Tye Dillinger, Hideo Itami, and TJ Perkins have all been released from their contracts with WWE, according to WWE.com.
This may have been welcome news for Tye Dillinger. In a passionate Twitter post on 2/19/19, he reported that he had requested his release because he felt that his career was not advancing and that he was not being given opportunities to grow as a performer. This was Dillinger’s second stint WWE as he previously competed as Gavin Spears on WWE’s ECW back in 2008 and, after being released and honing his skills on the independent circuit, returned under the NXT brand in 2013. He gained universal praise and acclaim for his “Perfect 10” gimmick as Dillinger was able to breathe life into what could have easily been a failed character. Through hard work, perseverance, and passion, Dillinger left a mark on the fandom and will likely succeed in whichever promotion is fortunate to acquire his services.
Hideo Itami, AKA Kenta Kobayashi, first started his run with WWE under the NXT banner in 2014. His arrival was heralded with much fanfare and anticipation as this venerable veteran of the Japanese circuit, and innovator of the Go To Sleep maneuver later used by CM Punk, was expected to be WWE’s gateway exposure to “strong-style” types of matches. Sadly, Itami fell victim to several injuries at key moments during his NXT run that broke his career momentum and trajectory. Itami was assigned to the 205 Live brand in early 2017 performed valiantly but failed to capture the buzz and anticipation he enjoyed in 2014. Rumblings of his release swirled in late January of 2019 when WWE began to document his final days at the WWE Performance Center and when friends and co-workers began to vaguely reference their respect and admiration for him on social media.
The only true surprise release was TJ Perkins (TJP). TJP burst onto the WWE scene in 2016 after he won the first Cruiserweight Classic tournament that was revealed to be a backdoor extended pilot for 205 Live. He was the first Cruiserweight Champion of the new brand but after being quickly usurped as champion by The Brian Kendrick, TJP failed to regain the momentum had at the outset of his run. He crafted a strong catalogue of matches but his cocky “gamer” persona failed to click with many WWE fans. TJP is no stranger to the independent circuit, specifically ROH, and with the independent circuit being the strongest it has been since the 1980s, this is far from “game over” for TJP.
We at AiPT! wish the best for these three and will eagerly await the next chapter of their careers.