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WWE pre-draft releases: Mickie James fired as punishment for tardyness, Funaki gone after 12 years, and more

Mickie_james_medium has posted an item stating that Mickie James, Katie Lea Burchill, Shelton Benjamin, "Kung Fu Naki" (I guess that was his last gimmick on TV), Slam Master J(esse), and Jimmy Wang Yang have all been released and wished well in their future endeavors.

At, it's being reported that James was released because she was repeatedly late in getting to the bus during the European tour, on top her previously being punished (I guess for being "fat") by being sent to Smackdown.  In the same post, it's also mentioned that there is talk of Benjamin (who had been treading water forever) going to TNA to re-form his team with Charlie Haas.  How trademarkable is "The World's Greatest Tag Team," anyway?  I guess we'll find out.

As far as the others go:

  • Funaki was pretty obviously released because his friend/protector Shawn Michaels is gone.
  • Yang hadn't been around much lately and has failed at least one drug test in the past, so it's not surprising.  In a bit of trivia, Vince McMahon is apparently a huge fan of Yang.  Unfortunately for him, that didn't help him, as guys his size don't get pushed and the cruiserweight division is long dead.
  • Katie Lea's release was a forgone conclusion when Paul Burchill was released, since they made no effort to repackage her even though she's a perfectly fine wrestler and one of the better looking women they have.

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