“WWE has come to terms on the release of WWE Superstar ___________ as of today, (Insert current date). We wish ____________ the best in all future endeavors.”
It’s a tagline we see almost once every two months on WWE’s website, the unfortunate release of talent. This frequency was not the case last week, as we saw the release of Charlie Haas, Maria, Shane ?Hurricane? Helms, and Paul Burchill within the span of 3 days.
Such cost-cutting and roster-shortening measures are nothing new within WWE this time of the year, but it’s not often that research and painstaking number-crunching is utilized to look further into WWE’s roster to see such changes from a broader spectrum.
Being the statistic junkie that I am, I leaped headfirst at the prospect.
While WWE may look at Wrestlemania as the beginning of their calendar year of events, another event of theirs should be analyzed as the beginning of the ?roster year?. That event would be the WWE Draft. It is the only time of the WWE calendar year where we thoroughly scrutinize their entire roster and determine who is going where and why.
For this week’s ?Reality? I?ve decided to stare at the names and numbers, and become enamored at the sheer statistical goodness of it all. Clear your mind because after the explosion, the debris might cause your local authorities to declare it a disaster area. Since last year’s WWE Draft (4/3/09)?
16 WWE performers have been released or taken off the main talent roster
While this may seem like a large number at first, it pales in comparison to the period between the 2008 and 2009 WWE Draft where 28 performers were released. What sets these roster changes apart from one another are not just the numbers but the names themselves.
Between 2008 and 2009, the only talent that we could potentially put the moniker ?headliner? next to is Mick Foley. While it may sound cold and callous of me to say it, I don?t think WWE is missing Foley right now.
However, since the 2009 Draft, WWE has let go some established or ‘soon-to-be? established talent.
Jeff Hardy’s contractual negotiations were the talk of the internet last summer and WWE’s decision not to renew left many wondering what WWE knew, what Hardy’s professional ambitions were, and where the two would be afterwards. One week after his release and one search warrant later, Hardy is left staring at a calendar counting down the days until his eventual day in court facing charges of illegal distribution of drugs.
Umaga’s release seemed to have taken everyone by surprise until rumors began surfacing of his usage of illegal drugs as well. Unconfirmed reports of Eddie Fatu’s refusal to enter a rehabilitation program began to surface soon after his release as well. Denials and accusations aside, his unfortunate and untimely passing made many wonder that WWE may have known of something much greater than just Fatu’s choices in recreation.
Ken ?Mr. Kennedy? Anderson was a breakout superstar on WWE’s roster with his obnoxious antics on an old-style microphone and cocky attitude. But after countless injuries and his sloppy in-ring work causing them as well, his release seemed not as much of a surprise in the ?why? category and more in the ?when?. After Hardy and Umaga’s departures, WWE was looking for talent to assume their spots on the hierarchy and Anderson was one of them.
21 WWE performers have been added to the main roster
While the previous statistic does not seem too daunting, this one does the opposite considering the current state of WWE. Between the 2008 and 2009 Draft, 20 new performers were added to the main roster. Keep in mind, this was when ECW was still a brand clutching onto the cliffs of being defunct.
Exit ECW. Enter NXT and eight brand new talents.
Jack Swagger, R-Truth, Evan Bourne, Ezekiel Jackson: All four of these performers have apparently cemented their spot in the main roster for the time being. Consummate mid-card talent can be seen in Swagger and R-Truth. Evan Bourne is brought in to wow the crowd with his gravity-defying ?one move?. Jackson is a work-in-progress that was elevated through his program with then-ECW Champion Christian.
Speaking of Christian, he was one of three main roster additions that had previously worked for WWE. Goldust and Tony Atlas were the other two. While Tony Atlas is far from active inside the ring, he is listed as a ‘superstar? on WWE’s website just as Justin Roberts, Todd Grisham, and any other announcer/commentator is.
What do these seven performers have in common? They were all added to the WWE roster between the 2008 and 2009 Drafts.
These same anomalies regarding up-and-coming mid-card and previously-seen talent can be seen from the 2009 Draft to the present.
Sheamus, Yoshi Tatsu, and Drew McIntyre have firmly planted their feet into the ground. Many would even argue that these three don?t have any hurdles to jump over at all? with Sheamus looking at a potential marquee Wrestlemania match, McIntyre and Tatsu looking at possible appearances in the ?Money in the Bank? ladder match.
I hear so many of you chanting the bizarre name of Daniel Bryan or Brian Danielson. The reason I have not added him on the short list of cemented roster members is simple? it’s only been one week! I?m not questioning his talent, work ethic, or his charisma in the ring. It’s not a matter of talent; it’s a matter of time. The same can be said for Wade Barrett, David Otunga, and the many other new performers that NXT has brought us.
Did anyone imagine Chris Masters returning to WWE? It caught me by surprise, especially when he debuted on Raw and not ECW or Smackdown. Something must be seen in him now that had been previously ignored or was overlooked in the past. Yes, there are his previous suspensions from failing WWE’s wellness policy; but he seems to have done everything that the company has asked of him and made a successful return.
Eric Escobar is the only performer to debut and exit WWE within the year
While you can sit and poke fun at this statistic, it is not rare by any stretch of the imagination. Many performers have debuted in WWE and been released within the same calendar year.
Examples? Do Ryan Braddock, Kizarny, Scotty Goldman, and Braden Walker ring any bells? Brad Bradley, Sinn Bodhi, Colt Cabana, and Chris Harris all debuted in WWE between the 2008 and 2009 Drafts and eventually were released within the same period of time.
I don?t think I really need to linger on these facts and statistics? there are some headaches that I prefer not to have? but here is one statistic that will definitely give you a headache and a half!
Of the 16 performers released, 5 of them took part in the 2009 Draft (both televised and supplemental)
In last year’s WWE Draft, a total of 36 superstars switched brands both on Raw and through the online-only supplemental draft.
Of those 36, 5 (Candice Michelle, Charlie Haas, Shane ?Hurricane? Helms, Ken ?Mr. Kennedy? Anderson, and Ricky Ortiz) were released.
Five out of the sixteen talents released took part in the WWE Draft.
Big deal, right? Oh yeah? Chomp on this morsel of statistical goodness?
In the 2008 WWE Draft, a total of 28 superstars switched brands (covered on television and through the supplemental draft).
Of those 28, 3 (Big Daddy V, Chuck Palumbo, and Super Crazy) were released.
Three out of the twenty-eight talents released took part in the WWE Draft.
What seemed to have been a foregone conclusion has now been tilted on its axis. In the past, we were lead to believe that if you took part in the WWE Draft, your employment for the year was essentially guaranteed. That is not the case now.
While everyone and their immediate families have been predicting the card for Wrestlemania 26, I give to you an even greater challenge?
What will happen in this year’s WWE Draft?
Will we see just as many performers switching brands?
Will titles flip-flop like they did last year (Rey Mysterio’s Intercontinental Title to Smackdown, MVP’s United States Title to Raw)?
Looking at WWE’s current roster, who will stay and who will go?
The challenge has been laid out. I encourage you to send all of your predictions to me for further scrutinizing and potential topics for debate in the future.
I just hope your brain hasn?t been ?future endeavored??
*Shameless Plug Alert*
Keep staring at the Wrestleview Homepage. The debut of ?Reality from Ringside Radio? or ?3R? is looming on the horizon. The premiere is tentatively scheduled from the week before Wrestlemania 26. More information regarding how YOU could be a part of it coming in the weeks to follow.
Until next time, mouth-breathers!
Annoy me with your assumptions and affronts… adore me with your adulations and acknowledgements: firstname.lastname@example.org.