By Haydn Gleed
As you probably know by now, WWE released Emma in a shocker on Sunday, as well as Summer Rae and Darren Young, which were not as surprising.
It is never a nice time when somebody loses their job. Summer and Young have not been featured on WWE television in some time due to injuries, and they didn’t set the world on fire with the roles they were given back when they were on-air regulars. With WWE releasing their quarterly financials last week, clearing the decks of any expenses that are not justifiable is an unfortunate part of business and part of being a publicly traded company. The last time we saw Young on TV he was in Odd Couple type of duo with Bob Backlund that wasn’t really going anywhere. They plowed through what would have been his most significant match with Titus O Neil, and in all honesty there didn’t feel like there was anything left for the character. The last time I remember seeing Summer Rae was the strange storyline with Dolph Ziggler and Lana, which I was shocked to find out was over two years ago. I genuinely don’t remember here storylines since then.
When you take into account the effectiveness of the talent from a business point of view in terms of a financial output to return basis, it’s understandable why WWE would feel the need to clear the contracts of these individuals. Again, from a personal point of view, it’s one of the most heartbreaking moments when somebody loses their job, but I’m simply presenting this from a cold clinical business perspective. I have heard people ask if WWE should have kept Young because of his open sexuality and to that I just shake my head. In 2017, we live in a society and a world that demands equality and if you believe that somebody should be kept in a job only because of their sex, ethnicity, or sexuality then it’s not equality.
Emma’s release came as a huge shock to me if only because of the way she has been used recently. Yes, I have mocked the hashtag social media gimmick, but WWE has invested time into the character. Added to this was the fact she had the rather competitive matches with Asuka in the last 10 days. I didn’t come down hard on this match because while I understood and agreed with the analysis that Emma was made to look stronger than she needed to be, I thought it was by design in terms of giving her a bit of in-ring credibility even in defeat. If the commentary team had framed the matches as Asuka being a tremendous wrestler at the developmental level and now she’s seeing the huge step up to succeed on the main roster, then it would have played in perfectly to the style of the matches.
Emma being released is also a shock based on the fact that she is arguably one of the better female wrestlers on the roster. I’ve heard people say even before her release that she was sloppy or floppy in the ring, but I would argue those people may not have seen a lot of her work in NXT. She was tremendous in developmental and although I know that it should matter once you reach the main roster, it proves she has the ability. I would argue that the serious back injury that she suffered last year had taken her down a notch or two, but how often has she worked since her return to get her back to the level she once was? Put it this way, Emma is a better wrestler and strikes me as having more upside than some of her peers who remain employed in the women’s division.
While I can see the business reasons why Young and Summer were released, I am struggling to even fathom why WWE released Emma. My initial thoughts were that maybe there was a reason why she wanted to leave or that it was something agreed to by both sides, but the heartbroken emoji on her Twitter page seems to suggest otherwise. Perhaps we’ll find out more details someday, but it was certainly a disappointing moment in that I have always been an admirer of Emma’s work.
On the flip side, I am struggling to admire Lio Rush following his brazen comment on Twitter after Emma lost her job. In case you missed it, he essentially made a joke about Emma leaving and then followed it up with a pathetic excuse of an apology. I’ve been told by a few people about Rush’s personality and maturity level since he broke into the indie scene. And at age of 22, you can perhaps understand his immaturity, but the ability to joke about someone who lost their job just a short time earlier is just unfathomable to me. The fact that his apology included quotation marks around “the controversy” as if he doesn’t understand what he’s done wrong just shows a lack of humanity in my opinion and feels like an apology he felt he had to give, not one that he wanted to give.
With all that being said, I don’t agree with WWE main roster stars and NXT colleagues drawing attention to this via social media. It should be dealt with behind closed doors rather than giving attention to Rush (even though I am admittedly doing that here). We all make mistakes, especially when we are younger. This is a matter for WWE management or veteran wrestlers to deal with in a one on one situation, not through social media for the world to see.
Unfortunately, wrestlers being released is something we’ve all seen before and will see again. I hope Darren Young, Summer Rae, and Emma find the success that they individually deserve going forward.
As always, feel free to get in touch if you want to discuss anything in the blog or just a chat about wrestling in general (just no Progress Wrestling spoilers please folks!). Find me on twitter @haydngleed or via email firstname.lastname@example.org