Before the historic “Triple H Point” the WWE had something else they were well-known for: future endeavors. For a long time, it seemed WWE releases were a yearly event that saw small groups of wrestlers cut from the roster to trim the proverbial fat. That philosophy has begun to morph in recent years thanks to the growing industry. The last big exodus was in 2017 with Emma, Darren Young, Jack Swagger, and some mid-card talent getting the boot. In recent years the WWE has decided that hoarding talent from their competitors saved them more money in the long run than any amount of firing could do. Since that 2017 batch, only a handful of wrestlers have been granted a release when asked while the rest got canned for their legal woes. However, Dec. 8 marks a strange date for WWE indeed.
Four people have gotten their pink slips in the mail so far: Luke Harper, Sin Cara, and the Ascension (Viktor and Konnor). Some speculate more to come, but even these guys are a surprise. Harper and Cara asked for releases, while the Ascension seem like collateral damage. Let’s look at what lead up to the releases and what their options are.
Konnor and Viktor were the first examples of the main roster being a graveyard for NXT prospects. This incarnation of the waste landers existed for about a year before they got the call-up to the main roster. They came, they saw, they jobbed. JBL didn’t take them seriously on commentary and the booking followed his attitude in the following years. After being buried beyond belief, the high point of their main roster run was being frenemies to Breezango in the Fashion Files. After the Fashion Police were put on the shelf, they were used as enhancement talent for Heavy Machinery and were early eliminations in a few battle royals. One would think they asked for a release privately, as even as jobbers there is no reason they should’ve been outlasted by the Colón’s.
Where Will They Go?
This could be a crossroads for the duo. They could split apart; Konnor is decent in the ring and Viktor has training in the Hart Family Dungeon. Their singles run before WWE wasn’t anything to be amazed by but experience and exposure the company gave them could have given them the spark they needed. More than likely it would better to stick together. While tag team wrestling doesn’t have a drought of talent a lot of companies could use some monster heels like them. They could be pushed immediately somewhere like Impact or used in AEW to properly establish someone like the Dark Order. When WWE releases a tag team they aren’t always guaranteed to succeed outside their “system,” but if they can find someone to have faith in the stranger side, they should be fine.
The second incarnation of the WWE’s attempt at recreating Rey Mysterio asked for his release in November. While his former tag partner Kalisto has his own faction and has held multiple belts, Sin Cara has been flopping. He would get random pushes that get derailed almost immediately, either by management or himself. He bounced around each brand multiple times and the most notable thing he has done this year is get crushed by Zelina on Twitter. Whether the injuries/botches that held him back or if his booking buried him is debatable. It is interesting that his request got such a fast turnaround. Other WWE releases Neville and Luke Harper had to sit at home for months with the WWE trying to freeze or add more time to their contract. Maybe he didn’t raise much of a stink backstage or wasn’t viewed as a threat (like Tye Dillinger’s release).
Where will he go?
Rumors from PWInsider around at the time of his request claimed that Sin Cara was trying to follow in the footsteps of Alberto El Patron in MMA. He certainly was never afraid to get into a scrap with people like Seamus and Simon Gotch backstage, so it isn’t the most surprising thing to hear. Although Patron’s shaky record may give some hesitation to step into the octagon. For every Brock Lesnar, there is a CM Punk. He could follow in the first Sin Cara’s footsteps and go somewhere like CMLL that would better use his skills. At 42 years old, his injury history limits his opportunities greatly.
Last, but certainly not least is the Swamp Man himself. What held back Harper in the WWE is going to be debated for years and years. He was big and athletic, Vince McMahon staples. He was the most well-rounded and complete package of the Wyatt Family entourage. Instead of getting pushed he saw everyone else in the Wyatt family get pushed to the forefront rather than him. He asked for his release back in April and was scarcely seen since. Before being sent into the shadow realm he was the third wheel in the buildup to one of the worst Mania matches in recent times. He also won gold as a part of the Bludgeon Brothers, a gimmick that seemed like the Dollar Store rip-off of the Ascension ironically enough. He came back at Clash of Champions and was Rowan’s muscle at Hell in a Cell but disappeared immediately after.
Where Will He Go?
Harper has the most options out of anyone on the list. Any of the big promotions would be happy if he fell into their laps. Somewhere like Impact could give him the realistic push it seems like he deserves. He also seems perfectly built to absorb some stiff shots for a stint in Japan. However, Marty Scurll posted a picture of Harper shortly after release, raising speculation that he could join a new incarnation Villain Enterprises wherever Marty ends up landing. Being The Elite has hinted at the Villain in AEW, so maybe we see the re-debut of Brodie Lee.
Where do you think the recent WWE releases will go? Did anyone else wrestle their last match for the wrestling giant?
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