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Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman, Aleister Black, Full List of 2021 WWE Contract Releases

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVNovember 19, 2021

Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Following the release of eight more wrestlers Thursday night, WWE has now parted ways with 78 Superstars since the start of 2021.

Here is a full rundown of WWE's 2021 releases, courtesy of Ringside News:

  • Bray Wyatt
  • Braun Strowman
  • Aleister Black
  • Keith Lee
  • Andrade
  • Karrion Kross
  • Scarlett
  • Isaiah "Swerve" Scott
  • Top Dolla
  • Ashante "Thee" Adonis
  • B-Fab
  • John Morrison
  • Franky Monet
  • Tegan Nox
  • Mickie James
  • Lars Sullivan
  • Steve Cutler
  • Billie Kay
  • Peyton Royce
  • Chelsea Green
  • Kalisto
  • Wesley Blake
  • Bo Dallas
  • Tucker
  • Alexander Wolfe
  • Velveteen Dream
  • Vanessa Borne
  • Kavita Devi
  • Ezra Judge
  • Skyler Story
  • Jessamyn Duke
  • Buddy Murphy
  • Lana
  • Ruby Riott
  • Santana Garrett
  • Killian Dain
  • Tyler Breeze
  • Fandango
  • Tony Nese
  • Ariya Daivari
  • Ever-Rise (Matt Martel and Chase Parker)
  • Bollywood Boyz (Sunil Singh and Samir Singh)
  • Curt Stallion
  • August Grey
  • Arturo Ruas
  • Tino Sabbatelli
  • Marina Shafir
  • Bobby Fish
  • Bronson Reed
  • Jake Atlas
  • Leon Ruff
  • Mercedes Martinez
  • Giant Zanjeer
  • Ari Sterling
  • Kona Reeves
  • Asher Hale
  • Tyler Rust
  • Zechariah Smith
  • Desmond Troy
  • Eva Marie
  • Gran Metalik
  • Lince Dorado
  • Mia Yim
  • Nia Jax
  • Ember Moon
  • Katrina Cortez
  • Oney Lorcan
  • Jessi Kamea
  • Jeet Rama
  • Zayda Ramier
  • Trey Baxter
  • Harry Smith
  • Drake Maverick
  • Jaxson Ryker
  • Shane Thorne
  • Samoa Joe (later re-signed with WWE)

In addition to those releases, WWE let go of some referees, announcers and Hall of Famer Ric Flair, who was serving as a part-time on-screen character before requesting his release from the company.

As reported by Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful, WWE has cited budget cuts as the primary rationale for most of the releases throughout the year.

Many reporters, fans and outside observers have questioned the validity of that reasoning, however, given that WWE enjoyed its highest annual net income ever in 2020 and continues to thrive in that area in 2021.

Some of those released were hugely successful on the main roster, having held the WWE, Universal or Women's Championship, including Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman, Mickie James and Nia Jax.

Others, such as Aleister Black, Keith Lee, Andrade, Karrion Kross, Hit Row, Velveteen Dream, Bronson Reed and Ember Moon, were NXT standouts who never received a true opportunity to translate their success to the main roster.

The most recent crop of releases came Thursday when WWE cut Hit Row members Isaiah "Swerve" Scott, Top Dolla and Ashante "Thee" Adonis, as well as Tegan Nox, Shane Thorne, Jaxson Ryker, John Morrison and Drake Maverick.

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Of those who have been released thus far, many of them have already landed on their feet and enjoyed success in other promotions.

Black, Andrade, Ruby Riott and Bobby Fish are making their mark in All Elite Wrestling, while James, Mercedes Martinez and The IIconics (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce) have beefed up Impact Wrestling's women's division significantly.

Wyatt and Strowman have yet to sign elsewhere despite their non-compete clauses having expired, while Lee, Kross, Hit Row and many others are waiting for the time to run up on their non-compete clauses before making their next move.

WWE is still thriving financially and is firmly at the top of the professional wrestling world in terms of popularity and brand recognition, but AEW is making headway, and there is a ton of talent on the free-agent market that should help improve AEW and other wrestling companies in the United States and across the world.

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