While he never appeared on television or WWE Network, Leo Gao was a minor internet sensation - and pushed as such by WWE after they signed him after a 2016 tryout in China.
It’s a bit surprising then that he was released recently.
Though his signing was featured along with six other performers at one of their big promotional events in Shanghai, the 5’ 10” 300 pounder was always going to face an uphill climb to get to the WWE. A neck injury he suffered over the Summer may have been the final factor in the company’s decision to move forward without him, according to Pro Wrestling Sheet. The site says that Leo was cleared for limited action recently, but “it was a very serious injury”.
Like the release of a fellow NXT-er coming off the disabled list, Sawyer Fulton, this is a reminder that WWE and its developmental system are a business. Given the number of additions to the roster at the Performance Center over the past year and reports The ‘E is in a budget-conscious mode, you have to wonder if more cuts might be coming.
As for Gao, he’s displaying the optimism that made him a fan and locker room favorite:
Life is like a box of chocolates, you never konw what you're going to get.So should be keep smile! pic.twitter.com/yGVHL9gB3B— Leo Gao (@LeoGaoWWE) November 3, 2017
Best of luck, Leo!