In the wake of a significant merger and subsequent television rights declaration, WWE appears to be trimming down its star-studded roster. Notable wrestlers Dolph Ziggler and Shelton Benjamin have reportedly been let go following the unveiling of a new TV agreement for SmackDown, as informed by industry insider Sean Ross Sapp.
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Ziggler, boasting a nearly two-decade-long association with WWE and a former world heavyweight champion title under his belt, is among the big names to depart. Benjamin, another veteran and holder of multiple titles, openly acknowledged his exit. In related news, Elias, although not directly validating Sapp’s revelations, recently tweeted, reminiscing about his time and adventures within WWE.
In a series of unexpected announcements today, prominent wrestling figures including Mustafa Ali, Emma, Madcap Moss, and ex-WWE women’s tag team titleholder Aliyah have taken to social media to declare their departures from the organization. Notably, the exit of Ali has left many in shock, given his upcoming match against Dominik Mysterio for the NXT North American championship slated for the No Mercy event on September 30th. Reports suggest that more roster changes are on the horizon. We’ll keep you updated with a rolling list of confirmed superstar exits as the news unfolds.
WWE released on Thursday
Dolph Ziggler (reported)
Shelton Benjamin (announced)
Mustafa Ali (announced)
Madcap Moss (announced)
Top Dolla (reported)
Rick Boogs (reported)
In a significant shift for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), the company announced earlier today that their flagship show, SmackDown, will transition from Fox to USA Network starting October 2024. This move comes as a result of a new five-year agreement inked between WWE and NBCUniversal. Fans can also anticipate four primetime specials on NBC as part of this new partnership. Additionally, current programs, Monday Night Raw and NXT, which are presently broadcasted on USA Network, are rumored to be making a move elsewhere, as per insights from The Hollywood Reporter.
On the corporate side of the wrestling world, there have been notable developments. The emergence of TKO, a new media conglomerate, is making waves after its recent introduction. Endeavor, in collaboration with WWE and UFC’s parent firm Zuffa, brought TKO into existence. Even though WWE and UFC maintain their operations independently, they now fall under the TKO umbrella. The conglomerate, with a staggering valuation of $21.4 billion, was officially unveiled on September 12. Ownership details reveal that Endeavor holds a 51% stake, while WWE shareholders retain 49% of the company. Stay tuned for further updates on this evolving story.