Posts Tagged ‘Release’

Malakai Black would like to return to WWE following his exit from All Elite Wrestling.

This is per Dave Meltzer, who offered a report on the most recent Wrestling Observer Radio that sad;

“He wanted out from AEW, and I guess we’ll see what happens. Obviously, he wanted to go back to WWE, and he had a lot of time left on his deal. I think 4 1/2 years are left on his deal. It’s really difficult to keep someone who’s unhappy under contract for that length of time.”

Black wrestled his last match for AEW at All Out 2022, losing a trios match to Miro, Sting and Darby Allin alongside now-former House Of Black stablemates Brody King and Buddy Matthews, and worked a date under the Malakai Black name for Prestige Wrestling over the weekend as a newly minted free agent.

He last wrestled for WWE in October 2020, losing a Monday Night Raw No Disqualification match to Kevin Owens. Released in June 2021, Black was considered a huge missed opportunity on the main roster following a celebrated NXT run before a 2019 call-up.

Malakai Black took to Instagram Sunday night to release a lengthy statement to address his career and the reports about him asking for his AEW release. 

In his statement, Black confirmed that he did ask for his AEW release, noting how the decision to leave AEW had been in the back of his mind for the past six months.

The reasons behind Black asking for his release were due to the several setbacks he went through in the last two years, including medical setbacks, a loss of a close friend from suicide, almost losing a close family member, and more. Black also noted how it was a “combination of promises in his profession that were not upheld” that helped his decision to leave.

Black went on in his statement about how he isn’t happy with how some parts of his private conversations with AEW about his mental health were revealed on the internet. He also reiterated that if it didn’t come from him, it didn’t happen.

The 37-year-old revealed that his marriage is fine and he is fine, but, “it’s just time to make sure those things stay that way.” Black is currently married to WWE Superstar Zelina Vega. They have been married since November 2018.

The former AEW and WWE star ended his statement by revealing that for the first time in 22 years, he will be taking a few months off to “recalibrate the last two decades” of his life. Black’s full statement is available to read at this link here.

During 2020 and 2021, WWE let go of over 200 talent signed to the company, including several major stars. One of the most shocking, however, was former Universal Champion Braun Strowman, who was positioned at the time of his release as a top star within the company. However, like many former WWE stars, the resignation of Vince McMahon and ascension of Paul “Triple H” Levesque led to Strowman making his shocking return to the company at the beginning of September, causing destruction and chaos in the process. The former world champion spoke about his release as a guest on “WWE After the Bell with Corey Graves.”

“It was a really hard pill to swallow, probably one of the biggest pills I’ve ever had to swallow in life, but a reality check,” Strowman said. “It was disheartening, to say the least, stepping up at the beginning of the pandemic when other people couldn’t come to work, people didn’t come to work, not knowing what’s going on in the world and strapping this company on my back and going out there week in and week out, doing everything in my power to get the quality product out so I could take the peoples minds off the stuff that was going on.”

“I have no hard feelings, business is business,” Strowman continued, but noted that he “had this feeling of, well, I was just a stray dog, and all of a sudden I was kicked off the porch.”

“All those doubts start to play into yourself because it’s a cold call out of nowhere,” Strowman continued. “I was literally making breakfast at 9:00 am and got the phone call like, ‘Hey, sorry, we have bad news. Due to budget cuts, we’re initiating your 90 days and then your contract is going to be terminated.’ I was just speechless, I think I said ‘Thank you’ and hung up the phone.

“I was just like literally, what the fuck? Yeah, it definitely sent me to a bad place for a bit, but I definitely know that everything in life happens for a reason, everything is a test and I’m a firm believer in God never puts more on your back than you can handle without you breaking, and he just tests my strength once again. Did I falter at times and want to give up? Absolutely, I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t.”

The Monster Among Men didn’t appear anywhere outside of WWE during his one-year absence, though he was instrumental in creating the Control Your Narrative promotion alongside his friend, EC3, though CYN’s feature remains uncertain now that Strowman is back in WWE.

After Mickie James was released by WWE last year, she tweeted a photo of a garbage bag containing some of her belongings that the company had sent her. The photo became the talk of the wrestling world, which sparked WWE to fire Mark Carrano, the person responsible for sending the bag. A decade prior, Maria Kanellis also received a garbage bag of her things after her WWE release, and she recently revealed who was responsible for sending it to her.

“I received my first garbage bag … underneath John Laurinaitis,” Kanellis said of the former WWE EVP of Talent Relations on “Interviews With James.” “This situation has been going on for a bit and they really should hire outside HR departments to come in and do some audits on what’s going on within the company. … Hire therapists if people need mental help. I just think they need to take a look within and start dealing with some of these real-life adult problems.”

Laurinaitis is no longer with the company after a Wall Street Journal report revealed that he and former WWE CEO and Chairman Vince McMahon were accused of sexual abuse, harassment, and misconduct.

With plentiful recent reports that Malakai Black has requested his AEW release, it now looks as if that request has been granted.

As per Fightful Select, “numerous talent” informed the outlet that Black’s time with AEW has come to an end for now. Some of these talent claim the House of Black leader has outright been released by the the promotion, with this release said to be “highly conditional” – as in, the Dutchman will have had to agree to certain strict terms in order to depart All Elite Wrestling.

One has to imagine that these conditions rule out any immediate return to WWE, although that’s merely speculation from your writer.

Black first requested his release last month, but that request was refused. When pressed on Malakai’s situation during the post-All Out media scrum, Tony Khan chose not to comment. Of course, this came hot on the heels of Black taking a bow and blowing a kiss to the Chicago crowd as he made his way to the back following House of Black’s loss to Miro, Sting and Darby Allin.

Fightful adds that another meeting took place recently, with it decided that if Malakai Black wanted out of the company then it would be best to facilitate this. The outlet noted how the door isn’t closed on the former NXT Champion returning to AEW at some point in the future, though for now it looks as if Black’s time being #AllElite is up.

The Miami Dolphins released wide receiver Preston Williams on Tuesday.

Williams has been on the trade block for the last few weeks, but the Dolphins were unable to find a destination for the fourth-year wideout, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. Williams will now go through the waiver process.

Miami’s receiving corps has shifted multiple times over the last two seasons. The Dolphins drafted Jaylen Waddle sixth overall in the 2021 NFL Draft and traded for star wide receiver Tyreek Hill this offseason.

The team signed Williams as an undrafted free agent in May 2019, and he had 428 receiving yards in his rookie season before tearing his ACL in November. Williams only has 359 receiving yards over the last two campaigns combined.

The Miami Dolphins announced Monday that they released veteran running back Sony Michel.

Michel signed a one-year deal worth up to $1.75 million with Miami as a free agent in May.

The 27-year-old halfback won his second career Super Bowl title after the New England Patriots traded him to the Los Angles Rams ahead of the 2021 campaign. He rushed for 845 yards and four touchdowns while averaging 4.1 yards per carry last season. He also added 21 receptions for 128 yards and one score.

New England drafted Michel in the first round in 2018. He spent his first three seasons with the Patriots, tallying 2,2292 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns.

Miami’s running back depth chart now features Chase EdmondsRaheem Mostert, and Myles Gaskin ahead of Tuesday’s deadline to finalize 53-man rosters.

The Tennessee Titans have told three-time Pro Bowl punter Brett Kern that he will be released, a person with direct knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Monday.

Kern had been the Titans’ longest-tenured player, having been picked up off waivers during the 2009 season. The person who confirmed the decision, which was first reported by ESPN, spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the Titans are not commenting on roster moves until Wednesday, a day after the NFL’s Tuesday deadline to trim rosters to 53.

The one-time All-Pro is just four punts shy of becoming the NFL’s 25th player with at least 1,000 career punts. Kern will leave the Titans third in franchise history with 197 games played, trailing only Hall of Famers Bruce Matthews and Elvin Bethea.

The 36-year-old lost the punting job to undrafted rookie Ryan Stonehouse out of Colorado State. Kern said he knew in April that there would be a competition, with the rookie hitting the ball like he had seen only three or four other players do in his lifetime.

Kern had been in the final year of his contract and has only a $550,000 “dead cap” hit. He is from Grand Island, New York, and could be headed back to his home state with the Buffalo Bills needing a punter. The Titans visit Buffalo on Sept. 19.

Last season, Kern ranked third in the NFL of punts downed inside the 20 compared with touchbacks. He placed 59.5% of his punts, 22 of 37, inside the 20 for the best results by any punter with at least 30 punts since 1991. Kern earned his third straight Pro Bowl nod in 2019.

In the face of a major public backlash and internal questions over the decision to award Matt Araiza the punting job, the Buffalo Bills reversed course by cutting the rookie on Saturday, two days after a lawsuit was filed alleging the player and two college teammates gang-raped a teenager last fall.

“The last 48 hours have been very difficult for a lot of people. It’s been tough. And you know, we sympathize with this whole situation, all the parties involved, this young woman, what she went through,” general manager Brandon Beane said during a 26-minute news conference alongside coach Sean McDermott.

“But at this time, we just think it’s the best move for everyone to move on from Matt and let him take care of this situation and focus on that. So, we’re gonna part ways there,” Beane added.

Beane said the Bills were not aware of the allegations made against Araiza at the time they drafted him. And had they known, Beane said, they would have removed him from consideration.

The decision to cut ties with their sixth-round draft pick out of San Diego State comes after Buffalo cleared the way for Araiza to take over the punting duties by releasing returning veteran Matt Haack on Monday.

The Bills opted then to keep Araiza even while being aware of the allegations made against him since late July. The team then stood by the player by announcing it “conducted a thorough examination” into the matter a day after the lawsuit was filed.

Beane said the team did as much as it could in getting as many details as possible, while noting many of the allegations were unavailable because the results of the San Diego police investigation has not been released. He said the team decided not to “rush to judgment” based on the information it had, while noting Araiza never changed his version of what happened.

“You want to give everyone as much due process as you can. Again, we’re not a judge and a jury,” Beane said.

McDermott then interjected by saying the team did consider the victim’s version of events as contained in the lawsuit.

“We did take those very seriously. I want everyone to understand that. That’s a serious deal right there,” McDermott said.

Araiza’s release begins to ease a crisis which has shaken the team as reflected by McDermott having difficulty containing his emotions while discussing the situation following a 21-0 preseason loss at Carolina on Friday night.

McDermott made the call to hold out Araiza from playing against Carolina. The player watched the game from an undisclosed location while also issuing a statement through his agent, Joe Linta, which read: “The facts of the incident are not what they are portrayed in the lawsuit or in the press. I look forward to quickly setting the record straight.”

Without another punter on the roster, third-string quarterback Matt Barkley handled the punting duties.

In a text to The Associated Press, Araiza’s lawyer, Kerry Armstrong, defended his client by writing: “I am sure he is very upset and disappointed that his career with the Bills ended not because he played poorly, but because of false allegations leveled against him by a young lady and her attorney. I hope he is back in the NFL soon.”

A lawsuit filed in San Diego County Superior Court accused Araiza and two teammates of raping a then-17-year-old girl at a Halloween party at an off-campus home where Araiza had been living. A San Diego police investigation has been turned over to the district attorney’s office to determine whether to pursue charges. DA spokeswoman Tanya Sierra said Friday there was no timeline as to how long a decision will take.

In Buffalo, the focus shifts to why the Bills weren’t aware of the allegations against Araiza when selecting the San Diego State player in the sixth round of the draft in April. Though he was college football’s top punter last year, and earned the nickname “Punt God” because of a booming left leg, Araiza was the third punter selected in the draft.

It’s unclear whether Araiza informed the NFL about the allegations in the months leading up to the draft.

Executives from two different teams told The Associated Press they became aware of Araiza’s involvement in an incident during the draft process, but neither person knew the extent of the allegations. Executives from three other teams said they had no knowledge of the allegations against Araiza before the draft and only learned of the incident Thursday. All the people spoke to The AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Though it’s unclear when the Bills first became aware of the allegations, they knew by the end of July when Dan Gilleon, the lawyer representing the alleged victim identified in the lawsuit as “Jane Doe,” contacted the team’s legal counsel, Kathryn D’Angelo, by email.

“She seemed like she was concerned. She says she’ll get back to me, and then she never did,” Gilleon said. “I even followed up and said, `Hey, you guys haven’t talked to me and called me back like you said you would.′ And they just ignored that, too.”

Armstrong said he also informed his client to be upfront and inform the Bills about the allegations. Armstrong said he also kept in regular contact with the Bills over the past month to provide details of his own investigation into what happened.

“I 100% do not believe that he ever forcibly raped this girl or had sex with her while she was passed out or drunk or anything like that,” Armstrong said.

The Bills also conducted what they called a “thorough examination,” which eventually led to their decision to cut Haack.

The Bills also informed the NFL of the incident once they were made aware of it, a person familiar with the situation told The AP. The person, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the matter, wasn’t certain of the timeline.

The NFL declined to comment except to say it was aware of the matter.

“If I leave, I can’t come back. So I’ve got to stay here for a while.”

Nixon Newell (fka Tegan Nox) hasn’t wrestled since October. The former “WWE NXT” superstar was released from the company in November and has spent the months since inactive, but contrary to what some have asked, the Welsh wrestler hasn’t retired. She’s been caught up in red tape.

“I’ve been trying to get my green card for the last eight months,” Nox told the “Sappenin'” podcast. “So if I leave then I can’t come back … It’s just been a boring eight months, living in Orlando.”

Nox sounded frustrated with the situation, but she’s been trying to make the most of it, joking that she can “go to Disney World everyday” if she wants to.

“I can stay in America, I just can’t leave the States,” Nox said. “Because I haven’t got the visa or the green card, I can’t wrestle. So I keep getting messages, ‘Have you retired?’ No I just can’t. Legally. I can’t.”

Nox isn’t the only international wrestler dealing with visa issues. Former “NXT” Champion Finn Balor revealed earlier this year that he had to miss the Royal Rumble to get a new visa, and “WWE Raw” superstar Doudrop had to miss this year’s WrestleMania to get her own visa issues sorted out.

Nox’s plan for waiting out the visa and green card process is simple: chilling.

“I’ve just been chilling in the house, playing video games, going to Sad Summer Fest,” she said. “Chilling with my dogs. Chilling with my friends.”