From WWE’s Twitter:
WWE has come to terms on the release of WWE Divas Mickie James and Katie Lea Burchill as well as Superstars Shelton Benjamin, Kung Fu Naki, Slam Master J and Jimmy Wang Yang as of today, April 22, 2010. We wish them the best in all future endeavors.
And then they also announced that Mike Knox was let go as well. A few comments here if you don’t mind, and I know you don’t.
I would have predicted the Funaki canning, but I managed to convince myself that he was basically a lifer. He was certainly somebody’s proxy piss test for a while (oops). I think it just came to a point where he had accomplished all he could do with the company and it was time to move on. I have nothing but respect for him, and now he can head back to Japan and be none the worse for wear.
As I was saying to Jordan last night, WWE was very smart about the Shelton Benjamin firing. Despite not having anything for him to do for several years, they hung onto him anywhere, so that now when he goes to TNA, it will mean absolutely nothing. From a business standpoint, it’s a great idea to hand the opposition your dirty laundry.
To that end, the most surprising cut would have to be Mike Knox. He wasn’t so much misused as not-at-all used in WWE, so he’s a bit of a clean slate for TNA. And TNA always seems to do pretty well with WWE’s discarded big guys (Tyson Tomko and Matt Morgan as examples). I always disagree with the big guys WWE cuts. I guess they just have a different way of approaching that position.
Slam Master J was absolutely useless. Good riddance. Jimmy Yang has options all over the indies, so he’ll be fine. Better off, actually. Katie Lea just didn’t fit in anywhere, as hot as she may be. Mickie James can go make a country record and then promote it in TNA. I’m sure she’ll be happy to get away from WWE’s backstage politics. I hope TNA uses her as a heel because she’s magnificent in that role. – Dusty