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Justin Gabriel reportedly requested his release over the weekend after he found out that he would not be included in the Royal Rumble match, and he considered it the "last straw" as he'd grown very frustrated working for the company. Gabriel felt like he would be stuck on Superstars, Main Event and NXT forever and that it wouldn't benefit his wrestling career and so requested his release. Gabriel is said to be very excited to be working on the indies as many former WWE stars such as Curt Hawkins, now working as Brian Myers for various independents, and Evan Bourne, now working under Matt Sydal for Ring of Honor, were in similar positions but have experienced career resurgences since leaving WWE.
Gabriel is expected to use the name PJ Black going forward and will make his first post-WWE appearance this weekend for independent promotion Pro Wrestling Syndicate.