Back on April 15, WWE released 34 Superstars including Cain Velasquez, Rusev, Zack Ryder, Curt Hawkins, and EC3. Nine producers were also furloughed while longtime referee Mike Chioda was let go. The releases came after the wrestling behemoth announced they would be making cutbacks because of the coronavirus pandemic, despite estimates showing they were still on course to make record profits.
Another Superstar who was released was Heath Slater. Similar to other wrestlers that were let go, The One Man Band has retained a positive outlook as he told Lillian Garcia on the Chasing Glory podcast that he was burned out in WWE and being released has helped him get his hunger and fire back.
Slater said: "Yeah, I lost my job, all that stuff, but I was burnt out, man. Like burnt the hell out. Fact. I knew it, family knew it, my co-workers knew it. I was just burnt out and it's like 14 years, four years developmental, 10 years on the road, to where it's like you can be promised, you can be told, you can even have it in your hand and ready, and it just changes at the drop of a dime. And then it's one of those things, it's like putting everyone over for 10 years, it can take a toll on somebody, confidence and your drive, your fire, all of that. And it's like, 'My goodness, I do everything you ask and I can't get a bone,' and that type of thing. I went through those a lot, a lot, and I wish I had took more control, walking in there saying, 'Why is this happening?' 'Why are we doing this?' 'Why can’t we do it this way? I have 15 other great reasons why we can do it this way.' It takes a toll on you a little bit."
He later added: "Getting fired, I really believe I needed this. The times are crazy, the times are weird now because you can't go out and make money and all that stuff, but I really believe I needed this to get the fire, get the hunger, focus. I can honestly tell you out of the last four or five years, besides me and Terry (Rhyno) winning the tag titles, which was an awesome little run, I have been so burnt out and just not even really caring to where this happened. To where I have to say thank you for lighting that fire for me again."
The former SmackDown Tag Team Champion also explained one of the reasons he was burnt out was because of his frustrations with WWE creative and that it led to a crisis of confidence.
The One Man Band said: "I heard no too many times to where I literally said, 'You know what? S**t. I ain't gonna pitch no more sh*t,' because when I do it goes nowhere. Or if I do pitch something good, they give it to someone else to where I'm just sitting there like, 'Hello! Come on now.' It's just one of those things where like when you get tired of hearing no, no, no, no, no. Not for you, not for you, not for you, not for you. You can't do that, no, no, no. You kinda start believing, You know? You kinda start damn believing it."