Today, a sweep of releases has hit the WWE roster with Shelton Benjamin, Mickie James, Funaki, Jimmy Wang Yang, Slam Master J, and Katie Lea Burchill all being released.
Since ECW was discontinued, there has had to be a trimming of the fat, now that the RAW and Smackdown rosters have become saturated. This is the right move, for the company and (perhaps!) for the athletes not getting used. In my opinion, most of them probably should have been cut, however, i’m sure many like me will be surprised and a bit upset about the releases of Mickie James and Shelton Benjamin.
As I understand it, Mickie James was fired for several reasons: ostensibly for a lack of professionalism, and a dip in performances, though it seems also that her burgeoning music career has hurt her prospects. This was obviously the case with Maria as well, and while I understand WWE’s stance, it does seem a bit of a shame and probably a bit self-defeating in the sense that people like Maria felt their creativity stifled somewhat by this policy, and therefore became disillusioned. Saying that, WWE have taken the rub they’ve gotten from certain outside projects (e.g. celebrity apprentice, guest appearances on tv shows etc). In the cases when the side-projects point away from WWE, I see that it is in their interests to distance themselves from that performer, but it would be nice to see them sticking with them until their contract runs out, rather than just cut them. It’s another shame for the divas division. As followers might recall, I recently posted an article praising Micke James and saying she could be a good mentor to the younger divas. Unfortunately, this obviously wont be the case.
As for Shelton, I imagine that he had higher wages than everyone else cut, and since he isn’t being used either, they decided to get rid of min too. It’s a shame, but the fact is, Shelton had no real television future at the WWE.
This leads me to what is usually the next question on everyone’s lips forllowing a release: will any go to TNA?
Well, the answer is that, chances are, at least one of them will probably end up there. This is one of the positive aspect’s of TNAs existence, i.e. that wrestlers have a second chance in their career if they are wished well ‘in their future endevours’ by the WWE.
In my eyes, I can’t see Funaki or Slam Master J getting a job at TNA, and I think Mickie will probably retire from wrestling. As for the others, I think there is potential for it. Shelton will be their biggest target, though for me, he wouldn’t really fit with the TNA mentality. Katie Lea Burchill is another clear target. I think she will be a great fit for TNA (though maybe a bit too similar to Tara and Daphney). As for Jimmy Wang Yang, I’ve always thought he was a good in-ring worker, but it seems he’s been fired for wellness policy reasons, so no real arguments there. He wont be first choice for TNA, but with a new gimmick, he could be a decent acquisition.
As I said, since ECWs last episode, there neede to be a draft, but as I also said, I am shocked by the releases of Shelton and Mickie, so for that reasons, and for my own interest too, here are who I would have released:
Chris Masters, Hornswoggle, Jillian, Zack Ryder, Katie Lea Burchill
Curt Hawkins, Funaki, Slam Master J, Jimmy Wang Yang (for violating wellness policy)
I’m sure ther’ll be much talk about this in the coming days and weeks.
I have just learned that Mike Knox has also been released. I was quite a fan of Knox and his gimmick, and would have liked to have seen him have a decent feud to really see what talent he has. Again though, while it’s a shame, its not going to affect the product as we know it seen as he hasn’t appeared on television for a long time. As for TNA, I wouldn’t rule it out, but Shelton will be their first priority.
WWE having a proper clean out then, and with the draft coming up, it’s gonna be all change.