Hey everyone, my name is Abiel and I’m the dude that started Wrestling After Work on Facebook and Spotify. As a pro-wrestling fan, I currently view WWE, AEW, NJPW, Impact, ROH, MLW, and the independents (as much as I can find them on the internet).
As I write for The Geeky Juans, I’ll be focusing more on non-WWE products because everyone else is probably writing about it already. Also, it gives me a platform to tell all the pro-wrestling fans out there to seek out wrestling and find something you like, instead of going for the usual.
With that being said, back to your regular scheduled article… and I hope you all like it. Thank you!
WWE releases are very common. It happens for various reasons, from budget cuts or controversies leading to relinquishing contracts. But back then, with the WWE being the only major promotion in the world, you’re just left to assume that these released talents will just toil in the independent scene and work their way back into the WWE. With the emergence of new companies and big money in pro-wrestling, there are now a lot of destinations as to where they can land post-WWE. In this list, your resident trash-wrestling aficionado will take on the challenge of fantasy booking them on where they could possibly go, and what their next situation would be. Before I begin, do note that I’m omitting some talents because I’m not familiar with their work and it would be dumb for me to act like I know. And on that note, let’s begin!
The talent with the most WWE qualities got choo-choo’d out of the door. He stands at 6’8″, and weighs 385 lbs., so where could he land?
Knowing his recent opinions on independent wrestling, expect him to immediately shop himself within the major wrestling companies available around.
The obvious choice would be AEW, but while that would be expected, I’d like to see him ply his trade in NWA. His versatility as both face and heel can be properly played around when he gets there, and his wrestling style certainly fits the climate of the Atlanta-based promotion.
If Braun heads to NWA, expect him to restart his locomotive and run through the competition, before going into a high-profile feud with The National Treasure.
From the entire list of released talents, the former Tommy End arguably possesses the best striking arsenal in the game today.
Before he got released, Aleister Black was plotted to do a big time heel gimmick that showed a little of his demonic side. Since that’s nixed, I am salivating at the idea to have his well-deserved dream match with Kenny Omega, as his next destination should be All Elite Wrestling.
Black has boatloads of scenarios if he heads to Jacksonville, with possibilities of reigning over The Dark Order or going solo and proving the “best-striker” claim against Hangman Page.
Don’t even miss out the chance for him to go to Bloodsport and knock some guys out for the Josh Barnett-sponsored brand. With all the stuff that he can freely do, one thing is for certain, Tommy f*cking End is back.
Since being signed to the fed, Ruby Riott was mixed up in a lot of various stories but was given no definitive endings.
She started Riott Squad, she ended it, she became solo heel, then started to re-connect with Liv Morgan, only to NOT win the Women’s Tag Titles despite being hella over… it was a mish-mosh of creative failure.
With 10+ years of experience under her belt, she can be beneficial to the AEW women’s roster.
AEW is just starting to improve their women’s division, and they need more established talents like her to bolster the roster altogether. Heidi Lovelace is about to start a riot, and the entire AEW women’s division should watch their back.
Sultry and entertaining, Lana has been an interesting prospect for the WWE.
Starting off as a mouthpiece for the Bulgarian bruiser Rusev, CJ Perry has come a long way to make herself a very credible wrestler and performer. Another obvious pick to head to AEW, with her finally reuniting with her significant other Miro.
In that particular scenario, she can feud with Penelope Ford and setup mixed matches with their respective husbands. Her personality is very versatile, as she can enter in various partnerships/managerial roles (maybe creating her own talent management with Miro at the helm) while still staking a claim to the AEW Women’s Championship.
Wherever she goes next, be sure to expect a trail of uncertainty and excitement.
Once considered as one of the best performers in the entire WWE roster, the grizzly Australian is what he says he is — The Best Kept Secret.
After his high-profile association with Rollins and the Mysterios, he wasn’t given much of a chance to see some daylight, even in any of the secondary titles.
Murphy’s mix of grappling and striking is definitely a treat for any company to have on their roster, but for this one, I’d like to see him step onto the cerulean blue mat of New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
With the establishment of NJPW Strong, he can definitely shake up the California-based show and immediately run with the Strong title.
If he decides to head back to Australia, NJPW is just a stone’s throw and he can make a big impact in the Junior Heavyweight division (and hopefully becoming a heavyweight when his time comes). Soon enough, he won’t be a secret at all.
Okay, this one’s a little tricky.
With all the controversies lying around him, Velveteen Dream finally showed his side of the story and without proper investigation and context, he has gained the benefit of the doubt.
There has been chatter of having him face the likes of Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada (which he has jokingly called out on social media… or was he joking?) in dream bouts, but does he really fit in the AEW or NJPW system?
As of the moment, I think not.
There is no space in either promotion for Patrick Clark, which leads me to Nashville. Enter, Impact Wrestling.
Impact has been steadily consistent with their roster, being able to use it to its entire capacity, while bringing out various storylines that range from legit to mundane.
If he decides to come out as the Velveteen Dream, or a Patrick Clark-version of that, he can run the ranks at the Impact Zone in low-tier feuds to the main event. But this remains to be seen, because if his accusations come back to be proven true, then the only zone we’ll ever see him enter is prison.
At the time of this writing, Brandi Lauren has her pictures with Joey Janela on social media.
In this case, it could be safe to assume that she’s signing with the Jacksonville promotion. With the Bad Boy permeating Bad Boy Summer all over AEW, Brandi Lauren can come in and make a lasting-effect on the Janela-Kiss tandem.
She can either be a positive reinforcement for them, or The Bad Boy goes full sour and leave The Concrete Rose. Both situations will only make both Joey and Sonny future stars in All Elite Wrestling.
As for Brandi’s story, she can start rewriting it with her hubby, while still being an integral part of the AEW women’s division.
Formerly known in the independents as Axel Tischer, the former Sanity and Imperium member has the character arc that can be used for any kind of group.
But since being kicked out of Imperium, there have been flashes of decency with the microphone. With that being said, he can head to NJPW Strong and continue showcasing his impressive wrestling acumen.
Who knows? Maybe he can cross the Japanese border and enter The United Empire as their hired hitman. I personally don’t see him going into any promotion as an immediate singles star but he is definitely a great addition to any roster.
Finally, the Axe is loose.
BILLIE KAY & PEYTON ROYCE
Given their situation, The IIconics are probably looking to associate with each other until their retirement.
The former Bilie Kay and Peyton Royce will be looking for a promotion that both of them can sign in. Without an established Women’s Tag division anywhere else, Impact Wrestling is their best bet.
The duo have a tag title to chase, and a singles title to pursue when they decide to make their separate runs. Plus, their personalities fit the wilderness of Impact.
Don’t be surprised if their first appearance would have them playing poker at Swinger’s Palace and of course, doing their signature pose after winning a card set.
This has to be a no-brainer. Mickie James has to be reunited with Nick Aldis.
She’ll be the permanent manager of the NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion while making sure that all the titles are in the hands of the Strictly Business faction.
James can back up Kamille, while helping her off-screen on her ring work. When given the chance, she can also shoot for the NWA Women’s Championship whenever she desires.
Mickie James has been far too disrespected in the WWE since she made her return. This is her chance to show a more serious and devious side to the general audience. Look out NWA, you’re waaaay overdue for a face lift, courtesy of a well-placed Mick Kick.
Hot Mess was in a string of bad luck, getting her multiple chances on TV hindered by injuries. But in every chance she got, she always went a 100%.
She was slated to be in a reverse-stalker storyline with Mickie James, and it’s such a shame that it never came to fruition. Then again, she’s now free to take her act somewhere else.
Instead of the typical answer which is Impact Wrestling (her boyfriend is there, she used to work there), it would be imperative for her to start fresh.
Green was in the first ALL IN event, and it would be ideal for her to go in that direction. Just like the Ruby Riott situation, she definitely adds more credibility to their women’s division.
Her familiarity with majority of the roster can be beneficial, as they can produce great matches from the get-go. She recently posted on social media about coming back to a familiar Latino promotion (which will be discussed later), but you can never be certain nowadays.
Forget about Chelsea Green making an Impact, I can’t wait to see her become Elite.
When I heard that Tucker was released, I felt disappointed. Here was a guy that can definitely wrestle, plus he can articulate his emotions through words.
There are not a lot of performers that can do that, and he deserves a slot in any roster. But in this case, I’d like to see him sign with NWA. His wrestling pedigree, overall look, and good promo presence is a welcome addition to the company. He can play both heel and face, which makes him versatile in any storyline.
That being said, that’s not the sole purpose as to why I want him there. He can sign wherever and be happy as a wrestler for all I care. What I really want is to see him in Bloodsport.
Tucker’s recent run lacked aggression (or he wasn’t able to showcase it, depending on who you’re speaking to). Like Bloodsport’s Kal Jak, he’s a former WWE developmental talent that can unleash in an arena that demands viciousness. He’s definitely capable of taking it to the next level, he just needs a window of opportunity.
MLW had just released news that Lucha Underground will be rebooting to Azteca Underground. Who else better to put in the lineup? None other than Kalisto, formerly known as Samuray Del Sol.
A solid Mexican star that can lead the roster, he’s a highly-motivated competitor that can immediately shoot up to that promotion’s future main championship. If Azteca keeps their format, this is an opportunity to see Del Sol in a different perspective, as he can dabble in acting and story-telling.
He can also crossover to MLW and hang with the likes of Davey Richards, Myron Reed, and Alex Hammerstone in expected bangers. He’ll be looking to slice his way into the competition, so fair warning: Don’t blink.
He could definitely retire, according to previous reports of him pertaining to preparation for life after wrestling. But given that, let’s book him in an appropriate location.
He can wrestle, he can cut it on the mic, he can be given characters and make it work… where to? Impact Wrestling. He has room to become this former disgruntled employee looking to redeem himself after periods of toiling in WWE’s catering.
But, he still has the chance to express himself in his old comedic ways. His possibilities are somehow endless, and I’m anticipating that he will make a move for his wrestling career very soon. Wherever he lands next, he’ll make sure that you BO-lieve.
One half of The Forgotten Sons (I refuse to believe in the existence of the third guy that’s not on this list), he’s been regarded by his peers as a modern-day Bobby Eaton.
That’s high praise, as Bobby Eaton was the past generation’s tag team professional. Wesley Blake can sign either in NWA or MLW, and take someone under his wing. Let the man play the tag card, he’s been consistent when given a chance to work.
In doing so, he’s able to keep himself relevant as a tag specialist, while still pushing his future partner into better exposure. In an era where tag team wrestling is alive and well, Wesley Blake has what it takes to stay afloat and be better than his previous reincarnations.
I’m not a huge fan of Mojo Rawley, but he’s relatively young with a chance to grow.
He’s been given chances to take his character to different heights but sadly, the WWE has lost hope on him, as seen just becoming a side-attraction to the 24/7 Championship.
With his loud personality and athletic stature, he’s bound to sign with either Impact, ROH, MLW or AEW. However, his effect on the product will be dependent on how he will be performing and how creative is willing to work with him. This is a free agent movement that I’ll be lightly following.
Steve Cutler has released a vignette regarding his release from WWE, and it could be certain that he’s heading to where his girlfriend is — Impact Wrestling.
Cutler has been pretty dependable when he was with WWE, playing both developmental and major story player. But, one could argue that his effect on television is lacking.
Seeing how he created his exit promo, he’s looking to stray away from his tag partner Wesley Blake, and move forward as a singles competitor.
He can finally show his worth when he heads to Nashville and reunites with Deonna Purrazzo. He’s out to prove that he’ll never be forgotten again.
[AS PREDICTED, HE HAD JUST SIGNED WITH IMPACT WRESTLING AS OF THIS MOMENT: https://www.cagesideseats.com/wwe/2021/6/3/22517976/steve-cutler-impact-wrestling-debut-maclin-new-name-vignette]
Ric Flair’s son-in-law is such an interesting prospect with endless potential. Smooth in the ring and aesthetically suave, he can be Lucha Libre and Mexico’s greatest current import.
With that, I can see him make his mark in Azteca Underground/MLW or NWA. With Azteca Underground/MLW, they immediately have a legitimate superstar that they can work around on. It can also establish their presence with the Latino fanbase.
In NWA, he can chase after Flair’s original stomping grounds. He has been NWA Middleweight Champion in the past, it’s due time until he finally meets Aldis for the 10 Pounds of Gold. But in signing with any of these companies, the endgame here is finally getting back to NJPW.
Locking in with a company that can provide him with flexibility helps him come back to the Land of the Rising Sun. He can have a reunion with his Los Ingobernables stablemates and they can run roughshod through the entire company. With everything closely at his fingertips, anywhere Andrade goes has gold and money written all over it.
My personal favorite, the Samoan Submission Machine is back in the deep seas of free agency. Experience, style, pain threshold, promo impact — Joe is an exemplary pillar of the sport. Hailing from dojos and voyages, he has been leaving a trail of destruction for many years.
His bouts against Kenta Kobashi, AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Brock Lesnar, Rey Mysterio, and countless others are stuff of legends. Despite his WWE run feeling a little cut short, he was able to win the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic trophy once, and the US title & NXT title twice.
Personally, WWE missed out on putting any World Championship on him at least once, and giving him a bout against John Cena. They both went up together in the independent scene, with John Cena going to the fed, while Joe travelled the world.
To me, it was necessary for them to at least have a nice Wrestlemania match to put an old feud to rest. Now that he’s released, it’s certainly sacrilegious to not go to NJPW.
He trained there during his early years, but has never stepped foot into an actual NJPW ring. He can dominate the Strong show, he can head to Japan, he can mess up the heirarchy. Since he’s a free agent, he can do anything he wants. After all, he is Samoa Joe, and he is Pro-Wrestling.
BONUS: TOM PHILLIPS
This is a bias pick for me, because I legit love Tom Phillips’ work in the WWE. Honestly, he’s supposed to take the helm from Michael Cole but “Vintage” probably didn’t want to let go of his spot (as I say with fuming rage).
He has a distinct voice that exhumes expertise and quirk. In pro-wrestling, my personal wish is for him to be a permanent member of the AEW commentator booth. They are introducing new shows and he can come in as a lead announcer on any of their programs.
Outside of the business, I’d like to see him dabble in MMA. I can definitely imagine him doing a great job calling matches for the UFC. Tom Phillips is a gem, and he deserves better.
Damn, that was a hell of an article. I enjoyed putting on my God hat and placing these talents on their respective hypothetical destinations. To all the released talents, let’s all hope they get somewhere where they will all be happy. To all the pro-wrestling fans out there, don’t forget to support ALL KINDS OF PRO-WRESTLING. The industry has become this wide and vast because of our support, so let’s continue bringing the industry to a bigger and better light. Now, did I miss anyone else? Hit me up on Twitter at @abielanselmo so we can discuss about it. Also, don’t forget to like and follow Wrestling After Work on Facebook and Spotify. This has been Abiel from the WAW control center, and I hope to see y’all in future installments.