May 6, 2016 - by Colin Vassallo


It’s Black Friday at WWE today as many WWE Superstars have been released and more could be on the way out by the day – or weekend – is over. Those announced that have received the pink slip are Hornswoggle, Alex Riley, El Torito, Zeb Colter, Santino Marella, Cameron, Wade Barrett, Damien Sandow.

The 29 year old Hornswoggle, real name Dylan Postl, has been signed with WWE since 2006 and made his debut in May of that year under the name Little Bastard. Eventually the character evolved into Hornswoggle in early 2007, continuing his partnership with Finlay. In 2008 he was released as Vince McMahon’s illegitimate son in an angle that dragged on for a while and was originally planned for Mr Kennedy. In 2009, Hornswoggle joined D-Generation X for a while and a year later he was also revealed as the Anonymous Raw General Manager. He was suspended in September 2015 for failing the WWE Wellness Program and didn’t appear on television since then. He won the Cruiserweight title once during his WWE career.

Alex Riley has been with the WWE since 2007, first under a developmental deal and then making his debut on NXT with The Miz as his mentor. Most of his time in WWE, Riley spent his time shadowing The Miz and somewhat got his WrestleMania moment when he accompanied the then WWE champion The Miz for his match against John Cena at WrestleMania 27, interfering several times. He had a singles career in 2011 but wasn’t very successful in that position. He transitioned to a color commentator and worked on the Raw and Smackdown pre-show panels on the WWE Network for two years before returning to the ring at NXT in 2015. After a long time out due to an injury, the 35 year old returned to NXT in January of this year where he spent the remaining of his WWE days.

El Torito, now 34 years old, made his WWE debut in April 2013 slinging himself with the Los Matadores. He was an entrant in the 2014 Royal Rumble but was eliminated by Roman Reigns. At Extreme Rules that same year, he participated in the first ever WeeLC match against Hornswoggle after the two had a feud involving Los Matadores and 3MB. He has not appeared on WWE TV since Los Matadores were taken out to be repackaged.

Zeb Colter, who many know as Dutch Mantel, returned to the WWE in 2013 as the manager of Jack Swagger, portraying a character who advocated against illegal immigration and was created following the Tea Party movement. After a feud between Swagger and Rusev, Colter was written off TV and returned at Hell In A Cell 2015 as the manager of Alberto Del Rio, who had just returned himself. The two parted ways in December of that same year and Colter never appeared on TV again.

Santino Marella had a memorable debut on Monday Night Raw in Milan, Italy, defeating the Intercontinental champion Umaga to win the title thanks to the assistance of Bobby Lashley. His debut in 2007 came two years after he spent two years at Ohio Valley Wrestling doing developmental for the company. His career in the WWE consisted mostly of comedy acts and even at one point as a women wrestler named Santina Marella, winning the Miss WrestleMania battle royal at WrestleMania 25. At the 2011 Royal Rumble he was in the final two at the Royal Rumble and nearly pulled an upset before being thrown out by the winner Alberto Del Rio. He retired in 2014 after three neck surgeries although he appeared sporadically on WWE television in non-wrestling roles. During his WWE time he won the Intercontinental title twice, the Tag Team title and the United States title once.

Cameron started with the WWE in 2011 with Tough Enough although her time on the show was cut short when she was the first one eliminated. After her dismissal she signed a deal and was sent to FCW to learn the trade. In 2012, she made her WWE debut along with Naomi as The Funkadactlys, the dancers for Brodus Clay. The partnership ended in 2014 and the two started singles competition. Cameron was featured in the Total Divas show cast for several seasons under her real name Ariane. She moved back to NXT to undergo more wrestling training but never made it out of there again. After Ryback released the statement earlier this week about his contract dispute, she supported him however she ended up on the receiving end of a lot of backlash from fans online.

The 35 year old Wade Barrett started with WWE in 2006 under the Ohio Valley Wrestling umbrella and then Florida Championship Wrestling. In 2010 he was part of the first season of NXT with Chris Jericho as his mentor, a competition that he won. In June of that year, Barrett led a team of NXT rookies who destroyed John Cena, CM Punk, the announce team, and everyone in sight in one of the most shocking angles of the year. As the leader of The Nexus and winner of NXT, he received his WWE title match at Night of Champions but was not successful. After splitting from The Nexus, he headed up The Corre with Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater and Ezekiel Jackson. In 2011 he started the Barratt Barrage character and then perhaps his most popular gimmick, Bad News Barrett. In 2015 he won the King of the Ring tournament on the WWE Network and abandoned his BNB character for King Barrett. Unfortunately, as history shows, being King of the Ring is really not something you want and his career went downhill from there. He later joined The League of Nations with Rusev, Alberto Del Rio, and Sheamus, but unhappy with his character, he handed in his notice. At WrestleMania 32 he only had a supporting role in the 3 on 3 match with LON and The New Day and after the match he received Shawn Michaels’ Sweet Chin Music, Mick Foley’s Mandable Claw, and Steve Austin’s Stunner. The night after Mania, Barrett was kicked out of the League of Nations for his last WWE appearance. During his WWE time, Barrett won the Intercontinental title 5 times and a Slammy Award for the debut of The Nexus.

Damien Sandow started with the WWE in 2002 where he spent most of the time in developmental at Ohio Valley Wrestling. In 2006 he debuted on Smackdown as Idol Stevens but a year later was released. He returned to WWE in 2010, first at Florida Championship Wrestling and then making his TV debut on Smackdown in 2012 as the Intellectual Savior of the Masses. He teamed up with Cody Rhodes later and the two used the name of Team Rhodes Scholars. In 2013 he won the Money In The Bank match, throwing his tag team partner off the ladder to steal the win. He is one of the two who cashed in the MITB briefcase and lost, with his chance coming at Hell In A Cell that year attacking John Cena after Cena defeated Alberto Del Rio. In 2014 he started a gimmick where he impersonated several stars and then in August joined The Miz as his stunt double using the name Damien Mizdow. This gimmick got over big and fans were entertained by Mizdow doing the same moves as The Miz but outside the ring including taking bumps. The two broke off their alliance during the WrestleMania 31 Andre The Giant Battle Royal. In 2015, Sandow teamed up with Curtis Axel as The Meta Powers, with Axel as Hogan and Sandow as Macho Man, changing his name to Macho Mandow. Hulk Hogan’s legal troubles and his departure from WWE spelled the end for The Meta Powers since WWE didn’t want to be associated in any way with Hogan anymore. Sandow last appeared this past Monday on Raw where he competed in the battle royal with the winner getting a shot at the US title. In his time in WWE, Sandow won the Tag Team title once and two Slammy Awards.

– Some of the released WWE Superstars addressed their situation on Twitter after WWE.COM announced the several departures. “Worry not my friends for the next chapter shall be even greater! It was a dream come true, thank you #WWE,” wrote Santino Marella. Wade Barrett chose a longer option for his goodbye message and said that after nearly 9 years, today was his final day with WWE. He said it was a decision he made back in August not to re-sign once his deal expired in June 2016 but he reached an agreement with WWE to get out a few weeks earlier than expected. “Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the years, especially the guys I’ve shared a ring & locker room with. I will miss them tremendously,” Barrett wrote. He said that he’s going to take a break from wrestling and expand his horizons but plans on returning when the time is right. Hornswoggle wrote that he was the kid that was told could never play any contact sports after being paralyzed from spine surgery. “This small town kid wouldn’t listen. And for the past 10 years I have lived my dream since I was 4 years old,” he said. He added that WWE gave him a life that no one would ever imagined he’d live and he’s grateful for the opportunity, experience, and people he met, especially those friend who will hold a place in his heart forever. In a short Twitter message, El Torito said that every beginning has an end and thanked the WWE and the fans.

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