WWE waited until early summer to begin the spring cleaning of its roster. Six members of the roster were released Thursday, according to WWE.com. At first, only four names had been posted, but this list has since grown. It's unknown if more will be added as the day goes on.
This round of releases includes long-time authority figure, referee and all-around good guy Teddy Long, high-flier Evan Bourne, the man from Planet Funk Brodus Clay, Curt Hawkins, Camacho and Yoshi Tatsu.
The hardest one for me to take on this list is the release of Long, who has so competently served in many capacities for WWE.
Long spent much of his tenure on SmackDown as an authority figure in some form. Whether this was as general manager, assistant general manager, assistant to the general manager or any other of WWE's numerous authority titles, Long was best known for his jive-talking and smooth-walking ways, as he would saunter to the stage and announce on any given night that there "will be a tag team match, playa!"
Long had been used infrequently since the brand extension ended entirely. It's disappointing to hear he's gone since he certainly could've fit right in on some of the WWE Network programming. I don't think this will be the last time we see Long with the WWE, though. His history in the business and versatility makes him valuable. He's also a likable guy who's been a good company man for many years.
The Evan Bourne release will catch many fans by surprise. That's mostly because they probably forgot he was still under contract. Bourne was last seen on WWE television in January of 2012 after he and Air Boom partner Kofi Kingston dropped the Tag Team titles to Primo and Epico. He then served a 60-day suspension failing a second wellness violation.
Bourne was a big favorite with kids, and his aerial spectacles were enough to draw the eyes of fans of all ages. He never was much on the mic, though, and his character never developed beyond happy-go-lucky good guy. He sat on the sidelines for the last two years rehabbing an injury and collecting a paycheck. It's probably best he's out on the indy scene at this point.
Brodus Clay saw a rapid fall from grace in the WWE. After debuting the Funkasaurus character three years ago and even earning a squash match at WrestleMania, he quickly deteriorated into an also-ran comedy character without much momentum.
Clay teamed with Tensai for a minute before turning on his partner. His last activity was jobbing to Adrian Neville on NXT in a brief title feud. A man who was once considered a potential One Man Gang-type personality never gained much traction in the WWE.
WWE has been signing up many top indy stars, with more probably on the way. The roster had become quite bloated and, in my opinion, still has too many people under contract. This type of house cleaning is necessary to keep the talent pool fresh, as none of these characters were ever going to contribute in a meaningful way to the current product (accept poor Teddy Long.)
Best of luck to these Superstars going forward. With Jeff Jarrett looking for talent for his fledgling Global Force Wrestling product, TNA in need of new names and the independent scene showing its most activity since the early days of Ring of Honor, there are opportunities to be had.