Every Wrestler Who Was Just Fired By WWE

Mass releases in WWE have come about all too often in recent years for a variety of reasons. From cuts related to the pandemic, to additional budgetary reductions, and most recently, following the merger with UFC to form TKO Holdings, it's never fun to hear of a long list of talents being shown the door. And while many of the names let go will find new life in wrestling, either on the independent circuit or with a larger promotion, some may not and this can very well be the end of the road.

Some of those let go didn't come as a surprise at all, having either rarely been seen on television of late or simply run out of opportunities to make an impact. Other names released were met with disappointment from fans who had hoped for bigger things in WWE for some of their favorites. A few names that hit the news wire made people take a step back in disbelief. And in at least one case, a series of controversial instances surely played a hand in the decision to let the talent go.

From a Triple Crown Champion in Dolph Ziggler, to a small group of lesser-known "NXT" prospects, the stories behind those affected from the releases of a little over a week ago are worth revisiting, both for a look back and perhaps for a hint at what might be in store for these talents in the future. So let's take a look at the complete list of talents let go by WWE most recently.


What does WWE stand for? According to the man himself, that would be "Walk With Elias." But for anyone wanting to do so moving forward, they'll have to walk with a new name for the man once known as "The Drifter."

Elias' WWE career began in "NXT" as Elias Samson, where he would quickly take on the drifter persona, armed with a guitar and often strumming a tune before hitting the ring to face his opponent. He was involved in a series of high profile feuds with the likes of Johnny Gargano, Apollo Crews, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Finn Balor, but he never did reach main event level. Ultimately, Elias would drop a Loser Leaves "NXT" match to Kassius Ohno, sparking speculation that he was main roster-bound. He memorably wrapped up his time in the promotion in 2017 as the masked luchador, El Vagabundo, falling to Oney Lorcan before making his "WWE Raw" debut soon after.

Utilizing his legitimate musical talents, Elias was placed in spotlight interactions with the likes of Jeff Jarrett, John Cena, The Undertaker, and more, which he reflected upon following his release. He even released an album, "Walk With Elias," which reached No. 1 on the iTunes charts. When the Elias character seemingly run its course, vignettes aired purportedly showing him burning his guitar and signifying a sort of rebirth. On the "Raw" after WrestleMania in 2022, now clean-shaven and sporting a new haircut with wrestling trunks and Ultimate Warrior-esque armbands, he portrayed his own younger brother, Ezekiel, and began a feud with Kevin Owens. When that fizzled, the writing was on the wall and Elias, as well as Ezekiel, drifted away for good. Surely, he'll be back somewhere. As for Ezekiel? Nah. He's gone.

Dolph Ziggler

Of all the names dropped as part of the most recent releases, Dolph Ziggler's is undoubtedly the most prominent of the group. His inclusion also solicited arguably the biggest collective surprise. Though he hadn't been featured prominently on television, other than a run as "NXT" Champion, in quite some time, Ziggler's pedigree is unrivaled among this group and arguably across the majority of the professional wrestling landscape.

His status as a Triple Crown Champion is probably enough to anoint him a first ballot WWE Hall of Famer, but on top of that, Ziggler amassed six Intercontinental Championships, four Tag Team Championships, two World Heavyweight Championships, two United States Championships, an "NXT" Championship, and he also secured the Money in the Bank briefcase in 2012. There's not much more to say to exhibit Ziggler's success in WWE.

The question now is not whether or not Ziggler can find a spot elsewhere in wrestling, but rather if he even wants to. Surely, he could hop the fence to AEW, joining his brother Ryan Nemeth, in a heartbeat — if he wanted to. He could go anywhere he likes, really — if he wanted to. But he's moved onto other ventures, namely a standup comedy career and all indications are he'll continue to pursue that passion. With his legacy in WWE intact and hoards of fellow wrestlers chiming in on the news, his place in history is without question. In being no one-trick pony, Ziggler can really call his shots from here on out.

'NXT' Prospects

Big TV names aren't the only ones affected by releases. Sometimes, those in various stages of developmental at the WWE Performance Center are part of the cuts, too.

Brooklyn Barlow, who was featured on "NXT Level Up," took to Instagram Stories to announce her departure, saying, "As of today, I am no longer with 'NXT.' Grateful to have experienced the WWE universe and everything that comes along with it."

Quincy Elliott, who made sporadic appearances on "NXT" since September of 2022, was also released. It has been reported that Elliott caused a "number of issues" backstage including various social media controversies.

Alexis Gray, a former track star at Texas Southern University, called her release "baffling," but is determined to continue and see where wrestling may take her.

Ikemen Jiro was featured in the 2021 "NXT" Breakout Tournament before going on to pair with KUSHIDA in the tag team Jacket Time. He was seen routinely on "NXT Level Up" until his release.

Yulisa Leon competed on "205 Live" and "NXT" before suffering a torn ACL in late 2022. She made her main roster debut alongside Valentina Feroz on "SmackDown" in May of 2023, losing to "NXT" Women's Tag Team Champions Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn.

Daniel McArthur, a four-time NCAA All-American shot putter at North Carolina, also expressed his gratitude via Instagram Stories, saying, "Thank you to everyone who made my WWE experience amazing!"

Bryson Montana, who also had "NXT Level Up" experience and one battle royal showing on "NXT," teased a return to something familiar on X upon his release.

And Kevin Ventura-Cortez, who competed alongside Javier Bernal against Indus Sher on "Raw" earlier this year, noted on Instagram that he'd need to step away for now but clarified, "I've only just begun."


After multiple personas on WWE TV, the model formerly known as ma.çé will have to make his walks down someone else's runway for the foreseeable future. Left in the dust, along with Maximum Male Models stablemate mån.sôör when Maxxine Dupri sided with Alpha Academy, the former Mace last appeared on WWE TV in a number one contenders' battle royal for the Intercontinental Championship on May 15.

Following a three-year stint in "NXT" most recently as Dio Maddin, he became part of WWE commentary teams, first on "205 Live" before moving to "Raw"– a run that would be ended abruptly when Brock Lesnar put him through the announce table with an F-5. He wouldn't be seen again until an official main roster debut as Mace, part of the now-infamous Retribution faction alongside Shane Thorne (Slapjack), Dominik Dijakovic (T-Bar), Mia Yim (Reckoning), and ever-so-briefly, Mercedes Martinez (Retaliation), all led by Mustafa Ali (who somehow got to keep his name).

When that group imploded (to the satisfaction of many), Mace and T-Bar continued on as a tag team until the 2021 WWE Draft when they were split up, with T-Bar headed back to "NXT" as Dijak. This ultimately led to Maximum Male Models, ever so briefly led by Max Dupri. Maxxine entered the mix, then Max went back to being LA Knight. From there, Maxxine split, and basically, here we are. If your head is spinning, I'm sure ma.çé's was too, all the way up until his release, which unfortunately affected his running mate mån.sôör as well. A standout athlete NCAA offensive tackle for North Carolina, Brennan Williams was a third round draft choice of the NFL's Houston Texans before his wrestling career, surely something that will aid his prospects in whatever he chooses to do next.


Long before his days as a WWE model (and, just like ma.çé, the weird name to boot), mån.sôör was simply Mansoor Al-Shehail, an upstart Saudi Arabia native who secured a spot at the WWE Performance Center after trying out before 2018's Greatest Royal Rumble. Eventually simplifying his name to Mansoor, he'd shine in the spotlight at several Saudi-based events including winning a battle royal at Super ShowDown 2019, defeating Cesaro at Crown Jewel in 2019, beating Dolph Ziggler at Super ShowDown in 2020, and getting the better of Mustafa Ali at Crown Jewel in 2021.

Mansoor enjoyed a 57-0 winning streak to start his WWE career, largely on "205 Live" and "Main Event" before losing his in-ring "Raw" debut to Sheamus thanks to interference from Humberto Carrillo. This led to the storyline with a post-Retribution Ali, building to their match at Crown Jewel.

And then came the model stuff. Hey, it was worth a shot. Obviously, mån.sôör and ma.çé have big-time talent, and Maxxine Dupri is a superstar through and through so aligning with her was never a bad idea. (Plus, look at what's happened with her storyline brother, Max!) The trio made the best of what they were given, utilizing social media and a website to elevate their existence. But sometimes, the creative winds blow in strange directions and as stated earlier, once Maxxine defected, that was about it for Maximum Male Models. With an international fanbase, big time personality, and plenty of runway in front of him, mån.sôör — okay, enough of that — Mansoor will surely make the best of his next opportunity, wherever that may be.

Mustafa Ali

The saga of Mustafa Ali in WWE is well chronicled, with multiple reports of his asking for his release at one time or another. But this separation came as a bit of a surprise nonetheless because, wouldn't you know it, he was actually doing something! In fact, he was in the midst of a program with none other than heat-magnet-across-all-of-WWE Dominik Mysterio and he had a title shot lined up for No Mercy when the news hit. Odd, but in the grand scheme of things, this seems like what's best for both parties after a tumultuous run.

Debuting for WWE in the Cruiserweight Classic in 2016, Ali showed enough in a first round loss to Lince Dorado to earn a contract, participating in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic as Dorado's partner and making his way onto "205 Live," which he parlayed into regular main roster appearances and all was going well until — poof. Gone. After next to nothing at all for upward of nine months, we get (you guessed it) Retribution, which tied Ali in as the mysterious hacker featured in vignettes for months prior. Of course, Retribution would lose immediately to The Hurt Business on "Raw" and once again the following week, and at that point, it was clear they couldn't be taken seriously. Soon after, the group imploded, to the relief of the masses.

From there, Ali seemed dead in the water with WWE but things actually got better, especially in 2023, starting with an epic battle against GUNTHER at Night of Champions and a return to "NXT" that showed a ton of promise — until it didn't. Ali has plenty to offer to any promotion and fans would be wise to keep an eye on AEW as a potential landing spot before too long.


Another of the recently released WWE superstars who went through several character incarnations is Dabba-Kato, the 6-foot, 9-inch, 350-pound former offensive tackle who, as a Performance Center trainee, had an in to the main roster following his pairing with Lio Rush at "NXT" live events in 2018. Making his official debut at the Greatest Royal Rumble, Dabba-Kato (then known as Babatunde) squared off against a fellow big man in Braun Strowman, who eliminated him from the match.

Much like Mustafa Ali and friends in Retribution, Dabba-Kato was a bit of a victim of circumstance during the Pandemic Era of wrestling when, hey, at least companies were trying stuff. For Dabba-Kato, that meant "Raw" Underground, where the Dabba-Kato name made its debut as he smashed enhancement talent until a reunion with Strowman didn't go his way. That led to being drafted to "Raw," although nothing ever materialized there. Fast forward to WrestleMania 37, where he aligned with Apollo Crews to help him secure the Intercontinental Championship, rechristening himself as Commander Azeez in the aftermath. The two would soon be sent back to "NXT" where Azeez once again became Dabba-Kato (yep), turning on Crews and having a few matches before disappearing into the oblivion.

It is fair to say that one company can only carry so many monster big men and with WWE boasting a roster including Strowman, Omos, and others, Dabba-Kato-Babatunde-Azeez was yet another victim of circumstance — or a numbers game — or maybe he just didn't show enough during his tenure. Either way, as an impressive physical specimen, it wouldn't be a stretch to think we'll see him resurface somewhere in the near future.

Dana Brooke

Another case of credit where credit is due, Dana Brooke made the most of all she was given, up to and including a recent reset, of sorts, in "NXT," where she first appeared on TV in 2015. Her presentation incorporated elements of her competitive gymnastics and bodybuilding background and she was paired with Emma who had been entrenched in a feud with Bayley. That affiliation endured throughout Brooke's time in "NXT" and also onto the main roster, where she debuted on "Raw" in 2016.

The abrupt dissolution of that pairing (due to a back injury for Emma) led to Brooke being intertwined with big names like Sasha Banks, Charlotte Flair, Natalya, and Bayley once more, although a high profile run wasn't exactly in the works. Instead, Brooke became affiliated with Apollo Crews and Titus O'Neil, serving as the statistician for the group (and it's just really hard to say where anyone thought that was going to go).

In recent years, Brooke enjoyed multiple WrestleMania appearances but struggled to find storyline consistency until the 24/7 title, for better or for worse, came into play. Amid a romance angle between Brooke and Reggie, she managed to capture the now-defunct title 15 times, second only to R-Truth's 53 reigns all-time, before fading from television for the most part. Earlier this year, Brooke returned to "NXT," feuding briefly with Cora Jade and aligning herself with Kelani Jordan prior to her release. Brooke penned a heartfelt thank you via X following the news, assuring fans that "the fairytale continues."


With one of the longest ties to WWE among those released, paired with the fact that she only returned from a five-year hiatus in October of 2022, Emma's name as part of this list was another surprise to some. That said, her appearances were few and far between following a re-debut that saw her accept Ronda Rousey's open challenge for the "SmackDown" Women's Championship.

An "NXT" original and carryover from the rebranded FCW, Emma went down in history as the also-ran to Paige when the latter captured the inaugural "NXT" Women's Championship in 2013. Her original main roster run included a lengthy alliance and on-screen relationship with Santino Marella and another instance of falling short as Paige shined, falling short in a battle royal to determine the number one contender for the Divas Championship. Emma would return to "NXT" for more than a year beginning in early 2015, highlighted by a match against Asuka for the "NXT" Women's Championship at "NXT" Takeover: London that drew positive reviews.

Prior to her second return to the main roster, vignettes promoting her makeover to Emmalina began to air, though the revamped gimmick never gained any legs and was dropped almost immediately and after several stops and starts, she was released in October of 2017. This time around, Emma's release came just as she was publicly getting excited about WWE's announcement that the Elimination Chamber premium live event would be held in her home country of Australia. And on top of that, shortly thereafter, we learned that her real-life fiancé, Riddick Moss, was also on the list of those cut.

Riddick Moss

Sometimes life throws you a curveball and in the case of Emma and Riddick Moss, sometimes you get a double whammy all in the same day. But at least Moss is keeping his head up, calling his separation from WWE "a graduation." A 2022 winner of the Andre the Giant Battle Royal, Moss rose to prominence on the main roster alongside Baron Corbin, adopting the moniker of Madcap Moss alongside Corbin's "Happy." But when those two split, it didn't seem as though there was much else for Moss on the horizon.

Clearly, he envisions something much different in his next venture, saying, "I know a lot of people think my career really took a downturn once Mr. Levesque took over, but, in actuality, my per-match fee skyrocketed through the roof. Other promoters, get ready to back the Brinks truck up."

Moss' time with Corbin was highlighted by a comedic persona until their showdown in what was dubbed a Last Laugh match. Moss prevailed in that encounter, splitting the pair, and a bit of a push seemed to be in the works for the victor. Unfortunately, things didn't turn out that way. His main roster run peaked with championship challenges against Solo Sikoa (for the "NXT" North American Championship) and GUNTHER (for the Intercontinental Championship), both of which were unsuccessful. The smart money is on Moss to land on his feet soon — and no, not a single incarnation of Corbin, happy or otherwise, had anything to do with that statement.


With a tenure dating back to 2015, Aliyah is yet another talent whose potential didn't pan out while with the promotion as anyone had hoped. After spending six years in "NXT," most of which was off of TV, she finally found some steam as part of the Robert Stone Brand in the summer of 2020. Drafted to "SmackDown," she captured the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships with Raquel Rodriguez. She also managed to set a Guinness World Record, pinning Natalya in just a shade over three seconds on an episode of "SmackDown" in her main roster singles debut. That feat led to Aliyah 3:17 t-shirts and her own spin on "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's go-to catchphrase, "Aliyah 3:17 means I just kicked your a**" but not much else.

Her tag team title run with Rodriguez only lasted a couple of weeks, with Dakota Kai and IYO SKY recapturing the championships exactly two weeks after losing them and Aliyah was released without ever appearing on WWE television in all of 2023. Her last appearance on "Raw" was on September 12, 2022 and though she claimed via X that she had been medically cleared following an injury in a tweet that was deleted soon after, she never did reappear.

As far back as 2015, it seemed as though the company had high hopes for Aliyah, who was featured on the reality series "Breaking Ground," which also showcased many of today's WWE superstars during their time in "NXT." While those hopes won't be realized anytime soon, you never know what may transpire somewhere further down the line.

Top Dolla

Released alongside his fellow Hit Row members Isaiah "Swerve" Scott, Ashante "Thee" Adonis, and B-Fab in November of 2021, Top Dolla's return with two of his three allies ("Swerve" had already moved on to AEW) was a feel-good moment and the first real indicator that WWE was in a new era of creative with Triple H in charge. Fast forward almost two years later and the big man of the group is now the lone member of the trio to no longer be employed by WWE (though he's nowhere near as big as he once was).

Dolla was released from his contract last week while Adonis and B-Fab remain, so it will be interesting to see what becomes of Hit Row moving forward. As for Dolla, there's always his music to fall back on if wrestling isn't in the cards, although a return to the squared circle is far from being off the table. Hit Row didn't find a ton of success as a tag team in their second WWE run, with Francis and Adonis losing early and often and Dolla, at least via storyline, finding perhaps his least biggest fan in WWE play-by-play announcer Michael Cole. Following a botched top rope dive, Cole would often refer to Dolla as "Flop Dolla," but that never got any legs under it either.

One has to wonder whether or not Dolla might catch on in AEW to align (or feud) with Scott (now known as Swerve Strickland), but a third return to WWE is probably out of the question for the time being.

Shelton Benjamin

From The World's Greatest Tag Team to The Gold Standard, from Team Angle to The Hurt Business, memorable ladder matches and so much more, Shelton Benjamin has made his mark on WWE history. Whether or not there is anything further for Benjamin in WWE is now very much up in the air following his release from the company.

Benjamin's time with WWE goes back to 2000 when he started in developmental and enjoyed a 10-year run in his first stint. For seven years, he traveled the globe, working the independent scene, Ring Of Honor, New Japan Pro-Wrestling, and more before returning to WWE in August of 2017. As a former United States Champion, a three-time Intercontinental Champion, and a three-time Tag Team Champion, the general consensus seems to be that Benjamin is a surefire WWE Hall of Famer.

He showed nothing but appreciation and gratitude in announcing his release on X, thanking WWE, its staff, and fellow talent, as well as the fans. Benjamin also indicated that nothing is over for him, saying, "Something ends, something new begins. Looking forward to my next chapter." While any promotion would benefit from having a Shelton Benjamin on hand, at 48 years old, another full-time run somewhere might not be in the cards, despite being in phenomenal shape. Perhaps he would be best-suited now for a coach or producer role in an established company needing veteran presence and savvy both in the ring and maybe more importantly, in the locker room?

Rick Boogs

With the ear-piercing shrill of a heavy metal front man and the guitar chops of his axe-wielding counterpart, Rick Boogs made the perfect sidekick for Shinsuke Nakamura, if only for the added pizzazz to his entrance music and overall presentation. After a fairly unremarkable "NXT" career, his callup to the main roster happened relatively off the radar, but Boogs caught on fast with fans and earned his way onto the WrestleMania 38 card alongside Nakamura, facing The Usos for the "SmackDown" Tag Team Championships in a losing effort. During the match, Boogs tore his quads, causing him to miss nine months rehabbing the injury.

Boogs would return earlier this year, even getting a win against The Miz on an episode of "Raw," but he faded away quickly after the WWE Draft. Strangely, following his release, Boogs indicated that Vince McMahon leaving WWE "killed" his career and that someone in the company holds a "weird grudge" against him. That aside, Boogs has the personality and physical prowess to resume his career elsewhere should he desire to do so. And further, as evidenced by his series of Old Spice commercials in which he portrayed the outlandish Joseph Average-The Nightpanther characters, his personality is beyond over the top.

A reimagined character for Boogs might not be the worst idea in the world, but he'll likely have to gain some serious steam wherever he ends up. Following the insinuation of a grudge from on high and what seems to be shaping up as something of a burned bridge, it will take some doing for WWE to give him another shot somewhere down the road.


After taking part in WWE tryouts held in Dubai in 2017, Shanky made his way to the WWE Performance Center in January of 2020. Just a year later, he would team with Giant Zanjeer, Rey Mysterio, and Ricochet in an eight-man tag team match at Superstar Spectacle, a special television event airing in Shanky's home country of India. His team would prevail and a few months later, Shanky and Veer would join forces with Jinder Mahal. While Veer remained on "Raw" and the company primed him for a singles run, Shanky and Mahal were off to "SmackDown," and that's where things began to unravel a bit for Shanky.

Adding a traditional dance routine before and after his matches wasn't enough for Shanky to move the needle (go figure). Mahal would end up rejoining Veer and adding Sanga to form Indus Sher while Shanky forged forward alone on "SmackDown." Following an unsuccessful attempt at GUNTHER's Intercontinental Championship at Superstar Spectacle earlier this year, Shanky would make no further televised appearances.

Indus Sher has remained, intermittently destroying other tag teams as they look to stake their claim among the ranks in the division. But now Shanky is gone and reportedly, that's largely because his in-ring prowess hadn't progressed as much as the powers that be would have liked. It is said, however, that Shanky was well-liked backstage and with its presence in the Indian market more important than ever, perhaps Shanky will dance his way back onto our screens before too long after all.

Matt Riddle

Matt Riddle's WWE career can be described as volatile at best. With a pair of failed drug tests during his tenure and a series of allegations of inappropriate conduct involving women, it seemed as though every time Riddle was heating up, something outside of the ring would bring him back down to Earth — or even further.

Riddle was much-heralded following his time on the independent circuit and his first WWE appearance, shown as a member of the crowd at "NXT" Takeover: Brooklyn 4, garnered plenty of excitement. In "NXT," Riddle accomplished the fastest win in the promotion's history, defeating Kassius Ohno in six seconds at Takeover: WarGames II, participated on Team "NXT" at Survivor Series, and captured both the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic title and the "NXT" Tag Team Championships with Pete Dunne. His final match in "NXT" was a loss to Timothy Thatcher in a Fight Pit match with Kurt Angle serving as the special guest referee. Riddle's momentum continued through his main roster career despite his series of incidents. Paired with the legendary Randy Orton, Riddle became a two-time "Raw" Tag Team Champion in RK-Bro and also captured the United States Championship.

Riddle's release comes after yet another incident, this time of a bizarre nature at JFK Airport in New York. Despite what seems like wasted potential, WWE Hall of Famer Booker T is not at all surprised at the news of his departure, and reports indicate that certain MMA promotions might be interested in the services of the former pro fighter who amassed an 8-3 record during his time in that endeavor.