Toni Storm Released from WWE Contract; Had Title Match vs. Charlotte Flair Last Week

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVDecember 29, 2021

Photo credit: WWE.com

WWE has released former NXT UK women's champion Toni Storm, according to Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp.

The move comes less than a week after Storm unsuccessfully challenged Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown women's title on Christmas Eve.

Wednesday's news comes as a bit of a shock given Storm's age (26) and the promise she showed during her NXT UK run. The New Zealand native seemed to be a long-term piece of the women's division.

Prior to capturing the NXT UK women's title, she won the Mae Young Classic in 2018 after beating Io Shirai at the Evolution pay-per-view.

Speaking with Ryan Satin on his Out of Character podcast (via Anutosh Bajpai of SEScoops), Storm recounted a night backstage when she had grown a bit anxious by her lack of progress on the main roster:

"It's the worst cause you just don't know. Obviously, wrestling [can be] so unpredictable. Next week you could be main eventing and winning a title and everything could be happening or nothing. You don't know. This is show business at the end of the day. It's a topsy turvy industry."

Sapp reported his sources "believe [Storm] asked for her release from the company."

By representing SmackDown at Survivor Series and feuding with Flair, she seemed to be hitting her stride. But her comments to Satin underscore how life in WWE can feel precarious for those who aren't at the top of the promotion.

The company has shed a significant amount of talent over the past year. In a number of cases, the wrestlers built a solid profile in NXT or NXT UK before seeing their careers stall on Raw or SmackDown.

WWE has allowed its women's division to stagnate by spotlighting the same handful of stars over and over again. The division's depth has been thinned out further as a result of the roster cuts.

Many will argue Storm was failing to hit her ceiling through no fault of her own. In that sense, it's understandable if she thought the grass looks greener outside of WWE.