Breakdown: Hottest free agents from the WWE roster cuts
WWE made headlines this week with the release of 22 on-air talents across its three TV brands, but the headlines didn’t make note of what the cuts will mean to the depth of the roster.
Which is: not much.
Sure, there are some talents on the top line – Rusev, Rowan, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, EC3, maybe Zack Ryder – who will be able to make a splash at their next place of employment once their 90-day no-competes are up.
But, really, even those guys weren’t getting used in any significant way on WWE TV in recent months.
Rusev’s most recent contribution to TV was the forgettable storyline with Bobby Lashley that you have to assume he is happy to be away from.
Gallows and Anderson were used, in cameo roles, on WrestleMania 36, as bit players in the Boneyard Match, in the background as Undertaker and A.J. Styles had their PG-13 horror movie play out in an abandoned lot.
Gallows and Anderson are already hinting toward a return to New Japan, where they were mainstays in Bullet Club.
You can see Rusev attracting the interest of AEW, which is also a likely destination for the tag team formerly known as The Revival, who weren’t part of these cuts, but were granted their freedom from Connecticut last week in an unrelated move that seems to foretell their long-awaited series with The Young Bucks.
From the rest of the cuts from this week, EC3 and Zach Ryder seem like targets for either AEW or Impact. Both are solid workers, great on the mic, and EC3, in particular, has shown the ability to be a legit main event-level guy from his time in Impact.
I’d also thrown in Eric Young as a guy who seems like a fit 90 days hence either in AEW or Impact. Young can do it all, and slots at this point in his career as a mid-card guy who will work his ass off and be a mainstay.
You might see AEW show interest in Rowan, to reunite him with former Wyatt Family mate Brodie Lee, now cast as the head of The Dark Order stable.
Lio Rush, if he can play nice with the locker room, would be a nice addition for either AEW or Ring of Honor, adding depth to their cruiserweight divisions.
One other WWE cut that I like: Sarah Logan. I can see her working well in AEW’s women’s division, as a counterforce to current champ Nyla Rose, as a starting point.
But that’s all at least 90 days in the future, maybe longer.
Funny thing about that 90-day no-compete thing that WWE does in these kinds of situations to punish the talents, the thinking being, once they’re off TV for three months, they’re damaged goods, so, good luck, whoever signs them next, you’ve got to start over.
If I’m AEW, Impact, ROH, New Japan, I’m saying, thanks, because I wouldn’t want to be bringing in a lot of new folks anytime soon, not only given the fact that I’m trying to tighten my belt, too, but also, I’d much rather have new talents debuting in front of live houses, to stoke the fan reactions.
Who knows where we’re going to be in terms of being able to have even limited houses in 90 days, but you have to think we’re at least going to be closer.
The payouts that go with the no-competes are nice send-offs for the talents thrown out on their bums, not that Vince McMahon necessarily meant that to be the case.
He was just being the Evil Mr. McMahon there, because Vince is gonna Vince.
Story by Chris Graham