Thursday, June 12, 2014

WWE releases almost a dozen

I like to call this the season of the Turk. If you're a football fan, you know what that means. The Turk is a term for an assistant coach tasked to inform players who've been cut to turn in their playbooks and pack their bags.

In the WWE, they haven't really done anything like this in quite a while, which makes today's wave of cuts all the more stunning. One "Diva", three former tag team champs, and a few other long-tenured talents were shown the door. To wit:

*---Aksana: The lone diva on the cut list, she also had the least amount of time on the main roster, roughly about 2-2 1/2 years. The emergence of the "Ravishing Russian", Lana, valet to the Bulgarian strongman, Rusev, convinced WWE Uncreative that they didn't need two Russian women (Aksana was billed as hailing from Lithuania). The problem is, Lana doesn't wrestle, and comes across to me as playing a role similar to Brigitte Nielsen in "Rocky IV".

*---Curt Hawkins: Initially called up as 1/2 of the Major Brothers (w/Zack Ryder) in 2007, Hawkins was one of the forgotten men, reduced to being a JTTS in the current NXT program in Florida. It's easy to forget that Hawkins & Ryder were tag team champs six years ago.

*---Drew McIntyre: The Scotsman was first called up in 2007, partnered with England's David Taylor, then sent down after Taylor was removed from the roster. McIntyre returned two years later, rebilled as the Chosen One, anointed as such by CEO/Chairman Vince McMahon. All McIntyre netted out of that was an Intercontinental title and a tag title, the latter with Cody Rhodes.

*---Jinder Mahal: Along with McIntyre, Mahal was part of the tag team 3MB (w/Heath Slater), and, so, another tag team bites the dust. Mahal came in with such promise, but really fell off the radar rather quickly.

*---JTG: The surviving half of Cryme Tyme lasted 8 years with the company, but had become a punchline in recent years, sticking around while everyone else was getting pink-slipped. Not anymore.

*---Evan Bourne: Spent most of the last two, nearly three, years on the DL, plus had a couple of Wellness violations, which stifled his push. Won a tag title with Kofi Kingston, but that seems so long ago. The most likely landing spot for Bourne would be Ring of Honor, where he previously starred as Matt Sydal. Current ROH wrestler Mike Sydal, yes, is his brother.

*---Marc Harris: Who? Exactly. Actually, he was a referee who had been up for a bit, probably around the same length of time as Aksana.

*---Camacho: He's the son of former WCW & WWE star Haku, aka Meng, and was in a tag team with Hunico, but that team was split when Hunico was given the Sin Cara ID a while back after the original Sin Cara was cut and returned to Mexico. Camacho was last seen on NXT feuding with Adam Rose.

*---Brodus Clay: Two years ago, he was the dancing "Funkasaurus", after then-authority figure John Laurinaitis had intended for him to be called up from developmental as a monster heel, then stalled. More than 18 months later, Clay turned heel, but it didn't really help his standing.

*---Yoshi Tatsu: He exploded onto the scene when ECW was a third brand, but after ECW was folded, Tatsu went down the chute, and like Hawkins & JTG, would end up as a jobber in NXT.

*---Theodore Long: Easily the longest tenured person on the list. Long's run with the company stretches all the way back to the Attitude Era, when he returned to his former vocation as a referee. Shifted back to managing in 2002, then became GM of Smackdown in 2004. In all, Long had two lengthy tenures in that role (2004-7, 2009-12), with a brief stint on ECW in between, and was last seen as a senior advisor to Booker T on Smackdown (2012-3). The way Long got railroaded out of the GM's office, and this happened three times, would suggest that he wasn't exactly a favorite of Vince McMahon's any more than Jim Ross was.

Classify it as more of a salary dump, clearing space for some more talents to be brought into NXT to be trained. However, I don't think we've seen the last of any of these folks. Jeff Jarrett has already stated on Twitter that the door is open for any or all to sign with TNA, but don't get your hopes up.

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