WWE loves its spring cleaning fits, and today’s a big one: in addition to five longtime superstars, WWE has released Teddy Long, aka “that general manager guy who won’t stop making things tag team matches.” We found out about this today via WWE.com press release, and I sincerely hope Smackdown is just two hours of four guys arguing in the ring and nobody being able to figure out how to resolve it.
Leave the memories alone.
In addition to the man WCW fans unaffectionately knew as “Peanut Head,” WWE released:
- Brodus Clay, aka The Funkasaurus. Clay had (somewhat astonishingly) been with the company since 2006, leaving his previous job of being Snoop Dogg’s personal bodyguard. Clay struggled in developmental and in brief main roster appearances before finding surprise success as The Funkasaurus, a dancing dinosaur man from a distant planet. His momentum stalled around a really horrible WrestleMania comedy routine and he never recovered. He was last seen challenging Adrian Neville for the NXT Championship. While, uh, wearing blackface?
- Evan Bourne. Popular independent circuit wrestler Matt Sydal became Evan Bourne in 2008 and rode a beautiful shooting star press to not only a WWE Tag Team Championship run with Kofi Kingston as “Air Boom,” but a Slammy Award for Best Finishing Maneuver. Two wellness policy violations and a badly-timed car accident took him out of action in early 2012, and that was it.
- Curt Hawkins. Zack Ryder’s best friend and former tag team partner, Hawkins won the WWE Tag Team Championship as part of the “Edgeheads” in 2008, but had found little success since then. He had a brief run (with a cane) as Tyler Reks’ tag team partner, and had recently become a weird New York Mets/AJ Styles mashup on NXT.
- Yoshi Tatsu. Former New Japan Pro Wrestling star Naofumi Yamamoto got to live his dream of becoming a WWE Superstar in 2007. Unfortunately, Asian people don’t have a lot of luck escaping the “rising sun and Godzilla music” WWE interpretation of “Asian people,” so he was mostly a joke about how he wasn’t great at speaking English.
- Camacho. The son of WWE legend Haku (aka WCW’s MENG) played a variety of characters in WWE developmental, including a Mexican gangster (spoiler alert: he is Tongan, not Mexican) and most recently a guy who hates partying. He lost to Adam Rose at NXT Takeover, and I guess that’s it.
- Jinder Mahal. Jinder was brought in to have a family squabble with The Great Khali, but eventually found a role as … one the guitar players, I guess, in the comedy act 3MB. 3MB has been broken up off camera and I don’t know if anything could be more depressing.
- Aksana. Well, maybe one thing. A personal favorite of mine, Lithuanian fitness model Aksana was a participant on 2010′s NXT season 3 and stuck around for several years. She was recently in a tag team with Alicia Fox (aka Foxana) and is notable for dropping a knee on Naomi’s eyeball and ruining her push. She has the best entrance theme ever.
- Drew McIntyre has also been released. This one hurts. Drew is a former Intercontinental Champion, dubbed “the chosen one” by Vince McMahon. He’d reportedly been in the dog house since an incident with his then-wife (ECW’s “Tiffany”), but had been solid as a member of 3MB alongside Jinder Mahal. Heath Slater is once again the One Man Rock Band.
- Referee Marc Harris. THEY JUST DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO USE HIM RIGHT.
And now the big one:
- JTG. I’m guessing JTG was fired because all the other firings made people tweet WHY IS JTG STILL EMPLOYED at them all afternoon. JTG (aka “Just That Good” … that’s seriously what JTG stood for. Or was it “Just That Gangster?”) was one half of the tag team Cryme Tyme, a duo based on In Living Color’s Homeboy Shopping Network about 15 years too late. JTG’s constant employment was a running gag, as he remained in the company for SEVEN YEARS before getting his release. I hope he saved up his money and bought the biggest house in the world.
We’ll keep you updated as more releases are announced.