Friday, 6 May 2016

Opinion: WWE Future Endeavoured - King Barrett, Damien Sandow, El Torito, Alex Riley, Santino Marella, Zeb Colter, Hornswoggle & Cameron

WWE has released El Torito, Alex Riley, Zeb Colter, Hornswoggle, Cameron from their contracts. Here's the low down on their WWE careers and just why WWE might have decided to let them go.

king barrett 

Formerly known as Stu Sanders, Stu Bennett, Lawrence Knight, Wade Barrett and Bad News Barrett throughout his time under contract for WWE, Barrett joined WWE in October 2007. Having debuted for developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling in dark match against Ace Steel that same month, Barrett would move to Florida Championship Wrestling in April 2008, teaming with Drew McIntyre on his debut in a losing effort against The Puerto Rican Nightmares (Eddie Colon (Primo/Diego) & Eric Perez (Eric Escobar)). He held the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship with Paul Burchill and the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship twice with McIntyre as part of The Empire. A main roster debut came in April 2008 in a loss to Funaki in a dark match for Friday Night Smackdown, but a full TV debut wouldn't come until March 2010, where he defeated Daniel Bryan on the 2nd episode of the original NXT. Despite main-eventing PPV's like SummerSlam, Night of Champions, Bragging Rights, Survivor Series, TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs as part of the major storyline involving The Nexus in 2010, Barrett was never able to capture the main strap during this time and found himself shuffled down the card for the remainder of his career. 

A couple of injuries hampered his progress, although he did win the WWE Intercontinental Championship on five occasions, with his most recent run ending in March of last year. He also won the 2015 King of the Ring, defeating Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth and Neville in his run to the crown. He was part of a number of memorable matches, including Money in the Bank ladder matches in 2011 and 2013, an Elimination Chamber in 2011, the 14 man Tag Team Elimination match from SummerSlam 2011, the Seven-Way Ladder match from WrestleMania 31 and a singles match with John Cena at Hell in a Cell 2010. 

Managing just two WrestleMania matches (XXVII & 31) in his six years on the main roster, Barrett's final WWE match came on this years post-WrestleMania Monday Night RAW in April, where he teamed with Sheamus as The League of Nations in a failed attempt to take the WWE Tag Team Championships from The New Day's Big E and Kofi Kingston. Across his time with WWE he teamed up with his League of Nations' partner Sheamus and Nexus and Corre buddies Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel most regularly, whilst spending most of his time opposite Randy Orton, Sheamus and Kofi Kingston.

Reason For Release - According to a Twitter post, Barrett had decided not to re-sign with the company and requested an early release from his contract. I guess that Barrett had had enough of repeatedly hitting the glass ceiling and being unable to break it.

Future - There's plenty of options for Barrett right now. The British Indy scene is bristling with talent and the most the popular it's been in years and Barrett would be a big draw across the country, with a trip to join pal Drew Galloway in ICW possible. Galloway's other main haunt right now, TNA, would also offer plenty of opportunity for growth for Barrett as it has provided Galloway and other WWE talent in the past. If he fancies some travelling he could be a good fit for NJPW's current product and help to beef up their roster that WWE has picked apart in recent months. He's said he'll return to the ring after a short break.

damien sandow

Formerly known as Damien Mizdow, Macho Mandow and Idol Stevens during his most recent run with the company, Sandow had previously been employed between 2002-2007 using Aaron Stevens, The Easter Bunny and The Idol as names. Re-signing with WWE in July 2010, Sandow spent time in Florida Championship Wrestling, debuting in a six man tag team bout alongside Jackson Andrews & Ryan O'Reilly (Konnor) and losing to Devin Allen, Rhys Ali & Wes Brisco on a August live event, before going on to capture the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship with Titus O'Neil from Marcus Owens and Xavier Woods in 2010 and the FCW 15 Championship from Seth Rollins in 2011. 

Sandow lost to Tyson Kidd on his re-debut on a Smackdown House Show in December 2011, before returning to television in May 2012 with a victory over Yoshi Tatsu on Friday Night Smackdown. He infamously failed to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase on John Cena during an October 2013 episode of Monday Night RAW. The peak of his time with the company was arguably his time spent as The Miz's "stunt double", Damien Mizdow, when the pair captured the WWE Tag Team Championship from Goldust & Stardust in a Fatal Four-Way match that also included Los Matadores & The Usos. Despite, the popularity of Mizdow the title reign only lasted just under a month. 

Sandow counts amongst his most memorable bouts the 2012 & 2013 Money in the Bank Ladder matches, a six man tag bout alongside Antonio Cesaro & Jack Swagger against Cody Rhodes, Goldust & John Cena from Friday Night Smackdown in 2013, a ten man tag team Elimination bout from Survivor Series 2012 and the 2013 Royal Rumble match. Regular tag team partners included Cody Rhodes as part of Team Rhodes Scholars, Curtis Axel and The Miz, whilst Brodus Clay, Heath Slater & Jimmy Uso were Sandow's most frequent opponents. His final WWE match will air on tomorrow's Main Event, where he faces former FCW Tag Team partner, Titus O'Neil.

Reason For Release - Clearly, WWE didn't see a whole lot in Sandow and refused to feature him regularly on their main television shows, despite him getting loud reactions whenever he did appear. Sandow was clearly unsettled and wanted to make the most of his popularity by heading elsewhere.

Future - Similar to Barrett, I could see Sandow turning up in a lot of places. His strong mic-work and character will see him well on pretty much any wrestling television show. I expect a tour of the Indys first though to make the most of autograph signings, merchandise and what have you. 

el torito

Signed with WWE since April 2013, El Torito debuted for the company as the sidekick to a repackaged Epico & Primo, Los Matadores, with his first match coming a month later. Having previously wrestled for CMLL and AAA in Mexico, but was mainly kept at ringside for Fernando and Diego. His only in-ring PPV appearance came in the 2014 Royal Rumble match, but he did also spend time opposite Hornswoggle, Heath Slater & Titus O'Neil, whilst teaming with Diego, Fernando and Sin Cara. His final WWE bout came in January, teaming with Kalisto to defeat Los Matadores at a WWE Live event in Monroe, Louisiana.  

Reason For Release - Los Matadores reverted back to Epico and Primo with vignettes currently aired for their return. What else can you do with a tiny bull? 

Future - Most likely a return to Mexico, probably with AAA. I wouldn't be surprised to see him turn up in a future series of Lucha Underground either, back under his original name, Mascarita Dorada.

alex riley

Alex Riley had also been signed since 2007, but didn't make his debut on the main roster until 2010. During his run in developmental he held the FCW Florida Heavyweight Championship, but failed to capture any gold in WWE. His most highly regarded matches included a Tornado Tag Team match with Rey Mysterio against The Miz & Jack Swagger from Monday Night #RAW #944 and a Fatal Four-Way over the WWE United States Championship at Night of Champions 2011, that also featured Swagger, Dolph Ziggler & John Morrison. He spent a while teaming with Mason Ryan, The Miz and Primo whilst regularly squaring off with the likes of Michael McGillicutty, Primo and David Otunga. 

Reason For Release - Riley hadn't been seen on WWE's main block of programming since way back in April 2013 and stopped touring with the main roster in January 2015. Apart from an appearance in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal on the Kick-Off show for WrestleMania 31, Riley has been down in NXT. He tried his hand on commentary and then got back in the ring, he clearly didn't do enough during this run to impress anyone in WWE management. His last match was against Shinsuke Nakamura at a recent NXT TV taping, that will air later this year.

Future - If Riley's still got his heart in the wrestling biz after a turbulent couple of years with WWE, then I'm sure TNA would be interested in giving him a run. Personally, I don't think Riley has the talent to be a major star for the company, in the same way that Ethan Carter III had and has really lost any name value that he might have had a few years ago, but hey, this is TNA we're talking about, he wrestled for WWE that's good enough for them!

santino marella 

Arguably the most decorated of those released today, Marella had been signed with WWE since 2005. Originally in developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling, after making his OVW against Mo Sexton under the name Boris Alexiev, Marella won the OVW Television Championship twice before debuting on the main-roster in a Friday Night Smackdown dark match against Jamie Noble in January 2007. Going on to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship twice, as well as the WWE United States Championship and WWE Tag Team Championship (alongside Vladimir Kozlov), Marella had a fairly fruitful WWE career, up until a neck injury forced him into retirement in July 2014. His final bout for the 'E came at house show in Portland, Maine in June 2014, where he teamed with Emma to defeat Fandango & Layla. Following retirement he appeared in two films for WWE, as well as making occasional appearances on WWE television. His best remembered matches were probably his appearances in multi-man matches like the 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013 Royal Rumble's, an Elimination Chamber and Money in the Bank Ladder match in 2012. His most regular opponents were Jack Swagger, David Otunga and Cody Rhodes, whilst he frequently teamed with Vladimir Kozlov, Carlito & Beth Phoenix. 

Reason For Release - As stated above he'd been officially retired since the summer of 2014, so it was only a matter of time with the company running out of projects for him to do. 

Future - He will most likely continue to run Battle Arts Academy in Mississauga, Ontario. With him being done with wrestling, I wouldn't expect to see him appear for any other major promotion, but could definitely see him being popular at autograph signings and conventions.

zeb colter

Zeb Colter had been with the company since 2013, in his latest run, having previously worked with the company between 1994-1997. Returning on a February 2013 edition of Friday Night Smackdown, Colter was portrayed mostly as a xenophobe with strong beliefs on immigration and quickly became one of the companies most controversial characters since the Attitude Era. Having once held the WWC Universal Championship, Colter was mostly utilised as a manager for the likes of Jack Swagger, Antonio Cesaro and most recently, Alberto Del Rio. He had a brief in-ring run on television during April 2013, facing Del Rio, Ricardo Rodriguez and Big E. Langston and tagging with Swagger. His final appearance for WWE came on the 7th December 2015 episode of Monday Night RAW when his Mex-America gimmick with Del Rio came to an abrupt end.

Reason For Release - After the Mex-America gimmick bombed, WWE creative have been unable to find a role for Zeb Colter. After a lengthy period off television as they tried to come up with a new role for him in the first place, it's obviously been decided that Colter is surplus to requirements.

Future - Whilst he may decide to seek work in the creative department elsewhere, I'd expect to see Colter join the Legends convention circuit in North America and potentially a trip to the UK also.


Formerly known as The Little Bastard, Hornswoggle had been with the company since 2007 and held the WWE Cruiserweight Championship on one occasion, wrestling at both Royal Rumble and Survivor Series and featuring in major storylines like becoming Vince McMahon's illegitimate son after his "real" Dad, Finlay, had faked a DNA test. He teamed frequently with Heath Slater, Finlay and Titus O'Neil and took on the likes of El Torito, Diego & Fernando most regularly. His final match for the company came in August 2015, where he defeated Heath Slater in a dark match before the taping of Main Event.

Reason For Release - Hornswoggle was suspended for 30 days for violating WWE's wellness policy back in September 2015 and hasn't been seen in the company since that point. I guess creative had just run out of ways to take the piss out of small people. 

Future - Umm. Honestly, I don't have a clue.


Also known as Cameron Lynn during her WWE career, Cameron signed with the company in April 2011, having been the first competitor to be eliminated from the Tough Enough reality show, after infamously claiming her favourite match of all-time was Melina vs. Alicia Fox. First heading to Florida Championship Wrestling, she teamed with Naomi in her debut to defeat Caylee Turner & Kaitlyn at a September 2011 TV taping. It didn't take long for her to make her main roster debut, as she appeared as Brodus Clay's valet, alongside Cameron, on a January 2012 episode of Monday Night RAW, with the pair being collectively known as The Funkadactyls. However, Cameron wouldn't make her in-ring debut on WWE TV until December 2012, appearing in a Santa's Little Helper Battle Royal on the Pre-Show for TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs, that would be won by Naomi. Her most-notable achievement with the company was starring as a regular on the season one to three of reality series Total Divas.

She spent most of her in-ring time taking on Emma, Naomi and Natalya, whilst also teaming with Naomi as the aforementioned Funkadactyls, Summer Rae and former idol, Alicia Fox! Her final match with WWE came in March 2016, where she teamed with Team B.A.D. (Naomi & Tamina) to lose to Alicia Fox, Paige and Sasha Banks on a WWE Live Road to WrestleMania event in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Reason For Release - Cameron was sent back down to NXT in October 2015 and spent four months performing on TV tapings and house shows for the brand. Despite returning to touring with the main roster in February and March this year, she hadn't shown enough improvement to warrant her place on the roster, alongside talented new additions Sasha Banks, Charlotte and Becky Lynch. 

Future - Anything but wrestling please. Girl bye.

Rightio, all that's left to do now is wish all of these guys and girl the very best in whatever they choose to do outside WWE! Thanks for entertaining us over your time with the company, or at least trying to!

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