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WWE RELEASES NEWS AND NOTES

By Mike Johnson on 2021-05-19 17:58:00

PWInsider.com is told that those released today from the WWE NXT system were told that budget cuts were the reason for the releases. 

We are also told the initial plan was for cuts to come about three weeks ago but the decision was made to wait.  Cuts began to be made about 11 AM this morning.

As of 30 minutes ago, there were no new additional cuts.

Those released:

*Vanessa Bourne - A former professional cheerleader who was initially trained at the Knokx Pro Academy under Rikishi.  She was signed in April 2016.  Bourne had been moved to the Raw roster but never actually debuted.  She had not been seen at the PC in some time but was present at some NXT TV tapings.  There were some surprised by this release given her upside and the fact she had been given zero chance on the main roster.

*Referee Jake Clemons - Originally from the Ohio area and a regular for AIW.  Clemons was well liked and we've heard more shock to his release than anyone else's overall today.

*Kavita Devi  - Devi has been in India for an extended period after returning home to deal with a family matter and never returned.  There was a belief she wasn't going to return anytime soon.  She had been signed since late 2017.

*MMA Four Horsewoman member Jessamyn Duke -  She was originally signed in 2018.  We are told by one source that she was liked and would likely get another look down the line if she continued to improve the in-ring side of her work but was praised for what she had done outside the ring on YouTube as part of UpUpDownDown.

*Ezra Judge -  Real name Ezekwesiri "EJ" Nduka Jr.,  a former arena football player and professional bodybuilder for the IFBB.   He was signed in August 2019 after several tryouts.  A massive physical specimen, he had not wrestled on any NXT events.

*Skyler Story - Formerly Ava Storie and Brandi Lauren, who worked for EVOLVE and a number of Florida independents.  The belief among some we've spoken to is that she was on a short term as part of WWE's acquisition of EVOLVE.  She had never made TV beyond an appearance in a Battle Royal.  She was originally trained by Jay Lethal.

*Alexander Wolfe - who was just seen last night and was beaten down by Imperium.  He had been formerly part of Sanity and was with the company for six years overall.  It appears this may have simply been seen as the end of a run for him.

*Drake Wuertz - The former Drake Younger had been with the company since March 2014 and at one point was the head WWE NXT referee.  There have been a lot of unhappiness with some towards Wuertz for months in some circles, which really began manifesting the last few weeks.  He's already reaching out to independent promotions.

As irony has it, while the cuts were being made, the WWE Performance Center was in the midst of a multi-day tryout for potential new male talents.

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