On April 15, WWE released a handful of talent as part of company-wide cutbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But only Drake Maverick was in a unique situation. Maverick, who was part of the April 15 releases, had already been announced for the Interim Cruiserweight Title Tournament for NXT and released a heartfelt video following his release.
Maverick went on to fulfill his dates in the tournament with NXT turning his release and fight for a job into an on-screen storyline. Though Drake didn't win the tournament, he did earn a new contract.
Speaking on the Gorilla Position, Maverick opened up about his position and wanting to remain in WWE.
"Nobody else was in a situation like I was. Nobody else had three prior engagements with the company that they still needed to be fulfilled. Mental health-wise, when I'd pick up the phone or read the news, you'd see people saying, 'What about these other people? You're disgusting for doing this.' Some days, that would weigh on me because the people they are thinking about, every one of them are my colleagues and friends that I deeply care about. Everyone that I interacted with said, 'You turned a negative into a positive and you haven't done what any of us wouldn't. In fact, what you've done is an incredible thing.' It's very easy to pick what you perceive as a negative, but our job as a pro wrestler is to get as many eyes as possible and I don't think it's anything that a creative guy like Heath Slater or EC3 or Matt Cardona wouldn't have done. Matt Cardona, I wouldn't be going on social media doing that video without him. Every one of them knows they're capable of creating their own stuff. What I did was create and see and hope if something could happen. That hope drove me forward," he said.
Others released with Maverick included Zack Ryder, Heath Slater, Curt Hawkins, Lio Rush, and EC3.
EC3 is one of Maverick's best friends in the business and Drake recalled telling his best friend that he wanted to fight for his job in WWE.
"It's EC3," said Maverick when asked who he would want back in WWE. "He wasn't put in the best position to succeed. Just give the guy a microphone. What he's done now and created since his release is incredible. What he's created without a creative team behind it, without a budget behind it, without a global company behind it is masterful. I really wish he was staying. On top of him being one of the best people I've ever been in the ring with, he's also my best friend. He's also the person I went to and said, 'I want to stay with WWE.' I burst into tears when I told him. If I wasn't staying with WWE, there's no other person I want to be on the same track with than him. That day was really hard, saying, 'I'm gonna bust my ass because I want to stay.' He was a person who wasn't in the same situation as me."
EC3 has started to control his own narrative outside of WWE, returning to IMPACT Wrestling at Slammiversary. You can find his thoughts on his release and how his run on the main roster was doomed from the start by clicking here.
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