WWE does what’s best for business, even if it means gutting entire rosters in the middle of storylines. The month of April alone saw the multi-billion-dollar conglomerate release 10 NXT 2.0 performers from their contracts. The reason: ‘budget cuts.’ As Ringside News reports, new signees get 90 days to learn WWE’s way of ‘sports entertainment’ or they’re cut. The latest batch of releases have reportedly left people backstage on NXT 2.0 extremely frustrated since they had no choice but to drop entire storylines due to back-to-back releases. That being said, here are the five WWE superstars who were released while being part of major storylines.
Bryan Danielson left ROH and became Daniel Bryan in WWE. The American Dragon signed with WWE in 2009 and became one of their hottest new comers. WWE did the ill-fated Nexus storyline in 2010 and incorporated Bryan into the faction’s feud against the main roster and top star John Cena.
As fate would have had it, Bryan was fired in the middle of the storyline for being too violent, choking former then in-ring announcer Justin Roberts with his own neck tie. The departure didn’t last long as Bryan was reinstated within a new weeks of his dismissal and the rest, as they say, is history.
WWE had big things planned for Nash Carter, both in Triple H’s NXT and on NXT 2.0. Nash and Wes Lee were paired together as MSK on the black and gold brand. The duo won their first NXT Tag Team titles at NXT Takeover: Stand & Deliver in 2021. Nash spent the first quarter of 2022 dealing with allegations of domestic violence.
Though MSK managed to capture their second NXT tag titles at Stand & Deliver in April 2022, Nash was quietly released from his contract due to the controversy surrounding his Hitler photo. As for Wes Lee, WWE repackaged him as a singles competitor.
Dexter Lumis became one of the most recognizable faces in Triple H’s NXT – thanks to his ice-cold gaze and zero expressions. Lumis became involved in a romantic storyline with fellow NXT star Indi Hartwell that culminated with their wedding on an NXT episode form September 2021.
The duo carried the storyline all the way into April 2022, forming a friendly yet competitive rivalry with Duke Hudson and Persia Pirotta. Both Lumix and Pirotta were released in the middle of their storylines.
Jeff Hardy is the only superstar on this list who hasn’t appeared on NXT in any capacity. Jeff’s unceremonious exit from WWE was both shocking and bizarre. Jeff was tagging with Drew McIntyre at a live event when he left his partner in the middle of the match and walked out of the building.
Then news came that WWE had released the former WWE Champion from his contract. Hardy later revealed that he turned down a Hall of Fame spot, saying walking out on the company ‘was one of the smartest, maybe the smartest things I have ever done.’
On NXT 2.0, Bivens was the mouthpiece for the Roderick Strong-led Diamond Mine stable. After WWE gutted the Diamond Mine, Bivens became responsible for looking after The Creed Brothers and was instrumental in coaching them to near victory on multiple occasions.
Unfortunately, his time in WWE came to an abrupt end and that too in the middle of Creed Bros. quest for the NXT tag titles as WWE released him from his contract in April.