WWE Roster Cuts: Matt Riddle, Dolph Ziggler Among More than 20 Superstars Released After New TV Deal Announced
The WWE roster has been hit with a wave of releases following the company’s announcement of a TV deal for SmackDown in the wake of a major merger. Among the superstars released are Matt Riddle, Dolph Ziggler, Shelton Benjamin, and Mustafa Ali.
Matt Riddle’s Release
One of the notable releases is Matt Riddle, a former UFC fighter who found success in WWE. Riddle’s tenure with the company began in NXT, where he quickly rose to stardom and was eventually promoted to the main roster. He achieved his greatest success as part of the tag team RK-Bro, alongside Randy Orton, winning the Raw tag team championship twice. Riddle also held the United States title and the NXT tag team championship.
However, Riddle’s release comes as no surprise given his history of behavioral issues. Most recently, he was involved in a public outburst at a New York airport, which likely contributed to the decision to release him. While Riddle had a promising career in WWE, these recurring incidents made him a liability for the company.
Dolph Ziggler and Other Releases
Another notable release is Dolph Ziggler, a former two-time world heavyweight champion and Money in the Bank winner. Ziggler had been with the company for nearly 20 years, making him one of the longest-tenured superstars. His release comes as a surprise to many, given his long-standing relationship with WWE and his success in the ring.
Other released superstars include Shelton Benjamin, Elias, Emma, Madcap Moss, Aliyah, and more. Each of these individuals has made their mark on the WWE roster, contributing to the company’s success in various ways. Their departures leave a void in the roster and raise questions about the future direction of WWE.
The Impact of the TV Deal and Merger
The release of these superstars is directly tied to the recent TV deal announcement for SmackDown. WWE announced that SmackDown would be moving from Fox to USA Network beginning October 2024 as part of a five-year deal with NBCUniversal. In addition, WWE will host four primetime network specials on NBC as part of this arrangement.
The latest string of releases also comes after the launch of TKO, a media conglomerate created by Endeavor, which merged WWE and UFC parent company Zuffa. Although WWE and UFC continue to operate as separate entities, they now fall under the TKO banner. The launch of TKO earlier this month with a valuation of $21.4 billion marked a significant shift in the landscape of sports entertainment.
The Future of Wrestling and Analysis
These roster cuts raise important questions about the future of wrestling and the direction WWE is taking. With the launch of TKO and the merger of WWE and UFC, the industry is undergoing significant changes. The release of established superstars like Riddle and Ziggler indicates a shift in WWE‘s approach to talent management and its focus on creating new stars.
Some may argue that these releases are necessary for the growth and evolution of the industry. The influx of new talent and fresh faces can bring new storylines and rivalries, revitalizing the product and attracting new audiences. However, others may view these roster cuts as a disservice to the fans who have invested in these superstars and their respective journeys within WWE.
It is important for WWE to strike a balance between nurturing new talent and valuing the contributions of established superstars. While these releases may be viewed as a necessary part of the business, the manner in which they are handled can impact fan sentiment and loyalty towards the company.
Editorial and Advice
The release of these WWE superstars serves as a reminder that the wrestling industry is ever-changing and unpredictable. Fans must come to terms with the fact that their favorite superstars may not remain with the company indefinitely. However, it is crucial for the company to communicate these decisions effectively, maintaining transparency and empathy towards both the released superstars and the fans.
As WWE moves forward, it is essential for the company to focus on nurturing and promoting new talent while also honoring the legacies of those who helped build its success. Embracing innovation and adapting to the evolving landscape of sports entertainment will be key to staying relevant and connecting with fans in the years to come.
<< photo by Larry Costales >>
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