Friday, March 9, 2018

Abbey Laith and Sage Beckett Future Endeavored

Kimber Lee, shown here in better indie days, has been released from WWE
Photo Credit: Zia Hiltey
WWE released four wrestlers from NXT yesterday. Two of them, Ming and Demetrious Johnson were not known to most people in the audience. Two however made it to television, on both NXT weekly and the Mae Young Classic. Abbey Laith and Sage Beckett were released from their contracts. Laith, known on the indies as Kimber Lee, and Beckett, known as Andrea on the indies and Rosie Lottalove in TNA, leave NXT without being given the chance to fulfill the promise they were brought in for. Honestly, they exemplify the organizational dysfunction within the company, and Laith's release especially shows that the promotion's attitudes towards women still lag despite putting a happy face forward in narratives with all these HISTORY MAKING matches and a more focused push of women wrestlers.

Laith had many reasons for her release swirling around her. Rumors of WWE officials being unhappy with her body weight, which is absurd for several reasons. Again, WWE likes to present itself as progressive and body positive by featuring Piper Niven in the MYC or pushing Nia Jax on the main roster, but if the rumors about its body dysmorphia rearing its ugly head again re: Laith are true, it shows that it's only worried about extremes to try and get brownie points. Remember, this is the company that tried selling its audience on Molly Holly and Mickie James being "fat" at various points. Those narratives don't come from a front office with healthy views on how women should look. Another rumored reason is that she may have run afoul of the Wellness Program, which again, feels like a cop-out unless she had a string of like five failed drug tests within a short period of time. It's almost an open secret that both Patrick "Velveteen Dream" Clark and Lars Sullivan had secret wellness suspensions that were easily hidden because of the nature of NXT television and how developmental drug suspensions aren't publicized.

However, the rumored reason that takes the cake in terms of ridiculousness is that she had a "bad attitude" backstage stemming from her refusal to take care of Nixon Newell while she recuperated from her torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). WWE had to fly Kay Lee Ray in to help Newell while she recovered, but honestly, what the fuck is a multimillion dollar corporation doing relying on fucking wrestlers to act as home nurses for convalescing talent? Being mad at a developmental wrestler who already is making below her market value to "learn the ropes" at the Performance Center before being ready for television for not adding at-home care to her job title for what I assume is no extra cost is fucking ludicrous. What's even crazier is the attitude among some scoopsters and observers that this heat on Laith was justified. The slavish obeying to capital among wrestling fans and journalists is, in a word, scary.

Either way though, WWE loosed itself of an A-plus talent for reasons that the general public may not completely know. The official line will probably end up being that creative had nothing for her which is less on a talent like Kimber fucking Lee and more on the people who couldn't find something to do with her. No matter what the reason, unless she had some kind of skeleton in her closet that is heretofore unknown to anyone, no explanation given will suffice for why WWE couldn't have Laith be more than a background player in a set piece tournament.

Beckett got to show less of her wares than even Laith did, but her release still is a shock and a dismayment. After her rough start in TNA (which was less her fault and more management's sending her out in a situation she wasn't prepared for), she rebounded to become a force in the Florida/female indies. She came to WWE with big hopes for a brute presence, but she never really got going. Management tried putting her in several roles, including manager and commentator. Again, I think her release speaks more to WWE than to her.

So, two big pieces of the Mae Young Classic are now gone, both released on International Women's Day. March is Women's History Month, and so far, it released Laith under questionable circumstances, openly courted the return of Alberto del Rio, an accused abuser whose victim is in a prominent role on Monday Night RAW, and has said not even a word or even started to lift a finger in response to accusations that Jonathan Coachman was a serial harasser and abuser when he was at ESPN. Remember that the next time Stephanie McMahon proclaims on RAW that WWE is in the midst of a women's revolution and that the women are making history.