Just last week, CJ Parker asked for and was granted his release from WWE. He finished his run working the WrestleMania week of events for NXT, ensuring the two sides parted amicably and left the door open for a return.
But why did he bail?
The Wrestling Observer gets the answer:
"I want people to know that I'm not negative at all. Maybe I was a little frustrated but I wasn't negative towards WWE. I love WWE, and I always will! But I felt as a performer - as a pro wrestler - if I didn't pull myself away (from NXT) and go out and get more experiences and more exposure and more (of) all those things that I think I might have trapped myself in a hole as being the guy out there that puts everybody over in 5 minutes. That's not why I got into pro wrestling. I'm not a guy who's just happy to be there (WWE). I'm not a guy who's like 'Well, I'm an NXT Superstar - hell yeah - give me some free drinks at the bar!' That's not me. I wanna be on that team, but I wanna be batting third and hitting RBI's every night. I wanna be a go to guy that they can count on... There's more in me that what I was doing, and I felt like the only way that I could show them that is maybe leave for a while and get some experiences and show them that I do have star potential. It was a really tough choice..."
Nobody wants to be a punching bag and with NXT growing into a full fledged touring brand, the talent pool WWE is bringing in is only getting deeper. How far can Parker get if he's being used to put over established independent names like Kevin Owens to help establish them as NXT names?
The good news is Parker already has dates lining up on the independent circuit. Perhaps a strong enough run there will result in a return and a move up the card.