WWE Stars in Danger of Being Released After WrestleMania 35

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2019

WWE Stars in Danger of Being Released After WrestleMania 35

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    Despite a recent Raw appearance, Shelton Benjamin leads the list of WWE stars who could be potentially released soon.
    Despite a recent Raw appearance, Shelton Benjamin leads the list of WWE stars who could be potentially released soon.Credit: WWE.com

    Despite having such a stacked roster, WWE's weekly programming isn't nearly as exciting as it probably should be. There are so many stars that could (and should) be featured more but aren't for any number of reasons.

    WWE's Brand Split should be giving wrestlers who would be otherwise overlooked more opportunities to break out and make a name for themselves. Instead, they are largely relegated to either being put in meaningless matches or, worse, idly waiting for their chance to compete on television.

    Needless to say, the company has more talent than it knows what to do with at times, and certain Superstars (such as The Revival and The Usos) are well aware they could be successful elsewhere. That is exactly why WWE is hesitant to give them their releases, whereas other stars aren't as valuable and could be let go at the drop of a hat.

    Almost everyone currently under contract with the company is bound to end up on the WrestleMania 35 card in some form or fashion, even if it's the ever-forgettable Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

    Once that event is over with, however, WWE could be more open to the idea of "spring cleaning" and ridding their roster of wrestlers they have no plans for.

    WWE doesn't often willingly release Superstars from their contracts early, but they might make an exception for the following talent who have been floundering on WWE TV for many months.

    Based on their recent lack of creative direction, no one should be surprised if they do indeed depart the company post-WrestleMania.

Mojo Rawley

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Despite spending three years down in developmental, Mojo Rawley was no more main roster ready in 2016 than he was when he first started out in NXT. The sole reason he was called up was so he and Zack Ryder could help fill out SmackDown Live's depleted tag team division.

    The Hype Bros never once vied for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship and lost far more matches than they won before splitting up in November 2017. The breakup proved to be the worst thing for both men, because with Rawley on his own, his in-ring weaknesses were exposed.

    Rawley remained in undercard purgatory even after moving from SmackDown to Raw in the 2018 Superstar Shake-up. Although he briefly embarked on an undefeated streak last summer, he was eventually beaten by Bobby Roode and has barely been featured on the show since.

    Only recently have vignettes begun to air spotlighting Rawley and his newfound aggressive nature, but there has yet to be any followup. Outside of a possible appearance in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 35, television time just doesn't appear to be on the horizon for him.

    Truth be told, he has been given the opportunity to shine on multiple occasions and has failed to impress each time, so perhaps the powers that be realized there was no point in pushing him again. Don't be surprised to see him released in the next few months.

Tyler Breeze

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Believe or not, Tyler Breeze was once looked at as a breakout star in NXT years ago and appeared to be on the cusp of super stardom.

    Despite never once winning the NXT Championship, he had excellent matches with everyone he went up against and played a key role in making the black-and-gold brand the hot commodity it is today.

    It felt as if WWE called him up from NXT in the fall of 2015 solely because he had accomplished all he could on the black-and-gold brand (short of winning the top title, of course).

    His debut feud against Dolph Ziggler had potential on paper, but outside of a one-off win over the former world champ at Survivor Series that year, Breeze was basically D.O.A. on the main roster.

    Breeze has been a part of a comedy tag team with Fandango for the better part of the past three years. Collectively known as Breezango, the duo unsuccessfully challenged for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship on a pair of occasions in 2017 before being reduced to just another undercard act.

    WWE had the chance to revive Prince Pretty as a singles star when Fandango went down with an injury last summer, but he has instead been relegated to wrestling the same four or five faces on WWE's D-show Main Event.

    Apparently, his outstanding outing against Ricochet for the NXT North American Championship on the Dec. 12 edition of NXT failed to convince officials that they are leaving a lot on the table by not taking his talents more seriously.

    Similar to Zack Ryder, Breeze could well be a guy that is content serving as a lower-level competitor there until the end of time, but at least The Long Island Iced Z has been on Raw regularly as of late in a storyline with Curt Hawkins.

    Breeze, on the other hand, has been directionless for years, meaning there is nothing stopping WWE from cutting bait with him in the not-so-distant future.

Alicia Fox

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Alicia Fox has been a staple of WWE's women's division since her main roster debut in 2008 and has mixed it up with virtually everyone who has come through the company over the past decade.

    In 2010, Fox won her first and only Divas Championship, a title she held for two months before losing it to Melina at SummerSlam.

    That was perhaps the peak of her push in WWE, because in the nine years since then, she has largely been used to put over other talent on their way to the top.

    To her credit, whether she's a heel or a face, Fox has always made the most of whatever she's been given to do. She can easily endear herself to the audience as a fan favorite, or she can come across as an unhinged lunatic at the drop of the hat if she so wishes.

    For the last year, she has been a part of an on-and-off faction with Alexa Bliss and Mickie James, though Fox has found herself on the losing end of matches more often than not.

    She was recently in the headlines for reportedly wrestling while intoxicated at a live event, which resulted in producer Arn Anderson getting fired from the company.

    The former Divas champion has been M.I.A. since news broke about the incident, having last wrestled on the Feb. 4 edition of Raw.

    With WWE calling up women more talented than her from NXT every year and there being fewer and fewer reasons to keep her around, the company might see fit to sever ties with The Foxy Floridian all together sooner rather than later.

The Colons

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    Credit: WWE.com

    A majority of the WWE Universe might not be aware that The Colons are in fact still under contract to the company. That isn't intended to be a knock on their talent, but rather how infrequently they have appeared on WWE programming over the past two years.

    Shockingly enough, Primo Colon has been a member of the main roster for over a decade. It wasn't until 2011 that he joined forces with his cousin Epico, but aside from a short-lived reign as WWE Tag Team champions the following year, they have experienced little success in WWE.

    From The Matadores to The Shining Stars, the duo has been repackaged more times than fans can count. None of those gimmicks really stuck, and by the time WWE finally started to push them as more than enhancement talent in 2017, they had already been written off as damaged goods, and therefore, it was too late.

    It's a mystery why they remain employed to WWE seeing as how they haven't had more than one or two televised matches in the last year or so. The Colons are incredibly talented competitors, but they've been criminally wasted for so long that there's virtually no chance of them ever escaping the undercard.

    SmackDown Live has more than enough tag teams to go around at the moment, so it's safe to say WWE releasing The Colons after WrestleMania 35 wouldn't be considered a major loss for the blue brand by any stretch.

Shelton Benjamin

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Shelton Benjamin earned a reputation during his first WWE run for being one of the most underrated athletes in the entire company.

    He enjoyed success during his various reigns as WWE Tag Team, Intercontinental, and United States champion, but he was never able to get beyond a certain level before being released in the spring of 2010.

    The South Carolina native spent time honing his craft in Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling before making his way back to WWE in the summer of 2016. He was set to return as a member of the SmackDown Live roster soon after it was announced that the Brand Extension had been reinstated, meaning Benjamin was intended to be pivotal in the rebuilding of the blue brand.

    Unfortunately, whatever plans officials had for him were scrapped when it was announced that he suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery and that his comeback had been delayed indefinitely.

    He finally resurfaced on SmackDown in August 2017 and immediately began teaming with Chad Gable, but it quickly became apparent that WWE Creative had nothing for the duo.

    As much chemistry as Benjamin and Gable had together, their alliance never amounted to anything before Gable was moved to Raw in the 2018 Superstar Shake-up.

    That would have been the perfect time to pull the trigger on a renewed singles push for Benjamin, but he has competed in only a handful of televised matches in the last year.

    Benjamin's most recent appearance on WWE TV came on the March 11 edition of Raw when he took on Seth Rollins in an impromptu match in a losing effort.

    It was never said that he had been officially moved from SmackDown to Raw, so he'll probably be back to sitting on the sidelines until it's time again for him to do the honors for someone else.

    With All Elite Wrestling sprouting up and independent wrestling on the whole booming at the moment, there's no reason for Benjamin to stick around in WWE any longer.

    It's possible the two sides can come to terms on his release after WrestleMania to allow him to actually be utilized to his full potential somewhere else.

       

    Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is an Endicott College alumnus and aspiring journalist. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.