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   Thu, January 18, 2007



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Axe drops for many WWE stars
ECW hardest hit of three brands
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling


Danny Basham was among the releases today from WWE.

January 18, 2007 will go down in WWE history as "Black Thursday", as a large number of WWE wrestlers were released today.

Among the releases were Sylvester Terkay, Christopher W. Anderson, Jazz, Rodney Mack, Tony Mamaluke, Doug Basham, Danny Basham, The Gymini (Jake and Jesse) and Gangrel. For Jazz, Mack and Gangrel, this was their second turn with WWE.

Anderson, Jazz and Mamaluke were all ECW "Originals" who were brought back to the company when the new brand was formed. Of the three, Mamaluke had been the one to most often appear on ECW's programming on SciFi as a member of the Full Blooded Italians with Little Guido, a role he had when ECW folded near the turn of the Millennium. Prior to joining ECW, Mamaluke spent time with WCW. Anderson had made a name for himself near the tail-end of ECW's run as an independent organization and continued to be a popular name in promotions such as Ring of Honor. Jazz, meanwhile, moved from ECW to WWE during the InVasion and was a former Women's Champion.

The Bashams had both been mainstays in WWE for a number of years, first in Ohio Valley Wrestling (Danny Basham, during this time, was known as The Damaja). The two were brought into WWE after the Raw/Smackdown brand split and aligned themselves as members of JBL's "Cabinet", which also included Orlando Jordan and Amy Weber. The duo held the tag team championships on two occasions before splitting. Their runs as single wrestlers were not successful, however, as the two, when they did wrestle, appeared on secondary shows Heat and Velocity.

As reported on various websites, the Bashams later reappeared in ECW as Paul Heyman's security guards, though WWE has not confirmed this.

Terkay, a decorated amateur wrestler, debuted in WWE on Smackdown last year with Elijah Burke. Terkay joined his partner in ECW late in 2006.

The Gymini, who had previously been a part of TNA as The Johnsons and fought in the indies as The Shane Twins, were brought to Smackdown as Simon Dean's new tag team. The duo's run was brief and had most recently been a part of training league Deep South Wrestling.

Mack had been officially named as part of the ECW roster and fought on several ECW house shows, but did not appear on their television shows. Gangrel's return to WWE was equally as brief and made few appearances.

Also announced as part of the cuts was Al Snow, but his is not a full-out release. Snow's departure, as noted on WWE.com, is only as an active wrestler. He will now, as the article states, "continue in his duties as a trainer," which began during the multi-season run of Tough Enough, and continues as a part of Ohio Valley Wrestling.

Snow's tenure in wrestling began with WWE over a decade ago, going through a variety of characters, including Avatar and Shinobi, before settling in as a member of The New Rockers as Leif Cassidy. The team of Cassidy and Marty Jannetty were not long for the Fed, however, and Snow continued on his own before being sent to ECW. There, Snow, real name Al Sarven, adopted his current moniker, gaining exposure and cult status after he reinvented himself with "Head", a mannequin head.

Snow would eventually return to WWE with his new persona and would become fairly popular, winning the Hardcore Championship on multiple occasions. He was in numerous feuds with the likes of "Road Dogg" Jesse James, Hardcore Holly and The Big Bossman.

Stay tuned to SLAM! Wrestling for more information from WWE as it unfolds.