It's rare WWE releases Superstars on Sunday, but here we are. It has been reported for weeks that WWE could soon be granting releases for those they don't see as being too valuable (such as Shawn Spears/Tye Dillinger and KENTA/Hideo Itami earlier this year), and that was exactly what happened over the weekend. In the span of one hour, WWE announced that Luke Harper, Sin Cara and The Ascension had been released from the promotion.
Harper and Cara publicly requested their releases on their Twitter pages, whereas it was pretty obvious that The Ascension wanted out as well considering they haven't been on WWE TV since April. Either way, it was nice to see them all get what they wanted, especially in time for the holiday season.
There's no word on whether they will have a 90-day no-compete clause to adhere to, unless their contracts just so happened to expire simultaneously. I assume none of them are able to sign anywhere until at least March 2020, but nonetheless, here is my instant reaction to and analysis of each departure.
Night 2 of the 2019 WWE Draft went down on this week's Raw, and although I thought Night 1 went relatively well, it definitely had its fair share of issues with the company practically spoiling who was going where with their preliminary draft pools on the website being the original lineups. While that wasn't a problem with Night 2, I was not a fan of the order of the draft picks on the whole. Jinder Mahal and Akira Tozawa getting picked ahead of stars such as The Miz, Samoa Joe, King Corbin and Rey Mysterio was comical.
Originally, I thought the shots of the FOX and USA Network "executives" were a nice touch, but seeing them react so excited over landing R-Truth exposed how stupid it really was. The Draft also left me and many others with more questions than answers regarding "free agents," how certain championship will work and be defended, and when the rules of the Brand Extension will actually go into effect again. I've heard Friday, but then again, Crown Jewel will be a thing in October and that's set to feature inter-promotional matches. In other words, there's a ton more this company still needs to figure out.
Nevertheless, here are the full results from Night 2 of the 2019 WWE Draft and my analysis of each pick.
For the first time in over three years, the WWE Draft returned Friday night on SmackDown (which you can read my full review of here). Yes, we've had pseudo-Drafts in that time called the Superstar Shake-Up, but those were terribly executed and never really shook up the rosters the same way an actual Draft would. With no general managers to make the picks, we were told that executives at USA Network and FOX influenced who went where, which I absolutely believe to be the case. The "war rooms" were a nice touch, though Stephanie McMahon just running down the list of Draft picks without cutting to reactions from talent in the back was slightly disappointing.
Otherwise, I thought Night 1 of the 2019 WWE Draft went fairly well. I liked what they did by putting the talent in two separate pools so that there's more major names to go on Monday's Raw (including Universal Champion Seth Rollins and WWE Champion Brock Lesnar). We were told that trades can happen and for every two picks SmackDown got, Raw would get three because it's a three-hour show (similar to the 2016 WWE Draft). Anyone who wasn't selected entered free agency, and can negotiate with whatever brand they wish. It's a cool concept, but I unfortunately don't see that ending well.
Either way, here are the full results of Night 1 of the 2019 WWE Draft with analysis for each selection from yours truly.
By Thomas Brunt
The key for WWE to keep their product consistent is to not overexpose things and to maintain an interesting and logical product, which is what the black and gold brand has successfully done for the most part for the better part of five years now. If WWE wants to make NXT must-watch to compete with AEW, then they must continue those efforts as they make their move to the mainstream audience on USA Network come the September 18th edition.
Here are a few things they can do to help make it that way.
By Brian Yuran
With floundering ratings and AEW’s soaring popularity, WWE finds itself at a crossroads. This past week’s RAW saw the lowest ratings in the modern PG era (excluding holiday episodes).
Part of the reason is stagnant writing with poor storylines and underutilized talent.
But the main reason WWE is suffering is due to its lack of a transcendent star. Ever since John Cena left to become a full-time actor and the legendary Randy Orton was delegated to mid-card status, WWE has been without its guy.
It seems like Vince and company believe they’ve found their main-event man in the “Beast Slayer”, but while the former Shield member is one of the most skilled in-ring performers of his generation, he doesn’t possess the charisma or captivating presence of a John Cena or Hulk Hogan. Without a doubt, he puts on some spectacular matches. His bout at SummerSlam 2015 with John Cena was nothing short of extraordinary.
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