WWE announced Wednesday that the company has parted ways with a host of on-screen personnel. WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle, former United States champion Rusev, former Tag-Team Champions Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, were some of the high profile names released by the company.
Along with the like of the aforementioned, Drake Maverick, Zack Ryder, Curt Hawkins, Heath Slater, Eric Young, Rowan, Sarah Logan, No Way Jose, Mike Kanellis, Maria Kanellis, Ethan Carter III (EC3), Aiden English, Lio Rush, Primo and Epico, all featured on the latest WWE release list. Along with the wrestlers, longtime referee Mike Chioda has also been released by the company.
News broke out early on Wednesday which stated a host of WWE superstars could be fired as the company was looking to cut costs amid the coronavirus pandemic. Along with superstars released, the company has also furloughed several members of the backstage staff, which the company reportedly states is temporary. The personnel who have been furloughed are Billy Kidman, Mike Rotunda, Pat Buck, Fit Finlay, Shawn Daivari, Scott Armstrong, Sarah Stock, Shane Helms and Lance Storm, according to reports.
There are additional WWE PC/NXT names, coaches included, who have been cut or furloughed— Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com (@SeanRossSapp) April 16, 2020
The company reportedly wanted to cut its expenses, especially after it was forced to take a massive financial hit due to the coronavirus outbreak. Despite the weekly tapings running, the shows are being hosted in an empty arena, which cuts into their revenue. This coupled with the fact that the company cancelled several events around the WrestleMania 36 week and will cancel other fan-related events in the near future.
However, WWE Hall of Famer, Kurt Angle, featuring in the WWE release list has shocked many of fans. The Olympic gold medalist returned to the company in 2017 and wrestled his last match at WrestleMania 35. Since his WrestleMania loss, Angle was reportedly working as a producer for WWE. The 51-year-old addressed the news on his social media handle where he thanked the company and the people he got the opportunity to work with.
I wanted 2 say thank you to the WWE for the time I spent there.I made many new friends and had the opportunity to work with so many talented people. To the Superstars, continue to entertain the WWE Universe as well as you possibly can. They’re the best fans in the world. #itstrue— Kurt Angle (@RealKurtAngle) April 15, 2020
Rusev, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows are the other high-profile names to be released by WWE. Rusev's contract status with the company had been speculated for weeks after he had been kept off television since February. Earlier, it was reported that the former US champion demanded his release as he was not satisfied with his role in the current roster.
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson's release comes as the biggest surprise as the duo was heavily involved at WrestleMania 36. Members of OC alongside AJ Styles, Gallows and Anderson were key for the success of the Boneyard match between Styles and The Undertaker.