WWE announced yesterday that it had come to terms on the release of Montel Vontavius Porter. The announcement came as a surprise to most—especially considering that MVP taped a match this past Tuesday that is set to air on Friday Night Smackdown tonight.
For his part, MVP says he was not fired, but rather that he asked for his release so he could pursue another “international” opportunity – whatever that means.
MVP becomes certainly one of the biggest names to be released by WWE in recent months, but it’s not one that should have much of an impact on WWE, especially given MVP’s lack of a push over the last couple years.
When MVP debuted in WWE in 2006, few had high hopes for the superstar that many dubbed an overgrown “Power Ranger.” But he surprised fans early on with his talking and wrestling ability, particularly in an early feud with Kane. He went on to have a very successful run as U.S. champion on the Smackdown brand that included a memorable rivalry with Matt Hardy.
For a while, MVP appeared to be on the short list of future main event stars, but his career was derailed in the middle of 2008 when WWE stuck him in a “losing streak” storyline—historically the death knell for many a career.
Indeed, MVP never quite recovered from losing nearly every match in which he competed for about five months. At the end of the storyline, he turned babyface and was shifted to the Raw brand, but did little with the opportunity. Instead he was saddled in a mid-card tag team with Mark Henry, and in some forgettable feuds with the likes of Jack Swagger.
He returned to Smackdown in this year’s draft, but it may have been too little, too late by then.
By some reports, MVP may have been his own worst enemy, exhibiting a poor attitude backstage that may have held him back from getting a real push. At 37, he was also quite a bit older than a lot other young talent that WWE may have thought were more worth an investment.
From my vantage point, I thought MVP had a lot going for him—looks, size, wrestling ability, and speaking ability. In radio interviews and other media appearances, he came off as a good spokesman for WWE – hip, educated and having an inspirational story of turning his life around (He spent more than nine years in prison on armed robbery and kidnapping charges when he was younger.) He was also reportedly an avid student of the sport, who frequently watched tapes of Japanese wrestling to improve himself.
It remains to be seen whether MVP’s wrestling career is over, or whether we see him eventually return to WWE. TNA is usually interested in rummaging through WWE’s scraps, so there’s a chance he’ll turn up there. It could be a good fit, although obviously he’d have to come up with a new name and perhaps a new look.