Examining the misfortunes of this week's WWE releases

Sports Mole takes a look at the 11 superstars that were released by WWE this week and examines the reasons why their careers with the company may have failed.

WWE traditionally uses the post-WrestleMania season to introduce new acts and dispense of any talent that they deem surplus to requirements.

This week, 11 superstars were wished the best of luck in their future endeavours, including some former Intercontinental and Tag Team champions.

So, where did it go wrong for the latest crop of WWE releases?

Of all the superstars let go, Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal may have been the most surprised, having featured regularly on RAW in recent months, even popping up intermittently in storylines involving The Shield and The Authority.

3MB may not ever have been taken seriously by the powers that be, but they enjoyed cultish popularity among small circles of the WWE universe.

Their split is a sign that the company is ready to let Heath Slater actually become a one-man band and finally give him a push on the singles' scene.

Off all the 3MB members, though, McIntyre has by far the most singles pedigree. The Scotsman had the wrestling world at his feet when he debuted as Vince McMahon's 'chosen one'. He had the look, the entrance music, the microphone skills and an aggressive in-ring style beautifully suited to his heel persona, but poor booking was responsible for his fall from grace.

He won the Intercontinental title, competed in the Money in the Bank ladder match and even challenged for the World Heavyweight Championship, before holding Tag Team gold alongside Cody Rhodes, but he had lost all momentum by 2011 and his insertion into a comedy gimmick such as 3MB was a sign that the end of a once-promising road was nigh.

Mahal is certainly not as well-rounded a superstar as McIntyre, but the WWE believed in his potential enough to explore several characters and paths. Ultimately, though, his ring work was not up to scratch.

Brodus Clay is another who suffered the chop, due to a combination of the reasons that saw McIntyre and Mahal released.

Following his run in NXT, everyone expected the 375lb California native to debut as a no-nonsense monster that would run through most of his rivals upon stepping up to the main roster.

His first appearance on RAW in January 2012, as the fun-loving, booty-popping Funkasaurus, was one of the more well-disguised debuts in recent years, but a gimmick like that was always going to have limitations.

Furthermore, Clay's slightly unreliable technical skills and wild wrestling style made if difficult for the WWE to have any genuine faith in him, even when he deserted Planet Funk in late 2013.

Perhaps the most disappointing name to be seen among the 11 was that of Evan Bourne, the high-flying former Tag Team champion who was an entertaining, shining lift on the undercard from 2009-2011.

However, a succession of injuries and a couple of wellness policy violations have sidelined him since March 2012, and the WWE have lost patience with Bourne. He may be back, though, fitness dependent.

Curt Hawkins was another who wore gold as part of a duo, but after losing Zak Ryder, and later Tyler Reks, he was lost at the bottom of the pile, and like JTG, became a glorified jobber after being made to go it alone.

Some question why Hawkins and Ryder were not been reunited to join the rejuvenated Tag Team division, and others question how JTG still had a job in 2014, while Shelton Benjamin is unemployed.

Hunico's transformation into Sin Cara 2.0 has rendered former muscleman Camacho irrelevant, while Yoshi Tatsu has finally been cut loose after years in the wilderness.

Aksana was the only Diva to be released in a further sign that the WWE are looking to cut the dead wood from a women's roster that has long underwhelmed, but will benefit from young talent such as Paige and Summer Rae.

Theodore Long enters retirement after being a great servant to the company, for whom he has refereed, managed and general managed, all while saying the same catchphrases, while official Marc Harris leaving also shows that the performers are not the only ones who feel the force of 'Black Thursday'.

Who will fall victim to 'Black Thursday' next year? Hopefully Adam Rose – I'm sick of that guy already.

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