WWE released multiple talents from their contracts today, including wrestlers Tye Dillinger, Hideo Itami, and TJP, and producer/legend Arn Anderson. Between Raw, SmackDown, and NXT, WWE has been busy in recent years hiring up just about every top talent from around the world. Part of the reason WWE is such a well-oiled machine nowadays is that they always have stars in reserve waiting for their big opportunity to shine. Unfortunately, sometimes that opportunity never seems to come, leading to frustration.
That seems to be the case for two of WWE's releases today, although all three active competitors that got the axe from the WWE roster are arguably cases of unrealized potential. Dillinger - nicknamed "The Perfect 10" - was a fan-favorite in NXT, but was treated like an afterthought on the main WWE roster. Itami was signed by WWE in 2014 to great fanfare, being a huge name in Japan. Unfortunately, multiple injuries prevented his NXT career from ever really taking off, and he's recently been spinning his wheels in the cruiserweight division on 205 Live. TJP - or T.J. Perkins - won WWE's first Cruiserweight Classic tournament in 2016, and was the initial poster boy for 205 Live when it debuted, but quickly became just another body on the roster.
WWE.com announced the releases of Dillinger, Itami, and TJP today, in an oddly terse manner too. Most WWE releases include a line wishing the departing talent well in their future endeavors, but all three of today's releases were one sentence proclamations beginning with "WWE has come to terms on the release of" and then the wrestler's name. Pro Wrestling Sheet's Ryan Satin also reports that WWE has released backstage producer - and wrestling legend in his own right - Arn Anderson. WWE doesn't usually comment on the releases of backstage employees, but more than one WWE superstar has thanked Arn on social media, so it seems he really is gone from the company.
Anderson was known during his in-ring career as "The Enforcer" of Ric Flair's legendary Four Horsemen stable in WCW, and retired due to injury in 1997. Following WWE's purchase of WCW in 2001, Anderson transitioned into a backstage role with the company, and has worked there ever since. It's unclear what led to his exit. Dillinger himself recently made it known via social media that he had requested his release, and WWE has now granted that request. Itami was also previously reported to have asked for his release. However, TJP wasn't, so it looks like he may have been straight-up fired, although it's unclear why.
It's a bit curious that WWE decided to let these four men go today, as the last few weeks have been dominated by reports that WWE is worried about talent possibly leaving them for upstart new wrestling organization All Elite Wrestling. It would not at all be surprising to see AEW sign all four for one role or another. Considering how little Dillinger, Itami, and TJP were doing onscreen currently, this may be the best outcome possible for them.