Jake Atlas Reveals He Asked For Release Before WWE Released Him

Former WWE star Jake Atlas joined Instinct Culture by Denise Salcedo to talk about his release from WWE in August. According to Atlas, he learned he was being let go from WWE in a twenty second phone call from WWE Head of Talent Relations, John Laurinaitis.

"I was at dinner. It was that Friday night, and I got a call from WWE incorporated," Atlas revealed. "So that must mean that I don't have the contact because that was the caller ID. So, I was like, 'That's interesting. Anyone that has to call me, I have their name saved.' There's a lot that needs to be unraveled, but I'll answer your question first and then we can dive into the specifics. It was John Laurinaitis, who I've never had a conversation with. He called me and he said that they are executing my 30-day non-compete clause, and that was that. It was a 20 second conversation. I didn't ask any questions. I was already expecting it, and I kind of just numbed myself for the phone call."

Atlas also revealed that he had asked for his release from WWE a few months prior to WWE letting him go. He told Salcedo he asked for his release due to struggles with mental health he was going through at the time, calling his run in WWE the worst he had ever been mentally. Atlas had previously revealed WWE helped pay for his therapy during this time.

"About a month or two before that happened, I won't get into the specifics about the actual conversations, but I'll give a little insight on what was going on behind closed doors," Atlas said. "I signed a three year deal with WWE, so around June/July, I got offered a contract extension by Canyon Ceman. I turned it down for my own reasons. We had a conversation, and I said we could revisit it in 6 months. Little did I know that within that conversation, between that conversation and whenever I got released, as you are aware, there are a lot of changes going on with that company, and I started to get a little bit nervous.

"My entire run in WWE was the most, and I don't know how to word this, it was probably the worst mentally I have ever been. My mental health was probably the worst it's ever been, the last two years that I was with WWE. So when I turned down the contract extension, I counter-offered with some terms of my own, and I more than anything wanted a meeting with Triple H. Our conversations were kind of at a standstill, and as you know, Canyon ended up getting let go himself. So then that put me in a really weird situation. I had asked Canyon for my release at some point in our conversations. It wasn't a, 'I wanna leave,' it was more so a conversation of, ' I want to be here, and feel like I have so much value and I feel like I am not being heard.' I had requested a meeting with Triple H for 6 months and I never got it. I think that was the thing that kind of had me worrying the most in that, 'I don't know how they see me, or how they view me, or how they value me.' There were a lot of things that I wanted to do and talk about, and I was just given the runaround.

So I said that, 'I wanted to ask for my release. I don't want to, I want to stay but my mental health comes first, and I am suffering.' I was told that I would get the meeting with Triple H and a couple weeks passed. I took a trip to LA, in between when I had the final conversation about what was going on with me. I took a trip to LA to unwind, and I wanted to go back for the summer, then I came back and it was the week after that I got let go. I don't have the answer as to if I was already on the chopping block, which is why I was hesitant to even say that I asked for my release because then people would be like 'you're ungrateful.'

"I understand the narratives that people will want to say by me saying that I wanted to quit. You have to understand that my mental health was really bad, not at that given moment. I am strong now but the entire time it was not good. So I felt like I needed to leave for myself, like I needed to put myself first. So I just want people to understand and not think that I was ungrateful for having a job because they've been releasing left and right. I take my mental health and my sanity and being alive before I take having a job. To this day, I don't know if I was already on that list to have been cut or if they went through Canyon's emails after he got let go and saw that I didn't want to be there. I wish I knew that answer, but I don't want to ask. I've moved on completely. I obviously asked for a reason, and when it happened, it's like, 'be careful for what you wish for. You got it, what's next?'"

Prior to Atlas' release, WWE owner and chairman Vince McMahon notably visited the Performance Center, which some have attributed to the releases of NXT talent like Atlas. According to Atlas, however, he wasn't even there for the visit from McMahon.

"I was not asked to be part of the Vince McMahon training session, where he would be walking around and taking a look at the Performance Center," Atlas said. "It was a select group of people. Some people were told not to be there, some people were told to be there. I still to this day don't know what that meant or didn't mean. It stung a little bit, but I remember looking at it two ways. I remember saying to myself, 'they either don't want me there because they didn't want Vince, or whoever was there, to see me. Or it could have been we weren't asked to be there because they wanted to keep us in NXT.' I don't know, I looked at it both ways. The second one helped me sleep at night."

You can watch the full interview below.