Revealed by the man himself via his Twitter account, @Matt_Striker_, WWE interviewer, commentator, and former wrestler Matt Striker (Matt Kaye) has been released by the WWE. Striker posted on Twitter, “Was just informed by WWE that my contract will not be renewed. I am now available 4 appearances, signings seminars, & wrestling. Deep breath.” Striker’s contract officially expired on Thursday and, today, Striker appeared for Family Wrestling Entertainment (FWE) in Queens, NY as a color commentator.
WWE.com has confirmed the news, releasing the following statement: “WWE.com has learned that WWE has chosen to not renew Matt Striker’s contract. As of today, June 20, 2013, Striker will no longer be working with WWE. WWE wishes him the best in all his future endeavors.”
Matt Striker had been with the WWE since 2005, debuting on the February 24, 2005 episode of SmackDown under the ring name, “Matt Martel”, wrestling Kurt Angle in an Angle Invitational Match. Following his appearance on SmackDown, it was revealed that Striker was a former school teacher. WWE would use Striker’s former job as the basis for building a new character as he tried to use the ring name of Matt Martel for two more matches with Kurt Angle, but Angle would out Matt Martel as former school teacher Matt Striker. In the three matches against Angle, Striker would never get the win and was soon delegated to appearing on Heat, as well as competing in WWE’s then developmental territory, Deep South Wrestling.
In December of that year, Striker would debut on RAW as a heel, embracing the former teach gimmick and hosting his own segment entitled, “Matt Striker’s Classroom”. Similar to the modern day gimmick of Damien Sandow, Striker would belittle the crowd and sell himself as everyone’s intellectual superior. However, a week after his RAW debut, Striker would injure his shoulder and would be sidelined for a month.
After the most notable feud of his WWE career with Eugene, Striker would continue to appear for RAW until August of 2006 when he joined the ECW brand. During his time on ECW, Striker would feud with ECW Original Balls Mahoney and would ultimately join the stable, The New Breed, which consisted of Striker, Marcus Cor Von, Kevin Thorn, and was led by Elijah Burke. The New Breed would feud with the ECW Originals stable, culminating in Striker’s only match at WrestleMania at WrestleMania 23 in Detroit, where The New Breed lost to the ECW Originals in an 8-Man Tag Match. Following a brief feud with The Boogeyman, Striker would move into the managerial position, serving as the manager of Big Daddy V, wrestling occasionally as part of the feud. Striker would also briefly manage Mark Henry before the 2008 Supplemental Draft sent Striker to the RAW brand.
However, the departure of Mick Foley from the WWE following a stint as SmackDown Color Commentator resulted in Tazz being moved from ECW to SmackDown to replace Foley. This left a spot open on the ECW announce team, which was filled by Striker, who unofficially retired from in-ring competition. After working with Todd Grisham, and later Josh Mathews, on the ECW brand, Striker was moved to SmackDown, reuniting with Todd Grisham in October of 2009. Striker would remain as a commentator for SmackDown and made occasional “fill-ins” on RAW until being replaced by Booker T in February 2011.
For the next couple of years, Matt Striker would be used for several different roles in the WWE. After the ECW brand folded and NXT debuted in its place, Striker was named the host of the competition series. Striker would continue hosting NXT through Season Five of the show and would even wrestle a couple of tag team matches before Striker again reunited with Todd Grisham, this time the duo served as the commentary team for WWE Superstars. Striker would continue to appear on NXT in a bizarre angle that saw Striker being “kidnapped” by Curt Hawkins & Tyler Reks, but Striker would later be moved to the position of an interviewer on both RAW and SmackDown. During his time as an interviewer, Striker was forced into a match against Kane, locked in the No Lock by Daniel Bryan, chokeslammed by Kane, and knocked out by Big Show. During this time, Striker continued to work as a color commentator for WWE Superstars, working with Scott Stanford, and later, Tony Dawson, until his release.
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