Toni Storm is the latest wrestler to be released from WWE in 2021.
The timing of the news is surprising, given that Storm just wrestled Charlotte Flair for the “SmackDown” women’s title on the Christmas Eve show. The previous week, she pinned Flair in a women’s tag-team match, a signifier that they were building toward major storylines for her.
While a majority of wrestlers who were released from the company were attributable to budgetary cuts, Storm is believed to have requested her release, according to Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.
Storm, 26, was called up to WWE’s main roster this year after several years in the developmental promotions NXT and NXT UK.
Storm had done an interview with Fox Sports this past week in which she talked about waiting around for more main roster opportunities, but then being excited when things ramped up.
“It’s the worst because you just don’t know,” she said. “Obviously, wrestling (can be) so unpredictable. Next week you could be main eventing and winning a title and everything could be happening, or nothing. You don’t know. This is show business at the end of the day. It’s a topsy-turvy industry.
“When you’re sat in catering, it’s not a good feeling. Just sitting there waiting for your shot. Waiting for your big break. Waiting to show everyone what you’ve worked your life to be good at. I just sat there (asking), ‘When am I next? What’s happening?’ Now (when) stuff starts happening, I’m still like, ‘What’s going on? Oh, my God. What is my life?’”
Other star wrestlers who have been released from WWE this year include Braun Strowman, Bray Wyatt, Aleister Black, Keith Lee, Ember Moon, Ruby Riott, Karrion Kross and Nia Jax.