In an announcement that comes as a surprise to many, on Friday, WWE announced that they had come to terms on the release of the Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar).
Last seen in March 2020, the Authors of Pain began their careers in WWE in 2016, where they were quickly aligned with Paul Ellering and treated as a new Road Warriors of sorts. The two became a dominant duo, hardly losing matches. They won the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic which later led to AOP capturing the NXT tag team championship. In 2018, Authors of Pain, still aligned with Ellering, made their main roster debut. Though, after their debut match, the duo turned on Ellering, only to later find themselves being managed by Drake Maverick instead.
WWE has come to terms on the release of Akam and Rezar (AOP). We wish them all the best in their future endeavors. https://t.co/26hOhQL2vS
— WWE (@WWE) September 4, 2020
On Raw, their dominance picked up right where it left off as AOP won the tag team championship just months after their debut, defeating Seth Rollins in a handicap match after Dean Ambrose left his partner high-and-dry the previous week. In mid-November, AOP suffered their first main roster loss and a month later, their titles, dropping them to Bobby Roode and Chad Gable. Akam needed knee surgery in January 2019, putting the team on hiatus until June, at which point AOP returned, sans-manager, declaring the tag team division soft and announcing their plans to take over and reassert their status on top.
The Authors of Pain never quite got the opportunity to regain their titles as they fell into a very crowded Raw tag team division. But in November, that all seemed to be changing as following Raw’s embarrassing defeat at Survivor Series, AOP aligned with Seth Rollins and his newly created Monday Night Messiah persona. Unfortunately for AOP, they were not able to reap the benefits of the association with Rollins as just a few months later, Rezar was put on the shelf with injury leading to AOP being separated from Rollins’ faction.
While it had been confirmed by Ellering himself that there were talks to have him come back and manage AOP again prior to the pandemic, that never came to pass. And on September 4th, 2020, WWE released the Authors of Pain after just four years with the company.
Fans will likely point to the missed opportunities WWE had with Authors of Pain’s Akam and Rezar, two young, strong, imposing-looking, homegrown talents.
Akam, who signed his developmental contract in 2014 and made his NXT live event debut a year later, was a standout collegiate wrestler in his native Canada before joining WWE. The Canadian national freestyle champion in 2011, 2012, and 2013, Akam also won a gold medal in the 115 kg wrestling category at the 2009 Canada Summer Games and silver medal at the Pan American Games held in 2011 in Guadalajara. Just missing out on qualifying for the 2012 Summer Olympics, two years later, Akam decided to take the WWE contract offer instead of continuing his amateur career. The 26-year-old Rezar, who was part of the 2015 Performance Center class, brought to pro wrestling his background in judo, MMA, and kickboxing, where he was a former champion. In his MMA career, Rezar was successful in just a handful of fights, though his most notable bout came in a loss when he competed on Bellator 130.
Akam and Rezar were paired in 2016 and the rest is history. As a duo, WWE seems to have left a lot of potential on the table with AOP, as the two started strong but ended up fizzling out in part due to their absence from injury. AOP could never quite get a foothold and their main roster run fell flat as a result, despite the success the two found in NXT where they held the tag team titles for over 200 days. And while the talk will naturally go to where the two might sign and what is next for them, Akam and Rezar certainly have no shortage of options, both inside and out of a professional wrestling ring.
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