Shawn Michaels On Drew Gulak & Gable Steveson Departure

Michaels comments on the departure of Gulak and Stevenson from WWE.

The WWE roster is going through some significant changes this year. Several notable talents featured prominently on TV have either become free agents or are getting close to their contracts expiring. One of the recent talents to depart from WWE is Ricochet, who reportedly chose not to re-sign with the company.

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In the case of Drew Gulak and Gable Steveson, their departure from the company in May has left fans wondering why. The reason for the former Olympic gold medalist freestyle wrestler has been unclear, as he only had one match against Baron Corbin for NXT that fans didn’t receive well. However, it has been reported that he could’ve been let go because of the lack of progression as a talent on the roster.

For Gulak, he was let go after spending nearly eight years in WWE and was being featured on NXT. The timing was also interesting as it came after former WWE superstar Ronda Rousey shared that Gulak had inappropriately touched her pants’ drawstring in 2022. In addition, after Rousey spoke out about Gulak, he was noticeably removed from TV until his departure. However, Chief Content Officer Paul Levesque(AKA Triple H) noted during the Backlash post-conference on May 4 that Gulak’s exit from the company was due to his contract expiring.

In a media call ahead of NXT Heatwave, POST Wrestling’s John Pollock asked Shawn Michaels about the departure of both Gulak and Steveson. Michaels shared that both talent contracts were set to expire, and the company chose not to keep them on the roster.

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WrestleZone has the full video of the media call:

“…From my understanding, nothing on anyone’s part other than contracts being up, certainly in the place of Drew Gulak, and from a company’s standpoint, they’re not being anything from a main roster standpoint that they were going to be using him in and that’s certainly as we, here in NXT, over the last year and a half, two years, we’ve been trying to again get into a process of really keeping it fluid,” said Michaels.

He then touched on NXT’s shift towards deciding to let go of talent they believe isn’t progressing enough to be on the main roster.

“…It’s all about getting, I guess, to the main roster when everything is said and done, and if in two or three years that doesn’t happen, we have to see, you know what I mean, either bringing other people in or see if we’re ready to move on,” said Michaels.

He also congratulated Steveson on his transition to the NFL and wished him the best. That said, he echoed the new direction WWE is taking of letting go of talent they believe doesn’t have a place on the main roster or NXT.

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What’s Next For Drew Gulak?

While Steveson is set to begin his career with the Buffalo Bills, Gulak is looking for success on the independent wrestling scene. He accepts bookings and trains wrestlers at Catchpoint Philadelphia alongside All Elite Wrestling superstar Wheeler Yuta and ‘Hot Sauce’ Tracy Williams.

Gulak’s next wrestling appearance will be for Beyond Wrestling on July 4. He’ll take on Tom Lawlor in what should be a technical matchup.

WWE’s new stance may lead to more superstars being let go on the main roster and NXT, as they’ll evaluate when the talent contract expires. That said, there are still opportunities on the indie scene and from other promotions where talent can succeed.