WWE Cuts Developmental Territory (Updated)

From WWE.com:

World Wrestling Entertainment has ended its relationship with Deep South Wrestling. For the past two years, DSW has served as one of WWE’s developmental territories. Check back here as more information becomes available.

This is pretty big news, and it will be interesting to see if WWE adds new territories to its developmental group, and which territories those are, in the near future. We have left a message for DSW owner Jody Hamilton at the Deep South office, but have yet to hear back.

Currently WWE’s only developmental territory is Ohio Valley Wrestling, owned by Danny Davis and Jim Cornette and booked by Al Snow. In the past, WWE has been affiliated formally and informally with Heartland Wrestling Association, Ultimate Pro Wrestling, Memphis Championship Wrestling, World Xtreme Wrestling, the International Wrestling Association and others. Plus, Booker T and others who are either on the WWE roster or who have close ties to WWE have wrestling schools that could theoretically form a developmental relationship with WWE should all parties desire.

According to Wikipedia (DSW’s official Web site has removed all content except for a statement saying tomorrow’s TV tapings are cancelled), the current roster for DSW, which has been trained by Tom Prichard since original head trainer Bill DeMott was replaced in January:

Male wrestlers

* Afa Jr. (Afa Anoa’i, Jr.)
* Robert Anthony
* Cousin Ray (Ray Gordy)
* The Freakin’ Deacon (Drew Hankinson)
* G-Rilla (George Murdoch)
* Henry O. Godwinn (Mark Canterbury)
* Chris Guy
* Bradley Jay (Brad Bradley)
* Kofi Nahaje Kingston
* Brett Majors (Matt Cardona)
* Brian Majors (Brian Myers)
* Heath Miller
* Derrick Neikirk
* Ryan O’Reilly
* Shawn Osborne (Shawn McGrath)
* Eric Perez
* Sonny Siaki
* Harry Smith
* Vito (Vito LoGrasso)
* Keith Walker
* T.J. Wilson

Female wrestlers

* Nattie Neidhart
* Shantelle Taylor (Shantelle Malawski)
* Krissy Vaine (Kristin Eubanks) – General Manager of Deep South
* Angel Williams – Co-General Manager of Deep South

Other On-Air Talent

* Wes Adams – Referee
* John Cone – Referee
* Nick Patrick (Nick Hamilton) – Senior Official

Inactive talent

* Ryklon Stephens

Stables & tag teams

* The Freakin’ Deacon & G-Rilla
* General Management of DSW (Krissy Vaine & Angel Williams)
* The Godwinns (Henry O. Godwinn & Cousin Ray)
* The Majors Brothers (Brett Majors & Brian Majors)
* Nattie Neidhart & Shantelle Taylor
* The Samoan Fight Club (Sonny Siaki & Afa Jr.)
* Team Elite (Mike Knox & Derek Neikirk)
* Team Stampede (Harry Smith & T.J. Wilson)

UPDATE — 11pm ET: Pro Wrestling Insider is reporting that the reasons for the split had been building up in recent months, with the “final straw” being a negative report from Bruce Prichard (Tom’s younger brother) after a recent visit to the territory. Nothing has been set in stone as to what will replace DSW in the WWE developmental system, although Booker T’s (Houston) and Steve Keirn’s (Tampa) schools have been rumored. Talent is expected to either move up to one of WWE’s main three rosters or to OVW, or be cut, and WWE has sent someone down to Georgia to oversee the transition.

UPDATE — 3:30am ET: According to WresltingObserver.com’s Dave Meltzer, Tom Prichard is still with WWE, and all talent that is being retained from DSW will be moved to OVW. “At this point, there has been no talk about replacing Deep South with another developmental promotion,” writes Meltzer.

UPDATE — 6:15pm ET: Meltzer has added that Jody Hamilton is closing down DSW, as without a partnership with WWE, he can’t sustain the school and promotion. It is believed that talent, according to Meltz, will move to a new school in Florida, possibly Keirn’s. Pro Wrestling Insider has reported that Hamilton is expected to retire from the business and will release some sort of statement soon.

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