According to Fightful.com, WWE released a number of superstars on Thursday, with budget cuts cited as the reason.
A tweet from Sean Ross Sapp announced that the following talents were given the axe on Thursday: John Morrison; Top Dolla; Ashante “Thee” Adonis; Isaiah “Swerve” Scott; Tegan Nox; Drake Maverick; Shane Thorne; and Jaxson Ryker.
Morrison had been with the company on and off since 2002 when he won the third season of the company’s Tough Enough reality competition, earning a developmental contract. Since then, he had amassed quite a successful career, becoming the Intercontinental Champion three times and co-holding the Tag Team Championship six times. He left the company in 2011 and had major singles success in AAA, Lucha Underground and Impact Wrestling where he won that company’s World Championship. He returned to WWE in 2020 and primarily wrestled in a tag team with the Miz, recently starting a singles career while the Miz was filming Dancing With the Stars. Morrison’s wife, Taya Valkyrie, was released from NXT earlier this year.
The release of Top Dolla, Adonis, and Scott marks the demise of the Hit Row faction. The group, which had a hip-hop band gimmick, consisted of the three of them and female star B-Fab. After enjoying some popularity in a brief NXT run, the group was drafted to the Smackdown brand in October. They had featured in a prominent angle the last few weeks with Sami Zayn. B-Fab was previously released as part of the company’s November roster cuts.
Maverick’s WWE journey has been a tumultuous one – this is the second time he has been released in the past two years. After his original firing in April 2020, he was re-hired, and many credit his posting of a very open and emotional video about the release as the reason he was brought back. On Thursday, he posted a new video that includes a brief snippet of that original one but turned more defiant and motivational about what comes next.
— James Michael Curtin (@JamesMCurtin) November 19, 2021
Nox was a recent call-up from the NXT roster, starting with the Smackdown brand in July, where she was put in a team with Shotzi Blackheart. Though they had some initial success, the duo was split up during the 2021 brand draft with Nox heading to RAW, where she never competed before Thursday’s announcement.
Thorne is best known for his time in the masked Retribution faction where he went by the name Slapjack. When that team disbanded in April 2021, Thorne started using his real name in dark matches, but never was featured on TV.
Ryker had recently become a mainstay on WWE’s Main Event program after teaming with, and then feuding with, Elias earlier this year. Ryker’s most notorious moments may actually have been off-screen as his real-life right wing politics reportedly upset many people in the locker room.
As of press time, WWE had not confirmed nor made any statement about the reported releases. Other than Drake Maverick’s tweet, only Top Dolla had posted comment on his Twitter page.
See y’all in 90 days. #BudgetCuts
My 3rd Album Drops 12/3 on
All Streaming Platforms pic.twitter.com/4cWfmPSaQm
— Top Dolla 🔝💵 (@AJFrancis410) November 19, 2021
Taya Valkyrie, the wife of John Morrison and former WWE talent Franky Monet, ripped the company on Twitter.
Stop supporting a company that has ZERO respect for their talent. You love pro wrestling, spend your money on the hundreds of other alternatives. This is wrong. Ethically, as employers they don’t care about us. Talent or fans.
— TAYA VALKYRIE (@thetayavalkyrie) November 19, 2021