John Cena hails ‘gifted’ Drake Maverick as Brit ‘departs WWE in latest cuts’

John Cena has paid tribute to released WWE star Drake Maverick after the Brit was among eight more wrestlers to depart Vince McMahon’s empire.

Over the last 18 months or so, WWE has released almost 100 wrestlers, agents, referees, and coaches, with ‘budget cuts’ often the cited reason behind the calls.

November alone has been a particularly brutal month, with more than a dozen names let go including former Raw Women’s Champion Nia Jax and ex-NXT Champ Karrion Cross.

Overnight on Thursday, however, Fightful in the States were among the outlets to report the apparent release of a further eight stars – with Brit Maverick among them.

The popular 38-year-old was in this position back in April 2020 having been released from his contract – only to be swiftly re-hired after his emotional social media reaction prompted a huge reaction from fans.

He went on to feature regularly on their NXT show over the course of the following year but now appears to be done with WWE at least for now.

The Birmingham-born grappler, a major name on the independent scene and Impact Wrestling prior to his arrival in WWE, once again took to Twitter with a video to acknowledge his release.

Beginning with a nod to his tearful past address, the presentation moves into a defiant message from Maverick as he effectively confronts a version of his 2020 self.

The package caught the eye of plenty of stars and fans, not least Cena who weighed in with a message of support.

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“This is worth a watch,” Tweeted the WWE icon turned Hollywood icon.

“Very well done and very powerful message by a gifted performer.”

Compatriot Wade Barrett, a former wrestler and current commentator in NXT, added: “You’re a success and you’ll continue to be a success, mate.”

Among the other names released by WWE on Thursday was former United States Champion John Morrison.

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The 42-year-old, also a three-time former Intercontinental Champion, returned to the company in 2019 having previously made his name there with a nine-year stint from 2002.

The news was met with a stinging reaction from Morrison’s wife, former WWE star Taya Valkyrie, who was also released from her contract there earlier this month.

“Stop supporting a company that has ZERO respect for their talent,” she blasted in a Tweet.

“You love pro wrestling, spend your money on the hundreds of other alternatives. This is wrong. Ethically, as employers, they don’t care about us. Talent or fans.”

Top Dolla, Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott, Ashante Adonis, Jaxson Ryker, Tegan Nox and Shane Thorne were all also reportedly released.

WWE has yet to comment publicly on the latest round of departures.

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