Late last week, it was reported that Drew Gulak was no longer with WWE after his contract expired. Subsequent rumors suggested that the Friday Night SmackDown superstar decided to not renew his contract after the company chose not to give him a raise. However, the latest update on his situation suggests that there might still be a chance both sides could work out a new deal at some point in the future.
As quoted by WrestlingNews.co on Sunday, Bryan Alvarez and Dave Meltzer discussed Gulak’s departure from WWE on that day’s episode of Wrestling Observer Live. After recapping the above rumors regarding the former Cruiserweight Champion’s reason for letting his contract expire, Alvarez explained that prior to the coronavirus pandemic, WWE was offering everyone raises, with some wrestlers getting offered twice as much as they were previously earning.
“Drew Gulak wanted a raise and they said no and then they pulled the contract offer so if you want to argue that he wasn’t actually released then you’re welcome to because his contract did expire but they let him go because he wanted more money.”
According to Meltzer, the belief at the moment is that Gulak, who is being represented by agent Barry Bloom, has parted ways with WWE. He added that there is still a possibility the 33-year-old could eventually return to the promotion, provided he and WWE are able to come to terms financially.
— WWE (@WWE) May 16, 2020
The news of Gulak leaving WWE came as a surprise to many fans, as he had most recently competed on the May 15 episode of SmackDown, where he lost to Daniel Bryan in their first-round match in the tournament to crown a new Intercontinental Champion. Both men had also formed an alliance in recent months and had entered a rivalry with former Intercontinental titleholder Sami Zayn’s faction, The Artist Collective.
Due to the circumstances in which Gulak left WWE, he is currently a free agent and is not bound by a 90-day noncompete clause. That means he can theoretically sign with rival companies such as All Elite Wrestling and Impact Wrestling, though it’s currently unclear whether he plans to try his luck with other promotions or if he and Bloom will try and negotiate a new deal with WWE.
Aside from Gulak, another notable superstar was confirmed last week to have parted ways with WWE. However, in the case of Rachael Ellering (formerly known as Rachel Evers), the former NXT wrestler was apparently among the dozens of performers released or furloughed last month as part of WWE’s massive coronavirus-related job cuts.