Why Lars Sullivan And WWE Parted Ways, More On His Time There

Lars Sullivan is gone from WWE.

This week, PWInsider reported that Lars Sullivan had parted ways from WWE. Fightful has learned a lot more about his time there.

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Sullivan was set for a major push, and programs pitched with both John Cena and Brock Lesnar -- one for WrestleMania in 2019 when he was first brought in. However, personal issues prevented Sullivan from appearing.

Around that time, abhorrent comments that Sullivan made on a forum years prior emerged, causing Sullivan to be fined. We heard from countless WWE wrestlers who said the normally reserved Sullivan approached them personally and apologized for the comments, chalking it up to ignorant trolling when he was younger.

Sullivan's knee injury was a major derailing of his career. Initially WWE always had a June 2020 internal listing for his return, but Sullivan had thought he'd be back much sooner as he'd dealt with knee issues in the past. As it turned out, at points it looked like his knee injury could be career threatening, and was much worse than he'd experienced.

When an adult video of Lars Sullivan made the rounds, we were constantly reiterated by WWE officials that it would have no bearing on his push, and there was no heat on him as a result. However, wrestlers told us that there was no way Vince McMahon would look at him the same again after the video released. Sullivan had been a favorite of McMahon's upon his call-up in 2019.

Many that we spoke to in November had no idea the creative direction or intention of Lars Sullivan's promos, particularly the shirtless one with Michael Cole. A high-level WWE source had sad that it "seemed like sabotage or a test" to put Sullivan in such a spot.

Fightful Select reached out to Lars Sullivan, and actually heard back from him when the news dropped on Tuesday. He confirmed the release happened, and was surprised WWE didn't announce it themselves. He chalked it up to them being nice about them, and was very complimentary of how they handled his departure, saying they did it with "compassion and honesty."

Sullivan informed us that he told WWE he was done with wrestling after battling crippling anxiety issues to the point of struggling to eat during days of TV filming, and was having trouble sleeping. He also lost his father last year, which compounded a rollercoaster year for him. Sullivan called himself his own worst enemy, and owned up to multiple issues that prevented him from gaining traction in what he called his dream job.

Sullivan told us that he's likely done with wrestling, and again took responsibility for the issues that led to that, calling some actions "idiocy" and "his own selfish behavior."

We spoke with him about his WWE run and he was grateful for the experience. One person in WWE told us that they saw his shirtless promo with Michael Cole as "sabotage, but if it was a test, he passed it." Sullivan himself said he liked doing the promo and saw it as them looking to add more depth to his character. He was given specific instruction to breath heavy through my nose and the verbiage.

A point that was hammered home was that he was treated well by both the WWE office and a locker room, and it wasn't a case of bullying.

This article first appeared on our premium service, Fightful Select. Subscribe to get exclusive news every day, and a half-dozen weekly podcasts. It also appeared in our Fightful Wrestling Weekly newsletter, free on Fightful.

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