Drake Maverick was one of at least dozens of people who were either released or furloughed by WWE nearly two months ago, along with Lio Rush.
Maverick’s release was immediately incorporated into the storyline for the NXT Interim Cruiserweight Championship Tournament. He would get to keep working in WWE through the tournament. If he won the tournament, his career in WWE was saved, otherwise he was gone for good. Of course in typical WWE fashion, Maverick both lost the tournament and saved his job. Go figure.
As you can imagine, Drake’s storyline has been an emotional rollercoaster on a near weekly basis, while also getting fans to wonder if his release was a work all along, mixed in with the actual releases.
Lio Rish offered his thoughts on WWE using releases as part of the storyline, and he thinks WWE’s actions were disgusting:
Man....Are they going to hire everyone back then? Kind of a slap in the face to use this as a shoot work. But i guess I’m not surprised. Super happy for anyone getting there job back. But damn, real trauma and a lot of others were apart of this.— Ever After OUT NOW! (@itsLioRush) June 4, 2020
Literally making a mockery of legitimate firings.— Ever After OUT NOW! (@itsLioRush) June 4, 2020
BECAUSE ITS FUCKED UP. It’s called having a heart and showing compassion for those who have also suffered from loosing their jobs on that day. It’s not spuds fault. It’s the companies and it’s disgusting.— Ever After OUT NOW! (@itsLioRush) June 4, 2020
It’s easy to see where Lio Rush is coming from with his sharp criticisms of WWE’s tactics.
During a conference call today, Triple H tried to to clarify what really happened behind the scenes with Maverick’s release. Here is his explanation, courtesy of the transcription from Fightful:
“We already had the tournament booked out and I believe it was a little bit of a jumble, but we already had it promoted. Then, the releases happened, which is horrible. No one wants to see anyone lose their job, especially in the world right now. A lot of companies, around the world, are having to make tough business decisions to ensure they’re still there. Difficult decisions were made. He was given the option of continuing the tournament and wanted to prove he that he could still be here. If you’ve met him or know him, he’s one of the most passionate guys and loves WWE. Couldn’t be a better guy. As we said when the release happened, it wasn’t like he was involved in anything, it just happened. But through the process of this tournament, he captured people’s hearts and imaginations. He earned that spot. It was already out there, in the biggest way possible. You either ignore it or turn it into something, so we turned it into something based off him and his performances. I’m personally thrilled for him that he can continue to do what he loves and dreams about doing. I’m thrilled we were able to get where we did.”
If you buy Triple H’s explanation, that means Drake Maverick was legitimately released, but he was given the option to do the tournament, and WWE was impressed enough to re-sign him.
Fair enough, but it sure doesn’t seem like WWE put a lot of thought into the talent releases. When they go back and forth like this on Maverick, as well as bringing back Kurt Angle to referee a Fight Pit match, and possibly manage Matt Riddle, it begs the question of why they released these performers in the first place.
What do you think about this situation? Do you agree with Lio Rush that WWE made a mockery of the firings and showed no compassion by going ahead with Drake’s storyline?