Predicting the Next Landing Spots for WWE's Latest Round of Cuts
For the second time in as many months, roster cuts have shaken WWE, with the latest round including a former universal champion among the talented performers leaving the company.
Following last week's departures, the question becomes: What's next for those who find themselves without employment?
As it turns out, the wealth of companies beyond Vince McMahon's sports-entertainment empire offer numerous opportunities for them to excel and succeed.
There is a very real argument to be made that Murphy was a candidate for Best Wrestler in the World recognition not so long ago.
His work with wrestlers of different styles and backgrounds—Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan, Mustafa Ali or Seth Rollins—supports the idea that he belonged alongside the likes of Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada when discussing the best in the world.
It is perhaps no surprise then that Murphy's most suitable landing spot is in Japan, where he could compete against a whole new crop of performers and build his name beyond the squared circles of the United States.
Both All Elite Wrestling and Impact are packed with talent that would make it nearly impossible for the Australian to advance beyond the point he was at in WWE, where he struggled for consistent screen time and an uninterrupted push.
With Will Ospreay injured, there is a genuine chance for Murphy to establish himself a threat to the top titles on New Japan Pro-Wrestling immediately.
Best Landing Spot: New Japan Pro-Wrestling
Santana Garrett is one of many NXT stars who put in time in the Performance Center but could never get consistent screen time. No one really knows if she could have succeeded in WWE because she rarely had the chance to perform on that stage.
One thing is for certain, though: She has plenty of ring time with indie promotions under her belt, including the Jeanie Buss-revived WOW: Women of Wrestling and Japan's Stardom. She's no novice and would serve to strengthen Impact's Knockouts division.
AEW is another potential landing spot for the second-generation performer but that roster is brimming with talent that also cannot get screen time, so it may be like a long shot for her to go there.
Best Landing Spot: Impact Wrestling
Lana always felt like someone who was destined to be a WWE lifer.
Would Vince McMahon fall in and out of love with her character? Sure, but she felt like someone who would stick around and be a part of the WWE family forever, even though her husband has found success in another promotion.
Of course, that clearly wasn't to be.
Now Lana finds herself without any immediate wrestling prospects, and that may not be a bad thing. As hard as she worked and as much as she loved performing, she now has the opportunity to reevaluate what she wants to do. She has connections in Hollywood predating her WWE career which could take her into acting.
Her husband, Miro, is the TNT champion in All Elite Wrestling and could be influential in getting her to that company, if wrestling what she still wants to do.
It's for that reason that Lana is most likely to sign with AEW as an in-ring performer or as the manager for the unstoppable force her real-life partner has become.
Best Landing Place: AEW
If there's one thing for sure, it is the universal love for Ruby Riott that exists within the WWE locker room. Everyone from former tag team partner Liv Morgan to Kevin Owens has expressed their adulation for the performer.
That bodes well for her potential addition to any roster.
Riott is a premier talent whose abilities were never fully capitalized on by WWE. For whatever reason, it had no idea what to do with her or The Riott Squad, despite her consistently strong performances and a strong showing against Rhonda Rousey during the former Raw women's champion's run with the company.
Riott now has the opportunity to go somewhere that will recognize how good she is and allow her to show it on a consistent basis. AEW may have a packed women's division, but Riott is a star worth signing and pushing immediately.
She could freshen things up, creating new matches and rivalries as AEW continues to evolve and build its women's division.
Best of all, though, such a move would give her a national platform to display her talent. After being the tackling dummy for performers who aren't as good as she is, it is an opportunity she has earned.
Best Landing Spot: AEW
WWE officials never knew what to do with Aleister Black.
While Triple H and NXT fitted him with a great presentation and then let him be the wrestler he is when the bell rings, those running the main roster never fully understood what made him special.
They turned him heel, then babyface and back again. They made him the sidekick to Rey Mysterio during last year's awful storyline with Seth Rollins and then feud with Kevin Owens in a losing program.
Such little communication existed in regards to the character that the creative team wrote his return to TV, executed it and even ignited a feud between him and Big E before the Dutchman was fired.
If any Superstar released last week has the strongest argument for being frustrated creatively, it's Black, who was as over as anyone when he left NXT for the supposedly greener pastures of the main roster.
Someone as talented as he is, with a mind for business and creativity as he has, is really only left with one option: AEW.
Presumably under his Tommy End persona, he needs to showcase every single element of his character and performance that WWE failed to realize. He needs the global platform that AEW provides so he can prove his worth on a stage of that size.
He would find success in New Japan or Impact, or any indie promotion that he wants to call home, but whatever he accomplished in those areas would pale in comparison to what he could do against the likes of Kenny Omega, Jon Moxley and the rest of the top AEW stars.
Best Landing Spot: AEW
The biggest surprise on the list of cuts made by WWE last week was Braun Strowman.
Here is a guy who had been pushed to the top of the roster for the better part of four years, had feuded with everyone from John Cena to Roman Reigns and was a consistent main event big man.
He also just competed against Shane McMahon in a high-profile WrestleMania 37 match on April 10 and was then part of a Triple Threat main event five weeks later. WWE effectively built him up to hand him over to any potential new suitor that wants The Monster Among Men.
Common sense would say Tony Khan opens up the checkbook to bring someone like Strowman into the AEW fold, but history tells us that promotion doesn't necessarily know what to do with big men. Brian Cage and Lance Archer have been signed and were then left to wallow in creative mediocrity with no sign of a consistent push anywhere.
Strowman would find success immediately in Impact, a company that doesn't have many who look like him. Sure, there's Madman Fulton and Moose, but with the latter potentially leaving, it would open up a spot on the roster for The Strowman Express to run wild.
Best of all, he would bring more eyes to some of the best, under-the-radar shows in the entire industry.
Best Landing Spot: Impact Wrestling