Yet another prominent backstage employee is reportedly seeking greener pastures outside of WWE, as a new report suggests that Dean Malenko has quit the company after 18 years working as a backstage agent.
Citing multiple sources familiar with the situation, Sports Illustrated’s Justin Barrasso wrote on Thursday that the 58-year-old Malenko, real name Dean Simon, has just quit WWE and left his role as a road agent. As noted, Malenko specialized in booking tag team matches and helping “shorter” wrestlers establish themselves in an industry traditionally dominated by larger competitors. The former ECW, WCW, and WWE standout was also recognized for his technical ability in the ring, where he earned the nickname “The Man of 1,000 Holds” during his days as an active wrestler.
As of this writing, WWE has yet to comment on or confirm Dean Malenko’s supposed decision to quit the company. It also isn’t clear if there were any incidents that pushed him to leave WWE, or if he had any other specific reasons for doing so. However, Barrasso also speculated that Malenko’s reputation as a skilled in-ring technician could make him a natural fit for the newly formed All Elite Wrestling (AEW), which has hired several ex-WWE wrestlers and on-air personalities over the past few months, including Chris Jericho, PAC (formerly Neville in WWE), Cody and Dustin Rhodes, and Jim Ross.
As recalled by Bleacher Report, Malenko was one of the mainstays of WCW’s cruiserweight division in the 1990s, where he had memorable feuds against the likes of Jericho but mostly competed in the undercard. Early in 2000, he debuted in WWE alongside Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, and Perry Saturn as one-fourth of The Radicalz, but failed to crack the main event scene like the late Guerrero and Benoit did in the following years. He did, however, hold the now-defunct Light Heavyweight Championship in WWE before he retired as an active wrestler in 2001, per WhatCulture.
Dean Malenko’s supposed departure from WWE makes him the latest among several backstage employees to leave the company in recent months. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Malenko’s fellow backstage agent Arn Anderson was allegedly let go by WWE after he allowed Monday Night Raw superstar Alicia Fox to wrestle at a live event despite her being intoxicated. The move came despite the fact that Anderson, a WWE Hall of Famer as part of The Four Horsemen, had served in his role for 18 years.
In the aftermath of WrestleMania 35, two writers — Robert Evans and SmackDown Live head writer Brian James (aka “Road Dogg” Jesse James) — became the next backstage workers to leave WWE after Anderson’s firing. Uproxx noted that Evans was let go because he allegedly let Bret Hart talk about WWE owner and chairman Vince McMahon in his Hall of Fame speech, while James voluntarily quit as SmackDown head writer due to various creative differences with McMahon.