Curt Hawkins left WWE in 2020 and became a star in a rival promotion, as well as training one of the top stars in AEW today. But what happened to him and will he be returning to WWE?
What happened to Curt Hawkins?
Curt Hawkins was released by WWE on April 15, 2022 as part of a mass release of talent due to the pandemic. He was part of a large group, containing partner Zack Ryder, former Champions Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, and long-time star Heath Slater.
The releases were said to be due to budget cuts caused by WWE’s inability to tour during the pandemic. However, their Saudi Arabia deal meant that they continued to make record profits, whilst releasing talent who had nowhere to work due to the country shutting down due to covid. What happened to Curt Hawkins wasn’t fair and was condemned by WWE fans all across the globe.
Later that year, the former WWE star (under the name Brian Myers) was signed to Impact Wrestling. He had some big matches during his run, including facing Christian Cage for the Impact World Championship on Pay Per View in 2021. He also later reunited with his former partner Zack Ryder (now Matt Cardona), going by the team name of The Major Players.
He Was Released By WWE In 2014 After 8 Years With The Company
2020 was not the first time Curt Hawkins had been released by WWE. The former WWE Tag Team Champion had spent 8 years with the company, being signed way back in 2006 at the age of just 21. At the time he was known as Brian Majors, and teamed with Zack Ryder (then known as Brett Major) as kayfabe brothers called The Major Brothers.
The duo were called up to the main roster on ECW in 2007, but found great success a year later as part of La Familia. The faction was headed by WWE Hall of Famer Edge, then the World Heavyweight Champion. He was joined by in-storyline wife Vickie Guerrero, her cousin in-law Chavo Guerrero and his personal bodyguard Bam Neely.
The duo debuted at Armageddon 2007, dressing up as Edge and helping him defeat Undertaker and Batista to retain his championship. They turned heel and became known as The Edge Heads, due to how similar they looked like him whilst wearing his wrestling gear.
The duo were soon repackaged with the names Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder and won their first ever championships soon after. The pair captured the WWE Tag Team Championship from John Morrison and The Miz in a fatal-four-way tag team match, which also featured Jesse & Festus and Hornswoggle & Finlay, at the Great American Bash 2008. By doing so, they became the youngest tag team champions ever, with both men still being in their 20s.
They also made an appearance in the main event of Wrestlemania 24, being choke slammed by the Undertaker after trying (and failing) to help Edge retain his championship against The Undertaker.
The pair would soon lose their championships to Primo and Carlito and Hawkins would be drafted to ECW. He would bounce around various developmental promotions for years until 2014, when he was released from his WWE contract and sent packing to the independent scene once again.
He Returned To WWE In 2016 Due To The Draft
Two years later, WWE decided to reinforce the WWE Brand Split. Raw and Smackdown had melded into one big show over the years, with Smackdown featuring endless recaps of what happened on that weeks Raw. The World Championships had also been unified, meaning that there was no need to utilise Smackdown as it’s own show.
That changed when Shane McMahon returned in 2016 and took over the running of Smackdown. WWE created a new championship (The Universal Championship) and planned a WWE draft for after Wrestlemania 32. Every WWE superstar was eligible and entirely new brand rosters would be created.
It was an exciting time for WWE. There was just one problem – they didn’t have enough wrestlers to fill both shows.
This led to WWE going on a hiring spree, trying to bring in as much former WWE talent as they could to fill their roster. Curt Hawkins was rehired and promoted to the Smackdown roster, and joined other released stars like Jinder Mahal, The Headbangers and The Spirit Squad in returning to the company after a long hiatus.
Hawkins was reintroduced with a new “Chuck Norris” like gimmick. Just like the internet meme surrounding the former “Walker Texas Rangers” star, Hawkins appeared weekly up until his debut with exaggerated facts, bigging up his ability in the ring and making him out to be a huge star.
He finally debuted and begun losing immediately, however. This was the best thing that could have happened to him, as the former WWE Tag Team Champion started building up a string of losses that would take him all the way to Wrestlemania.
His Losing Streak Turned Into A Storyline That Ended At Wrestlemania
Curt Hawkins’ streak in WWE began in 2017, when he was drafted to Raw during the WWE draft. He began to quickly rack up losses to talent like Finn Balor and Apollo, becoming one of the most prolific losers on the brand.
He failed to win on TV and had house shows and quickly amassed over a hundred losses in the ring. It quickly became one of the longest streaks in wrestling history, even surpassing Goldberg’s 161-0 streak in WCW (albeit much less spectacular and successful).
However, he soon found the support of the fans who wanted nothing more than to finally see him pick up a win in WWE. Almost two years after his last victory, he teamed with his long-time friend and partner Zack Ryder, as the pair chased The Revival (Now FTR in WWE) to become the tag team champions in WWE.
And they did, in incredible circumstances. At Wrestlemania 36, Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder defeated The Revival when Hawkins, with his first win in two years, rolled up Scott Dawson for the the victory. It was a feel good moment for all involved, and only came about because of the losing streak that WWE had booked to perfection
The streak ending at Wrestlemania was a huge moment (just as it was for The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 30, but it was not always going to be the plan. The losing streak for Hawkins lasted 269 matches and ended at Wrestlemania, but the former Edge-Head revealed that the streak was going to end on an episode of Main Event.
Brian Myers revealed on an interview that WWE were going to have him beat Heath Slater on a random episode of WWE Main Event. The event was in his home town and WWE wanted to give him a good moment to celebrate with his friends and family. However, Curt Hawkins convinced them to let it go and see what becomes of the streak. This was a good move and got him a great Wrestlemania moment he will never forget.
“I was supposed to beat Heath on like Superstars or Main Event, and that was when finally I went to a writer. I made him go to Vince. Can you tell him I’d rather not? lt was in Barclays, and he said something like, ‘let Hawkins get one in his hometown.’ I was like, ‘I’d rather not. Let’s see where this goes, and I just knew that organically, if I just committed to it, something would come of it. I didn’t realize how much I was going to lose, but it finally did pick up steam where I truly felt like people were invested in my matches like they had never been before.”
Curt Hawkins was a notable tag-team specilist in WWE. He was part of many tag teams in his day, each with varying levels of success. His long list of tag team partners include;
- Zack Ryder
- Trent Barretta
- Caylen Croft
- Trevor Lee (TNA)
Curt Hawkins and Caylen Croft were a tag team in development, while the former tag team champion was part of a duo with Trent Barretta during the pairs run in ECW together. In his career he has held the Florida Tag Team Championship, OVW Southern Tag Team Championship and the WWE Tag Team Championship.
Curt Hawkins Runs His Own Wrestling School and Has Trained A Number Of Top Stars
Curt Hawkins has since been released by WWE and is making a name for himself in Impact Wrestling, as well as training students in his very own wrestling school in his home town of New York in Hicksville, named Create A Pro Wrestling Academy.
His academy has been touted as one of the top ones around for aspiring wrestlers. It has some top coaches in Brian Myers and his partner Pat Buck, and can claim a number of stars of today and coming from their dojo.
AEW’s MJF is the biggest name to be trained by Curt Hawkins. He graduated from the academy in 2016, alongside other AEW star like Max Caster, “Smart” Mark Sterling, Kris Statlander and Bear Bronson. Since then, dozens of students have graduated from Create A Pro Wrestling and they have continued to build a reputation as one of the top wresting schools in the country.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.