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Yet Another WWE Star Has Reportedly Been Released, But It's Apparently Not A Budget Cut This Time

Toni Storm on SmackDown
(Image credit: WWE )

The WWE released a ton of talent in 2021; so it’s little surprise the final days of the year featured yet another departure from the company. Toni Storm is reportedly the latest to leave WWE, though by what’s been reported so far, it had nothing to do with budget constraints

News of Toni Storm’s release was first reported by Fightful, which indicated the reason for the release was not tied to budget cuts. More rumors about the release came via Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer (via Cageside Seats), which cited that Storm asked for the release. Meltzer talked to his sources within the WWE and reportedly got the reason for Storm’s departure.

As far as her reasons and why she left, the only thing I heard was, you know, burnout, essentially.

Reports indicate that Toni Storm did not physically ask to leave the WWE, but that she indicated she quit following a live event in Washington D.C. in which she faced Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks. No further details are given beyond that, but it’s possible more information may surface in the coming days. 

Toni Storm’s exit reportedly came as a shock to the WWE, and on the heels of a much-criticized feud with SmackDown women’s champion, Charlotte Flair. Fans felt Storm’s recent feud with Flair for the championship title was poorly booked and never actually established Storm as a legitimate threat to Flair’s championship status. Flair officially defeated Storm in dominant fashion to retain the title on the Christmas Eve episode of SmackDown.

Toni Storm first joined the WWE back in 2017 as a participant in the Mae Young Classic and would later win the event in 2018. After a title reign as women’s champion in NXT UK and sporadic appearances in the flagship NXT, Storm debuted as a main roster SmackDown wrestler in July of 2021. Her departure marks another blow to the WWE and the loss of an up-and-coming talent who could’ve helped the company in 2022 and beyond.

It’s unclear if Toni Storm’s burnout means she’s done with wrestling for now, or she could appear elsewhere in the future. Current speculation is that if the WWE granted Storm her release, there’s probably some non-compete clause she had to agree to in order for it to happen. Many non-compete clauses in the WWE last around 90 days, after which the wrestler is free to join other companies. Provided that’s true, and Storm is bound by those rules, it’s possible fans could see her in AEW or other rivals to WWE come spring. Of course, there’s so much reported on the situation at this point, and it’s impossible to know anything with certainty, so we can only wait for more information.

The WWE is headed into 2022 after an eventful 2021 which saw the company make some radical changes. 2022 could be just as eventful as the company looks to compete with growing competition from AEW and tries to keep its title as the biggest wrestling company in the business.

Mick Joest

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.