Drake Maverick has weighed in on his release from WWE in a video posted to Twitter. Maverick, who struggles to hold back tears throughout the video, talks about the seriousness of the situation and how it's affecting people's ability to earn a living. Maverick will still compete in the NXT cruiserweight tournament tonight, and even keeps kayfabe amidst a clearly emotional message to say he hopes to win the tournament. Our hearts go out to Maverick and everyone else who's lost their job at WWE today. "So I just got off the phone with WWE Talent Relations' Mark Carano who has told me that, as of today, I have been released from my WWE contract, due to the current climate of what's going on in the world," says Maverick in the video. "I'm like everybody else where I probably didn't take this as seriously as it is at the beginning, but its affecting people's lives, it's affecting people's jobs, it's affecting the way people make a living."
"I'm very fortunate that WWE is still allowing me to compete in the NXT Interim Cruiserweight Title Tournament, but it's very likely that those will be the last matches I ever have," he continues. "There's a lot of people I'm not gonna get the chance to say goodbye to that I really loved, that I really cared about, that make me a better person. Again, I'm very fortunate that I still get that. Other people won't get that. But if these are the last three matches I have, I just want everybody at home to know that you'll have my all. You'll have everything. It's not about the title anymore. It's about my life. It's about feeding my family, paying my bills. So if I don't make an impression, if I don't win, that's it for me. So I just want everybody to know that you're all gonna get everything I have."
Maverick is one of at least 19 wrestlers and backstage producers who have been released from WWE so far today. Other names include Kurt Angle, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, Heath Slater, Curt Hawkins, EC3, Lio Rush, Scott Armstrong, Pat Buck, Aiden English, Sarah Stock, Shawn Davari, Billy Kidman, Eric Young, Lance Storm, Fit Finlay, and Mike Rotunda. Names continue to be added to the list as, like Maverick reveals, WWE's talent relations department appears to be calling the wrestlers individually and letting them know. During a conference call this morning announcing impending layoffs and furloughs, Vince McMahon reportedly said staff would receive text messages notifying them of their status with the company, but that may have applied only to the furloughed employees and not the contracted talent. We'll continue to keep you updated on this heartbreaking story as more names are released. Watch Maverick's video below.