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Nearly two months after releasing nine superstars, WWE announced a surprising new wave of releases that include some of the company’s top names.

The six performers released were Braun Strowman, Aleister Black, Lana, Ruby Riott, Murphy and Santana Garrett. Most of the talent released comes as a shock since most of them were just competing for titles or making their way back to the main roster.

Strowman had just competed for the Universal Championship at Wrestlemania Backlash on May 16. He was the Universal Champion in 2020, won numerous other titles and his “monster among men,” moniker made him one of the biggest stars in his eight years with the company.

Black was set up to return to SmackDown after months away from TV. He appeared to begin a feud with Big E on May 21 and the former NXT Champion’s departure left fans confused as to what happened.

Lana had formed a tag-team alongside Naomi in recent months and the duo even competed two days ago on Raw. She never won any titles during her time with the company, but Naomi had spoke highly of her training in a recent interview, saying, “there is no one in our division who works and is more driven than her.” Her husband, Miro, is currently a performer for All Elite Wrestling.

The release of Riott comes less than one week after she competed alongside her tag-partner Liv Morgan for the Women’s Tag Team Championship. Riott and Morgan have been one of the most popular women tag teams as the Riott Squad since their reunion last August.

Murphy had seen his TV diminish after his storyline with Seth Rollins and Rey Mysterio fizzled out, last being seen on the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal before Wrestlemania 37. Garrett had signed a contract in 2019 and last appeared in the Women’s Royal Rumble Match in January.

WWE has made cuts all across the company since Wrestlemania 37, citing budget constraints in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jord_mendoza.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: WWE releases: Braun Strowman, Aleister Black, Lana among surprises