Samoa Joe, Billie Kay, Mojo Rawley, More Released from WWE Contracts
WWE announced the release of several Superstars on Thursday, including Samoa Joe, Billie Kay, Peyton Royce, Mickie James and Mojo Rawley.
Other wrestlers who received their release include Kalisto, Chelsea Green, Bo Dallas, Wesley Blake and Tucker.
The releases come just days after WrestleMania 37 was held on Saturday and Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
James and Tucker were among those who took to Twitter following their departure from the company:
Grateful for the memories. Grateful for the locker room. Grateful for the fans. Grateful for these little keys to my golden handcuffs. You can never expected others vision of you to be big as your own dreams. Thank you @VinceMcMahon #AlwaysBlessedAndGrateful
The 42-year-old Samoa Joe is known for holding the world title in both TNA and ROH before signing with WWE in 2015. Joe won the NXT Championship twice and then got called up to the main roster in 2017.
Joe held the United States Championship and had multiple world-title matches during his WWE run, including a memorable clash with Brock Lesnar. After suffering an injury, Joe transitioned into an announcing role in 2020 and was part of the Raw announce team until this past Monday when Adnan Virk, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton were announced as the new team.
Kay, 31, is a native of Australia who signed a developmental deal with WWE in 2015 and had been on the main roster since 2018. She most notably teamed with longtime friend Royce as The IIconics.
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The IIconics won the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships at WrestleMania 35 and accomplished a great deal of success, but they were broken up last year.
Kay proceeded to take part in an entertaining storyline that saw her hand her resume to anyone and everyone backstage. At WrestleMania 37 last week, Kay took part in a Tag Team Turmoil match with Carmella as her partner.
Royce, 28, broke into WWE with Kay, but she wasn’t utilized as much or as effectively as hoped on Raw after The IIconics dissolved.
James is among the most accomplished performers of those who were released Thursday, as she is a five-time WWE Women’s champion, one-time Divas champion and surefire future Hall of Famer.
The 41-year-old James was under contract with WWE from 2003 to 2010 and then returned to the company in 2016. She had seemingly transitioned into a new role, although she did compete in the 2021 Women’s Royal Rumble match.
Prior to NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver last week, James was part of the pre-show coverage.
Rawley, 34, joined WWE NXT in 2012 after a brief professional football career. He joined the main roster in 2016 and had seven stints as the 24/7 champion.
He also won the 2017 Andre the Giant Memorial Trophy at WrestleMania 33 with the help of then-New England Patriots (now Tampa Bay Buccaneers) tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Rawley’s last WWE match occurred in June 2020.
Kalisto, Green, Dallas, Tucker and Blake all played significant roles at various points in their WWE careers as well.
Kalisto is a former United States Cruiserweight and NXT Tag Team champion, although he had been used sparingly over the past year, with his most recent appearance coming in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal on last week’s WrestleMania SmackDown.
Tucker, who is best known for teaming with Otis as Heavy Machinery in NXT and on the main roster, was part of the battle royal as well.
Dallas and Blake are both former titleholders in NXT, as Dallas was the NXT champion, and Blake was one half of the NXT Tag Team champions with Murphy.
Also, Dallas held the Raw Tag Team Championships with Curtis Axel and is notable for being the brother of WWE Superstar Bray Wyatt and the son of former WWE Superstar Mike “IRS” Rotunda.
Green is a former Tough Enough contestant who signed with WWE in 2018 after previously holding the Impact Wrestling Knockouts Championship.
While she has immense potential, she was plagued by injuries during her time in WWE and suffered a broken wrist during her SmackDown debut in November.
Thursday’s releases came one year to the day after WWE released several wrestlers and employees, including Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, Zack Ryder, Curt Hawkins, EC3, Heath Slater and Rowan.