked via Fightful reporter Sean Ross Sapp but, minutes later, the WWE published a brief statement that confirmed the list of names that were dropped by the company. The statement, much like the one written for recently released commentator Adnan Virk, didn't give many details beyond the names of those released:
WWE has come to terms on the releases of Braun Strowman, Aleister Black, Lana, Murphy, Ruby Riott and Santana Garrett. WWE wishes them the best in all of their future endeavors.
As mentioned, Braun Strowman, Aleister Black, Lana, Murphy, Ruby Riott and Santana Garrett were all released in what was not only a shock to fans but apparently to some of the wrestlers as well. Aleister Black, who was being teased for a massive return on SmackDown recently for a feud with Big E Langston, penned a brief tweet to fans about the news and said that he was blindsided by it:
The releases of every mentioned wrestler can be considered shocking in some way, though Braun Strowman's release may be the biggest surprise of all. Strowman has been a marquee wrestler for the company and someone who has been in the mix for major title matches for the bulk of his career. There are really few wrestlers in the industry as big or as athletic as him, so it's strange that the WWE would part ways with him. Strowman didn't indicate any reason for his departure on Twitter but thanked fans for their support:
The reasons for all these recent releases are officially unknown, though Aleister Black did provide a bit of further insight. When the wrestler addressed the news in a recent Twitch stream, he said his release was tied to "budget cuts" (via Wrestling Observer). If the WWE was looking to save a lot of money, then it would certainly make sense to cut superstars as large as Black and Braun Strowman, who are main eventers but not necessarily the top untouchables of WWE's brand.
As for the other wrestlers, their releases are still shocking, considering some wrestlers like Lana and Ruby Riott competed in televised tag-team matches within the last week. Others like Murphy and Santana Garrett haven't been used as much in recent months, which is often the case when WWE announces the release of talent on the roster.
It's unclear at this time whether or not the WWE is done with releasing wrestlers, or if more names will be announced. As mentioned, the company has let go of several employees, both wrestlers and behind-the-scenes staff in recent months, so there is a possibility that more could be on the way. Whether these cuts are the company's response to up the ante for new competitors like AEW, or just a way of cutting costs following a year of not being able to travel, is unknown.
CinemaBlend will keep an eye on further departures from within the WWE and any clues as to what's prompted these unexpected moves. In the meantime, continue to follow our wrestling coverage, including our recent feature on the greatest black wrestlers of the '90s.