SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Darren Young, Emma, and Summer Ray were released by WWE, as announced on WWE.com and WWE’s Twitter feed today.
BREAKING NEWS: WWE has come to terms on the releases of WWE Superstars Darren Young and Summer Rae. https://t.co/CU8R144QG2
— WWE (@WWE) October 29, 2017
Summer Rae is a former Lingeire Football League player who transitioned to WWE’s developmental system in 2011. She played the role of Fandango’s dance partner on the main roster and was involved in a storyline with Rusev and Lana, and later accompanies Tyler Breeze to the ring. She was part of a Kickoff Show match at WrestleMania 32, but sat out most of the last year due to injuries and, likely, “creative having nothing for her.”
Emma just wrestled two high-profile matches against Asuka, one at last Sunday’s WWE TLC PPV and another on Raw the next night. She lost both matches, but they were relatively competitive and lengthy. Had there been plans to release Emma, it seems likely Asuka would have won in more dominant fashion. Emma posted an icon of a broken heart around noon today, presumably related to this news. She ironically also posted last Monday on Twitter: “I’m not done yet… Not even close!” in reference to a rematch that night against Asuka. She touted on her Twitter profile that she was the first Australian woman to become a WWE Superstar.
— EMMA (@EmmaWWE) October 23, 2017
Darren Young was best known for his time as one-half of The Prime Time Players with Titus O’Neal. He also more recently was managed by Bob Backlund in a storyline that never really went anywhere. He will likely be most remembered as the first openly gay wrestler in WWE during his active years (Pat Patterson is openly gay, but didn’t acknowledge it publicly when he was an active wrestler.) Young was at the Los Angeles Clippers game last night promoting WWE’s event there on Dec. 4.
Keller’s Analysis: The Young and Emma releases are intriguing based on timing alone. The decision to release Emma has to be recent, right? Why else would they have Emma define down Asuka’s greatness upon arrival by having Emma hold her own in relatively lengthy back-and-forth matches? The Asuka-Emma series seemed designed to give a boost to Emma more than establish Asuka as something really special just arriving on the main roster with a chance to dominate the division’s bottom two-thirds. As for Young, the timing is interesting in that he was at a Los Angeles Clipper NBA game in Los Angeles, Calif. the night before representing WWE and Tweeting about it, and the release comes just two days after VICE published an article critical of WWE celebrating the legacy of the Ultimate Warrior because he had said some vile, bigoted, and hateful things during speeches and in blogs about ten years or so ago. By releasing Young, WWE released their only openly gay wrestler just two days after defending to VICE their decision to celebrate Warrior as some kind of inspirational hero in recent years despite his caustic and hate-filled comments in the 2000s about gay people, women, hurricane victims, Martin Luther King Jr., and Bobby Heenan (right after he was diagnosed with cancer). Check out my editorial on the Warrior-VICE article HERE.