Simon Gotch, one half of former NXT tag team champions The Vaudevillains, agreed mutually to a release from his WWE contract on Wednesday.
Gotch, 34, whose real name is John Smith, concluded a nearly four-year run with WWE after signing a developmental deal in June 2013. The company has not yet addressed how this affects the future of Gotch’s former tag team partner, Aiden English, who along with Gotch was on the SmackDown brand.
The timing of the news coincided with WWE calling up a number of former NXT stars to the main roster after WrestleMania 33, including former tag team champions The Revival, Shinsuke Nakamura and Tye Dillinger. Gotch, a native of Hoboken, New Jersey, has yet to publicly comment on his situation.
Gotch and English defeated Blake and Murphy at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn in August 2015 to win the tag team championship before losing the title seven months later to American Alpha. Last April, the Vaudevillians made their main roster debut on Raw and won a tournament to become the number one contenders to the WWE tag team championship (eventually losing to The New Day at Extreme Rules in May).
At the WWE Draft last July, Gotch and English were drafted to SmackDown Live but quickly faded down the card to the role of enhancement talent.
The name of Gotch’s character was an homage to late wrestling pioneers Frank and Karl Gotch, and everything from his in-ring attire, move set and curly mustache was a nod to the earliest days of the sport.