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WWE announced some shocking talent releases Wednesday, headlined by Braun Strowman and Aleister Black.
The company noted that it also parted ways with Ruby Riott, Lana, Murphy and Santana Garrett.
WWE’s latest releases come less than two months after it terminated the contracts of several other Superstars, including Samoa Joe, Mickie James, Peyton Royce and Billie Kay.
Of the releases, Strowman enjoyed the most success in WWE, having held the Universal Championship for 141 days last year.
Strowman won the title with a victory over Goldberg at WrestleMania 36 and did not relinquish it until SummerSlam 2020, when he lost to “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt.
The Monster Among Men, who made his main roster debut in 2015, also held the Intercontinental Championship once and the Raw Tag Team Championships twice. He also won the 2018 men’s Money in the Bank ladder match.
Strowman was involved in a high-profile match at WrestleMania 37 a couple of months ago, beating Shane McMahon in a steel cage match. He then competed for the WWE Championship in a Triple Threat match against Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania Backlash last month.
Perhaps just as shocking as the release of Strowman was the decision to part ways with Black, who just recently returned to WWE programming after a lengthy hiatus.
Black tweeted the following with regard to his release Tuesday:
For several weeks, WWE aired vignettes featuring Black and hyping up his return. That return occurred two weeks ago on SmackDown when the Dutch star interfered in the Fatal 4-Way for the Intercontinental Championship by hitting Big E with Black Mass.
Black had one of the most compelling characters in WWE, and he held the NXT Championship and served as the face of the black-and-gold brand before getting called up to the main roster.
The longest-tenured Superstar released Tuesday was Lana, who began working for WWE as an on-screen character in 2013.
Lana was initially Rusev’s manager in NXT and on the main roster before going off on her own. Rusev, who now wrestles as Miro in AEW and holds the TNT Championship, is Lana’s real-life husband and was released by WWE last year.
Recently, Lana had been teaming with Naomi. On Monday night’s episode of Raw, they lost a tag team match to Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke.
Murphy has rarely been featured on WWE programming in recent months, but he enjoyed success previously, having held the NXT Tag Team Championships, Cruiserweight Championship and Raw Tag Team Championships.
Riott also hasn’t seen much in-ring action lately, although she did team with Riott Squad teammate Liv Morgan in a gauntlet match at WrestleMania 37 and in a losing effort against Natalya and Tamina on SmackDown last week.
Garrett, who signed with WWE in 2019, was primarily used as an enhancement talent in NXT and appeared in the 2021 Women’s Royal Rumble match, although she never got an opportunity to have a run on the main roster.