Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mickie James, Shelton Benjamin, others released

Well, this was unexpected. From

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.

Wow. Well, let's go down the list:

Mickie James
Definitely the biggest shocker out of all the names. Rumors are already swirling about some issues on the European tour, but I'd be willing to bet that this release was more mutual than the others. I hate to see her go and her treatment since the Piggie James angle was flat-out inexcusable, but I don't think Mickie will have any trouble finding something to do with her newly-discovered free time. Still, Mickie's the greatest female athlete to step foot in an American wrestling ring since Trish Stratus, she deserved better.

Shelton Benjamin
Honestly, I'm not surprised. Shelton has shown so much promise over the years, but he's also been the most inconsistent member of the roster. One minute he's hot, the next minute, no one cares. I don't know if it's WWE's presentation of him, his work, or the more likely combination of both, but the writing has been on the wall since he returned to ECW. That in mind, this is a surefire pickup for TNA, if they don't sign him in 90 days, I'll be genuinely stunned.

I'm more shocked about this one than Shelton Benjamin. Funaki's been a member of the WWE roster for twelve years straight, he's been there longer than John Cena, Batista, Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, Big Show and Edge. The only people that have been around longer are The Undertaker, Triple H, Kane and Mark Henry! I can't remember the last time he was even on TV, but he was like Scotty 2 Hotty and Val Venis, guys you thought would never be released... WWE's proven all of those assumptions wrong in the last few years.

Katie Lea
Not too shocking, I'm more surprised it didn't happen when Paul Burchill was let go, but it's still a bummer. Katie's proven herself to be a solid hand in the ring and she had an incredibly unique look, but sadly, WWE doesn't consider "unique look" to be a selling point for the Divas. If you don't look like a swimsuit model, you gotta go!

Jimmy Wang Yang
Now who are debuting monsters going to beat up?! Seriously though, while Yang was never going to be a major player in WWE, I always enjoyed his work. He made the new guys look good, the crowd always got excited for him when he wrestled dark matches and his gimmick, while silly, was fun. Still, it's not a loss for WWE, and I don't say that to sound cruel because I like Jimmy and it saddens me that he lost his job, but it won't have any lasting impact on programming.

Slam Master J
He's been MIA for months and his gimmick change seemed more like something to get Cryme Tyme over than anything else. Without Cryme Tyme or Festus, I'm not sure there's anything for Jesse to do. I wouldn't have been opposed to seeing him do something like what he did with the late Damien Steele in FCW, where Jesse played the stereotypical "urban" character and Steele was the preppy "white guy" stereotype. With WWE avoiding controversy lately, and considering that Cryme Tyme was supposedly "controversial" in 2006, it probably wouldn't fly today, but it would've been amusing. The least surprising name on the list, but still unfortunate.

I never like to see anyone lose their jobs, but to cut this many names on one day, including bigger names like Mickie and Shelton is especially sad. The "TNA, sign ________!" remarks are already all over the place, but the only name on the list that seems definite to me is Shelton Benjamin. The rest could wind up all over the globe, TNA, back in WWE, or out of the business entirely, you just never know in the weird world of wrestling. Regardless of where they end up, I sincerely hope they all find success.

*UPDATE* 11:00pm

According to, Mike Knox has been added to the list. Not too shocking, much like some of the other guys, he hasn't been used in months, but I thought he was just starting to hit his stride. The last time he was given a serious run, around the time of his feud with Finlay, he was producing some really entertaining matches.


  1. I pretty much agree with everything you've said. I was shocked to get home and hear the news!

  2. Man, I just heard Yellow Mouse Toy has been release too :(

  3. YMT will tear it up in ROH though. Yellow Mousey vs. Tyler Black? It's a license to print money!

  4. If Mickie James is serious about making music then this could be a god-send for her. She can go to TNA, get a huge push for being Former WWE superentertainmentstarperformer, sit home most of the time and attempt to become the new Shania Twain.

    If she chooses the indie scene, well then Mercedes Martinez and Sara Del Ray will carry her ass to acceptable matches!