Releases are inevitable in the world of wrestling, but the amount of WWE cuts in 2022 is unlike any other year. The WWE Releases in 2023 are unlikely to be as brutal as the years prior but many stars will be fired from the company before 2024 rolls around.
In 2022, WWE continued on a torrid 2021 by adding to the list of WWE Superstars released or fired from the company. Despite making record profits over the past two years due to high value TV deals and the billion dollar Saudi Arabia deal, WWE saw fit to release a number of their stars in a bid to keep costs down.
In 2021 alone, WWE released over 100 wrestlers, including some of the biggest stars in the company. Bryan Danielson, Adam Cole and Keith Lee were among the top stars to be let go from their role, with all three of those wrestlers plus many more signing for AEW after being released by WWE.
In 2022 WWE carried on the firings of their stars, some long before the expiry of their contracts. Families were uprooted to move across the country after signing deals with WWE just to be let go months later. With little regard for their employees, WWE had no qualms of potentially ruining the lives of their superstars to save a few dollars on wages.
The reason WWE are reducing their wage bill is unclear, but the biggest rumours at the moment are surrounding the potential sale of the company. WWE are releasing so many wrestlers in order to reduce the wage bill and to make the sale of the company more attractive to buyers, such as Disney. While budget cuts were the official reason given for the releases, why budget cuts were needed were not explicitly laid out.
Here is a complete list of all the WWE releases from 2022, including WWE Superstar wrestlers, producers, behind the scene talent, referees, commentators and many, many more.
Sasha Banks & Naomi – January 1, 2023
The first WWE releases of 2023 were former Women’s tag team champions Sasha Banks and Naomi. The duo walked out of Monday Night Raw, whilst Champions in May 2022 but did not have their contracts terminated until the first of the year, according to Fightful.
Mandy Rose – December 14, 2022
Former NXT Women’s Champion Mandy Rose was released by WWE on December 14th 2022, just days after losing her title to Roxanne Perez. The firing was allegedly due to her posting explicit photos online that were not in keeping with the way WWE presents Itself
NXT Wrestlers – November 1, 2022
On the 1st of November 2022, WWE released a number of NXT wrestlers from their roster. This was alleged to be to do with their new policy in which wrestlers who did not improve within 6 monthly periods would be fired from the company.
The WWE releases on November 1st, 2022 were;
- Bodhi Hayward
- Sloane Jacobs
- Erica Yan
- Damaris Griffin
- Ru Feng
Nigel McGuiness – October 7, 2022
Former ROH Champion and NXT commentator Nigel McGuiness was released by WWE on October 7, 2022. This was amid a shake up of the WWE commentary teams prior to the season premiers of Raw and Smackdown, as well as WWE shutting down NXT UK.
Jimmy Smith – October 7, 2022
WWE commentator Jimmy Smith was released by WWE after nearly two years on the Raw announce team, amid a shake up of talent in the Fall of 2022. The former Raw announcer revealed that he was let go by the company on October 7th, 2022, something which Triple H claimed that he revealed prematurely.
Jeff Jarrett – August 21,2022
Jeff Jarrett was released from his role as Senior Vice President of Live Events, less than a year after taking over the role.
He recently wrestlerd Ric Flair in Ric Flair’s last match.
NXT UK Releases – April 18, 2022
On April 18 2022, WWE announced that NXT UK would go on hiatus and NXT Europe would be the new addition to the WWE family of promotions. This sounded like good news, but they soon announced a number of cuts from the NXT UK brand.
The following wrestlers were released by WWE and will no longer be wrestling on the NXT UK brand;
- Flash Morgan Webster
- Wild Boar
- Mark Andrews
- Jack Starz
- Dave Mastiff
- Ashton Smith
- Millie McKenzie
- Sha Samuels
- Nina Samuels
- Dani Luna
- Kirsty Bosley
- Rohan Raja
- Kenny Williams
The news is particularly devestating for Flash Morgan Webster, Mark Andrews and Wild Boar. The three Welshman were released just weeks before the first WWE pay per view in 30 years was set to be broadcast from Cardiff, the capital city of Cardiff.
While the chance was slim, they will now definitely not take part in Clash at the Castle after being released.
Vince McMahon – July 22, 2022
Vince McMahon was the most surprising release of WWE in 2022. The chairman of the company retired from his role as chief of the company and the head of creative on July 22nd, 2022 after over 40 years at the helm of the WWE.
McMahon had been in trouble recently due to huge payoffs stemming from sexual abuse allegations, with a reported $12 million being paid out to former WWE employees that claimed they were coerced into sexual activities with Vince McMahon, leading to him releasing himself from his role within WWE.
As a former WWE and ECW Champion, Vince McMahon had decorated career inside and outside of the ring. The 77 year old has now retired from the company and handed the reigns over to his Nick Khan, his daughter Stephanie McMahon and son-in-law Triple H.
Troy Donovan – June 11, 2022
Troy Donovan was released from his developmental contract due to some compliance issues. Later, it was reported that Donovan failed a drug test.
Troy Donovan was also known as “Two Dimes” and was part of a team with Tony D’Angelo.
NXT Wrestlers – April 29, 2022
WWE enacted another NXT release due to budget cuts on April 29th 2022. The released featured some top stars on the NXT roster and wrestlers who had competed in huge matches for the black and yellow brand.
The biggest losses were Dexter Lumis, Malcolm Bivens and Dakota Kai. Lumis had recently been in a story with Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory, whilst Malcolm Bivens had been one of the most entertaining managers in wrestling at the time. Meanwhile Dakota Kai was a stalwart of the women’s division and had been called up to the main roster, despite being released before making an appearance on Raw or Smackdown before her WWE release.
While the rest of the talent were released whilst in their contract, Malcolm Bivens’ contract expired and he declined to extend his deal.
The list of WWE releases on April 29th 2022 are;
- Dexter Lumis
- Malcolm Bivens
- Dakota Kai
- Persia Pirotta
- Raelyn Divine
- Draco Anthony
- Vish Kanya
- Mila Malani
- Blair Baldwin
Kushida – April 18, 2022
Japanese legend KUSHIDA left WWE after his NXT contract expired on April 18 2022. KUSHIDA signed for WWE after leaving NJPW due to being typecast as a junior heavyweight. Sadly, in WWE his only success came in the cruiserweight division, and he left in 2022 after being released to return to Japan.
Nash Carter – April 6, 2022
Nash Carter was fired from WWE on April 6, 2022, after some behind the scenes actions caused his position in WWE to become untenable.
At first he was accused of domestic abuse by his wife, an accusation he strongly denied. His wife later released a personal, private photo where Nash Carter could be seen posing in a mirror, mimicking a Nazi salute. Because of the mounting controversy, WWE released Nash Carter, despite being one half of the NXT Tag Team Champions.
Cesaro – February 24, 2022
After 11 years with the company, WWE released former Tag Team Champion Cesaro on February 24 2022. The Swiss Cyborg was offered a new deal with WWE, but turned down the contract due to his spot on the card.
Cesaro had long been destined for greatness according to the fans, something that Vince McMahon fervently disagreed with. McMahon claimed that Cesaro didn’t connect with the fans because he was Swiss, and never pushed him to the main event level that he deserved.
Cesaro would later sign for AEW and join the Blackpool Combat Club, alongside fellow recent released star William Regal.
Carlos Cabrera – February 17, 2022
WWE’s long-time Spanish Commentator Carlos Cabrera was let go from the promotion on February 17, 2022. The legendary commentator had been the voice of WWE since 1994, being the Spanish version of Jim Ross for nearly 30 years.
He later appeared for AAA to commentate their Lucha Libre matches.
Samoa Joe & Gabe Sapolski- January 6, 2022
Former NXT Champion Samoa Joe and former ROH Booker and Paul Heyman protegee Gabe Sopolski were released by WWE a day later, on January 6th 2022. Samoa Joe had been released previously due to budget cuts but was resigned to NXT a year later.
However, WWE saw him as expendable, especially after he suffered injury just after winning his third NXT Championship. He was released by WWE and signed for AEW and ROH after his release from WWE.
- Samoa Joe
- Gabe Sapolsky
NXT Wrestlers, Coaches & Staff – January 5, 2022
The first WWE release of 2022 came on January 5, 2022 and featured a glut of wrestlers and behind the scenes personnel released from the company at the start of the year.. The company sent out a statement that these releases are the result of the evolution of NXT 2.0.
The biggest name noticed in the list below is William Regal, who had spent the past 20 years in WWE, first as a wrestler and then as a trainer since 2013. He later signed for AEW and formed his own stable (Blackpool Combat Club) and is one of the biggest signings AEW made this year.
The list of released WWE superstars and coaches below is;
- “Road Dogg” Brian James
- Timothy Thatcher(Wrestler/Coach)
- Danny Burch(Wrestler/Coach)
- Hideki Suzuki/Hachiman(Wrestler/Coach)
- Cathy Corino(coach)
- Sarah Cummins(Senior Vice President of Consumer Products)
- William Regal(Director of Talent Development and Head of Global Recruiting)
- Dave Kapoor(Senior Vice President of Creative)
- Ryan Katz(NXT Creative Producer)
- Scott Armstrong(Backstage Producer)
- George Carroll(Creative Writer)
- Christopher Guy/Ace Steel(Performance Centre Coach)
We will continue to update this list of WWE releases in 2022 as and when new talent is fired from WWE.