One of the more unheralded events in a pro wrestling fan’s life is the semi-annual WWE Fire Sale, wherein the world’s most profitable sports entertainment and Slurpee cup company realizes it is paying a bunch of people hundreds of thousands of dollars to do nothing and starts firing everybody. For the performers, I imagine this to be a stressful time of uncertainty. For the fan, it’s great for a few reasons; we get gossipy stuff to talk about (in a world where only deaths and on-screen results constitute real news) and an improved chance of seeing some of our favorite superstars at independent wrestling shows and comic book conventions. Usually the cuts come around Wrestlemania in the Spring, but the rosters remained mostly unchanged until the WWE quarterly report rolled in.
The only thing wrestling news sites like PWInsider.com are reporting is that I’ve just won a free iPad, so here’s a quick rundown of the performers who caught the axe today. In case more releases happen after this post goes live, I’ll update it, so keep checking back.
Melina (real name Melina Perez) is the biggest cut announced so far, as she’s a two-time WWE Divas Champion and three-time WWE Women’s Champion who has been with the company since 2004. She’s the real-life girlfriend of Raw star John Morrison and hasn’t done anything better than being the object of affection for Zack Ryder’s dad on Z! True Long Island Story since about 2008. She currently runs a Twitter account that makes you feel weird about her real-life personality and informs you of her love of Skittles.
WWE wishes her well in her future endeavors, but they say that to everybody. There is a 1:1 chance she will be TNA Knockouts Champion before Wednesday.
Masters joined World Wrestling Entertainment in 2005 and was a regular contender for both the WWE and Intercontinental Championships until his release in 2007 for multiple violations of WWE’s Substance Abuse and Drug Policy. “The Masterpiece” returned to WWE in 2009, reinventing himself first as a muscular guy who could make his pecs bounce to music (don’t ask) and then as a legitimately fantastic, under-the-radar pro wrestler on their “Superstars” show. Masters is most famous for his submission finisher “The Masterlock”, a full nelson that couldn’t be broken until Bobby Lashley showed up and started ruining everything for everybody.
With a great look and a new-found passion for pro wrestling, Masters should be able to find a job competing anywhere, especially Japan. The joke about him showing up in TNA as “Masterful” Chris Mordetzky (“we know who THAT is, Taz!” etc.) would’ve been funnier a few years ago.
More after the jump.
Former TNA Knockouts Champion and WWE Women’s Champion Kim has also parted ways with World Wrestling Entertainment, but according to her Twitter it was her call: “Hey I just wanted every1 to know that I officially quit WWE on monday. So thank u wwe fans! This won’t be the last u see of me. Love u guys :)” Here’s an idea of how much WWE valued her services: she eliminated herself by rolling out of the ring during Monday night’s number one contender Divas battle royal and nobody noticed.
Of course, this could’ve been an easy decision for Gail, as she’s marrying Food Network celebrity Chef Robert Irvine, star of “Dinner: Impossible”, “Restaurant: Impossible” and “Worst Cooks in America: Impossible”. She might turn up at your local Wizard World, but she shouldn’t have to slum it.
Former WWE Tag Team Champion Kozlov (real name Oleg Aleksandrovich Prudius, which sounds 1,000 times more intimidatingly-Russian than “Vladimir Kozlov”) may have “loved double-double-e” and spent the final leg of his big leagues run as the hip-hop dancing best friend of Santino Marella, but Prudius is a legitimate bad-ass: he was the 2005 USA Open Heavyweight Sambo Champion as well as a United States Kick-Boxing Association Heavyweight Grappling Champion. He also appeared in the second season of the HBO drama series The Wire as one of The Greek’s hired goons.
Pretty solid resume for a guy who made us laugh by playing an imaginary trombone, right?
David Hart “DH” Smith
The son of legendary pro wrestler “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith, Calgary-born Smith (known as “DH” because of his initials, prompting me to have Kyle Farnsworth call him “designated hitter smith” in an old episode of The Dugout) held both the WWE and World Tag Team Championships with Hart Foundation partner Tyson Kidd, but his stay in WWE has always been a tumultuous one. He originally hit the scene in 2007, but was quickly suspended for a Wellness Policy violation and removed from television. He received a renewed boost of popularity following Bret Hart’s return to WWE, helping the former champion defeat Vince McMahon at Wrestlemania XXVI, but it wouldn’t last. Kidd broke away from Smith, and …
Well, let me put it this way. The picture to the left is probably the most interesting thing DH Smith did in six years with World Wrestling Entertainment.