Even Stevie Wonder could see it coming.
As part of these semi-regular culls that they seem to do, Melina has been released from WWE. The 32-year old was let go following a string of alleged incidents of disruption as well as erratic behaviour on social networks and YouTube, most of which has been documented in an article written for this very site three weeks ago, in a piece of Nostradamus-like foreshadowing.
In all honestly, the writing has been on the wall with Melina for some time. Ever since she complained about being turned heel at the end of last year, it’s been one controversy after another – whether it’s moaning on Twitter about her relationship with John Morrison, having a problem with WWE’s golden girl Trish Stratus or being kicked out of nightclubs, she hasn’t done much to endear herself to management or colleagues. It was time for her to go. Ironically, Melina is the subject of today’s Diva Focus on WWE.com. Now that’s some bad timing…
Just minutes earlier, Gail Kim took to her Twitter (on which she’s been very vocal recently about the state of the Divas division in WWE) to inform everyone that she had quit the company on Monday night, following a baffling moment where she eliminated herself from the Divas battle royal mere seconds into the match – but was still not the first one out, as Melina was sent packing pretty much at the opening bell.
After her self-elimination was rumbled, Kim made a number of bizarre statements about what happened, saying she’s not a mark for herself and that she wanted to see if anyone was paying attention, and claiming that she was doing as she was told by the agents. She culminated by saying “Nooooo I’m not doing my best to get fired. Wrestling websites who like to make up news with their wild imagination…haha don’t believe it.”
As it turned out, by the time she tweeted that, she had already quit.
Recently, Gail has spoken out about the Divas not getting enough ring time on TV, and generally giving the impression that she was unhappy with her role in the company. If she was doing her best to get someone to take notice and push her with a programme, she got half of her wish – they DID notice. That’s likely the reason why she was made to get out of the ring so quickly on Monday, and by then, she could see that she was in a pit, and it would take ages to get out. Besides, she’s 34 years old (not exactly ancient, but when WWE’s Divas Champion is 24-year old Kelly Kelly, it’s not hard to see that the promotion’s dipping its ladle into the Fountain of Youth), and she had just months left on her contract – possibly as few as two. At that point, she would have been gone – though she may have been pushed off the cliff today, had she not quit. It’s unlikely they would have asked her to sign on for another 3 years until she was 37.
The release of Melina and Gail Kim is unlikely to cause any waves as far as the on-screen product is concerned. Neither were in storylines – except one with each other that they had tried to manufacture on YouTube – and neither had been part of any kind of great match in goodness knows how long. Melina has been poor since returning from her ACL rupture a year ago, and Kim has been treading water for a couple of years, with the only storyline she had was her dating Daniel Bryan, which caused the heel turn of the Bella Twins, and that was quietly dropped soon afterwards.
Where they go now is debatable. TNA will likely be sniffing around to see what they can get, but Gail Kim may not be that keen on returning. She let her contract expire to return to WWE TV in 2009 after reportedly not getting the money that she was looking for, and considering she’ll have less leverage going into any subsequent negotiations with TNA considering she has just left WWE, it’s doubtful that she will be making any more than what was originally offered to her. In fact, she may be offered less, as she has not other options of mainstream exposure. However, Kim is engaged to reality TV chef Robert Irvine and are set to marry in May next year – after Gail’s WWE contract would have expired. As the president and founder of Irvine Thyme, which sells spices, oils and vinegars, he’s not going to be short of money, and if she’s been frugal with her own salary, there’s no reason why she can’t be a lady of leisure. She could even go into business with him, as she has a degree in nutrition.
For Melina, TNA is probably more likely. Being of Mexican descent and speaking both English and Spanish, she would be a decent fit for Mexican America and would help TNA to possibly push further into the Hispanic market. It’s questionable whether the money will be good enough to grab her attention, but if you want to wrestle and WWE isn’t an option, TNA seems to be your only choice, unless you want to try your luck in Mexico or Japan.
For now, these are the only two casualties of the WWE Cull. There may be more to come – if there are, we will bring you the news as we get it.
– Lee Burton