THREE superstars were released by WWE today amid speculation they could sign for the company’s new rival AEW.
SmackDown Live talent Tye Dillinger, 38, real name Ronnie Arneill, revealed he had requested his release on Tuesday.
The sports entertainment giant confirmed today it had accepted his request, ending his near six-year stint with the promotion.
Fans are now wondering whether the ‘Perfect 10’ will join the likes of ex-WWE stars Cody Rhodes, Chris Jericho and PAC in AEW.
The trio have all joined All Elite Wrestling – the newly-launched promotion backed by billionaire Fulham FC owner Shahid Khan.
However, the Canadian is not the only talent to have left Vince McMahon’s company, with the departure of two 205 Live mainstays.
According to PWInsider, the inaugural Cruiserweight Champion Theodore Perkins (TJP) did not ask for his release, but was in fact let go.
The 34-year-old, from Kansas City, Missouri, won the Cruiserweight Classic in 2016 and was heavily pushed as the face of the division.
But that ceased and as 205 Live grew into a weekly series, he became a lesser light on the brand, not having won a match since September.
TJP, who has wrestled for New Japan and IMPACT Wrestling, wrote on Twitter : “Thanks for giving me a chance and letting me play for the team I grew up watching.”
Hideo Itami’s release was also made official after reports last month that he was upset with his position on the roster and WWE creative.
The 37-year-old, real name Kenta Kobayashi, signed with WWE in 2014 and WWE legend Hulk Hogan himself flew to Japan for the signing.
A shoulder injury suffered in 2015 hurt his NXT career, keeping him out for over a year, before he suffered another injury and returned in April 2017.
The star once considered one of the world’s greatest wrestlers as Kenta moved to the main roster in late 2017, but has treaded water ever since.
In brief statements on WWE.com, WWE simply said it had “come to terms on the release” of all three men, but did not wish any of them “the best” in their “future endeavors”.
It follows reports this morning suggesting that WWE Hall of Famer Arn Anderson has walked away from a backstage producer role after 17 years with the company.
And it comes after performers including Dean Ambrose, new WWE Raw Tag Team Champions The Revival and Mike and Maria Kanellis all reportedly informing WWE of their desire to leave.
In a lengthy post on Tuesday, Dillinger stated: “This evening, I requested my release from WWE. In the past 5 and a half years with them, I have seen and done some wonderful things.
“Things that I am very proud of and will never forget. I have met and have worked with unquestionably, some of the greatest talent on this earth and the pleasure has been all mine.
I feel at this time this decision, as extremely difficult as it was, is what is best for myself and WWE. I wish to continue to grow as a performer and offer those paying hard earned money to watch I’m performing on, a little more of myself.
“To the male and female locker rooms, coaches and producers, to the production/ring crew, all the way up to the very top of WWE and most of all the fans… I wish you all the very best and thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything.”
Dillinger, who was a fan favourite in NXT, made his debut in the Royal Rumble in 2017, entering at number 10 to a great reaction as fans waved his trademark ’10’ signs.
Since then however his star had faded as part of the SmackDown roster and he was rarely seen on television besides Main Event.
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