The series of WWE releases on April 15 caught many people by surprise, though it probably shouldn’t have. WWE has a “tradition” of firing people just after its WrestleMania season ends. (For that matter, SLAM! Wrestling became SlamWrestling.net after Postmedia dropped us post-Mania too!)
In accounting terms, WrestleMania marks year-end, so to start the year afresh, get rid of some dead weight.
But the premise here is that these aren’t relics from the past, but pro wrestlers who still have a lot to offer. We asked our SlamWrestling.net writers to weigh in on a talent, and what they’d book them to do elsewhere.
Enjoy our thoughts and contribute your own in the comment section!
The IIconics — Billie Kay and Peyton Royce
Alex Robertson: Since it didn’t make any sense that they were separated in the first place, I think The IIconics — Billie Kay and Peyton Royce — should be signed together. There’s two places where they would be a perfect fit: AEW and Impact. I’d say AEW because Peyton has some pull there, as her husband Shawn Spears is already on the roster. On the other hand, Impact just brought its Knockouts Tag Team Championships back, so I think they could be good contenders there too. If they ended up at Impact, I could see them winning the belts in no time.
Bob Kapur: Of all of the released roster members, I think these were the two that were misused the most. The Iiconics were thoroughly entertaining, and splitting them up made no sense. It hurt the division, which was then dominated by randomly-paired singles stars, leaving these two floating with no direction. After Peyton’s stellar emotional promo on Talking Smack, they had a golden opportunity to do something with her, but instead turned that gold into lead. I’d prefer to see them in Impact competing for the Knockouts Tag Team Championship. They could be such great foils to Fire N Flava both on the mic and in the ring.
John Powell: Peyton Royce was really over in NXT. She got buried in the shift to the main roster though once The IIconics were disbanded. I liked her work in NXT quite a lot. She didn’t have any really shining moments on the main roster though. One wonders if that rant on Raw Talk last month was a shoot or not? If it was, that could be why Royce was shown the door. For those who missed it, here is what she said. “Why does it always have to be the same old same old? I packed up my life and moved across the world and I set up in a completely different country with not much of a support system to chase this dream… for what? To get stuck in the locker room watching other women do what I do better than 98 per cent of them and the other two per cent I’d sure as hell give them a run for their money. It actually hurts. When you know deep in your soul you are destined to be where you are striving for what you feel you deserve. My potential haunts me. This is where I am meant to be and my patience has been running thin for quite some time.”
Bob Kapur: As the Impact reporter for Slam, I would love to see Samoa Joe head back there in either a wrestling capacity — if it’s medically-safe for him to do so — or as a commentator along Matt Striker, replacing D-Lo Brown who hasn’t really shone in the role. But, I think that he’s more likely to go to AEW where he can go back to wrestling in the style that made him famous — longer matches, more hard-hitting action. If he’s able to stay out of all of the factions, he could very well jump the line to the top of the card.
John Powell: He is one of my faves but let’s face it, he has been injured more than he has been active in the WWE. I hope that his best days aren’t behind him but they just might be if he cannot stay healthy. He did a decent job on commentary although I don’t think it could be a full-time deal for him. I am holding out hope that Joe returns to his prime soon. He deserves to end his phenomenal career on a high note.
Trapper Tom Leturgy: Mickie James is in a different situation than the others. At 41, Mickie has had a longer current career than anyone else recently released, and (let’s be honest), has become a very veteran woman in the locker room. Pleasant, personable and professional, James can easily work with husband Nick Aldis, the current NWA Champion, on that brand’s periodic tapings and pay-per-views. If there’s interest, she could also challenge for the NWA belt with Serena Deeb on AEW, where James could add experience to a locker room that still needs solid leadership. Then again, she could also work on her recently-purchased farm, record music, and since she graciously thanked the WWE for her years there, accept a Hall of Fame nod in a year or two. We haven’t seen the last of the Richmond, Virginia talent.
Bob Kapur: Mickie feels like another natural fit for Impact who also recently brought back ODB and Taylor Wilde to the company. But in terms of being best for business, I would prefer to see her go to AEW to become an agent/trainer for the women’s division. Lord knows they need the help – they have some potential stars there, but they all need the help and direction of a seasoned pro to take it to the next level. Mickie’s wealth of experience and in-ring skill can help in all of those areas.
John Powell: She will always be one of the greatest of all time. Since her return to WWE her matches have been great especially when she fought Asuka at WWE NXT TakeOver: Toronto. I am puzzled by this one especially since we just saw her on Takeover last week. I don’t get it. The WWE keeps struggling and stumbling stars like Lana, Naomi, Nia Jax, Carmella and The Riot Squad but they dump Mickie James? It boggles the mind.
Alex Podgorski: For Kalisto, the best place for him to go would be New Japan Pro-Wrestling (once travel restrictions lift). He would be a great addition to its junior heavyweight division because he would actually get the chance to wrestle in the way he was trained. This is especially true with Hiromu Takahashi injured once again. If Kalisto is built up strongly from the beginning and gets to really show off his lucha libre skills, he could become a credible threat in that division. I can see him having great matches with the likes of Taiji Ishimori, El Desperado and Hiromu, once he returns.
John Powell: The entire Lucha House Party would do better and would be treated better elsewhere. All three are fantastic at what they do. Add them to the list of people the WWE doesn’t know what to do with, how to present or handle properly. Except for the rare Rey Mysterios of the world, that sentiment can be applied to most luchadores the WWE hires. They become nothing more than circus acts stuck in the mid-card ranks because the WWE doesn’t know how to adapt the lucha style to their cookie cutter matches and presentation.
Greg Oliver: If I’m Mojo Rawley, I’m on the phone to my buddy Rob Gronkowski, trying to get a job with all the oldtimers trying to get another Super Bowl title in Tampa Bay. Wrestling should be in the rear-view window for him. Not knocking his talent, but he just never broke through.
Chris Dunn: How many times can the WWE release a member of the Windham or Rotunda family Over the last 40 years, we’ve seen three generations get there, “We wish you well in your future endeavors.” Blackjack Mulligan came and went twice, Barry Windham four times, Mike Rotunda, three as a wrestler and once as a backstage producer. Third-generation wrestler Bo Dallas, son of Mike Rotunda and brother of Bray Wyatt, gets the proverbial handshake. Things look up for Bo Dallas (real name Taylor Michael Rotunda). After asking for time off over a year ago, he got his real estate license and recently started his own real estate firm with fellow WWE wrestler Liv Morgan. We won’t see Bo Dallas in the squared circle until he Bo-lieves the time is right.
Tommy “Milagro” Martinez: Bo Dallas was underutilized when called up from NXT. However, as the son of Mike Rotunda, he does have the chance to shine in the NWA. Like his dad before him, he can either be in the mix for the NWA television title like his dad before him, or do tag team action (I hear Sal Rinauro needs a partner. Just saying.) Earning gold, or challenging Nick Aldis for the Ten Pounds of Gold will ensure he can stay in the picture. While he has shown flair to be an obnoxious heel, he could really flesh out the baby face roster there… if he just Bo-lieves.
Greg Oliver: Given that he was WWE’s go-to guy to help wrestlers get back in ring shape, maybe Bo Dallas opens a wrestling school.
Tommy “Milagro” Martinez: For the former Heavy Machinery member, without Otis (or creative direction) Tucker Knight was lost in the shuffle. But he does possess the ability to be a big team player…literally. MLW is another place he can shine. Since the organization does seem to really do well with factions like AEW, he can flourish in Colonel Rob Parker’s Stub Stable, or (depending on how bitter he is at getting “future-endeavor-ed”), would be a big fit as a soldier in Contra Unit, alongside Daivari, Simon Gotch (former WWE alum) and current MLW heavyweight champ Jacob Fatu.
John Powell: He is the Marty Janetty of Heavy Machinery. One guesses he wasn’t goofy enough or as moronic as his pal Otis. Tucker has skills. He could have been repackaged under a new identity. It just seems after Heavy Machinery bit the dust the WWE just gave up on him.
John Powell: The Forgotten One in the Forgotten Sons was Wesley Blake. He needs to adopt a new persona and really show the world what he can do in the ring as he did so well in NXT with Murphy. I don’t think he will be out of work for very long based on the talent he has.
What are your thoughts? Send them in via the comments section below!