For most people, Black Friday means the shopping day after Thanksgiving. Few people associate the term with wrestling, save for those people wrestling over discount TVs.
However, WWE has made it a regular tradition to release numerous talents on a Friday early in the year. Though the date has sometimes varied, along with the number of superstars let go, the tradition has continued on faithfully – and in 2019, it was no different.
Here’s coverage of the superstars released, including notes about their WWE run and how they ended up going from ring talents to released talents.
This one is rather sad to see. Even back when he was Stan eating a superkick from Shawn Michaels in a backstage segment, Dillinger had dreamed of being a WWE superstar. He finally got his wish in 2006 with a development deal, though he was eventually released. He was resigned in 2013, this time to the company’s developmental brand, NXT.
Dillinger finally found a gimmick that clicked. As “The Perfect 10” he had fans involved in his every move when he was on screen. But, despite a ton of potential and charisma, Dillinger suffered the same fate as so many – he was underused, relegated to throwaway matches, and ultimately lost his momentum.
Known as TJ Perkins before he got the official main roster call-up tradition of losing his last name, TJP had a ton of potential. He was the winner of the first ever Cruiserweight Classic tournament, though his title reign was admittedly a bit lackluster.
The talented cruiserweight was arguably sabotaged from the start, either intentionally or not, with a video game gimmick. The 16-bit-inspired entrance music and video to match weren’t terrible. It was his constant video game references in promos that came off as cringy.
Even when he turned heel, TJP never got much momentum nor had many meaningful feuds. As a big success during his time in TNA (now IMPACT Wrestling), one has to wonder whether he’ll return there.
Known as KENTA during his time in Japan, this international talent had a big buzz behind him as soon as his signing was announced. Originally one of NXT’s most promising talents, Itami had his momentum slowed early.
But it wasn’t a bad booking or a lack of character development – it was the injury bug. After being hurt numerous times and spending a lot of time recovering, Itami never managed to gain big success even after moving to 205 Live.
Some wonder whether the Japanese star will return there and continue with his KENTA persona.
Not even agents are safe. The legendary member of the famed 4 Horsemen had been in a backstage role since 2001 but was apparently let go after an incident at a live event. More details will likely emerge soon.
Sadly, there are no reports of Double A giving Vince McMahon a spinebuster before leaving.