Surprise WWE releases include Braun Strowman, Aleister Black, Lana
Big news, very much out of nowhere, from WWE today, involving a run of talent releases that includes former Universal champ Braun Strowman.
Strowman, who was reportedly earning upwards of $1 million a year, had just been in a spotlight match at Wrestlemania Backlash, in the triple-threat with WWE champ Bobby Lashley and former champ Drew McIntyre.
Strowman had also been in a featured match at Wrestlemania 37 in April, facing Shane McMahon in a steel cage match on the show.
Usually talents about to be released are treated more like how WWE had deal with former NXT champ Aleister Black, who had been off TV for six months, but had recently been rewritten back into a storyline with former Intercontinental champ Big E, at least for a week.
Black – Tom Budgen, 36, who wrestled as Tommy End before signing with WWE in 2016 – could end up in AEW or Ring of Honor in the U.S. or overseas in New Japan, where his strong-style approach would get over quickly.
Browman – Adam Scherr, 37 – has never wrestled outside of WWE, which signed him off the strongman circuit in 2013, so his next step will be interesting.
It’s easy to see him transitioning to action movies, but if he were to want to continue in wrestling, AEW seems the most logical choice.
The same would be true for Lana, another surprise release, considering her recent push, and that she had appeared on “Raw” earlier this week.
Lana is married to AEW star Miro, who recently won that company’s TNT title, and seems poised for a bigger push as a monster heel.
If Lana – C.J. Perry, 36 – would want to continue in wrestling, one can imagine that AEW founder Tony Khan would jump at the chance to reunite Perry with Miro to reprise the hot run that they had in WWE.
It’s also not hard to see her transitioning to full-time acting.
Ruby Riott had also worked on the most recent “Smackdown,” so, another surprise.
Riott – Dori Prange, 30 – never won gold in WWE, which surprised me when I looked it up, because I just assumed that in her four and a half years of being in main storylines that she had.
She’d be a great hand in AEW.
The wild card among the releases to me is Buddy Murphy, who had a run as Cruiserweight champ and another in a storyline arc with Seth Rollins, but otherwise was an afterthought in his eight years in the WWE Universe.
Murphy – Matthew Adams, 32 – has the look and workrate to be a breakout star, and in his early 30s is just entering his prime.
He wouldn’t bring the name/face recognition that the others could – of course they’d all have to change their names, or go with their real names, to work anywhere else, once their no-competes are done, and who knows when that might be – but, forgive the fantasy booking, imagine Buddy Murphy/Kenny Omega, Buddy Murphy/Kazuchika Okada.
Story by Chris Graham