Shortly after a press release announcing plans to cut staff, WWE has revealed the first round of wrestlers who have been cut. "WWE has come to terms on the release of Drake Maverick (James Curtin), Curt Hawkins (Brian Myers), Karl Anderson (Chad Allegra), EC3 (Michael Hutter) and Lio Rush (Lionel Green)," the company said in a statement. "We wish them all the best in their future endeavors." On a conference call announcing the cutbacks Wednesday, Vince McMahon reportedly told staff they would be notified of their standing with the company via text message.
Maverick joined WWE in 2017 after a successful run in Impact Wrestling as Rockstar Spud. Maverick has served as a manager for the Authors of Pain and general manager for 205 Live, as well as feuding with R-Truth for the 24/7 title. Maverick was most recently set to compete in a tournament to crown the Interim NXT Cruiserweight Championship tonight, but that will presumably not happen now, since WWE's shows are now broadcasting live. EC3 is another former Impact Wrestling talent, but unlike Maverick, EC3 failed to gain any momentum since leaving NXT and joining WWE's main roster in 2019. Lio Rush, who recently held the NXT Cruiserweight title, had only recently returned from a hiatus with the company reportedly due to "backstage heat" in the locker room.
Curt Hawkins, who was recently part of the Raw Tag Team Champions with Zack Ryder, spent a long portion of his career as a jobber but found traction by making that a storyline in 2017, with a years-long losing streak culminating in fan support and his reunion with Ryder (who was formerly teamed with Hawkins as lackeys for Edge) to win the titles. Karl Anderson is perhaps the most baffling of the releases. As a member of The Club tag team with Luke Gallows, Anderson has consistently been involved in a stable with the popular AJ Styles. Anderson was recently featured in the Boneyard Match at WrestleMania 36.
More Names Reportedly Cut But Not Announced By WWE
In addition to the releases announced by WWE, other talent, including backstage talent, are beginning to speak out about their own releases. Hurricane Helms implied he was let go on Twitter. Reporter John Pollock has said that both Eric Young and Luke Gallows have been let go. Sean Ross Sapp has added Heath Slater to the list. Martin Bentley adds Lance Storm, Fit Finlay, and Mike Rotunda (IRS) as well. Finlay has done a lot of work in training WWE's female superstars, helping to enable the "Womens' Revolution" touted frequently by the company. Rotunda, in addition to being a WWE legend, is the father of Bray Wyatt, one of WWE's top stars.
The cuts are a change of direction for WWE, which has been keeping as many wrestlers locked into contracts as possible for the past several years due to a large influx of cash from Saudi Arabia and television deals combined with a fear of competition from companies like AEW. However, the coronavirus pandemic, which has shut down live sporting events with crowds, has changed the landscape of the business, even as WWE continues to operate with live shows in empty buildings due to special "essential" status granted by the state of Florida. Vince McMahon has also joined a very special club created by President Donald Trump to figure out how to restart the U.S. economy. More names are likely to be revealed throughout the day as WWE is not done yet, so stay tuned.