Report: Why Did the Jan. 5 Wave of WWE Releases Happen?

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WWE had its first wave of releases of 2022 take place on Wednesday, this time centering around the NXT brand and the WWE Performance Center. Wrestlers such as Danny Burch and Timothy Thatcher and onscreen characters like William Regal and Haichiman were let go, but the firings mostly centered around backstage employees such as Road Dogg, Ryan Katz, Ranjin Singh and PC trainers Allison Danger and Ace Steel. So why did the releases happen? WWE’s official statement on the matter read, “With the continued evolution of NXT 2.0, we’ve decided to part ways with some of the staff based in our Performance Center. We thank them for their many contributions throughout the years and wish them the best.” However, according to Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp, there’s more to the story.

According tosoruces, every personnel firing except for Danger was to remove hires made by Triple H in an attempt to overhaul the brand he has overseen for nearly a decade. He said that WWE officials he spoke with didn’t deny that. Sapp wrote at one point, “As for Road Dogg, he was seen as a key ‘Triple H guy,’ and along will Regal, was one of the most evident firings that pointed everyone to the notion that this was specifically moving people out to change directions from what NXT ‘was.'”

“The Game” suffered a cardiac event caused by a genetic heart issue back in September, resulting in Shawn Michaels taking over day-to-day operations for NXT. He’s popped up in interviews since then, but there’s been no confirmation that he’s back to working his normal role. During his absence, NXT underwent its 2.0 reboot, putting a heavier emphasis on Performance Center-trained talent and the main roster style of booking. Triple H addressed the rumors of those changes following a WWE Tryout during SummerSlam weekend.

“It’s a funny thing, people talk about shifting. It never really shifted,” he said. “So if you go back and look at the hiring process, (it’s) not the hiring process of a television show, it’s a hiring process of who we’re looking to train and make WWE Superstars. Long term. If you go back and look at it, it hasn’t shifted. It’s been the same process. I don’t negate anybody from a standpoint of, ‘I wrestled some independent stuff,’ ‘Well all right, you’re out!’ That’s not a factor to me, but it’s also not the factor that makes me go, ‘Okay, you’re in.’ When they get in here today, if somebody goes in and hits the ropes perfectly every time, has every roll perfect, does all the stuff, makes it look easy because they’ve been training, that’s not really showing me anything. You should be able to, if you’ve been training, if you’ve been working indies you should be able to do all of that.

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“To me, what is the potential long-term? What is that potential? And are they willing to do the work to live up to that potential. Vince used to always say, ‘We’re a variety show’ — we are. In some manner, you need a little bit of everything,” he continued. “That’s the key to all of this. But people hear one statement and then make one (assumption). ‘Now it’s that. No, now it’s this.’ It always has been.”

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