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The Rumor Mill- Featuring WWE Release Rumors and Possible Reasons for Recent Releases
by The Informant on 4 March 2010

Welcome to The Rumor Mill, I’m The Informant and I’ll be your host! Think you know what’s really going on in the wrestling world? Find the latest rumors doing the rounds here. Truth or fiction? You decide!

Since Thursday, five WWE talents have been released as SmackDown Diva Maria (Maria Kanellis), Superstar Paul Burchill (Paul Birchall), Superstar Gregory “The Hurricane” Helms, WWE Referee Scott Armstrong (Joseph James, Jr.), & SmackDown Superstar Charlie Haas have all been shown the door. The general backstage feeling in the WWE is that most of these five releases are not at all surprising, but the two that people were surprised to hear about was the releases of Maria & Scott Armstrong.

Not too long ago, Maria had finished her participation in the new season of the NBC series, “Celebrity Apprentice”, where she joined such names as Sinbad, Rod Blagojevich, Sharon Osbourne, Bret Michaels, Cyndi Lauper, and fellow wrestler Bill Goldberg. This is one of the key reasons why there is so much surprise regarding Maria’s release as many people expected to see Maria’s appearance on the NBC show to be pushed hard by the WWE. A number of weeks ago, it was reported that NBC forbids any of the participants in “Celebrity Apprentice” to appear on other television shows while “Celebrity Apprentice” is airing. While other wrestling sites have stated that it is a false rumor, many people are starting to think that this was the reason for Maria’s release as, if this is true, Maria would not be able to appear on any of the WWE shows once this season of “Celebrity Apprentice” begins on March 14. The fact that Maria was released just a few weeks before the show’s season was set to begin adds fuel to the fire of this rumor as, if Maria remained employed by the WWE, then the WWE would be paying Maria to, more or less, stay at home as they would not be able to use her on television until the end of the “Celebrity Apprentice” season, which is slated to end on May 23.

Another rumor regarding the release of Maria is that Maria herself requested the release so that she could focus on other projects. On her Twitter account, Maria said that she did not request her release, but many people still believe that she either asked for her release or was telling people she was going to and word got to the “higher ups” in the WWE.

The other surprising release was WWE Referee Scott Armstrong as Armstrong is a legendary member of the Armstrong family; the son of “Bullet” Bob Armstrong. His wrestling roots is not what makes this release surprising to most; it is his reputation backstage as the senior referee is well-liked by pretty much everyone backstage. For the most part, no one is suspicious of anything “gossip worthy” regarding Armstrong’s release and many people believe that WWE released him because they see him as being too old and they are looking to have referees who can adapt to the new style WWE has (temporarily stopping matches for cuts, what qualifies as a disqualification, etc.).

Given his recent arrest, the only real “surprise” regarding the release of Gregory “The Hurricane” Helms is that they are surprised he was not released earlier. While current World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho was also arrested and Helms’ good friend, Matt Hardy, were also involved in the incident, Helms’ offenses are seen as the worst. Initially, Helms & Jericho were both arrested for public intoxication, but shortly after this was reported by TMZ, it was made known that Helms had also struck a woman during their “celebration”. The woman opted not to press charges, citing that they were “play fighting”. While both Helms & Jericho were bailed out, allegedly by CM Punk, and both men have since settled their legal troubles stemming from the event, WWE still feels that they needed to punish someone for the incident. With Jericho’s status as a main eventer and WWE wanting to keep Matt Hardy around (and away from TNA, where he could join his brother, Jeff), Helms was seen as the only viable option and that is, reportedly, why he was the one let go.

A while back, it was reported that Charlie Haas requested his release, but the WWE denied Haas’ request and, instead, gave him a raise as an incentive to stay with the company as Haas had reportedly shown an interest in joining TNA. Reportedly, the raise did not deter Haas’ desire to leave the WWE and, after realizing that there was nothing they could do with Haas, WWE opted to release him.

When it comes to Paul Burchill, the general feeling is that Burchill’s release was a “long time coming” as WWE has been brainstorming ideas for Burchill for months with nothing usable coming of it. The determining factor on Burchill’s release came after the end of ECW as the WWE had no ideas for Burchill on either RAW or SmackDown and the decision was made to let Burchill go.

More WWE releases are expected to be coming soon, especially with the debut of WWE NXT as the WWE talent brought up from FCW to the NXT brand will get a raise in pay and releasing some of the unused talent is a way to allot more money for the new idea behind NXT and to clear some room on the RAW & SmackDown rosters for any of the NXT talent who are promoted to one of the brands.

There is expected to be at least three more WWE releases before WrestleMania as Tyler Reks, Byron Saxton, & Mike Knox are the three to most likely be released next. Reportedly, WWE is “on the fence” with the releases of Tyler Reks & Mike Knox as some people see promise with both Superstars, but it does not change the fact that WWE does not have any ideas for either them beyond being jobbers when necessary. When it comes to former ECW commentator Byron Saxton, the WWE feels that bring Saxton to the main roster to serve as a commentator was a “mistake” as the WWE is not impressed with the quality of work Saxton has done. WWE is contemplating whether to send Saxton back to FCW to serve as a commentator (where he was before being brought up to ECW) or to simply release Saxton from his contract.

While they are not expected to be released, there are several talents whose WWE careers can be described as “endangered”. Caylen Croft, Abraham Washington, Alicia Fox, Slam Master J, Shad, Jillian, Hornswoggle, & Jimmy Wang Yang are all being looked at as potential WWE releases. If any of these talent are released, it is not expected to happen until after WrestleMania.

WWE feels that the team of Caylen Croft & Trent Barreta is not really working out and are looking to try a singles run with Barreta and WWE plans to either release Croft or send him back to FCW. When it comes to Abraham Washington, WWE can not see “The Abraham Washington Show” taking place on RAW or SmackDown. Currently, WWE is looking at a couple of different options for Washington; one of the options would see Abraham continue to host the show, but host it on WWE Superstars. The other option is to have Washington serve as host of WWE NXT, which Matt Striker currently hosts in addition to being a commentator on SmackDown. With Alicia Fox, WWE just has no ideas for her at the moment. With Jillian, WWE thinks that Jillian’s gimmick has run its course and there are no other ideas for her, currently. With the quiet split of D-Generation X, WWE does not see a future in the WWE for Hornswoggle as being the DX “mascot” was the last option for the character. As reported in a previous Rumor Mill article, WWE is looking to push JTG as a singles star with Shad either playing a “bodyguard” roll for JTG or being release from his contract. With Slam Master J & Jimmy Wang Yang, WWE plans to keep them around as jobbers, but plans can change. At some point in the last year, WWE tried to use the current members of the roster as jobbers instead of using the “hometown talent” like they have in the past, but have recently realized that, in the long-term, it would be cheaper to pay the “hometown talent” a lower price when they need to use them as opposed to regularly paying a lot more for the talent they have contracted.

The Truth Is Just A Confirmed Rumor
-The Informant-

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