As the stock price of TKO Holdings experienced a 12% drop following SmackDown’s new television deal, WWE fans were hit with the somber news of multiple wrestler releases, including notable names like 2-time WWE Champion Dolph Ziggler, Mustafa Ali, Shelton Benjamin, and others. In the midst of these departures, wrestling icon and Ziggler’s former arch-nemesis, John Cena, stepped forward to pay his respects.
This isn’t the first time WWE has made significant wrestler releases; similar layoffs occurred in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. However, this latest wave of departures has sent shockwaves through the wrestling community.
Dolph Ziggler, a stalwart of WWE, said his farewells to the company on Thursday, marking the end of his nearly two-decade-long journey with the organization.
WWE had already released over 100 employees a few days prior due to its merger with UFC. Speculation was rife that they would soon part ways with wrestlers from their roster, and that prophecy came to pass on Thursday as multiple wrestlers from WWE and NXT were released.
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Among the names on the release list were prominent stars like Shelton Benjamin, Mustafa Ali, Elias, Emma, Riddick Moss, and more. However, it was Dolph Ziggler’s inclusion that sent shockwaves, given his 19-year tenure with WWE.
In a touching tribute on Twitter, John Cena acknowledged Ziggler’s remarkable career by highlighting the astounding number of matches he had wrestled, a total of 1554. Cena’s tweet exuded respect as he saluted Ziggler’s herculean achievement, making him the second-highest match participant in WWE history, with the top spot held by Kane at 1802 matches. Cena’s tweet read, “One thousand five hundred and fifty-four matches. @HEELZiggler #Respect.”
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, another luminary of the wrestling world, also expressed his dismay at the recent wave of layoffs that affected numerous WWE wrestlers, notably Dolph Ziggler.
In the world of professional wrestling, where rivalries and storylines often dominate headlines, John Cena’s tribute serves as a poignant reminder of the unsung heroes who put their bodies on the line night after night, regardless of the spotlight’s glare.