Samoa Joe, Peyton Royce, Billie Kay, Mickie James, Tucker, Kalisto, Chelsea Green, Wesley Blake and Bo Dallas have all been released by WWE.
WWE wrote: "WWE has come to terms on the release of Samoa Joe, Billie Kay, Peyton Royce, Mickie James, Chelsea Green, Tucker, Kalisto, Bo Dallas and Wesley Blake as of today April 15, 2021. We wish them the best in all of their future endeavors."
According to Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp, John Laurinaitis has cited budget cuts as the reason for the releases.
The releases come exactly one year after WWE released a whole host of Superstars, backstage producers and Performance Center coaches during what became known as Black Wednesday.
Samoa Joe, often cited as one of the best professional wrestlers in the world, signed with WWE in 2015 after spending his career with Ring Of Honor and TNA. He initially joined the NXT brand and enjoyed two reigns as NXT Champion before heading to the main roster in January 2017. The Samoan Submission Machine was in and out of the world title picture for much of his main roster run and was a two-time United States Champion. He suffered back to back concussions in early 2020, however, and spent much of the last year as a colour commentator on Monday Night Raw. He was removed from that role earlier this week, though, and has now been released by WWE.
Peyton Royce and Billie Kay both signed for WWE in 2015 and formed The IIconics shortly after their NXT debuts in 2016. The pair were a tag team across the black and gold brand and the main roster and they were the second-ever WWE Women's Tag Team Champions. They were split up in September 2020 amidst reports that Vince McMahon saw Royce as a future singles star, but both somewhat floundered following their break-up. Royce was quickly placed in another tag team with Lacey Evans, but that team came to an end following Evans' pregnancy announcement. Royce has only competed on Raw once since then in a loss to Asuka on March 22. Billie Kay meanwhile adopted a resume gimmick following The IIconics' break-up and she recently teamed with Carmella at WrestleMania 37 in the Tag Team Turmoil match.
A likely future Hall Of Famer, Mickie James returned to WWE in 2016 and faced the then-undefeated Asuka for the NXT Women's Championship at NXT TakeOver: Toronto. The Empress Of Tomorrow ultimately came out on top and James headed to the main roster in early 2017. She was rarely positioned near the top of the women's division, though, and spent much of her time in an alliance with Alexa Bliss. That friendship came to an end after James tore her ACL in June 2019 and she only wrestled a handful of times in WWE following her return in August 2020.
Tucker signed with WWE back in 2013 and formed Heavy Machinery with Otis in 2016. Tucker and Otis were a popular tag team across both NXT and the main roster, but Tucker turned heel and cost Otis the Money In The Bank contract at Hell In A Cell 2020, breaking up the team in the process. Following this, Tucker only wrestled four more times on WWE TV before his release.
A former two-time United States Champion, Kalisto joined WWE in 2013 and gathered steam on NXT after forming The Lucha Dragons with Sin Cara. They had one reign as NXT Tag Team Champions before heading to the main roster in 2015. Over the next six years, the luchador spent time as a singles Superstar and in a faction with Lucha House Party, becoming United States Champion and Cruiserweight Champion along the way. He hasn't appeared regularly on WWE TV since Lucha House Party was split up in September 2020 and he last competed on WWE TV on the WrestleMania edition of SmackDown on April 9, 2021.
After spending time on the indies and in IMPACT Wrestling, Chelsea Green signed with WWE in 2018. She wasn't given a sustained run on NXT TV until early 2020, though, where she became the first member of the Robert Stone Brand. Green impressed in a tag team match alongside Charlotte Flair against Io Shirai and Rhea Ripley and she was moved to the main roster soon after. She didn't debut on SmackDown until November 2020, however, in a Fatal 4-Way Survivor Series qualifying match. She was scheduled to win the match, but broke her wrist and didn't appear on WWE TV again despite being cleared. Green's release also comes shortly after she signed a three-year contract extension with the company.
Wesley Blake joined WWE in 2013 and spent much of his run with the company in NXT. He first teamed with Buddy Murphy from 2014 until 2016, where they had one reign as NXT Tag Team Champions. Blake then formed The Forgotten Sons with Steve Cutler and the group added a third member in Jaxson Ryker in 2018. They moved to SmackDown after WrestleMania 36 but were pulled from WWE TV a couple of months later after Ryker published pro-Donald Trump tweets during the George Floyd protests. Cutler and Blake then returned to SmackDown in December 2020 as King Corbin's Knights Of The Lone Wolf, but they were pulled from TV again after Cutler tested positive for COVID-19. Cutler was released a few weeks later after incurring the wrath of Vince McMahon.
After signing with WWE in 2008, Bo Dallas spent the first six years of his career in developmental, first in FCW and then in NXT where he was the third NXT Champion. He dropped the belt to Adrian Neville in early 2014 and moved himself and his Bolieve gimmick to the main roster. He spent much of the next seven years as an enhancement talent as a singles Superstar and in various groups like The B-Team, The Social Outcasts and The Miztourage. He continued to team with Curtis Axel until he asked for time off in November 2019 and didn't step inside a WWE ring again.