Three talents were released by WWE over the weekend.
First up is Hugo Knox – real name Stuart Tomlinson, who used to be a professional football goalkeeper in the UK. That’s the English ‘football’, by the way.
He signed with WWE back in December 2013, and wrestled his first match in NXT in November the following year. He never ended up debuting on TV, and revealed on Twitter that he parted the company “through mutual agreement.”
Then Pro Wrestling Sheet started reporting Sara Lee – who the fans voted to win last year’s $250,000 Tough Enough contract – had also been released by WWE. She debuted at an NXT live event in March, but also never made her way to TV. Mandy Rose, on the other hand, who was a runner-up on Tough Enough, is still with the company, has a role on Total Divas and has wrestled a few times on NXT. It’s classic ‘the fans voted for this person, but we’re still going to push the person we like instead’ WWE.
The next day, in a Twitter post that’s since been deleted, Lee revealed she’s expecting a child with NXT’s Wesley Blake – from the tag team Blake and Murphy.
And finally – for now, at least, there are rumours that more WWE releases are coming this week – SquaredCirlceSirens is reporting that developmental talent Carolyn ‘CJ’ Dunning has also been released. She was a nationally ranked bodybuilding bikini competitor and signed with WWE in March this year.
This may signal that the NXT roster is set to be overhauled. The brand split in May effectively gutted the developmental promotion, losing top stars like Finn Balor, American Alpha and Bayley. That isn’t to mention the call-ups over the last year and a bit, like Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. The weekend’s three talent releases could be used to make way for new signings.
An NXT roster overhaul looks set to become an increasingly pressing situation. The weekly show used to be one of the top rated programmes on the WWE Network, but according to last week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter, NXT’s viewership has “gone way down”, falling to the ninth highest rated show behind Clash of Champions, Backlash, and various episodes of Ride Along, Table for 3 and Legends with JBL.
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