Backstage Updates From WWE NXT Releases, Drake Wuertz Contacting Other Promotions

As noted, several WWE NXT talents were released earlier today – Jessamyn Duke, Vanessa Borne (Danielle Kamela), Skyler Story (Brandi Lauren Pawalek, Ava Storie), Ezra Judge (Ezekwesiri "EJ" Nduka Jr.), Alexander Wolfe (Axel Tischer), and Kavita Devi (Kavita Dalal). NXT referees Drake Younger (Drake Wuertz) and Jacob Clemons were also released. You can click here for background information on each talent.

The talents released today were all told that their departures were due to budget cuts. It's still being rumored that more cuts will be made, but nothing has been confirmed as of this writing. PWInsider adds that the initial plan was for cuts to come around three weeks ago, shortly after the main roster cuts on April 15, but the decision was made to hold off until today. WWE started informing talents of today's releases at around 11am ET.

There was said to be more overall shock over Clemons' release than anyone else.

Younger is already reaching out to indie promotions for potential work. It's no secret that controversy has followed him for the last several months.

Duke was said to be well-liked and there's a feeling that she will likely get another look from WWE down the line if she continues to improve her in-ring skills. She was praised for her work on the UpUpDownDown gaming channel on YouTube.

Devi's departure comes after she returned to India a few months back to deal with a family health issue, which caused her to miss the WWE Superstar Spectacle taping in January. She is still in India and was not expected to return any time soon. She noted on social media earlier this month that her mother-in-law passed away, which was separate from the January emergency.

Borne's release came as a surprise to some due to her upside and the fact that she was given no opportunity on the main roster. She had not been seen at the WWE Performance Center in some time, but was at some NXT TV tapings.

It was noted that there's a belief Story was on a short-term deal as a part of WWE acquiring EVOLVE last year.

It looks like at least some of the NXT talents may be under 30-day non-compete clauses with WWE but that has not been confirmed. Wolfe took to Twitter and revealed that his WWE contract was expiring on June 15, making him a free agent on Wednesday, June 16. Wolfe was kicked out of Imperium on last night's NXT as Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner attacked him following his loss to Killian Dain.

"Just for the record: My WWE contract will expire on June 15th. That means I'm a free agent on June 16th. I have a lot in my head right now so let's keep it short: Thank you @WWENXT @WWE for 6 year. Bye bye," Wolfe wrote.

Judge also gave thanks and said he will be back. He wrote, "I may be down but never OUT... Bent but not DESTROYED... The GRIND continues. #BUILTFORTHIS I didn't come this far .. JUST TO COME THIS FAR. Until next time. Thank you all. Love you all. I'll be back."

Judge noted in another tweet that he's working on merchandise and added, "You guys have been incredibly awesome and supportive. This isn't the end... You guys know I never been afraid of hard work.. or anyone for that matter [winking face emoji].. 30."

Clemons tweeted a simple "thank you" and a graphic that promotes his return to refereeing for the Absolute Intense Wrestling promotion in Cleveland, OH. He will appear at the June 18 show for what is billed as a "major announcement" on the flyer, seen below.

Story noted in a tweet that she will be re-launching her Patreon account for fans soon, but she did not directly comment on her release.

Stay tuned for more on the WWE cuts. Below are related tweets from the wrestlers who have issued comments: