Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.
Samoa Joe Wasn't Medically Cleared by WWE
Samoa Joe was one of several wrestlers released by WWE on Thursday, and it is possible that his medical situation played a role in the decision.
According to Fightful Select (h/t Felix Upton of Ringside News), Joe had recently expressed his desire to wrestle, but he was not medically cleared by WWE.
Joe has not wrestled a match in more than a year, as his last bout was an eight-man tag team match on the Feb. 10, 2020, edition of Raw that saw him, Kevin Owens and The Viking Raiders lose to Seth Rollins, Murphy and AOP.
Injuries have been the culprit for the 42-year-old's absence, as he suffered multiple concussions close together.
WWE has taken a highly cautious approach when it comes to concussions in recent years, although it has given wrestlers with a history of head injuries an avenue to return.
Daniel Bryan was forced into retirement for a couple of years because of concussions, but he returned at WrestleMania 34 and headlined WrestleMania 37 last weekend.
Also, Christian returned in the 2021 men's Royal Rumble match before deciding to sign a contract with All Elite Wrestling. Christian was also forced to retire several years ago because of head injuries.
While on the shelf, Joe served as part of the Raw announce team with Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton, but WWE made changes to its announce teams this week.
The Raw team became Adnan Virk, Corey Graves and Saxton, while the SmackDown team is now Michael Cole and Pat McAfee.
It is unclear if WWE offered Joe the opportunity to continue announcing, but even if it did, it is possible Joe wanted to wrestle instead.
If that is the case, the release may prove to be the best thing for Joe, as it will allow him to continue his in-ring career with another company.
Mickie James Wants to Continue Wrestling
Like Samoa Joe, Mickie James was released from her WWE contract Thursday.
According to Fightful Select (h/t Upton), James had been vocal backstage in WWE about her desire to continue wrestling.
The 41-year-old is already one of the most accomplished female wrestlers in WWE history and a surefire future Hall of Famer thanks to her five Women's Championship reigns and one Divas Championship reign, but she apparently isn't ready to hang up the boots for good.
It seemed as though WWE viewed her in a different light, as evidenced by the fact that she wrestled sparingly over the past couple of years.
Since the end of 2018, James wrestled in just nine matches on Raw, SmackDown or pay-per-view, with her last match being the women's Royal Rumble match in January.
WWE appeared to be trying to transition James into a new role, as she called pre-show matches prior to both nights of NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver last week and was also part of the pre-show panel.
It is uncertain if James wasn't interested in taking on that role full-time or if WWE simply decided to go in another direction.
Whatever the case, there is little doubt that essentially any wrestling company in the world could benefit from Mickie's presence. James can still go in the ring when called upon, plus she has a wealth of experience and knowledge that she can pass on to younger wrestlers.
One potentially great fit for James would be NWA, as her husband Nick Aldis is the reigning NWA Worlds Heavyweight champion.
Also, NWA has an impressive women's roster and a working relationship with AEW, which are all things that could appeal to James.
Released WWE Wrestlers Were Told They Were Safe
Some of those who were released by WWE on Thursday were reportedly told previously by company officials that they were safe.
According to Fightful Select (h/t Upton), word got out within WWE "a couple of months ago" that some talent cuts were expected, much like what happened last year after WrestleMania 36.
Some of those who were released Thursday reportedly asked if they would be cut, but they were reportedly told that they were safe, which ultimately wasn't the case.
The releases came as a surprise to most outside the company, especially the timing of them since they occurred one year to the day after many wrestlers, producers and employees were either furloughed or outright released by WWE.
Some of the names that got cut Thursday were shocking as well, including former IIconics teammates Billie Kay and Peyton Royce as well as Chelsea Green, Tucker, Kalisto, Mojo Rawley, Bo Dallas and Wesley Blake.
It is undoubtedly always a sad day when anyone loses their job in the wrestling business, but it could also mark a new beginning for the Superstars who were let go.
All of them are talented and none were being used to their potential in WWE because of the company's bloated roster, but now they will have the opportunity to go elsewhere and perhaps take on a greater role.
Listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot wrestling topics. Catch the latest episode in the player below (warning: some language NSFW).