WWE releases: Dolph Ziggler, Shelton Benjamin, Mustafa Ali and others let go by company

The first major layoffs of WWE superstars since the new merger with UFC into TKO Group Holdings are taking place Thursday, and they include former champions and longtime talent with the company.

The cuts come less than a week after WWE began to lay off Stamford-based employees, as reports claimed there could be upwards of 100 positions eliminated by the merger. As a result, several high-profile employees were let go Friday.

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Here are the list of stars let go by WWE Thursday, ranging from those on the main roster and on NXT. This list will be updated as news becomes available:

Dolph Ziggler

One of the longest tenured stars with WWE, Dolph Ziggler was released by the company, Fightful reported.

Joining in 2004 as part of the Spirit Squad, Ziggler spent nearly 20 years in WWE, winning several titles and being part of popular feuds. His biggest moment arguably came in 2013 when he cashed in his Money in the Bank contract against Alberto Del Rio to become World Heavyweight Champion. "The Showstealer" was a two-time World Heavyweight Champion and is one of 33 Men's Triple Crown winners. He recently was NXT Champion.

Fellow WWE stars paid Ziggler respect following the news, such as former tag partner Big E and John Cena.

Shelton Benjamin

Longtime star Shelton Benjamin announced on social media he was let go off his contract.

"I thank @wwe staff , talent, and of course the fans for everything," he posted. "Something ends, something new begins. Looking forward to my next chapter."

A star of the 2000s as a WWE Tag Team, United States and Intercontinental Champion, Benjamin returned to WWE in 2017 and was primarily a tag team specialist. He recently was part of the The Hurt Business with Cedric Alexander.

Mustafa Ali

Mustafa Ali posted on social media he was no longer with WWE, adding "I look forward to the future."

Ali had been with the company since debuting in the Cruiserweight Classic in 2016, and eventually took on Cedric Alexander at WrestleMania 34 for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. He later had stints on "Raw," "Smackdown", "205 Live" and NXT. Ali was recently scheduled to face Dominik Mysterio for the NXT North American Championship at NXT No Mercy on Sept. 30.


Elias announced he was released from WWE, saying "it’s been a blast."

Elias joined NXT in 2014 and was promoted to "Raw" in 2017. His singer persona was always met with star interruptions, including a moment with John Cena at WrestleMania 35 and The Undertaker the following night. In 2022, he infamously portrayed his "brother" Ezekiel, driving Kevin Owens crazy in a storyline that fans applauded for its comedy. He returned to his Elias character in October 2022 and was last seen in May.

Emma, Riddick Moss

Emma announced she was let go of the company the same day WWE announced it would be hosting Elimination Chamber in her home country of Australia.

After saying it was a "dream," Emma posted, "Oops nevermind. I just got released… I am no longer with WWE."

Emma was an NXT star and was released in 2017, but returned to the company in October 2022, challenging Ronda Rousey for the SmackDown Women's Championship, last appearing in July.

Emma's fiancé Riddick Moss was also part of the cuts, announcing he "graduated from WWE." He started with the company in 2014, and was notably in a feud with Baron Corbin in 2022.


Aliyah announced she was no longer with WWE after debuting with the company in 2015.

Aliyah spent more than five years in NXT before she appeared on "Smackdown" in 2021. She and Raquel Rodriguez won the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship in 2022 before losing it to Damage CTRL two weeks later, the last time she appeared for the company.

Dana Brooke

Dana Brooke has been let go by WWE after 10 years, Fightful reported.

After joining NXT in 2013, Brooke spent time on all WWE shows and competed for women's titles frequently, and captured the infamous 24/7 Championship 15 times. She recently returned to NXT before her release.

Rick Boogs

The rockstar Rick Boogs was released, Fightful reported.

Boogs rose to prominence on the main roster in 2021 as he played the guitar for the entrance of Shinsuke Nakamura. He teamed with Nakamura for a tag team title shot at WrestleMania 38, which was unsuccessful as he suffered a major injury that sidelined him for nine months. He last appeared at the SummerSlam battle royal.

Top Dolla

Hit Row member Top Dolla was let go by WWE, Fightful reported.

Top Dolla returned to the company in 2022 after his release the year prior. He last appeared in August.


Dabba-Kato has left WWE, Fightful reported.

The Nigerian-Polish star signed in 2016 and was part of the short-lived "Raw Underground." At WrestleMania 37, he appeared as Commander Azeez, teaming up alongside Apollo Crews. He then moved to NXT prior to his release.

Mace and Mansoor

The team formerly known as Maximum Male Models, Mace and Mansoor, have been let go by WWE, Mace announced on social media.

The duo were part of the group alongside Maxxine Dupri and LA Knight before they left the group. Mace and Mansoor last appeared in May.


Shanky has been released from WWE, Fightful reported.

The 7-foot star debuted with WWE in 2021, forming an alliance with Jinder Mahal and Veer. He then became known for dancing, and returned at the Superstar Spectacle two weeks ago to face Gunther for the WWE Intercontinental Championship in his final match.

Quincy Elliott

NXT star Quincy Elliott announced on Instagram he is "no longer with WWE," after joining the company in 2021.

Bryson Montana

NXT star Bryson Montana announced his run with WWE "has come to an end" after debuting in May 2022.

Yuliya Leon

NXT star Yuliya Leon was let go from WWE, Fightful reported.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: WWE releases Dolph Ziggler, Mustafa Ali and more as part of major cuts