While the WWE has been receiving a lot bad press lately on the financial aspect of the company, the wrestling entertainment giant recently announced the release of 11 WWE superstars and included in that release was Lithuanian fitness model and longtime diva Živilė Raudonienė, known by the WWE as Aksana. Aksana was the sole Diva to be released among the 11 recognizable names and was one of the only wrestlers among the 11 that was seen on latest WWE programming. Aksana was involved in a segment with fellow Diva Alicia Foxx the night before news broke of the release.
Aksana started with the WWE back in 2009 in the newly developed NXT division. Prior to joining the WWE, Raudoniene had a successful bodybuilding and fitness modeling career where she awarded three medals during competition. Venture into bodybuilding at the age of 16, a year into the sport, she was the youngest participant in the 1999 IFBB Arnold Classic Contest at 17 year-old. From 1996 to 2010, Raudoniene won two silver and one bronze medal in the Bodybuilding Amateur World Championships. One of Raudoniene last noted competition was in 2009, where she won the IFBB Arnold Classic Contest. Raudoniene afterward made her television appearance with the WWE back in August 2011 on the company’s highly rated show; Smackdown.
Shortly after the 32 year-old’s release, news followed on reason of her release mainly being an executive decision to clean house to make room for a soon to be new class of Divas graduating to the main roster from the development division. The Wrestling Observer reported the former Diva used to one of WWE Director Kevin Dunn’s favorites, but aside from Dunn, she had little support backstage.
WWE is also making room for more NXT Diva call-ups, with Charlotte and Sasha Banks expected make main roster debuts in the near future, so that, along with Kevin Dunn cooling off on her, ultimately lead to Aksana’s release. Aksana commented on her departure from the WWE via her instagram, thanking fans and announcing her last appearance on WWE proagramming:
Aksana was almost not the only model in the Diva’s division to be released by the WWE. News from insiders relatedly commented that fellow model-turned-WWE Diva Rosa Mendes was also expected to be released; however, E! Network was in development of the third season of the popular WWE reality show; Total Divas and decided to add the Costa Rica Latina as a new cast member (see: Rosa Mendes Joins Total Divas Season 3). Rosa is the second newest cast member since the premiere of the reality series back in 2013. The third season is expected to begin airing this September.
Aksana’s future after WWE has yet to be explored, also whether she will return to the fitness circuit. We will continue to follow her career beyond the ring and have more as the story develops.