Just days after WrestleMania 37, the WWE has surprisingly trimmed a lot of talent from its current roster. Unlike past drops, however, the brand has released some pretty big names that are popular with fans, including Samoa Joe and the IIconics members Billie Kay and Peyton Royce. Those three major players are just the tip of the iceberg, as a lot of other fan favorites have been dropped from the brand and are free to pursue future endeavors.
Beyond the aforementioned Samoa Joe, Billie Kay and Peyton Royce, the WWE has added that Mickie James, Bo Dallas (the brother of Bray Wyatt), Kalisto, Chelsea Green, Wesley Blake, and Tucker. All parties reached terms for their release, and while details of the deals are unclear, it's assumed they will be free to pursue careers in AEW or other competing wrestling organizations.
Without question, the biggest release from the group is Samoa Joe. Joe (real name: Nuufolau Joel Seanoa) had a promising start in the WWE as a longtime big name in the wrestling industry but has been sidelined over the past two years thanks to a string of long-term injuries. Samoa Joe had found a home on the commentary team during that time, and it was assumed he'd ultimately find his way back into the main roster when he was ready.
The same surprise is certainly also valid for Billie Kay, who actually competed on the main card of WrestleMania 37. Kay and Peyton Royce made a big splash in WWE as the tag-team duo IIconics, but after a title run, the two were split up. Kay managed to get television time with her recurring gimmick of handing a resume to other wrestlers hoping to find herself a new wrestling stable to be a part of, but never had any luck.
As for the rest of the names mentioned, there's definitely less surprise. Each of those names either hasn't been seen on television in some time, have been injured, or just haven't done much since their debut on the WWE roster. This is the first mass release of WWE talent since last April when major stars Kurt Angle (who is now on Cameo) and Rusev were dropped from the roster.
Talent release days are always solemn days for the bulk of the WWE roster, perhaps because those who remain part of the company are as sad for their colleagues as they are happy to have not been fired themselves. The wrestlers are generally unaware of who will or won't be leaving, beyond the biggest of names, which can often lead to some emotional reactions once the smoke clears. So far, things are relatively quiet, though I'm sure the coming days will feature some of these former WWE superstars announcing their next moves in the world of wrestling. AEW's phones might already be ringing off the hook.
WWE's Monday Night Raw airs on USA on Mondays at 8:00 p.m., while Friday Night Smackdown airs on Fox on Fridays at 8:00 p.m. ET. There are sure to be some waves throughout WWE after these releases, as well as some additional changes as new alliances are formed after WrestleMania 37.