Brodus Clay, like several of his WWE peers, must now find a new stage on which to fight his battles.
In what was once an annual tradition, WWE let go a number of its lesser-used talents on Thursday. Clay, despite somewhat of a resurgence at NXT, finds himself free to seek bookings elsewhere. Former SmackDown general manager Teddy Long was included in the company's roster trimming as well.
WWE.com announced that the company has released the following Superstars:
- Brodus Clay
- Curt Hawkins
- Evan Bourne
- Yoshi Tatsu
- Jinder Mahal
- Drew McIntyre
- Teddy Long
Other than perhaps McIntyre and Mahal of 3MB, there are no real surprises among those names. Some, like Bourne and Long, haven't been on TV in months.
Reading through the list, one might even say, "Oh yeah, I forget that he worked for WWE."
With the recent influx of NXT prospects to the main roster, fans and the wrestlers themselves had to see this coming. Rusev, Emma, Paige, Adam Rose and Bo Dallas have all made the transition from Full Sail University to Raw and SmackDown. That meant hard-working but low-ranking performers were destined to be sent away.
Tatsu had essentially been demoted to NXT. He battled Corey Graves down there a few times and spent much of his time training at the WWE Performance Center.
His WWE story coming to a close with such little success is another example of the company's poor history of booking Japanese wrestlers.
Tatsu's release, like it is for the majority of this list, will be freeing. Rather than putter around in the shadows outside of WWE's spotlight, he is free to work for other companies that will showcase him far more. Early in his career, he worked for New Japan Pro Wrestling, so there's a chance he returns there.
The more comedy-centric Dramatic Dream Team promotion would be a good fit for the likable Tatsu.
Japan or the indy circuit awaits Mahal, Bourne, Clay, Hawkins and Camacho as well. Bourne, for one, had to be growing restless on WWE's bench. Back in April, according to F4WOnline, via Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc, Bourne had been cleared to compete for a while. He recovered from a foot injury but never made it back to the ring.
He will see less bay anywhere he goes, but that has to be far more exciting than going unused.
Clay, Hawkins and Camacho all made recent appearances at NXT, used as a way to get rising stars over. Hawkins lost to NXT champ Adrian Neville, and Camacho served as Rose's first real rival, falling to the party-happy prospect at NXT Takeover. Clay battled Neville as well.
He appeared to be in the process of a transformation from goofball to predator.
After a long stretch of playing the dancing Funkasaurus, Clay was becoming more vicious, serious and dark. He challenged Neville for the NXT title, which ended up being the final highlight of his WWE run.
A man that big with solid athleticism will find work elsewhere, though. His former tag team partner Tensai made a living in Japan as Giant Bernard. There's no reason that Clay can't go overseas and ply his craft as well.
He won't have to worry about being asked to swivel his hips and be an in-ring cartoon, either.
As for Hawkins, he had a sense of humor about the situation.
(NSFW note: The following tweet contains a bit of profane language.)
My worst nightmare has come true... I now have to start paying for my own wrist tape again! Shit.— Curt Hawkins (@TheCurtHawkins) June 12, 2014
Hawkins at least has another venture to jump into now that his WWE career is done. He runs a wrestling school called Create a Pro Wrestling Academy in New York state.
Seeing Hawkins get his walking papers isn't shocking with how low he had fallen down the card. Only fans with photographic memories are likely to remember the last time he was in a WWE ring. Mahal and McIntyre were at least on TV regularly.
The signs were there, though, that their time was up.
Losing as often as they did as part of 3MB was one thing, but then El Torito beat both of them in singles action. When a little person in a bull costume starts pinning you cleanly, it's probably time to start sending out resumes.
McIntyre will go down as one of the most poorly used wrestlers in WWE history.
A man who was a compelling warrior in Europe and showed flashes of promise early on was relegated to the role of rodeo clown. He will now have to trade sold-out arenas for bingo halls, but Pro Wrestling Guerrilla or Dragon Gate USA won't turn him into a joke.
The indy circuit is set to be flooded with hungry, angry wrestlers who will look to shake off the effects of atrophy and start kicking ass again.