2021 was the most volatile year in terms of WWE releases. The promotion released more than 100 wrestlers and employees combined during the year as they restructured the organization and their roster.
Here is the complete list of recent WWE releases in 2021 & 2022, including its superstar wrestlers, producers, referees, presenters, and other employees.
Below is the list of wrestlers that left WWE after their contracts expired and they decided not to renew their deal:
- Kushida(April 2022)
- Cesaro(February 2022)
- Adam Cole(August 2021)
- Daniel Bryan(April 2021)
- The Big Show(January 2021)
April 29, 2022 – Wrestlers
Another budget exercise saw some of the names from NXT getting released.
- Dexter Lumis
- Malcolm Bivens
- Dakota Kai
- Persia Pirotta
- Raelyn Divine
- Draco Anthony
- Vish Kanya
- Mila Malani
- Blair Baldwin
Nash Carter was fired from WWE on April 6, 2022, after his wife accused him of domestic abuse.
WWE’s longtime Spanish Commentator Carlos Cabrera was let go from the promotion on February 17, 2022. He had worked for the company since 1994.
January 6, 2022 – Wrestlers & Staff
- Samoa Joe
- Gabe Sapolsky
January 5, 2022 – Wrestlers, Coaches & Staff
The first mass WWE release of 2022 came on January 5, 2022. The company sent out a statement that these releases are the result of the evolution of NXT 2.0.
- “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 Center Coach)
Toni Storm reportedly asked for her release from WWE. The request was shocking for many in the promotion, but they granted her request. It is currently not known why Storm asked for the release, but the company felt that it would not be right to not release Storm after releasing so many wrestlers due to budget cuts.
Jeff Hardy left a WWE House show tag team match in between and exited through the crowd. It was suspected that this happened due to substance abuse. Hardy was released after he refused to get help and rehabilitation.
November 18, 2021 – 8 Wrestlers
WWE released 8 wrestlers from RAW and SmackDown. The highlight of this bunch was Hit Row members and Tegan Nox who were recently called up from NXT to SmackDown, and John Morrison.
- John Morrison
- Isaiah “Swerve” Scott
- Ashante Adonis
- Top Dolla
- Drake Maverick
- Tegan Nox
- Jaxson Ryker
- Shane Thorne
November 4, 2021 – 18 Wrestlers
WWE removed 18 wrestlers on November 4, 2021, with names from all three brands. The most shocking names from the list were that of Keith Lee, B-Fab, Karrion Kross, and Scarlett Bordeaux. Harry Smith and Eva Marie were the names signed in 2021 only.
- Keith Lee
- Karrion Kross
- Scarlett Bordeaux
- Nia Jax
- Eva Marie
- Mia Yim
- Harry Smith
- Oney Lorcan
- Jessi Kamea
- Franky Monet
- Lince Dorado
- Gran Metalik
- Ember Moon
- Katrina Cortez
- Trey Baxter
- Zayda Ramier
- Jeet Rama
August 6, 2021 – 13 Wrestlers
In another set of releases, WWE let go 13 wrestlers from NXT on August 6, 2021. Bronson Reed was the most surprising of them all, as he was on the way to the main roster. WWE reportedly changed their approach for NXT and was looking for younger talent, which led to these releases. Soon after this, WWE announced the launch of NXT 2.0.
- Bronson Reed
- Asher Hale
- Desmond Troy
- Bobby Fish
- Mercedes Martinez
- Giant Zanjeer
- Kona Reeves
- Ari Sterling
- Stephon Smith
- Jake Atlas
- Tyler Rust
- Leon Ruff
- Zechariah Smith
Ric Flair was looking to work and make appearances beyond WWE and asked the promotion to end his Legends contract. After initial hesitation, WWE agreed to part ways with Nature Boy. Some reports added that Flair had issues with WWE’s booking decisions and was not comfortable with his storyline with Lacey Evans.
WWE parted ways with Bray Wyatt on July 31, 2021. There were several reasons reported for Wyatt’s WWE release, including Wyatt not agreeing to the booking decision, behavioural issues, breakdown of terms with Vince McMahon, etc. Another report in December suggested that Wyatt made a “lot of noise” and wanted to be released himself.
June 25, 2021 – 13 Wrestlers
13 more names belonging to NXT were released by WWE on June 25, 2021, including three tag teams.
- Killian Dain
- Curt Stallion
- August Grey
- Marina Shafir
- Sunil Singh
- Samir Singh
- Tyler Breeze
- Arturo Ruas
- Tony Nese
- Ariya Daivari
- Chase Parker
- Matt Martel
June 2, 2021 – 6 Wrestlers
June 2 was another date when WWE decided to release some big names from RAW and SmackDown as part of their budget cut exercise. Except for Santana Garrett, all others could be considered significant stars.
- Aleister Black
- Buddy Murphy
- Braun Strowman
- Ruby Riott
- Santana Garrett
May 19, 2021 – 7 Wrestlers
Seven wrestlers from NXT were released on May 19, 2021, with The Velveteen Dream being the most famous name among them. The reason for the releases was said to be budget cuts
- Jessamyn Duke
- The Velveteen Dream
- Vanessa Borne
- Skyler Story
- Ezra Judge
- Alexander Wolfe
- Kavita Devi
April 15 Releases – 10 Wrestlers
WWE released the first bunch of wrestlers from the main roster due to budget cuts in 2021 on April 15. Among the 10 names that let go, Samoa Joe was later signed back in NXT. Kalisto asked to be relieved from his contract, and WWE granted his request.
- Samoa Joe
- Mickie James
- Peyton Royce
- Billie Kay
- Bo Dallas
- Chelsea Green
- Wesley Blake
- Mojo Rawley
Andrade was unhappy with his booking in WWE and asked for his release. WWE granted his wishes on March 21, 2021. Former NXT Champion did not appear on WWE TV for 5 months before his release. He went for surgery in October 2020 but was ready for return in January 2021. WWE did not use him for two months after his return.
Steve Cutler was released by WWE on February 4, 2021. Reportedly, Cutler attended a New Year’s Party and later tested positive for COVID-19. Vince McMahon was furious at this negligence since he promised a safe environment for wrestlers.
Lars Sullivan asked WWE to end his contract. He was facing anxiety issues and told the promotion that he could not wrestle anymore. After his failed WWE sting, he is seeking a different career.
WWE Backstage & Other Releases
- Stan Stanski – Senior Vice President of Creative Services(November 4, 2021)
- Greg Hamilton – Announcer(October 26, 2021)
- Stephon Smith – NXT Referee
- JoJo (Joseann Alexie Offerman) – Ring Announcer
- Jeff Jarret – Backstage Producer
- Canyon Ceman – Senior Vice President of Talent Development
- Kenice Mobley – WWE RAW Writer
- Tom Phillips – WWE RAW Commentator
- Adnan Virk – WWE RAW Commentator
- Susan Levison – Senior Vice President & Head of WWE Studios
- Dan Humphreys – International Vice President of Communications
- Brian Pellegatto – Senior Vice President of Production
- Jay Rosenstock – Executive Vice President of International.
- Makham Nolan – Vice President of Media Operations
- James Wortman – Digital Media
- Adnan Virk – WWE RAW Commentator
- Jaylar Donlan – Executive Vice President of WWE’s Advanced Media Group
- Drake Younger/Drake Wuertz – NXT Referee
- Jake Clemons – NXT Referee
- Mark Carrano – Senior Director of Talent Relations
- Nicole Zeoli – Director of Talent Relations
- Mead Rust – Vice President of Communications
- Joe Villa – Manager of Publicity and Corporate Communications