WWE is trying their absolute best to keep all their stars under contract, especially with the FOX merger set to go down in the fall (and all the added money the deal gave the company). Some wrestlers aren’t all that enthusiastic, however, we’ll even feature a former WWE star who left the company despite a potential pay raise worth double.
Nowadays, life after WWE is a lot easier with so many opportunities not only in the wrestling business, but elsewhere too. In this article, we’ll provide an update on recently released WWE stars and give the fans the scoop on where they are at the moment. Some left the business entirely finding success elsewhere, while others continue on in the industry, wrestling with smaller promotions.
Enjoy the article, folks. Let’s get started!
20 Dasha Fuentes – Model & TV Host
Dasha Fuentes is a recent WWE release, one that caught lots of fans by surprise given her popularity.
Nonetheless, she hasn’t wasted much time since leaving the company – in fact, there are rumors that she might join AEW. Along with that, she has a slew of new modeling photos via her IG account.
19 Alberto Del Rio – Comate Americas MMA
We’ll have to put those WWE return rumors on the backburner, at least for the next couple of months. At this point, Del Rio’s biggest focus consists of entering the octagon, making a return to the world of MMA after a lengthy hiatus.
He is set to take on Tito Ortiz in a match for the promotion Comate Americas. Who knows, maybe they’ll have a sequel in a wrestling ring after that!
18 TJP – Impact Wrestling
His career got off to a promising start with WWE winning the first Cruiserweight Classic tournament. He wouldn’t recapture that success with 205 Live despite his obvious talent.
Perkins recently left WWE and it didn’t take long for the veteran to find work, joining Impact Wrestling. He also recently admitted that he enjoys the AEW product; perhaps he’ll make the jump at some point.
17 Darren Young – Podcast Host & Indie Circuit
Fan favorite Darren Young spent the majority of his final days with WWE as a brand ambassador. Since he left the company, Young continues on with lots of heartwarming charity work.
Among other things, he is also still in the ring wrestling with lower tier indie promotions. The former WWE star recently kicked off a new podcast – highlights of the show can be found via IG.
16 Damien Sandow – Return To Wrestling
He was oh-so-close to becoming a WWE Champion. Sandow was a fan favorite during his time with WWE, it just never worked out for the veteran.
Following his release, a stint with Impact hurt his credibility. It caused Sandow to hang up the boots for over two years. However, according to Ring Side News, he made his return to the ring just days ago in a winning effort for the promotion Battle Arts.
15 Arn Anderson – Podcast Co-Host
Arn Anderson leaving WWE was a big surprise given what a respected name the veteran is behind the scenes.
Since leaving the company, Arn joined Conrad Thompson as a podcast co-host. Arn also discussed having lots of interest in joining AEW behind the scenes. Given his experience, this would be a huge signing for All Elite Wrestling.
14 Hideo Itami – New Japan Pro Wrestling
Itami leaving WWE was long overdue. He was supposed to be an NXT Champion and perhaps a WWE Champion – though that never panned out.
He’s putting those tough days aside, recently joining New Japan Pro Wrestling. He entered the G1 Climax tournament. Itami picked up a huge win during his opening match defeating Kota Ibushi.
13 Rhyno – Impact Wrestling
Rhyno is just one of the many names that were eager to leave WWE, wanting a fresh new start. According to his interview with Chris Van Vilet, he turned down a contract offer worth double his recent salary.
He wasted no time recently appearing under a disguise for Impact at the Slammiversary event.
12 Adam Rose – Retired
On June 14th, 2019, Rose officially called it a career in the wrestling business. The 39-year-old got started way back in the ‘90s. His WWE career never really panned out – some might blame his gimmick for that.
He spent some time on the indie scene following his WWE departure. He’s now looking to move into something other than pro wrestling, turning the page on his former passion.
11 Austin Aries – MLW
We cannot deny the veteran’s talent. However, problems behind the scenes have led to the demise of Austin’s career time and time again. He left WWE because of it and the same would transpire with Impact.
He turned the page, this time joining MLW. The hope is that he elevates the brand while changing his attitude behind the scenes.
10 James Ellsworth – Indie Circuit
Ellsworth grew to popularity with WWE. Vince, however, just didn’t see him as a permanent act.
He still keeps on going in the business with lots of indie bookings despite the recent controversy that surrounded his name. Ellsworth recently teamed up with Gillberg, he also takes part in lots of inter-gender matches.
9 Eva Marie – Fitness Company & Clothing Brand
Eva Marie continues to live the busy life outside of WWE. She has quite the following via social media. She runs her own fitness company along with a clothing brand.
Despite the success, Eva hasn’t closed the door on a WWE return. According to Wrestling Inc, she’s impressed by Bayley, so much so that she’s willing to return to have a match against the champion.
8 Emma – Indie Circuit
Emma enjoyed a prime run with NXT, the same trajectory wouldn’t hold true on the main roster. Who can forget that failed Emmalina gimmick? Man, was that ever a debacle.
She joined ROH shortly after the release. Emma is now back after recovering from injury. She seems to be a free agent at the moment, one that can be a perfect fit for All Elite Wrestling.
7 Rosa Mendes – Totally Fit Mama Fitness Company
Rosa’s lengthy WWE run ended with retirement. Mendes shifted her focus on starting a family along with the development of a Fitness App.
We admire her stick-to-itiveness, the former WWE star is still all about the app which caters to moms trying to keep in shape.
6 Rich Swann – Impact Wrestling
Swann is another WWE star we saw huge potential in following the Cruiserweight Classic. He enjoyed brief success with 205 Live, however, an arrest would change everything for the veteran – it caused his release from the company.
He remains busy nowadays not only on the indie circuit but also under contract with Impact.
5 Simon Gotch – Indie Circuit
Given some of his backstage antics, Gotch was shown the door by WWE while partner Aiden English remains with the company.
Gotch re-identified himself on the indie circuit as Simon Grimm, an edgy and darker version of his gimmick with WWE. He’s into the hardcore type of matches given his recent work.
4 Wade Barrett – Actor
Barrett fell out of love with the wrestling business during his final days with WWE. The company desperately tried to hang on – Wade was having none of it needing to recharge.
He’s making a great living as an actor even taking part in some Netflix originals. Barrett also does lots of wrestling related appearances; he recently told a great Brock Lesnar story during his Bull Hammer tour.
3 Summer Rae – Model
She had the charisma and persona to thrive, heck fans even campaigned to make her the GM on RAW. Ultimately, Rae ran out of time and she was shown the door by WWE.
She hasn’t continued in the ring, instead Rae continues on in the world of modeling, sponsoring various companies. She also takes part in various wrestling conventions.
2 Ryback – Supplement Company
Ryback promised big things when he left WWE. That really hasn’t been the case, at least in terms of his pro wrestling involvement.
We applaud the Big Guy for his fitness company – though, from a wrestling standpoint, he continues on taking lower tier bookings with smaller companies.
1 Enzo Amore & Big Cass – “FreeAgentZ”
Enzo and Cass finally squashed their beef and it led to a return, although brief with ROH.
At this point, the duo’s future remains unknown – they’ve identified themselves as “FreeAgentz.” Where they’ll end up is anyone’s guess at this point – here’s to hoping these guys make it big again – love them or hate them, they’re entertaining.