WWE Releases in 2020 – Superstars & Backstage Employees

WWE Releases year

The year 2020 was really bad for all businesses and many people were let go off their jobs. Pro-wrestling companies were also hit hard by the pandemic with no ticketed events taking place the whole year from March 2020 onwards.

WWE released many wrestlers as part of budget cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020. However, there were some more releases throughout the year. Here is the complete list of all the WWE releases in the year 2020.

Zelina Vega

Zelina Vega WWE

Zelina Vega was released from WWE on 13 November 2020. It is suspected that Vega was released due to a dispute over WWE taking over Twitch, Cameo and other social media accounts. She also allegedly tried to form some sort of WWE wrestlers union.

Akam & Rezar

Akam & Rezer WWE

WWE announced the release of Akam and Rezar in September 2020. The duo was in for a push at the start of 2020 but an injury to Rezar derailed those plans and they were put on hiatus. The tag team was ultimately released from WWE in September 2020.


Rusev WWE

Rusev was negotiating with WWE for a new contract from the mid of 2019 itself. During this time, Rusev was constantly losing all of his feuds despite shown as a dominant force. His wife Lana also negotiated a new contract with WWE during that time but Rusev hit a stumbling block with the company. Later, Rusev was released from WWE in April 2020 as part of large releases due to the COVID-19 adjustments.

Rusev has since started using his real name ‘Miro’ on various social media platforms. He started his own Twitch channel and has been active with her wife Lana on other social media platforms. Recently, he made his debut with All Elite Wrestling as well as signed a contract with NJPW for appearances in Japan.

Cain Velasquez

Cain Velasquez on his WWE Debut
Cain Velasquez on his WWE Debut

WWE signed Cain Velasquez in 2019 as a marquee player. But he was suffering from a knee injury which limited his in-ring appearance with the company. After WWE was not impressed with his transition from MMA to pro-wrestling also, his costly contract was doing harm to WWE finances. Velasquez was also released with other COVID-19 releases in April 2020.

Zack Ryder/Matt Cardona

Zack Ryder WWE

Zack Ryder was stuck in WWE’s lower card from some years. Just like other wrestlers, which were not considered by WWE as important, Ryder was also released from the company in April 2020 with other COVID-19 releases. Since then, he has debuted with All Elite Wrestling but has not signed a formal contract with them.

Mike and Maria Kanellis

Mike and Maria Kanellis

Mike and Maria Kanellis reportedly asked for a release from WWE back in February 2019. But WWE did not grant the release until April 2020 when the COVID-19 struck. During that time, Mike mainly worked in 205 Live with only a few appearances on WWE RAW.

Currently, Mike is back to using his real name – Mike Bannet and appeared on NWA where he faced World Champion Nick Aldis in a title match. He is still a free agent though. Maria is coming out of pregnancy and has not resumed working.

Primo & Epico(The Colons)

Primo & Epico wwe

The Colons were working in Puerto Rico for the last few years and were eventually let go under COVID-19 releases.

Erick Rowan

Erick Rowan wwe

It came as a shock when Rowan was part of the releases list in April 2020. Prior to that, Rowan was getting a significant push and consistent wins over enhancement talents.

Sarah Logan

Sarah Logan wwe

Sarah Logan was not involved much on WWE RAW or SmackDown ever since the Riott Squad was disbanded in May 2019. After a handful of appearances and failing to make any impact, Logan was let go off from WWE under COVID-19 releases. In June 2020, Logan announced that she is taking a break from pro-wrestling for the foreseeable future.

Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows

Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows

Both Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows were heavily involved with AJ Styles during their time in WWE and signed an estimated $100,000 per year contract with the company. However, Vince McMahon took a call to release them in April 2020 with other COVID-19 releases. AJ Styles was miffed with their releases and claimed that Paul Heyman is the one responsible for their release of Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows or at least Heyman could have prevented their release.

The Good Brothers later made their return to IMPACT Wrestling in July 2020 and signed a two years contract with the company.

EC3/Ethan Carter III

EC3 In WWE 2019

EC3 was asking to be release from WWE from May 2019 onwards since he was not getting featured much on the shows. He was eventually released from WWE with other COVID-19 releases. He is currently working in IMPACT Wrestling under the ring name- Ethan Carter III.

Lio Rush

Lio Rush wwe

Lio Rush was also released with many others in April 2020 but there was some news which indicated that Rush had some backstage heat due to not following some pro-wrestling traditions. Rush has not signed with any other wrestling promotion but has released an album in May 2020.

Curt Hawkins

Curt Hawkins wwe 2020

Released in April 2020 with other COVID-19 releases. Currently signed to IMPACT Wrestling.

Renee Young/Paquette

Renee Young wwe 2020

Renee Young ended her 7 years long association with WWE in August 2020. She decided to leave after her contract with WWE finished and decided against renewing. She is currently under a non-compete clause from WWE and will continue with other pro-wrestling companies.

Heath Slater

Released in April 2020 with other COVID-19 releases. Currently signed to IMPACT Wrestling.

Eric Young

Released in April 2020 with other COVID-19 releases. Currently signed to IMPACT Wrestling and Impact World Champion.

Curtis Axel

Released in April 2020 with other COVID-19 releases.

No Way Jose

Released in April 2020 with other COVID-19 releases.

MJ Jenkins

Released in April 2020 with other COVID-19 releases from NXT.

Deonna Purrazzo

Deonna Purrazzo was released in April 2020 with other COVID-19 releases after working in NXT  for almost 2 years. She is currently signed with IMPACT Wrestling and is IMPACT Knockout Champion.

Kassius Ohno

Released in April 2020 with other COVID-19 releases from NXT.

Aleksandar Jaksic

Released in April 2020 with other COVID-19 releases from NXT.

Kurt Angle

Kurt Angle was released from his role as a backstage producer at the time of COVID-19 budget cuts. WWE Hall of Famer has made a few appearances on NXT and SmackDown since then but is mainly working on other projects.

Aiden English

Aiden English was released from his job as the commentator for 205 Live during COVID-19 budget cuts. In September 2020, English announced that he is returned to training for in-ring return and is in looking to sign with any wrestling promotion.

Gerald Brisco

WWE Legend Gerald Brisco was released from his role as the WWE backstage producer. He was earlier furloughed in April 2020 but was released in September 2020 when WWE cut back on many employees.

Mike Rotunda

Just like Gerald Brisco, IRS Mike Rotunda was also furloughed with COVID-19 releases in April 2020 before finally released in September 2020.

Mike Chioda

The referee Mike Chioda was released from WWE after spending 30+ years with the company in 2020. He was earlier furloughed in April 2020 but was ultimately let go. He has signed with All Elite Wrestling in August 2020.

Cathy Kelley

Cathy Kelly left her duties as WWE NXT’s backstage interviewer/correspondent in February 2020 after NXT TakeOver: Portland 2020. She is working on other projects in media.

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