The ink is barely dry on the WWE-UFC merger, and the newly-formed TKO Group Holdings is making some major changes on the pro wrestling side. On Thursday, the WWE releases started, with a few big names already included, like former world champion Dolph Ziggler and fan-favorite Mustafa Ali.
On Thursday morning, news of Mustafa Ali’s release broke in what seemed like a one-off situation. However, as the morning went along, the list of now-former WWE superstars continued to grow.
As of Thursday afternoon, the current list of pro wrestlers released by WWE that have been confirmed by pro wrestling insiders like Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com or have confirmed themselves on social media include:
- Dolph Ziggler
- Mustafa Ali
- Shelton Benjamin
- Riddick Moss
- Top Dolla
- Rick Boogs
This is a developing situation and we will continue to update the list as more news breaks.
These releases come just days after the WWE-UFC merger created TKO Holdings Group, a company now overseeing the sports entertainment and combat sports companies.
It also comes on the heels of an announcement that TKO has signed a $1.4 billion (reported) deal with NBC Universal to move Friday Night Smackdown from FOX to the USA Network, which is currently also the home of Monday Night Raw and NXT on Tuesdays.
This new NBC deal for Smackdown is a five-year commitment that begins in October 2024. It also includes a provision for four primetime WWE specials that will air on NBC, marking the first time the pro wrestling company will run in primetime on the network.
NBC’s streaming platform, Peacock, is also currently the exclusive home of the WWE Network and the brand’s Premium Live Events.