Wade Barrett And Damien Sandow Among Several WWE Releases

How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here with the Armbar Express. Big news coming from the WWE on Friday as eight releases were announced with the departures of Wade Barrett and Damien Sandow being the biggest ones of the lot.

With that said, there were a number of surprise releases among the group of superstars. The full list of wrestlers released were….

  • Wade Barrett
  • Damien Sandow
  • El Torito
  • Hornswoggle
  • Alex Riley
  • Cameron
  • Santino Marrella
  • Zeb Colter

What we’ll do with this post is run down everyone that was released and I will give my thoughts in the latest mass exodus of WWE talent.

 

Wade Barrett

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Barrett’s departure has been well-known for a while. He’s discussed it in the past and it appeared that he was done following his excommunication from the League of Nations. Throughout the years, for the Armbar Express, NoDQ.com, SLTD Wrestling and even WhatCulture, I’ve talked about Wade Barrett passionately. This man had everything that the WWE could want in a top heel and they really dropped the ball on him. Now granted, there were a number of times where Barrett was picking up momentum but unfortunately picked up injuries that stopped him. However, there’s also been a fair share of disregard for Barrett by the WWE writers in the past few years.

He’s been a King of the Ring winner and a multi-time Intercontinental Champion, but it still feels like Barrett was never able to accomplish any of significant value since he debuted on RAW as a part of Nexus. That angle could have made Barrett a star but whether it was down to “backstage politicking” or lack of confidence in the Nexus as a whole, Barrett was never really given a great main-event run. Despite this, Barrett’s had some great periods of getting over to a high level. As Bad News Barrett in 2014, Barrett was one of the most over acts in the entire company. It’s sad to see him go but the pressure is now on for Neville to waive the flag for England in the WWE.

 

Damien Sandow

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The fact that WWE had nothing creatively for Damien Sandow to do in the last 12 months just goes to show how badly WWE screwed up the booking of this man. The fact that Damien Sandow has now been released after holding the Money In The Bank contract and being one of the most over acts of 2014 and 2015 is just an unfortunate fall from grace for the man that has received endorsements from legends such as Mick Foley.

For a company that claims to embody “sports entertainment,” it’s astonishing that they wouldn’t push Damien Sandow to the level that he could get to. After all, Damien Sandow has been entertaining with every gimmick he’s been given. Whether it’s just being the intellectual saviour of the masses or just parodying other superstars, Damien took the ball and ran as hard as he could with it. He’s like Eric Young in the sense that he could make any gimmick work. It boggles my mind how WWE never gave him a legitimate run as a main-eventer considering how over Damien got.

 

El Torito

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El Torito was a surprise release. I actually liked El Torito and he actually had a lot of value as a little fella that children could get invested in. Not only that but he could actually work in the ring as a luchador. As a suitable replacement for Hornswoggle as the top… little man in the company, El Torito was the right man. I know that his character didn’t get over to a tremendous degree but he was good enough to be a great little lower mid-card character that could keep the crowds happy. I guess the WWE didn’t really have a lot of future plans for him but you could tell that anyway as soon as he broke up with Los Matadores in an angle which went… nowhere.

Torito, much like a lot of these guys, just didn’t seem to have a place in the company anymore. Especially with Los Matadores being repackaged back to Primo and Epico, there was not much else for Torito to do.

 

Hornswoggle

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Hornswoggle had already been on the company’s bad books ever since his suspension last year. Taking his inactivity afterwards into account, this was the least surprising release for me. After ten years of goofy angles, which include being Vince McMahon’s illegitimate son and being the anonymous general manager of RAW, what else could Hornswoggle offer in terms of storylines? He did pretty much all he could with WWE and now’s the time for him to move on. You gave us some of the most unique and bizarre wrestling angles of all time and even reigned as the final Cruiserweight champion but this is the end of the road unfortunately.

NOTE: It’s actually already been confirmed that Hornswoggle is starting up with Global Force Wrestling as… Swoggle.

 

Alex Riley

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Again, this was an inevitability. Alex Riley had been in NXT for years in hopes of revitalising his wrestling career. He feuded with Kevin Owens and then really just floated around in the NXT roster after that. Riley had also been very outspoken on Twitter about how WWE was using him on the main roster and on NXT.  Really, there was little chance of anything major happening for Riley in the near future.

There was a time where it really felt that WWE were going to get behind him after he broke up with The Miz in 2011. He got some big pops as he feuded with him and even BEAT him at Capitol Punishment 2011. Considering that he beat Miz, right after he dropped the WWE title to John Cena, that shows you just how much stock they had in him. He had segments with Cena and Steve Austin and it looked for all the world like they were really going to push him to be the next top babyface. He had the charisma for it anyway.

However, for whatever reason, Riley’s push was dropped and he was really never able to recover again. The big reason about why Riley’s push was ended was reportedly due to a confrontation he had with John Cena backstage. It was probably in Riley’s best interests to not get on the bad side of these top guys in the company, but it was a shame that his full potential was never realised before he parted ways with WWE.

 

Santino Marella

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Santino had been retired as an in-ring competitor for a number of years. Santino’s gave us many years of laughs and entertainment but it was very difficult for Santino to make a significant contribution to the company strictly as an ambassador and in a non-wrestling position. With several big legends on the pay-roll in the same role as Santino, there was little need for him anymore.

You’ll be missed Santino!

 

Cameron

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As strange as this may sound, Cameron was the most shocking release of all. The reason I say this is because I truly believed that Cameron was making a serious effort to contribute more to the company. Whether it was going back to NXT to develop her wrestling skills or taking part in outside projects, I think Cameron was trying really hard to make the WWE realise that she wanted a place in her company and that she could deliver. Despite all of this, with the sudden increased demand of women’s wrestling, Cameron was going to have a difficult time attempting to live up to that standard set by the likes of Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Paige and Bayley.

Cameron did have a number of off-screen incidents while in WWE, including her infamous DUI where she reportedly tried to bribe a policeman and didn’t tell WWE about it. She also had the incident on RAW where she tried to pin Naomi on her stomach. Despite her recent efforts, I guess it’s time for Cameron to say girl bye.

 

Zeb Colter

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Colter was sailing in the same boat as nearly everyone else that was released, in the sense that there was not a lot for him to do within the company anymore. He came in as the effective manager for Jack Swagger and delivered tremendously on the mic. The issue with Zeb was that he was one gimmick hit. He was really only able to deliver well with the Real American gimmick and whenever he was with Jack Swagger. When they tried to put him with Alberto Del Rio, it was a momentous disaster to the point where Del Rio has never really been able to recover.

 

What do you think of these releases? Who are you going to miss the most? Is there anyway that you’re glad to see leave? Tweet us your response @ArmbarExpress or leave a comment below.

The Woeful Booking Of Wade Barrett

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On June 7th 2010, Wade Barrett debuted on RAW as the leader of the Nexus. Going into his debut, he had won the first season of NXT with Chris Jericho as his mentor. When that first season of NXT first started, Chris Jericho was the World Heavyweight Champion. Think about that and think about the importance of that win when you consider how much the brand of NXT has developed. OK, NXT was not acting as WWE’s developmental at the time. However, it was still a huge deal for Barrett to effectively be the first champion of this revolutionary scheme by WWE. That’s huge.

What did WWE do with that? Surprisingly, they initially followed it up tremendously. Barrett debuted on RAW with his fellow NXT competitors and they destroyed the show. It was incredible. It promoted new stars. Once more, Barrett was the leader of this new rebellious group who were attacking the WWE. He had a great character which suited his position. He had a great voice, he was good in the ring and he had the means to be the next great villain in WWE. So the idea that Barrett is floating around in the middle of nowhere five years after that happened is just mind-boggling.

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Ever since that big push upon his debut, it’s hard to imagine that Barrett is where he is right now. There’s a number of reasons why he is where he is right now. The biggest thing was the Nexus having to lose to Team WWE at Summerslam 2010, with Barrett submitting to Cena. According to Jericho and Edge, it was Cena’s decision for the finish to go down like it did. Even the best of wrestlers can still win and keep the losing party over but Cena’s reported way of doing it forced the whole Nexus angle back to square on as it basically meant that after only two months, you’ve had this group lose clean to the good guys.

If the nWo were to have jobbed out to Randy Savage, Lex Luger and Sting at the Great American Bash 1996, do you really think the storyline would have gotten over like it did? No. Say what you will about WCW, they at least made the nWo a legitimate powerhouse. Here in 2010, they made the Nexus look like a joke after two months. How on earth was Wade Barrett going to recover from that? His next big wins were a win over John Cena at Hell in a Cell due to interference and Randy Orton at Bragging Rights when Cena attacked Barrett for the DQ.

I don’t mind the heels losing once in a while but if you don’t have a recovery plan so the group doesn’t get hugely effected, they’re doomed to fail. When a big heel loses, you have to protect them afterwards. It’s a recurring problem with WWE. Look at where Wade Barrett is now, having not received a legitimate main event push since he was exiled from the Nexus. This was infuriating.

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Barrett’s had his moments where you thought he was going to break out and be the next top heel. He was expected to receive a push for the title in 2012 before he got injured and his Bad News Barrett gimmick got really over. However, Barrett’s just never been able to get to that next level. You can blame bad luck due to injuries. I call it negligence by the WWE.

Sure, Barrett’s been injured a few times and his momentum has been killed a few times because of it. However, if you’re really cautious, you can get him over when he returns. However, WWE seem to be incapable of doing that. Either that or they simply don’t have a lot of faith in him to be the next big star. Well if that’s the case, why is he still employed?

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Why bother having him around if you know that you’re never going to give this great talker and great wrestler a decent push or a possible title run? You can put the Intercontinental title on him 20 times if you want. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many title runs he’s got to his name. Look at Chris Jericho. He’s held the Intercontinental title nine times but hardly anyone talks about those title reigns. They talk about the former multiple time World Heavyweight Champion. They talk about the guy that beat The Rock and Steve Austin in the same night to be Undisputed Champion. They talk about the guy that main-evented Wrestlemania for god’s sake!

Does Wade Barrett have any claim of fame that even comes close to those accomplishments? Of course not. The King of the Ring never did him any favours. A month after winning it he got into a feud with R-Truth for the crown. WWE treated this tournament like a joke. Barrett is one of only a few King of the Ring holders that have never truly become main event stars and it’s sickening.

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It’s not like Barrett can’t be a star, the WWE just won’t let him. What does it take for you to give Barrett a chance? Heck, Barrett has had a great opportunity to become a star with this European tag team with Sheamus. This European tag team might have actually been a great way to get these two over (would have been better had Rusev not got injured). What happens? You don’t even try to protect them as they get beat by the Lucha Dragons on RAW. Listen, I like the Lucha Dragons. However, they’re not going to be like a main event star in WWE. Barrett might. Sheamus MUST be booked as a main event star as he got the Money in the Bank. However, you’re booking them so poorly that not a single soul is going to take them seriously.

I asked the question earlier on about why Barrett is still employed if WWE aren’t going to do anything with him. Let me make something clear. I want Wade Barrett to be employed. However, I don’t want him employed to do nothing. That’s not going to help his morale if he is sitting on the sidelines or stuck in half-hearted storylines. If his purpose is to act as a top UK star for when the WWE comes to the UK, I’d get that. However, the UK fans aren’t going to care about Wade if you’re just going to have him there to get a big reaction once in a while. As a UK fan, I will root for Barrett as much as I can because I truly believe he deserves better. I’m sure nearly all of the WWE UK fans feel the same way. We can root for him all we want but it’s not going to help if someone writing the show doesn’t do the same.